Historic Case House will find new home in Southold

A historic 1700s-era home will find a new life in Southold.

The Peconic Land Trust is preparing the site at the southwest corner of Horton’s Lane and County Road 48, known as Cleo’s Corner, for the relocation of the Lieutenant Moses Case House in November.

A new foundation will be poured to support the Case House, which is currently located a half-mile away, just east of Southold Square on Route 48.

Dan Heston, senior manager of agricultural programs at the Peconic Land Trust, said the move is weather-dependent and will cut through farmland across Youngs Avenue. It’s the second time the Land Trust will undertake moving a historic home; a 1930s farmhouse in Sagaponack was relocated in 2011.

The Land Trust owns a sprawling, nearly 100 acres of land both north and south of Route 48 which is leased to new and existing farm operations. The relocation and subsequent restoration will re-establish a farmstead at Cleo’s Corner, on five acres of protected farmland already owned by the Land Trust. 

Mr. Heston said the home will be used as part of the Farms for the Future initiative, a five-year program that aims to protect the future of farming on Long Island by encourage young people to get involved. 

“Ideally, we would have one of our graduates from our program live in the house and farm this land,” Mr. Heston said.

In the meantime, it will be used to house farmers who are currently enrolled in the program. Since launching in 2015, 27 farmers are involved on the program on both forks, Mr. Heston said.

John Halsey, president of the Peconic Land Trust, said the project combines farmland conservation and historic preservation, two facets of their mission. 

“It is a unique model of how the past and present can not only coexist, but also sustain one another,” he said.

Once the relocation is complete, the real work begins, according to project manager Holly Sanford. “The team we assembled is very enthusiastic. They’re going to have a lot of fun on this,” she said. That team includes historic architect John Cunniffe of Cunniffe Architects, master craftsman Scott Brown of Antique Carpenter and historic house mover Stanley Kazel of Dawn Movers who will oversee restorations to the exterior and interior of the home.

The home, built one year before the marriage of Moses Luther Case to Mary Hutchinson, features a Colonial double-cape design and was renovated to reflect Greek Revival architecture trends around 1840. 

According to Southold Town historian Amy Folk, the home has been located in at least two different locations in Southold, but originally stood on the south side of Main Road in Peconic. She said the relocation project was exciting since it will preserve original period architecture. 

“I’m always thrilled whenever we can take an old building and repurpose it,” Ms. Folk said.

Mr. Heston will help plan and execute the renovations to transform the interior into a functional living space. He has experience restoring old homes and lives in a similar cape built in 1798 in Cutchogue. “We restored it meticulously,” he said. 

The inside, he said, will be an interesting melding of styles while the exterior will appear true to its roots. “We’ve got to live in it, and they didn’t have bathrooms in 1750,” he said with a laugh. 

The home fascinates Mr. Heston, who pointed out wide floorboards and intricate details. “The beauty of this house is that it’s amazingly complete,” he said. “It’s going to look great when it’s finished.”

The home will also get a new roof, windows and a new kitchen, he said.

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said the town’s historic structures are “overlooked attributes of Southold’s character,” and he supports protecting them. “The Peconic Land Trust’s willingness to take on such a substantial project is commendable,” Mr. Russell said.

Ms. Sanford said the entire restoration process is expected to reach completion by January 2020 and will cost $500,000, funded both though grants and public donors. 

“We decided that rather than lose the house to potential demolition, that we would incorporate it into our stewardship,” she said.

Tim Caufield, a senior adviser with the Peconic Land Trust, said the home will help preserve the local legacy of Moses Case, “connecting it to our agricultural heritage, present and future.”

Moses Case (1723-1814) was active in the Southold militia as a Lieutenant during the Revolutionary War and signed the Articles of Association in 1774.  

Cleo’s Corner was donated to the Peconic Land Trust by Anne and Tom Hubbard in 2011, as part of a total of three parcels that included the house lot and two open farm fields, totaling 5.7 acres.

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Photo caption: Moses Case House will be moved in November. (Tara Smith photo)