Advocates seek to save 'eyesore' 1800s farmhouse in Eastport

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EASTPORT -

An effort is underway to try to save a vacant 1800s farmhouse in Eastport that's been called a community eyesore.

The farmhouse and backyard barn date back to the 1870s, and supporters say it was home to the Hawkinses, one of the earliest families on Long Island. Ronkonkoma's Hawkins Avenue is named for another segment of the family.

Vacant for years, the Eastport house was purchased several years ago by a developer who plans on putting up commercial buildings on the site. Brookhaven town officials also recently deemed the house unsafe, and are prepared to level it.

But advocates are now launching what they admit is a long-shot bid to raise enough money to preserve it. Mary Ann Johnston is among those working to save the site.

"It's a monstrous task, but it's been done elsewhere. Where there's a will, there's a way," she says.

Town officials say an inspection turned up structural problems with the home's foundation among other issues, making it unsafe for anyone to live there.

The property owner says for three years he offered to let any group that wanted the house relocate it, but he says no one came forward.

Still, advocates say it should be saved.

"If you don't save what you have, you'll have nothing left," Johnston says.

The town has given the civic groups two months to come up with a preservation plan.

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