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Sag Harbor African American resorts added to national historic list

Havens Beach with historic SANS houses shown in

Havens Beach with historic SANS houses shown in the background. Sag Harbor Hills, New York. 5/12/2019 Credit: Anthony J. Causi

The SANS Historic District, Sag Harbor’s traditionally African American second home and resort community, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Sag Harbor Hills, Azurest and Ninevah Beach subdivisions, collectively referred to as SANS, were founded following World War II and served as a welcome retreat for people of color during segregation. A grassroots effort largely funded by SANS residents has been underway to catalog and preserve the area’s history, and gain state and national recognition.

“SANS stands on the shoulders of legacy families who came to Sag Harbor with a purpose and a vision,” SANS Sag Harbor president Renee Simons said in a statement. “While not builders or developers by profession, these shrewd forerunners forged ahead and forged a coalition of thought leaders to make a difference in their families’ lives and the quality of lives of many around them.”

A listing on the National Historic Register, which features more than 1.8 million sites, structures, objects, buildings and districts, would raise awareness of SANS’ cultural significance, although it places no restrictions on what nonfederal owners may do with their property, according to the National Park Service. Listing on the state and national registers, however, can make a district eligible for grants and other preservation programs.

In March, SANS was listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places, and the state board of historic preservation recommended it be added to the national register.

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