Long Island Historical Societies Quarterly Meeting
Watermill Center and Parrish Art Museum
The Watermill Center: Searching for a new artistic base and incubator for his work, theater director Robert Wilson found a for- mer Western Union research facility in 1986. Abandoned since the 1960s, the building, on the outpost of the Shinnecock Reserva- tion in Water Mill, NY, was in terrible condition, but it had the potential he had been looking for. The building also had a storied history as it was the site where the stylus for the first fax machine had been developed.
Early Years: The Art Museum at Southampton
Samuel Longstreth Parrish (1849-1932) was born into a family of prominent Philadelphia Quakers and educated at Harvard College, where he first developed his taste for the Italian Renaissance. Parrish began collecting art seriously in the early 1880s, shortly after moving his successful law practice from Philadelphia to New York. During these same years, he regularly visited his family home in Southampton. The village, then as now a popular summer resort, quickly caught his interest and before long he became actively involved in its affairs.