Hampton Bays History & Culture
As the welcome sign proclaims, Hampton Bays was originally called “Good Ground," an area comprising 11 smaller hamlets in the Town of Southampton. In 1922, these hamlets merged together, adopting the Hampton Bays name—above other choices like Canoe Place and Rampasture—to benefit from the blossoming “Hamptons” culture in nearby communities. As with many places in the Hamptons, geography dictates—or at least inspires—the lifestyle. Because so many protected bodies of water bless Hampton Bays, the hamlet is a haven for all aquatic-based activities. Shinnecock Inlet is home port for the second-largest commercial fishing fleet in New York State, rivaled only by Montauk's. While the towering Ponquogue Lighthouse toppled in 1948, the Canoe Place Inn, dating to 1697 and one of the oldest inn sites in America, stands as the hamlet's enduring historic landmark, restored to its former glory after stints as a prohibition speakeasy and disco-era nightclub.