Today I learned that legendary television interviewer Dick Cavett lives in my dream house. It’s a charming Shingle-style house for sale in Montauk, sitting on a bluff with sweeping ocean views. I just need to come up with about $28 million to buy it.
Tick Hall is one of the “Seven Sisters” of the historic Montauk Association. In 1881 the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted created the site plan for seven summer cottages to be built across 100 acres of coastline. The notable Shingle-style houses are now considered a part of architectural history.
Famed architect Stanford White designed the one that sat on this site, but the historic home was tragically destroyed by fire in the 1990s. In 2000 this amazing replica of the original was built on the property “but with today’s amenities.”
The property covers 20 acres and boasts over 900 feet of ocean frontage in the Montauk Moorlands. Take a look!
Note: There are Amazon affiliate links in this post that may earn commission.
Dick Cavett’s House: One of the Seven Sisters in Montauk
Dick Cavett is a comedian, author, and former talk show host known for his conversational style and in-depth discussions.
The Dick Cavett Show aired on various networks for decades beginning in the 1960s. He’s been nominated for eleven Emmy Awards over the years and won three.
In the late 1880s real estate developer Arthur Benson hired Frederick Law Olmsted and the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White to design summer cottages on Montauk for him and six of his lucky friends.
Olmsted became known as the father of American landscape architecture with projects like Central Park in New York City.
The Montauk Association Historic District is “bounded on the south by the Atlantic Ocean,
on the west by the hamlet of Ditch Plains, and on the north and east by marsh and scrubland.”
According to an article about the house on Curbed:
In 1997, the estate burned down due to an accident that is thought to be associated with a roof repair. Only the chimney was left standing. Cavett and his wife Carrie Nye decided that they would rebuild an exact replica of the original—they didn’t even fix any existing problems with the home.
Relying on memories and photographs, Cavett and Nye rebuilt the home. The project was the subject of a 2003 documentary, From the Ashes: The Life and Times of Tick Hall (Amazon affiliate link).
The listing says:
This ultra-private location, known for the turn of the century Montauk Association summer colony Seven Sisters, homes designed by Stanford White and Frederick Law Olmsted, is the setting for this historic home of 7,000 square feet on a 20-acre parcel with over 900 feet of ocean frontage in the exquisite Montauk Moorlands.
One of the most extraordinary Homes in the world, it is bordered to the east by over 190 acres of oceanfront parkland with an additional 2,200 ft. of pristine coastline.
A top-of-the-world site provides 360 degree views over your unmatched domain.
“A private path winds to your own oceanfront cove known by local cognoscenti as Cavett’s Cove, with the most private sandy beach on the East End.
“Incredible natural beauty in this setting and miles and miles of equestrian trails are at your doorstep.”
The Dining Room
The house has 6 bedrooms + 4 baths with 7,000 square feet.
Whenever I feature historic summer cottages, I inevitably hear from readers who say, “It’s too big to be a cottage!” But that’s exactly what people during that era considered Shingle-style houses like this to be.
If you’ve seen some of the mansions wealthy and influential New Yorkers built themselves during the Gilded Age, it’s easier to understand why a 7,000 square-foot home could be considered a laid-back summer getaway.
That reminds me — I just read A Well-Behaved Woman about Alva Vanderbilt and the incredible mansions she built at the Turn of the Century. Highly recommended for the house stories alone! (Amazon affiliate link.)
The listing says:
Cavett’s Cove is located on the easternmost end of an enclave of seven homes designed by McKim, Mead & White and sited by Frederick Law Olmsted in the early 1880s that became part of the Montauk Association.
This cluster of homes for wealthy New Yorkers later became known as the “Seven Sisters.” This 20-acre estate, owned for some 40 years by legendary talk show host Dick Cavett, is home to an historic three-story residence with a finished lower level that was painstakingly rebuilt to mirror the original structure but with today’s amenities after a tragic fire destroyed it in the late 1990s.
Architect Stanford White
He’s been described as the original American architect: “His designs were quintessentially Manhattan—the Washington Square Arch, the Metropolitan Club, and his lauded Pennsylvania Station, which was demolished in 1963 and remains one of America’s most significant architectural losses.” –Artsy.net
But what he may be most famous for today was how he was murdered.
In 1906, White was shot and killed by the millionaire Harry Kendall Thaw on the roof of Madison Square Garden in front of hundreds of witnesses.
The resulting court case was hailed by the newspapers at the time as “The Trial of the Century.”
It’s fascinating to read about. His great-granddaughter Susannah Lessard wrote a memoir about him called The Architect of Desire (Amazon affiliate link):
The listing says, “A secluded fresh water pond offers a location on the property that screams for meditation as well as the swimming pool set away from the home down a special canopied trail boasting views of the sea.”
In 2008 Cavett sold 77 acres of the original property to be used as public parkland.
The New York Times wrote about the sale of those 77 acres in 2008:
The sale comes at a time of increased developer interest in the moorlands, an expanse of windswept land with spectacular panoramic ocean views, which is host to rare and diverse habitats, geology, and animal and plant species.
The area is “a globally rare community,” said Bruce Horwith, a biologist and the Montauk site director for the Nature Conservancy.
Mr. Cavett has long been interested in protecting the moorland from further development, said his lawyer, David Englander.
For buyers, the nearly 8,000 acres of parkland in Montauk have enhanced its real estate value. “Montauk has so much parkland compared to the rest of the Hamptons,” Mr. Van Sickle said. “There’s that much more tranquility here, and that really buoys values in the whole area.”
The listing states:
Bordered to the east by nearly 200 acres of oceanside parkland along 2,200 ft of coastline, the estate offers a rare combination of history, natural beauty, privacy and a remarkable house from which to savor it all.
Now back on the market after a brief hiatus with a new compelling price, Cavett’s Cove, although secluded, is just minutes away from restaurants, private airport, marinas, renowned golf courses and everything else that makes the very eastern tip of Long Island a world-class destination.
Thanks to Sharrie for telling me about this incredible property and to Corcoran agent Gary DePersia for letting me share it with you. If you have a listing you think my readers would like to see, send it to me!
For more information about 176 Deforest Road, check the Corcoran listing held by Gary DePersia.
Listing photos by Chris Foster; others via Nick Step and Wikimedia Commons.
Visit my Celebrity Houses page to see more!