Thomas Moran's 1884 East Hampton cottage to be restored

Thomas Moran built his East Hampton house in

Thomas Moran built his East Hampton house in 1884 and lived there with his wife, printmaker Mary Nimmo Moran, and their family for 40 years. (Credit: Handout)

The former longtime home and studio of 19th-century landscape artist Thomas Moran is getting closer to being restored to its former glory.

The Thomas Moran Trust, a nonprofit that bought the two-story East Hampton cottage in 2007, was recently awarded $477,500 by the New York State Regional Economic Development Council, part of $59.7 million in grants to Long Island businesses, municipalities and nonprofits. That money is to be used to help refurbish and restore the house to its 1884 roots.

The grant brings total funds raised for the Thomas Moran Studio to about $6 million, and the renovation is expected to cost $8.9 million, trust director Marti Mayo said.

"We were thrilled," Mayo said. In the application, "we were very specific, and our plans were far enough along . . . We're basically shovel-ready here."

Work is expected to start after all the money has been raised, she said. The trust hopes to have the project completed by 2015, when it celebrates the 50th anniversary of the home's designation as a National Historic Landmark. The trust hopes to use the cottage as a cultural center and museum.

According to the National Park Service, Long Island is home to a dozen National Historic Landmarks, including the Jackson Pollock house and studio, also in East Hampton, and the Montauk Point Lighthouse, which was designated in 2012.

East Hampton Village administrator Larry Cantwell said the trust has received all permits needed to move forward with the project.

"The list of artists who actually lived and painted in East Hampton is of international fame, so the artists who settled here and worked here are an important part of the history and culture of East Hampton," Cantwell said.

Moran, famous for his landscapes of the American West, is thought of as one of the fathers of the National Park Service for his paintings of Yellowstone, Mayo said. But he painted many scenes inspired by his time on the East End, including shipwrecks and bucolic views of Long Island in the late 1800s.

He built the East Hampton house in 1884 and lived there with his wife, printmaker Mary Nimmo Moran, and their family for 40 years. After Moran died in 1926, his daughter lived in the house until her death. It was later owned by another family, but has been vacant for about 10 years.

"It has never been reinforced and never had major restorative work of any kind done to it, just decorative assistance," Mayo said. "It's in need of some structural improvement, as well as its restoration to remove the 20th century elements, and restoration to its historic state."

Alexandra Wolfe, preservation services director for the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, said restoring cultural sites encourages tourism. She praised the Thomas Moran Trust for its work.

"It's a complex site," she said, "and I think its restoration is only going to add further to East Hampton's success as a resort town."

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