La Grange Inn, pictured above in 2016, after relocation, repairs and rehabilitation. Image courtesy of Save the La Grange Inn.
La Grange Inn undergoing relocation in 2015. Image courtesy of Save the La Grange Inn.
La Grange Inn, picture above ca. 2012, was nearly lost to deterioration, neglect, and insensitive redevelopment plans.

The La Grange Inn dates back to 1750 and was a familiar site on Montauk Highway. It maintained some semblance of its intended purpose throughout its history. At various times, it was as an inn, a hotel, a hostelry, and a restaurant and has undergone several expansions over time. The structure was threatened by steady deterioration in the early 2010s, after CVS leased the property for a new retail store, even though another CVS was already located nearby.

The La Grange Inn stood vacant and neglected between 2010 and 2014, with the mechanical systems turned off in 2011. After years of negotiations with the town and several controversial proposals, CVS initiated a plan in August 2014 to rehabilitate the Inn based on its mid-1800s appearance. Later 20th-century additions were demolished and the core of the historic building was moved back from Montauk Highway and turned to face Higbie Lane, where a new first floor was constructed.

Plans are underway to open the first floor as the West Islip History Center during the summer of 2018, a new museum under the stewardship of the West Islip Historical Society. Thanks to an omnibus grant from Suffolk County, the West Islip Historical Society is now working to catalog their collection and design displays for the new museum.

Preserving the La Grange Inn involved difficult compromises and a hard-won advocacy campaign.  Preservation Long Island is thrilled that the La Grange Inn was ultimately saved for reuse as the West Islip History Center; a great success for our local partners and the West Islip community!