Property of the Week: Church Lane, Westhampton Beach


“Location, location, location,” says Aimee Martin of Saunders about this house, which she listed with Ginger Bittner Andrews. And indeed, 9 Church Lane is close to absolutely everything. Walk to the village green, the farmer’s markert and Main Street’s shops and restaurants; meanwhile, ocean beaches are half a mile away.

The charming old place is asking $799,000, which, Martin says, “is practically at land value.” The 1,300 square foot house sits on almost 1/3 of an acre and has three bedrooms and three full baths. Period details include a wood-burning fireplace, wide-planked floors and old beams.

The house, says Martin, used to be the Mill Road schoolhouse, built around 1880. “When the site became inadequate, it was sold to Mortimer D. Howell, who moved it to the corner of Mill Road and Church Street and had it remodeled for a dwelling. It served as the ‘guest house’ to 44 Mill Road, next door.” Mortimer D. Howell built the Howell House Hotel in Westhampton Beach with financial backing from his friend PT Barnum.

“The Merle family has owned this saltbox home for the last 60 years,” Martin adds. The owner’s late father, Dr. James Merle (1914-2002), was a well-known figure in Westhampton Beach. During World War II, an accident sent the ambulance he was in over a cliff, leaving him stooped and without a desire to drive–so he earned the nickname “The Hitchhiking Doctor.”  “He was known for responding to patients whenever he was called, often arriving at a patient’s bedside late at night with his pajamas peeping out from his pants,” Martin says.

The property is zoned Hamlet Commercial/Residential District, so could be used for a commercial purpose. And if the new owner doesn’t want to renovate/expand, the property size would allow for a new 4,000 square foot house with pool.

For more, click here. 9 Church Lane, Westhampton Beach