The doors to East Hampton Town Hall will be thrown open for a party next month.
The July 23 event will serve three purposes, town officials say: a thank you to Adelaide de Menil and her husband, Edmund Carpenter, who donated a half-dozen 18th and 19th century buildings to create the town hall complex; a launch party for New York City photographer Zak Powers’ book documenting the structures’ move, and a chance to show off the new complex.
In 2007, three houses and three barns on the de Menil estate were moved — very slowly — from an oceanfront estate on Further Lane to the town hall site at 159 Pantigo Rd., just east of East Hampton Village. The town was in need of a new town hall because the old structure’s roof leaked, wallpaper and plaster were peeling, the heating and air conditioning systems needed an overhaul and there was insufficient room for record keeping.
New historically correct foundations were built, along with connecting glass walkways and special lighting, to remake the buildings into offices and meeting rooms while retaining their historic character.
De Menil, a photographer and heiress to the Schlumberger oil fortune, donated $2 million to the town, which provided an additional $1 million to finish the job. With parking improvements, moving expenses and other costs, the total cost of the project is expected to reach about $5 million.
The buildings have been upgraded to meet LEED standards for energy savings. The town board’s meeting room — originally a large barn built in the 1830s — retains its rough-hewn look and has been insulated so it can be used as an auditorium.