Unless indicated below, this is a transcript of the original Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities/Town of Brookhaven survey form. Since most of the surveys were conducted in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, much of the information reflects that time period.

Corrections to obvious typographical and spelling errors have been made. Corrections to factual errors in the original surveys, and updates or comments on the information are either enclosed in [square brackets], or are clearly indicated as updated material from the context of the comments.

Sites with an Inventory Code suffix of “S” are supplemental sites not included in the original surveys.


Old Methodist Church - [Read, Morley residences]

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

Inventory Code:   Br29C 
Prepared Date:   1975-03-10 
Last Modified:   1970-01-01 
Original Submitter
Submitter Name:   Mrs. Paul W. Bigelow
Submitter Address:   7 Thornhedge Road

Bellport, NY 11713  
Organization:   Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society
1-Building/Site Name:   Old Methodist Church - [Read, Morley residences] 
2a-County:   Suffolk    2b-Town:   Brookhaven    2c-Village:   Hamlet of Brookhaven
3-Street Location:    
 4a-Public    4b-Private
5a-Present Owner:   Philip Read (1975) 5b-Address:   224 Beaver Dam Road, Brookhaven

6a-Original:   church

6b-Present:   studio and private dwelling

 7a-Visible From Road

 7b-Interior Accessible
7b-Interior Comment:   by appointment
Building Materials



 8d-Board & Batten



Structural System
 9a-Wood Frame Interlocking Joints    9b-Wood Frame Light Members:   9c-Masonry:
9d-Metal Comment:   
 9e-Other Comment:   
   10a-Excellent   10b-Good   10c-Fair    10d-Deteriorated
  11a-Original Site  11b-Moved If so, when? 1872 from across the road from South Country Road
11c-Alterations:   then steeple added. [Extensive remodeling in 1897, so as to become a "new building." It is likely that at this time the steeple was added. See supplemental material.]

[ "The Methodist Episcopal Church of Brookhaven is being enlarged." The Long Island Traveler (Sag Harbor), 26 Sep. 1872. p. 2. This short sentence is all the appeared in the publication.]

[Present resident, artist Malcolm Morley, made extensive modifications, adding a wing to the east, while still maintaining the distictive characteristics of a church.]  «»

Photo & Map
12-Photo Photos and images
[Threats were not evaluated in the original South Shore Estuary Survey.  They are an evaluation by J. Deitz]
  14a-None Known:   14b-Zoning   14c-Roads
  14d-Developers   14e-Deterioration
Related Outbuildings and Property
 15a-Barn  15b-Carriage House  15c-Garage
 15d-Privy  15e-Shed   15f-Greenhouse
 15g-Shop  15h-Gardens   15i-Landscape Features
15i-Landscape Features:   
Surroundings of the Building
 16a-Open Land  16b-Woodland  16c-Scattered Bldgs.
 16d-Densely Built-up  16e-Commercial  16f-Industrial
 16g-Residential 16h-Other:   
Interrelationship of Building and Surroundings
Other Notable Features of Building and Site
18-Notable Features:    Originally Methodist, then Presbyterian, in 1945. After Presbyterians moved to South Haven Church, corner of Beaver Dam and South Country roads, it was used as Sunday School building. As soon as carriage house was remodeled, on property of South Haven Church, this building was sold to the mural artist Philip Read, who used it as his studio and home. [Phillip Read sold it to artist Malcolm Morley, who is the current resident.]  «»
19-Initial Const Date:   [About 1870. Extensively remodeled 1897.]  
Historic and Architectural Importance
20-Importance:    «»
21-Sources: on Brookhaven 1873 map as "Me. Ch." (Beers-Comstock map) ** ["Early Photographs of the Hamlet of Brookhaven collected by George Perley Morse 1945-1959." Repository: Post-Morrow Foundation, RG1, Series 10.] «»
Prepared By: 
Supplemental Material:
  Newsday, Tuesday, June 9, 1970.

** [According to George Perlay Morse -- "This Church was formerly a Methodist Society Church, started by a group of people in the early fourties of the nineteenth century. They met in various homes along South country Road. [And they built a meeting house there.] In 1872 they moved their building to the present site, land sold [deeded 1870] to them by Isaac Seaman.
"In 1945 the Society [joined with the Bellport Methodist society and] took over the Bellport Presbyterian Church [as their own],and gave their [Brookhaven] church to the South Haven Presbyterian Church, a happy exchange for the consideration of one dollar."
[Note: this description greatly simplifies that nature of the transaction, which is described in more detail elsewhere. How "happy" this transaction may have been is subject to some debate. After this transaction, the Presbyterians used the old Methodist church building as their principal place of worship, and only rarely used their old meeting house in South Haven.]

In 1961, the Presbyterians moved their old South Haven meeting house to Brookhaven hamlet, at the corner of South Country road and Beaver Dam road, They made some renovations and modifications (including moving the organ and steeple bell from the old Methodist church to the Presbyterian church),, and thereafter this building again became the principal place for the congregation's worship. The old Methodist church building became their Sunday School until the Carriage House barn also on the new site was renovated to become a Parish Hall.

In 1964 the old Methodist church building had no further usefulness to the Presbyterians, and it was sold to artist/interior designer Phillip Read, who converted it to a residence and studio (He also had a residence in Florida).

In 1984, artist Malcolm Morley purchased the property from Phillip Read. In 2006, the home was extensively remodeled while still retaining the original church style. Architects were Knowles Associates (Ed Knowles and his daughter Mary).

Interesting note: 11 Oct 2007 From the Archives of the Long Island Advance, 75 Years Ago: "The ladies of the Epworth League [Methodist youth group] of Brookhaven, who picked poison alder or ivy for decorations and contracted plentiful trouble, have fully recovered."


The following communication was received from researcher Richard Thomas on 12 April 2009:

I have been reading the Minutes of the New York East Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which are available on Google books.

I had finally gotten up to the minutes of the 1898 Conference when I came across the following surprising account by the Presiding Elder of the District, Charles S. Wing, (Brookhaven was in the Brooklyn South District):

Beginning on p. 86: Brooklyn South District. Charles S. Wing, Presiding Elder. . . .
p. 87 The other wonder has been accomplished at the village of Brookhaven, where Brother R. P. Christopher, a local elder, long employed as a supply within the bounds of this Conference, is in charge. He found the church in a dilapidated condition and the people discouraged. He was fortunate in securing the friendship of the Rev. J. D. Wells, the venerable pastor of the South Third Street Presbyterian Church in this city [Brooklyn], who was spending his summer vacation at Brookhaven. Dr. Wells has shown much kindness to our cause in that village in former years. He encouraged Brother Christopher to undertake the required improvements, and made that undertaking possible by generously subscribing and obtaining contributions from prominent men of his own denomination. Brother Christopher and the members of the church did what they could, but the edifice, which is new to all appearance and very tasteful, is practically a gift from Presbyterians—their generosity making our gifts look small—and is an evidence of Christian brotherhood which should never be forgotten. The rebuilding cost about $1,800, and all the bills are paid.

Rev. John D. Wells, as you may know, was Dorothy Jones's great-grandfather. He was the father of Dorothy's grandmother, Louisa Wells, who married James Howell Post.

Rev. Wells would have been vacationing in Brookhaven because this is where James Howell Post had his estate.

James Howell Post was not only the President of the Board of Trustees of the South Haven Presbyterian Church, he was concurrently the President of the Board of Trustees of the South Third Street Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, the church where his father-in-law served as pastor for over 50 years. (Rev. Wells was succeeded in that pulpit by his son, the Rev. Newell Woolsey Wells.) p>

I I expect most, if not nearly all, of the contributions he obtained from "prominent men of his own denomination" were obtained from James H. Post. Who else could he have persuaded to fund the rebuilding of a Methodist church in the little hamlet of Brookhaven?

I had wondered why the article in the Brooklyn Eagle called it a "new church." Now I know.

December 18, 1897
Dedicatory Ceremonies To-morrow at Brookhaven

Brookhaven, L. I., December 18–-To-morrow will be a gala day with the Brookhaven Methodists, it being the occasion of the dedication of their new church. An extended programme has been prepared and it will occupy the entire day. The Rev. A. W. Byrt, pastor of the Patchogue M. E. Church will preach at the morning service. In the afternoon the Rev. C. S. Wing, presiding elder of the Brooklyn South District, will deliver an address, after which he will, with the assistance of several other members, dedicate the church. At the evening service the Rev. F. B. Stockdale of Southampton will preach. A number of former pastors of the church are expected to be present and take part in the services. The choir has arranged a special programme of music for the occasion. For the first time the new Meneeley [sic.] bell will call the congregation together. The members of the church are looking forward to a grand day.

To show their gratitude, the Methodists passed the following resolution at their 1898 New York East Conference (Minutes . . ., p. 26):

Question 13 Continued.—Brooklyn South District, C. S. Wing, Presiding Elder; his character passed, and he gave an account of his district. (See Report.)

Appreciation to Rev. J. D. Wells, D.D.—D. G. Downey presented the following resolutions concerning the relations of the Rev. J. D. Wells, D.D., to the building of the new Brookhaven church, referred to in the report of C. S. Wing, which was adopted unanimously by a rising vote:
Resolved, That the New York East Conference hereby expresses to the Rev. John D. Wells, D.D., its most hearty appreciation of the interest he has shown and the generous aid he has extended to our church and people at Brookhaven. It is by such brotherly kindness and practical sympathy that the commonality of the faith is most truly demonstrated. Resolved, That a copy be sent by the Secretary to the Rev. J. D. Wells, D.D. Richard