A BONAFIDE REAL ESTATE BARGAIN IN SOUTHAMPTON, NY
Last October (2005) when I was poking around the Suffolk County Register of Deeds, I found something I had no idea would be in there. It was Elizabeth Laing Knapp's will.
Elizabeth was the second Mrs. Joseph Palmer Knapp (1906-1922). In June of 1922 she was stricken on the ride from NYC to Tenacre aka Cherry Hill Farm her new summer home in Southampton. She passed away there from complications of diabetes. Her will was used as the deed to this Knapp home which is featured on this site in several places. My interest in it was obvious as it is one of the very few Knapp residences that still exist. It's also interesting as I had been at her gravesite and that of her son Archibald G. McIlwaine from her first marriage just an hour earlier. Here is the part of the will that passes Tenacre to her son.
The will was filed in August of 1922 and as I left the register office that day I wondered how long Archie and his wife kept the place or if they ever used it? They had their own estate in Locust Valley which is on the Gold Coast of western Long Island. I knew if they did it wasn't for long because Archie himself died very young at the age of 34 in August of 1929.
That question was answered this week (Sept 12, 2006) when I found this ad that appeared in the April 1923 issue of Better Homes & Gardens.
IT WAS CALLED TENACRE LIKE THE ORIGINAL SOUTHAMPTON TENACRE THAT THE KNAPP'S RENTED FROM 1910-18
But it was situated on 17 acres.
The place was just about a year old when this ad appeared and at $35,000.00 under cost one could consider it a steal, It was most recently on the market in 2004 for 12.5 million. But at $90,000 grand even in 1923 dollars it was nothing compared to the fire sale prices of J F Knapp's Mastic Beach 22 room mansion in 1940 (under 5 grand !!) or the unbeatable and unbelievable deal on J P Knapp's North Carolina 35 room place in 1961 (under 100 bucks !!!...but you gotta move it)