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Mar 24, 2015 1:50 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Destroyed Mansion Was Gilded Age Beauty

Mar 24, 2015 2:24 PM

The 57 West End Road mansion in East Hampton Village that burned to the ground last week, had a long and storied past that began during the Gilded Age in 1926, when it was built for banker Ellery James.Named Heather Dune, for the heather surrounding it, the home was designed by Roger Bullard and featured in American Architect after it was built.

According to authors Gary Lawrance and Anne Surchin, who wrote “Houses of the Hamptons 1880-1930,” Mr. Bullard also designed the Maidstone Club, which features many of the same design elements, like stucco walls, high sloping roofs, and elements to blend the buildings into their environment.

“The James house seemed to blossom from the earth and was designed to take advantage of the surrounding waters of the ocean and Georgica Pond,” Mr. Lawrance said on Friday. “The James house was almost spartan in its conception. The exterior with stucco walls, slate roof and overall massing resembled a sandcastle rather than a palace.”

According to Robert Hefner, East Hampton Village’s historic district consultant, there was a significant amount of woodworking inside the home.

Mr. Lawrance said the home was simple yet beautiful—designed for comfort, not ostentation.

The historic house, which remained in the James family for years after Mr. James died in 1932, was occupied by various owners over the years, including Jack Rounick and Dr. Gary Feldstein, until Peter Morton purchased it in 2001 for $10 million from Dr. Feldstein.

“It is no surprise that the house continued to be a desirable dwelling until its unfortunate end,” Mr. Lawrance said. “Heather Dune will be missed and, hopefully, what comes next will be a house which respects the land and sea, and not just placed there like a silver trophy cup on a shelf at the Maidstone Club.”

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Not sure "Gilded Age" is correct. The Gilded Age was a period of the late 19th century, ending certainly before WWI. This house was built in 1926 according to the article, which would make it more a "Jazz Age" home. Am I wrong about this?
By Rickenbacker (257), Southampton on Mar 27, 15 10:34 PM
Mr. Lawrence said it was from the Gilded Age, and after some research, I found that many historians say the Gilded Age ended when the stock market crashed in 1929.
By sweaver (2), East Hampton on Mar 28, 15 1:13 AM
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