Historic and Natural Districts Inventory Form

Unless indicated below, this is a transcript of the original Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities/Town of Brookhaven survey form. Corrections to obvious typographical and spelling errors have been made. Corrections to factual errors, updates or comments on the information are either enclosed in [square brackets], or will be clearly indicated as updated material. Since most of the surveys were conducted in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, much of the information reflects that time period. Included in this category are sites for which some documentation may exist but are no longer extant often with little or no modern evidence at the site.

Sites which have a suffix of “S” are supplemental sites not included in the original surveys.


Carmans Mills and Carman Homestead and Tavern

Archeological Site Inventory Form

Fire Place Manse or Parsonage Lands

 If checked, this is a Supplemental Form, not in the original surveys.

Inventory Code:   SH02 
Prepared Date:   1982-07-14 
Last Modified:   1970-01-01 
Submitter Name:   Town of Brookhaven/SPLIA
Submitter Address:   Town Hall
205 S. Ocean Ave.
Patchogue, NY 11772  
Organization:   Brookhaven Community Development Agency
1-Site Name:   Carmans Mills and Carman Homestead and Tavern 
2a-County:   Suffolk    2b-Town:   Brookhaven    2c-Village:   Hamlet of Southaven
   4a-Public Site    4b-Private Site
4-Present Owner:  New York State Department of Transportation   5a-Address: 
Historic and Architectural Importance

6- Description, Condition, Evidence of Site

As was the early custom, a large tracts of land (called a manse, or parsonage lands) were set aside by the Town of Brookhaven for the benefit of the ministers of the Town church, in general as a farm to provide for their sustenance. Such a tract was provided in Fire Place for the Church at the South (the South Haven Presbyterian Church).  This tract included the section north of the northern boundary of the Corwin farm (the present LIRR right-of-way), between Old Town Road/South Country road on the west, the southern boundary of the Great Division of Lots (Montauk Highway), and east to Little Neck Run. (See map).

 6a-Standing Ruins

 6b-Cellar Hole with Walls  

 6c-Surface Traces Visible  6d-Walls Without Cellar Hole
 6e-Under Cultivation  6f-Erosion
 6g-Underwater  6h-No Visible Evidence
7- Collection of Material from Site
 7a- Surface Hunting By Whom:    Date:  
 7b-Testing By Whom:  Date:  
 7c-Excavation By Whom:  Date: 
7e-Present Repository of Materials  Wood from mill reported to be stored at Suffolk Co. Park, Southaven, by Mrs. Robinson of Montauk Highway, Southaven.
8- Prehistoric Cultural Affiliation or Date
9-Historical Documentation of Site
"Map of the County of Suffolk" by David N. Burr, published by the Surveyor General, New York: Rawdon, Wright & Co., 1797. Repository: Floyd House, Mastic, New York. "U. S. Coast Survey Map," No. 58, 1838. Repository: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Bigelow, Stephanie, "Bellport and Brookhaven, Bellport-Brookhaven Historical society, 1968. pp. 5, 6. Photos, p. 5.  
10- Possibility of Site Destruction or Disturbance
Site destroyed.  «»
An unfortunate lack of foresight on part of state and local governments in allowing this landmark to be destroyed. The mill existed there since before 1745 and became one of the busiest and most profitable in Suffolk county. The Mill was torn down in 1958 to make way for the Sunrise Highway; the house in 1936, privately
12- Map Location
    [If an original form, the source map images were not reproducible.]
12a- 7 1/2 Minute Quad. Name: 
12b- 15 Minute Quad. Name:   
12c- U.S.G.S Coordinates:   
12d- D.O.T. Coordinates:  (if known):   
Other Maps:    N.Y.S. DOT Bellport Quad.
13- Photographs
  Photos and images  
Supplemental Material

T. R. Bayles, "Early Mills, Roads, and Industries in Brookhaven Town," 1976:
"The South Haven mill, located just north of the 'goin over' of the Montauk highway, and was in operation in 1745, and contained the large mill stones between which the grain was ground, until it was torn down by the extension of the Sunrise highway in 1958. Water still poured through the mill race as it did before the Revolution, but the mill wheels had long been silent. As with the Yaphank mills this was a grist and saw mill. Sam Carman conducted a tavern and general store just to the west of the mill, and with the meeting house across the road built in 1740 [Br09A, SH03], this was the center of life in this part of Brookhaven town in those years."

Eugene L. Armbruster, "Landmarks on the Montauk Highway," 1925. p. 11:
"THE CARMAN HOUSE shingled and painted white, was kept as a tavern in the stage-coach days. Along this house runs a lane northeast from the road to CARMAN'S GRIST MILL. The latter is almost completely hidden by the house. This mill, a shingled, unpainted structure, standing on Carman's River, was purchased by one Havens in 1745 and was later owned by the Carman Family."

At the dam, there were at least two "mills" both of which were powered from the same turbine. The larger (more easterly building) contained the grist mill. A smaller building on the west side of the raceway contained a saw and planning mill. About 1875, the saw/planning mill appears to have been torn down as part of an agreement between the Suffolk Club and Henry W. Carman on Henry's sale of the dam and upstream property to the Club. See photo section. The grist mill and dam were removed in 1958 on construction of Sunrise Highway. A new dam structure was constructed, essentially incorporating the highway crossings, which were slightly north of the original dam.

"The Carmans River flows south through a gap in the Ronkonkoma moraine from its headwaters located in the area of Artist Lake in Middle Island. (see Figure 4-2). It reaches the dividing line between Hydrogeologic Zones III and VI at Yaphank, about six miles from its headwaters, with flows measured at the USGS gauging station ranging from 8.3 mgd (1967) to 24.3 mgd (1979), and a long-term (1942-92) average of 15.6 mgd. (Spinello et al., 1993). Farther south, the rate of discharge of groundwater to the river increases as it traverses the outwash plain, and by the time the river reaches the boundary of the CPB at Route 27, some 12 miles south of its starting point, the average flow rate has increased to about 35 mgd. The southernmost 3 miles of the river are tidal, where it gains an estimated additional 11.5 mgd of groundwater, bringing the total freshwater discharge into Bellport Bay at the mouth of the river to 46.5 mgd. (Warren et al., 1968)." [http://pb.state.ny.us/cpb_plan_vol2/vol2_chapter04.htm]

Long Island sources: Reports, resolutions, authorizations, surveys and designs showing sources and manner of obtaining from Suffolk County, Long Island, an additional supply of water for the city of New York ... (Google eBook. New York (N.Y.). Board of Water Supply, Charles Strauss, Jonas Waldo Smith. 1912. p. 562:
"Grist-mill And Sawmill At South Haven
"This mill is situated at the outlet of the pond on the Carman's river, just above the South Country road, and belongs with the surrounding land, and the pond above, to the Suffolk club. The sawmill has an under-shot wheel 2 feet by 10 feet rated at 25 H.P. which is said to do about $750 of business annually. The grist-mill has two turbines 24 and 16 H.P. respectively, and one old 12-H.P. tub wheel. This mill does about the same amount of business as the sawmill."

Prepared By
  Ellen Williams, research assistant