In 1895, 21 housewives joined together to do something about the newly-constructed and unsightly Long Island Rail Road station and a dusty Main Street in East Hampton. They formed the Ladies' Village Improvement Society and began washing the street, sweeping the crossroads, cleaning up the train station, and installing oil lamps. Shortly after the formation, the LVIS Fair, a summer tradition to this day, was born.
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Flash forward to 2018, on March 6 LVIS reopened its thrift shops after a renovation of its historic building this winter.
In recent years, the historic house, built in 1740, had begun to deteriorate. Costly repairs of the building began to be a problem, as was public safety. The existing structure needed to be brought up to code, and the functionality of the space needed to be updated, particularly the thrift shops.
Architects Lee Skolnick and Paul Alter were chosen to re-design the Main Street space. Demolition began on January 15 and builder Ben Krupinski offered his expertise, and completed the construction in just six weeks.
Walls were removed to open up the space. Racks for women's accessories and shoes were installed. The former books area has been transformed into the new Men's Department, and a new book area was created.
The space provides a plethora of hidden treasures, such as vintage glassware, first edition books, and designer jackets.
While the LVIS started with just those 21 ladies in 1895, membership has grown to more than 300 women. Their mission: the preservation, conservation, education, and beautification of East Hampton.
For more information visit www.lvis.org.