September 2019 - the West Islip History Center opened in the restored LaGrange building on September 8 at noon. Volunteers will be there from 12 to 2pm on Sundays & Tuesdays to welcome visitors.
Visit the "Save LaGrange" Facebook page for photographic coverage of the renovation process.
For a historic timeline of the saving of the LaGrange building, we have saved the blog that was published as it was happening.
The LaGrange Inn Project
Although no official date for the building's original construction has yet been found, there are references to its age in several old books and articles. See some excerpts below.
Clinton Higbie describes the early Hotel LaGrange in his book of family history. Read Gerald Wilcox's article about the early LaGrange Inn and the Higbie family that built it. In an article from a few years ago, we read that LaGrange was apparently licensed as early as 1750.
These newspaper excerpts from 1872 and 1874 indicate that a Captain Benjamin Cole was in charge for a short time, and it was called LaGrange House. This 1927 article refers to a Higbie family reunion held at LaGrange. Apparently the hotel was also sometimes used as a permanent residence, as this 1928 article mentions. Uwe Paulssen owned LaGrange Inn from 1968 until 2001.
Here's a postcard from the 1940s. This sketch by George Weeks appeared in a 1953 newspaper. Here is one of the advertisements that used to appear on the Internet referring to the long history of the building.
This is a copy of an undated photo that used to hang in the lobby of the Inn, called "Original Homestead." It seems to be from the same time period as this one - note the similar picket fencing along the east side. (Found in a 1940 issue of the Long Island Forum magazine).
Can anyone identify the buildings behind the main building in this photo? There is no parking lot yet, so it may be from early 1900s or before. The second photo shows another view from the same time period.
In this overhead view, we can see the original 2 and 3-story structure, surrounded by the wings that have been added through the years.