History of Our Water Mill Community Club
The Water Mill Community Club first began in 1952 when Little League baseball came to Water Mill. Volunteers sponsored a team and built a baseball field on Foster land adjacent to Old County Road. Sons of the community started with hats as uniforms and eventually, with the help of the community, upgraded to real uniforms. Mothers baked cakes and cookies for bake sales to raise money for the Little League. The McLean farmland between Nowedonah Avenue and Deerfield Road later became available. A group of investors including; Dick Maran, Bob Nardy, Irving Halsey, Tom Behringer Jr., Albert Halsey, Ray Halsey, Myra Squires, Charlton Halsey, Richard Corwith, Caldwell Q. Hurdle and Mr. Oltarsh purchased the property and donated the northern 6.5 acres to the Community Club as a park. Dick Maran spearheaded the purchase as a long time dream for the community. Thanks to all, we now enjoy a gem in our community. The original baseball lot on Montauk Highway and Old Country Road was purchased by Southampton Town and the Residents of Water Mill and is now known as Settlers Field.
The community teamed up to turn the McLean potato field into our own recreational area. Shortly thereafter, a Little League field came into being. Soon after, a building was donated by C. Edwin Dimon. It was moved onto the property and became known as the “tennis” building. With funds raised from auctions and continued efforts and cooperation of volunteers, tennis courts and playground equipment were added. As soccer became popular, playing fields were adapted to accommodate a summer program with over 100 children participating.
In 1974, the Burnett Memorial Field House was built using the remnants of a salvaged boat storage building and materials from many good sources. Many strong and lasting relationships were forged under the hammer and saw during that spring and summer. This facility has housed sports events, meetings, suppers, art shows, family reunions and concerts. The building also housed the summer Auction and Trash and Treasure Sale for many years. This summer fundraising event was originated in the late 1950s. At this time, the Community Club treasury was down to about $6. Several young spirited members decided to try their hand at a “country auction.” The first auction of donated money made over $400.
The Auction and Trash & Treasures Sale grew to cover almost 12,000 square feet of sales space under our own “big top” tents at the field. Knowing that the first weekend in August was the social event of the season for antique collectors, the entire membership worked together to collect, store, move, sort, clean, restore, sell and deliver all of the goods. The final Trash & Treasure Sale took place in 1988.
Over the years, the club acquired additional property as funds were available and opportunities presented themselves. In the late 1970s, the WMCC took responsibility for the maintenance of the Water Mill Community House and secured legal ownership in order to preserve that fine old building for future generations.
The WMCC continues to sponsor community suppers, social events and recreational programs for all members of the community and educational scholarships for WMCC members’ children. According to the Water Mill Celebrating Community, “We can rightfully be proud that Water Mill has created the most complete privately-held, publicly-used facility in the Town of Southampton, and all at minimal cost to Water Mill tax payers”