Eleanor Daly Kobel with husband James, left, and son Eamon outside...

Eleanor Daly Kobel with husband James, left, and son Eamon outside their landmark home in Westhampton, which was built in 1889. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Three families have called Westhampton’s Topping-Raynor House home since builder Charles Bishop etched his signature into a dining room built-in drawer, signaling the home’s completion in 1889.

Now current owners and residents Eleanor Daly Kobel and her husband, James Kobel, will get some help in preserving their historic house after Southampton Town agreed to purchase a $100,000 stake in the property. That interest, known as a historic conservation and preservation easement, restricts what changes can be made to the facade of the 131-year-old Victorian.

“This [historic preservation] is really for the people who love the history,” said Daly Kobel, whose family spent summers there starting in 1961. “You have people who see that house and say it’s a teardown.”

The home on South Road was built by Long Island Rail Road executive Charles Topping and was sold to the Raynor family for $2,000 in 1899, according to a narrative history compiled by the Southampton Landmark and Historic District Board. Louise Raynor — one of Suffolk County’s first commercial baywomen, a poet, bowler, ceramicist and community volunteer — was born in its living room in 1920. She built a small residence next door and sold the house to Eleanor McNamara in 1961.

Raynor did not marry or have children, and she became a surrogate aunt to McNamara’s nieces and nephews, including Daly Kobel, teaching them to fish and sail in Moriches Bay. She died in 2017.

“I did it for Louise,” Daly Kobel said of the preservation effort. “She was an unbelievable woman of her time.”

McNamara, who worked for Exxon for 40 years and never married, was cared for by her niece and lived there until her death in 2016 at age 95.

The Southampton Town Board voted to give the home town landmark status during its Jan. 14 board meeting, and two weeks later approved the easement purchase. The money comes from the town’s Community Preservation Fund, which is financed through a 2% tax on real estate sales, and is used for open space, agricultural and historic preservation as well as water-quality initiatives.

“Historic preservation is one of the components of CPF, and often we purchase properties, such as the Tiana Life Saving Station or the Nathaniel Rogers House, outright,” said preservation program manager Lisa Kombrink. “This is a little bit more unusual for the town to purchase an easement.”

It is the third historic easement purchased on a private home, said Ed Wesnofske, chairman of the Southampton Landmark and Historic District Board.

The Raynor name is well-known in that section of Southampton Town, with thousands thought to be descendants of Jonathan Raynor. He is believed to be the first English resident of the region, which in the 17th century was known as Ketchaponack.

“From that one seed, many little Raynors have sprouted to abundantly populate the hamlets of Westhampton and Westhampton Beach, as well as the larger world beyond,” reads an excerpt from “The Raynors of Ketchaponack” by Stuart Payne Howell.

Plans for the Topping-Raynor House include repairing the roof, replacing cedar shake shingles as well as a gable window that blew out during superstorm Sandy in 2012.

“Maintaining a historic building like this can be very expensive; $100,000 is a drop in the bucket,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. “I look at this building, I look at some of the historical details, and it really is a gem and, I think, worthy of some assistance in preserving.”

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