If walls could talk, oh what stories they would tell. This striking oceanfront home in Montauk, New York, could regale its guests and onlookers, for sure. Listed on the open market for the first time in 135 years, this home was built from 1882 to 1883 for Alexander E. Orr and his family. In 1924, Orr’s friend Harrison Tweed purchased the estate. In jest, he dubbed it “Tick Hall” due to the surfeit of tiny inhabitants on the property at the time. Despite sweeping views of the Atlantic and the impressive level of privacy, the “Tick Hall” name stuck, and still gets a chuckle from those in the know about the namesake.
In 1967, famed ABC talk show host Dick Cavett came across the house. The second owner Tweed was now 91 years of age. Cavett rented the property from Tweed, subsequently purchasing it. Cavett spent 50 years enjoying the estate, but he is now looking for its next owner. And so, this one-of-a-kind, most-extraordinarily spectacular estate has become available. “That was sited by Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed New York City’s Central Park, and an estate that is one of Montauk’s historic ‘Seven Sisters;’ the shingle-style, summer colony Victorian cottage homes designed by Stanford White,” says Cavett. “We didn’t know then that nothing could change as far as you can see, and would protect our privacy forever. Today, all construction details of Tick Hall are just as it was conceptualized in the 1880s, but with all the modern conveniences of 21st-century living.”
The home is listed with Tim Davis, real estate agent for Corcoran Group Real Estate, and his co-agent Karen Kelly. “The setting for this historic home of plus-or-minus-6,000 square feet on a 20-acre parcel with more than 900 feet of ocean frontage in the exquisite Montauk Moorlands is ultra-private,” they say. “It is truly one of the most extraordinary homes in the world and is bordered to the east by over 190 acres of oceanfront parkland with an additional 2,200 feet of coastline. Sitting on top of the cliffs provides the home with 360-degree views with the most private sandy beach on the East End.”
Conversant Montauk residents refer to the area as “Cavett Cove” since the very cloistered paths amble to the beachside harbor. And here, beauty abounds. “There just isn’t a bad day in Montauk in a house like this,” says Cavett. Until there was. A 1997 fire took down the house, leaving nothing but its chimney standing tall. Determined to return their estate to its former glory, Cavett and his late wife Carrie Nye used photographs, forensic clues found in the ashes and their memories to rebuild the house. Credit can mainly be given to Carrie Nye, forensic architect James Hadley and 30-plus-year caretaker, Gregory Donohue, who tirelessly worked to create a genuine replication of the construction.
“Painting artist John Pomianowski reproduced wood stains and paint finishes for quirky walls, floors, and ceilings made of aged southern pine and American black cherry resourced from old timbers,” says Cavett. “We even used a photo of our then two Shih Tzu dogs with their paws on an upstairs windowsill to determine the sill height.”
The recreation measures in at 6,000 square feet with three floors of spaciousness and abundant light, as well as a wraparound porch that offers stunning views at every turn. The home’s interior features a large formal dining room, living room with fireplace, library, working bell tower and an expansive country kitchen that opens onto a porch. There are seven bedrooms— the sophisticated master suite even has a sleeping porch — and five bathrooms in the home, offering plenty of guest accommodations.
Further facets of the estate include a swimming pool, a half-acre, naturally occurring freshwater pond with a pond house, various trails and a beautiful footpath leading to the cove and private beach. Additionally, the half-acre garden is picture-perfect with charmingly landscaped trees, ferns, vines and flowers. It plays host to a 19th-century gazebo.
Tick Hall is an elegant estate situated in the lovely hamlet of East Hampton in New York. The delightful, welcoming home is full of history and memories. It also is exceptionally private, allowing you to enjoy its outdoor enchantments from the ocean to the gardens and beyond.