By Isaiah Negron
The understated chic of the historic Village Latch Inn in Southampton made it a favorite of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, who championed both the preservation and restoration of the White House and the turn of the century “cottages” on the East End where she summered as child. Jackie admired the architecture of the Latch, which was built in 1901 and is attributed to the legendary architect Stanford White. Jackie wanted the buildings protected for future generations. In 1974, Marta and Martin White fell in love with this charming property in the Village of Southampton and bought it. The Whites shared Jackie’s vision of the conservation of The Latch, located at 101 Hill Street amidst over 5 acres of lush lawns and gardens. Originally, the property, boarded by tall privet hedges that to this day create a quiet oasis in the heart of the town, only featured the magnificent main house. Preservationists by nature, the couple also purchased the Terry Cottage, which was part of the former Irving Hotel across the street, as well as the homestead buildings and glass greenhouse from the adjacent Merrill Lynch estate, and relocated them to the Village Latch. In doing this, the Whites saved these important structures from the fate of the Irving Hotel, which was burned to the ground as a fireman’s exercise. “We feel we did our part to help save the architectural authenticity of Southampton,” said Marta.