The historic Custom House in Sag Harbor has opened for the season, giving visitors to the village a peek at life here in the late 18th and 19th centuries.
The 1789 Custom House was owned by Sag Harbor’s first United States Custom Master, Henry Packer Dering, who was in charge of meeting the coastal trading vessels and ocean-going whaling ships which sailed into the harbor.
Dering, his wife and their nine children lived in the house and their daily activities are vividly portrayed in each room. One will be able to see the children’s rooms, kitchen, pantry, a setting of a formal dinner and the laundry room, which are all still fully furnished. Dering’s office, where he served whalers, coasters and West Indian trade ships, is also still intact.
“It is a really interesting story and the house is in a beautiful setting,” said Margie Burkett, assistant director for public affairs for theSociety for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, which offers guided tours of the property through Columbus Day “The house is located in a beautiful little town on a very historical street as well.”
It’s actually located right next door to The Sag Harbor Whaling & Nautical Museum and is within walking distance to the water.
The guided tours are seven days per week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in July and August and Saturdays and Sundays in September and October. The last tour is always at 4:30 p.m.
Big groups need to call and make an appointment first at (631) 692-4664.
“The house tells a lot about Long Island’s story which a lot of people may not be too familiar with,” Burkett said. “Not many people know and understand how far back Long Island’s history really goes and how far back people started living and doing business here.”
The Custom House is located on the corner of Main and Garden streets in Sag Harbor. Entry for adults is $6, $5 for seniors and $3 for children ages 7-14.