NOW and THEN Shinnecock Hills

The white Padovana cockeral (March 28, 2006) crossed the road from Hills (map pin 3, Note 1) latterly preserved (2008) by Sandrow in hand with Shinnecock Indian Nation. To Sandrow and husband Ulf Skogsbergh’s lands (“Now” google map pin 2, included in Shinnecock Indian Contact Period Village Fort Critical Environmental Area, designated 1988;) within the former Jane Borrowe Colt Estate (“Then” E. Belcher Hyde map pin 2, 1891 - 1946, Note 2). The Colt’s were speculative players - Jane’s husband NJ and NY Railway Company President  E. Boudinot Colt (Note 3) - with Hills landowners LIRR president Austin Corbin and Real Estate developer and Railroad lawyer Samuel L. Parrish.

In a telescoping story of the railroad and its directors (the train whistle heard passing a dozen times a day and more) traversing lands once solely the providence of First Peoples and their descendants Shinnecock Indian Nation. Who are now bound (since 1858) to reservation/territory (map pin 5) while their challenge to the claims of Town ownership (colonization beginning 1640) continues in courts (2016). And the attraction that artists bring to the narrative: why amongst those lands, a Studio for Chase’s Shinnecock Summer School of Art (“Then” E. Belcher Hyde map pin 6, 1891 - 1902) and a Home/Studio (1891, Architect Stanford White, Note 4) and Carriage House (Note 5, called “The Cottage” following move to the Jane Borrowe Colt Estate, Note 6) ) were gifted by Arts Patrons including Samuel L. Parrish, a half mile east (“Then” E. Belcher Hyde map pin 4).

A fire burned the Colt Manor Home to the ground (1948): view what “remains”.  And what “lays bare unearthed (pictured right, Glass Insulators)  from lands that include “The Cottage” and Carriage/Gatehouse ( Note 7) that survived, currently owned by Sandrow/Skogsbergh.

During Colt and Chase lifetimes, transition to the Technical Revolution or Second Industrial Revolution (1870–1920) was more and more visible. With electric power on the east end in the early 20th century (Note 8); the first automobile mentioned (1899, Note 9) in a local newspaper article under another about horse and carriages. (1892) Completion of the Shinnecock Canal (map pin 1), named to memorialize First Peoples (Note 10), was a matter of local importance to Southampton - then.

And now (1975 to present Digital Revolution or Third Industrial Revolution) the environmental impact of new development along its shores of concern to the east end community as well as an element of global dialogue. (2006-2016) With “Neighbors” Sandrow opposed a townhouse development along the southeastern shores (map pin 1).  Components of her practice that (again) included organizing, petitions, and photographic documentation. Two new mediums added for elected officials accountability: 1) a lawsuit by the “Neighbors” to appeal the townhouse developments approval by the Town Board (2014); and, 2)  the web based public artwork Sketches of Local History Shinnecock Canal Canoe Place that Sandrow conceived, created, designed. In which Chase’s paintings exhibit the natural world of the canal and surrounding landscape in his time shown as references for area residents to understand the rapid changes since. To feel inspired to envision in a sketch the landscape they want to live in now, including replenishing lands that had been clear cut for development. Tragically (!), that Townhouse development currently under construction due to a replacement Judge (without explanation replaced the first) ruling in the Land Developers and Towns favor to proceed.

Sandrow’s photographs accompanied by a hand distributed petition (2002) persuaded Town of Southampton’s Board to preserve public access to a bay beach pictured in Chase’s oil painting (1892) of his family “At the Seaside”. And, the acquisition (2006) for the Community Preservation Fund of ten acres of Shinnecock Hills (“Now” google map pin 3, from where the cockeral crossed the road) in collaboration with Shinnecock Indian Nation. Local history presented in three solo exhibitions: godt tegn (2006-7) PS1/MOMA; (Re)collecting an Americans Dream (2007) Southampton Historical Museum; Platform: Genius Loci (2013-14) Parrish Art Museum. 

The Town of Southampton, despite more then decades of promises to Shinnecock Indian Nation and their many supporters like Sandrow, only recently passed (September 8 2020)  legislation protecting sacred ancestral sites and lands (the first in New York State).

Note 1: Amongst lands called “Shinnecock Hills” of the First Peoples, inhabited for 14,000 years when claimed by the Town of Southampton (1858) and placed under the management of the Long Island Improvement Company. Subsequently sold privately during the leadership of Samuel L. Parrish including the 13 acres purchased by him, then sold (1930) to Lamotte Cohu on which he constructed his estate Gissa Bu.

Note 2: Amongst lands called “Shinnecock Hills” of the First Peoples, inhabited for 14000 years when claimed by the Town of Southampton (1858) and placed under the management of the Long Island Improvement Company. Subsequently sold privately during the leadership of Samuel L. Parrish. Including the acres sold to Jane Borrowe Colt. top, excerpt from Garden Tour,The County Review, July 4 1940, page 7, image 7 July 4 1940

Note 3:  And husband E. Boudinot Colt, held director position on Equitable Life Assurance Society Board, named Jane as the properties deed holder. New York legislators passed the Married Women's Property Act in 1848 and the Act Concerning the Rights and Liabilities of Husband and Wife in 1860...most states legislated the rights of women to own property by 1900. Jane’s nephew married LIRR founder Austin Corbin’s daughter Anna, her Estate nearby. The LIRR train tracks just north.

Note 4: Town of SOUTHAMPTON HISTORIC SURVEY (April 2014 ): Shinnecock Hills Multiple Resource District “The William Merritt Chase Homestead is listed on the State and National Registers. It is a shingle-clad gambrel-roofed building with a Doric- columned porch. Attached is a shorter, smaller shingle-clad gambrel- roofed structure. It is generally accepted that Stanford White, of the architectural firm, McKim, Mead, & White, made sketches of this structure (Schaffner and Zabar).

Note 5: (2006) Sandrow named her project open air studio spacetime in homage to Chase’s art practice: (2020) She was informed “The structure moved to current location”; “1891; may be carriage house to William Merritt Chase ”. “This structure is purposed to be a ca. 1891 carriage house later converted to a residence.” Town of SOUTHAMPTON HISTORIC SURVEY (April 2014 ): Shinnecock Hills Multiple Resource District)

Note 6: The Jane Borrowe Colt Manor House burned to the ground (1948)... see what “remains”....what “lays bare”.

Note 7: The structure moved to current location: Town of SOUTHAMPTON HISTORIC SURVEY (April 2014 ): Shinnecock Hills Multiple Resource District): “a small gambrel roofed structure clad in wood shingles with dormers, twelve-over- twelve-light windows, and multiple additions. The structure likely dates to the early 20th century. Believed to be the former gatehouse for a larger property known as the Condon Estate; it is also said to have been designed by Grosvenor Atterbury. (This property is potentially landmark eligible under Town Criteria A, C, and D).”

Note 8: “Our village is to have electric lights. A company has been formed, principally of our summer residents...and it is thought the light will be ready for use in a few weeks.” South Side Signal, January 20, 1894 Page 2, Image 2

Note 9: “A special train of the LIRR for horses and carriages will be run on Sept 19, 22, and 26 for L.I. City leaving Amagansett at 6:45 am and stopping at all stations west to Amityille. Horses and carriages should be delivered at least one hour before the train leaves. The first automobile went through this town this week from Southampton to Wainscott. It was owned by James L. Breese. The Corrector, September 16,1899 page 3, image 3

Note 10: From Smithsonian's Handbook of North American Indians: “new tribe‐by‐tribe estimates of North American Indian population size. Collectively these data suggest that population numbered about 1,894,350 at about A.D. 1500. Epidemics and other factors reduced this number to only 530,000 by 1900.”

In 1900: 230,306 native peoples to 75,519,557 non native; in 2019, estimated 2.09% indigenous population of US; 0.24% in New York State.

Note 11: photo credit Parrish Art Museum




E. Belcher Hyde Map 1916


Unearthed by Sandrow: left, Crown Embossed Brookfield (aka Bushwick) Glass Company Beehive Telegraph Insulator, 4” x 3 1/2”; right, Pyrex-Glass Strain Electric Wire Insulator Separator, 3” x 1” 



(above) Sandrow took this photograph of Chase’s home/studio from same vantage point as Chase painted (l): but now (Note 5) barely visible through Oak, Juniper, Cedar and Pine trees, many of which are diseased by Eastern White Pine Weevil and Sudden Oak Death). Challenged by thorny thickets of climbing vines (smilax Rotundifolia); sandy soil (to soft to support mature tree height, weight).

(above) Beach grasses, bushes and small trees on gently rolling Shinnecock Hills surround Chase’s home/studio pictured (above, map pin 4) in his oil painting Shinnecock Landscape, 1895 (Note 11)