The Springs General Store will remain the historic streetside landmark it has been for generations, after the East Hampton Town Board voted last week to use Community Preservation Fund money to buy a façade easement on the building.
The property, currently owned by Michael and Jan Collins of Springs, is due to be sold to a mystery angel investor who plans to keep the general store and its proprietor, Kristi Hood, in business.
The town board agreed March 19 to buy a $170,000 easement on the property, which will limit the expansion of the building, remove the rights to build additional structures, and ensure that the iconic general store, the gas pumps outside and a shed on the site not be removed, said town CPF Administrator Scott Wilson at the March 19 public hearing on the project.
“It also protects the viewshed from any public roadways… It protects the windows, rafters, columns and front porch,” he added. ““You’re trying to trap it in amber, basically.”
Mr. Wilson said the general store, built in 1844, is one of ten 19th Century structures that make up the Springs Historic District, which includes nearby Ashawagh Hall and the Springs blacksmith shop.
“There are any number of iconic historic structures throughout the town. This is one of the most important of those in the hamlet of Springs,” said Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell. “There’s something special about doing what we’re doing.”
Mr. Cantwell then asked Councilman Fred Overton, who grew up in Springs, if he ever got into trouble in the woods and marshes behind the Springs General Store.
“I can’t answer,” said Mr. Overton. “It was [called] Uncle Dan’s. I bought my first gallon of gas there. It was 25 cents a gallon. Sometimes you had to wake Dan up to pump the gas…. That was a time my father could give me a couple dollars to go to Uncle Dan’s and get a six pack.”
While Dan Miller was the owner of the store, Springs was home to many abstract expressionist painters, including Jackson Pollock, who once exchanged a painting for groceries there.
“That was good times growing up in Springs,” said Mr. Overton.