An antique sailboat’s mast will be erected to serve as a flagpole between the corner of North Main Street and the historic Selah Lester House in East Hampton soon.
The 28-foot-long mast was salvaged from a ship out of Three Mile Harbor and then donated by the East End Classic Boat Society. A plaque installed beneath the pole will note the society’s donation and also mark the memory of Peter Schaefer, a longtime worker at the East Hampton Historical Farm Museum who died last year. It was Schaefer’s dream to see a flagpole erected at the site, according to Prudence Carabine.
Museum officials were not sure the age of the mast or what kind of wood it is made of.
To raise the mast, a four-foot hole will be dug about halfway between the museum’ sign and the house. Concrete will be placed at the bottom, and then two locust poles will be inserted into the concrete and the mast will be secured with bolts. The locust poles will allow the mast to swing down in the case of bad weather, such as a hurricane, or for maintenance.
Carabine said the museum has a distinct vision for the property.
“We are celebrating this community as it was being built so everything that was here was the finest kind and the things that we cherish whether they are masts, or integrity or other things are the finest kind,” she said. “We want as much integrity about the place as we can have, so that is why we are thrilled to have this old mast given to us. “
The property, which sits at the corner of North Main and Cedar streets and is most commonly referred to as the Lester homestead, was once used as common ground where early settlers allowed their sheep and cattle to graze in the 1700s. The property had this use until the late 18th or early 19th Century, when the Dominy family purchased it and erected a wind-powered sawmill for their furniture and clock-making business.
Selah Lester purchased the property from Cybil Dominy and moved his newly bought 18th-Century farmhouse to the property from its previous lot in Amagansett sometime in the 1870s. The museum is located in the original house that Lester purchased.
“We feel that what people come here for is the roots. They have got the wings, but we are the roots, and you need roots and wings to be really whole,” Carabine said.