Moran House on 229 Main Street in East Hampton. (Photo: Chris Foster)
The historic Thomas Moran House in East Hampton will be given a facelift by custom builders John Hummel and Associates. Originally built in 1885 by well-known American landscape painter Thomas Moran as a studio and summer cottage, the house has since then become uninhabitable. Where it was once a cultural center for the entire town, in recent years the celebrated home has become infested with rodents and completely structurally unsound. Many of the walls and floors now sport gaping holes and the entire structure has actually tilted a full seven inches towards the street.
The local community, alongside the Thomas Moran Trust, intervened with the intention of saving East Hampton's first artist's studio. The fundraising and planning phases for the reconstruction of the house have begun, but the process will be far from painless. There is always the difficulty of striking a balance between historical accuracy and functionality during a reconstruction project, but this particular undertaking will pose more unique challenges. The instability of the home will make it especially difficult to make changes to the overall infrastructure of the building without causing further damage to the historic material. The way the house was originally built also creates complications for the restoration process. Moran originally constructed the house in an almost haphazard manner, adding new extensions to the house periodically. Because of this evolutionary form of construction, it will be difficult for the builders to form a cohesive picture of the building's original infrastructure. Overall, the project is a daunting one with the East Hampton Star asserting that the restoration will be "more challenging than any undertaken in East Hampton before." While most people would be intimidated by this demanding task, the representatives from John Hummel & Associates seem rather enthusiastic.
"Thanks to generous contributions from the East Hampton community and other donors the funds have been raised to begin this restoration and bring the house and grounds back to a state worthy of the late Thomas Moran's original vision," they said in an official statement. "We look forward to rebuilding the Thomas Moran House into a public space that benefits the entire community and keeps the spirit of Thomas Moran and environment that influenced him alive for all to enjoy."
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