Mary and Tim Williams have donated their family’s beautiful 4.5-acre property located at 357 Lattingtown Road to the Land Alliance for use as a public preserve. This lovely place once hosted a grand house called the Dormer House. The house was designed by Theodate Pope Riddle, one of the first female architects in America. It was built in 1906 by Mrs. Charles Otis Gates, of the Royal Baking Powder fortune, and tragically was destroyed by fire in 2014. The landscape, which remains today, was designed by the famous landscape architect Ferruccio Vitale (who was also working on the Humes Estate at the time).
The meadow is perched above a pond and overlooks the vicinity of St. John’s Church of Lattingtown. Deer paths can be found across the sloped woodland that separates the pond from the meadow. It is easy to envision a loop path that crosses the meadow, then enters the woodland with its diversity of majestic trees and leads to a bench offering a serene view of the pond. Another approach to the pond may be from the driveway, which feels like an old carriage road, in the lower part of the property. Such a path would make its way over a bridge crossing the stream and leading into the pond. A pondside bench or perhaps a bird blind would be welcome in this spot. A deliberately tiny and rustic but functional parking area will be installed at an open grassy area just west of the driveway as one enters the property.
The Williams property is in the Frost Creek watershed, which is classified as a wetland suitable for fish, shellfish and wildlife propagation and survival. It is also part of a corridor of undeveloped land that includes the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge, The Order of St Josaphat, Kate Trubee Davison Preserve and an adjoining 2-acre parcel donated to the Land Alliance by Miani Johnson in 2016. The conservation values of the property include Long Island Sound protection, groundwater protection, habitat for wildlife and pollinators as well as a recreational opportunity.
Among the more noteworthy flora and fauna observations are a diversity of mature trees, including white oak, red oak, American sycamore, tulip and white pine. A spring ephemeral trout lily was observed by the stream this spring along with a variety of native plants such as azure bluet and great laurel. A number of warbler species (both breeding locally and spring migrants) were documented, as was a wood duck on the pond. We expect fox, opossum, bats and other mammals will also call this property home.
We are grateful to the Williams family for this wonderful gift and look forward to inviting you to visit later this summer.