Historical Corner

A look at the Sagtikos Manor, West Bay Shore

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Each week, reporter and history-lover Mariana Dominguez visits a place of historical prominence on the South Shore and writes about why you should visit, too. This week she visited Sagtikos Manor in West Bay Shore.

To say that I loved Sagtikos Manor would be an understatement. This beautiful property owned by Suffolk County is one of the best historical places I have been to on Long Island. The 10-acre property features the manor itself, a beautiful walled garden, buttery, carriage house, and Thompson-Gardiner family cemetery.

Tours of the manor are offered on Saturdays and Sundays and must be booked ahead of time. (Visit sagtikosmanor.org to book) Walk-ins can only be accommodated if there is room. Tours are capped at six individuals. It should also be noted that the manor is owned by Suffolk County, so proof of vaccination is required for all guests, or they will have to wear a mask.

Tours are led by docents dressed in traditional clothing and take you through the manor that has been expanded on over the years. The land on which Sagtikos Manor sits was originally purchased from the Secatogue tribe by Stephanus Van Cortlandt in 1692. In 1706, the land was purchased from Van Cortlandt’s family by Timothy Carll. In 1758, the estate was acquired by Jonathon Thompson of Setauket, who bought the estate for his younger son, Isaac. Isaac Thompson and his wife, Mary Gardiner, added nine new rooms to the original house. In 1894, Isaac Thompson’s great-grandson, Frederick Diodati Thompson, bought out the other heirs and became the sole owner of the estate. Diodati Thompson enlarged the house to 42 rooms. According to the Sagtikos Manor Historical Society, the last family member to live in the house was Robert David Lion Gardiner, who owned the home from 1935 to 1985. He then deeded the property to the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, who had it until Suffolk County bought it in 2002 to prevent it from being sold to a developer.

One of Sagtikos Manor’s claims to fame is that in 1790, George Washington stayed at the estate for a night during his tour of Long Island. During the tour, visitors can see the room where he stayed.

One of my favorite parts of the estate was walking through the walled garden, which visitors do not need to book in advance. The beautiful garden was commissioned by Sarah Gardiner and built in the 1930s. Walking through it feels like you’ve been transported to a gorgeous country home in France.

Be sure to check out the gift shop at the manor, which is at the end of the tour. You can also stop by and just visit the gift shop, which has really pretty gifts that would be perfect for Christmas. 

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