Real Estate: Recording Flanders history, in homes

07/05/2014 3:08 PM |
The James Benjamin Homestead, circa 1782, is believed to be the oldest house in Flanders. It's on th eNational Register of Historic Places. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The James Benjamin Homestead, circa 1782, is believed to be the oldest house in Flanders. It’s on th eNational Register of Historic Places. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Did you know that the David W. Crohan Community Center in Flanders was once the site of a roller rink known as Ben’s Roller Dome? Or that the long-shuttered Bayview Market at the corner of Longneck Boulevard and Flanders Road was built in 1910 and was used as a meeting room for the Flanders Fire Department when it first formed in 1948? 

Were you aware that Flanders, which has long sought its own Zip code, actually had its own post office for almost 100 years until 1929, when the U.S. Postal Service decided to forward Flanders mail to Riverhead?

Or that the house next to the Flanders Cemetery was the Flanders School House from 1886 to 1959, before the Riverhead school district centralized? Or that a few lots to the east of that was a building used as a school bus barn?

These are just some nuggets of local real estate knowledge to be gleaned from the Flanders Hamlet Heritage Area Report, published by Southampton Town’s Landmarks and Historic Districts Board. On June 24, the Town Board formally approved the creation of the Flanders Heritage Resource Area, as defined in the report.

The report gives a brief overview of some of the history of Flanders and highlights 104 existing structures that are deemed to have historic value.

Many of the buildings in the report are residences today but were schools, post offices or stores in years gone by. Some are more than 200 years old, like the Benjamin House on Flanders Road across from Pleasure Drive, which was built in 1782 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A few are now in bad shape, including the Brewster House, a three-story former boarding house near the Flanders Memorial Park that was built in 1880 but has been vacant and falling apart in recent years.