There’s so much history connected to the Josiah Foster House in East Quogue that even its owners — the sixth generation of the Downs family to live there — didn’t know it all until Southampton Town officials started looking into its background.
The town board voted 5-0 on Tuesday to designate the house at 556 Montauk Hwy. as a historic landmark, even taking the resolution out of order after Sharon Downs Azzato came to urge the board to take the action. The move will allow the owners to apply for special tax breaks and financial assistance for qualified maintenance work.
The town’s landmarks and historic district boards both recommended that the Josiah Foster House be given the designation before the town vote.
Josiah Foster, a whaling captain, built the house in 1857. His brother-in-law, Orange Fanning, was the second owner; Fanning was president of the First National Bank of Port Jefferson and also served as Suffolk County clerk.
The house was also used as an inn, and the adopted son of one of its owners was Southampton’s first town constable, killed in the line of duty by a bootlegger in 1924.
Azzato said she hopes that some day the house could become a museum.
Above: Southampton Town Hall