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 locales merged, adopting the Hampton Bays name — above other choices like Canoe Place and Rampasture — to benefit from the blossoming “Hamptons” culture in nearby communities. Like 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 aquatic activities. Shinnecock Inlet is the 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 remains the hamlet’s enduring historic landmark. It’s one of America’s oldest inn sites, dating to 1697, and was restored to its former glory after stints as a Prohibition-era speakeasy and a disco-era nightclub.