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The Smith-Rourke House has stood since 1837 and was built for William Smith, Jr., a retired sea captain. The Greek Revival/ Italianate style house is two-story, five bays wide and measures about 32 by 40 feet. The wood frame, clapboarded house rests on a brick foundation and is topped by a tin roof pierced by four brick chimneys with a central cupola. The Smith-Rourke House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 for its significance in architecture. A carriage barn southeast of the house that dates to the mid-nineteenth century also contributes to the property's importance.

Front (N side) of Smith-Rourke House in 1988 photo for NRHP by R. Duckworth

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Rear (S) facade of Smith-Rourke House in 1988 photo (Duckworth)

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"P. Smith" (red circle) on 1858 Suffolk County map at Smith-Rourke House (Robert Pearsall Smith)

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Mantle in southwest parlor of Smith-Rourke House in 1988 photo (Duckworth)

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1988 view of mantle and woodwork in east bedroom of house (Duckworth)

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Carriage barn at Smith-Rourke House in 1988 photo (Duckworth)

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The Smith-Rourke House was on a lot of 112 acres originally, bordering Great South Bay, Mud Creek, South Country Road, and the Neck Road (Roosevelt Boulevard). Most of the property was sold over the years for new residential development, leaving about one acre surrounding the mansion. The house is set back from the main road (South Country Road) about 150 feet. The house is ornamented by Greek Revival details including pilasters at the corners with molded capitals supporting a wide, molded entablature' a row of dentils surrounds the entire roofline. the Black shutters that surround most of the windows were still the originals in the late 1980s. The Corinthian capitals of the front porch columns are an exact match of those from the ancient Greek Tower of the Winds; their design was illustrated in an architectural guide book published in 1827 that likely guided the builder of the Smith-Rourke House in 1837.

There were over 600 people with the surname Smith in Brookhaven Town (township) in the 1860 census, many of whom were related. A "P. Smith" is shown as the owner of the Smith-Rourke House on an 1858 map of Suffolk County, across the road from the house of P.T. Robinson. A Phineas Smith was listed in the 1860 census in the Patchogue area, next to the household of Phineas H. Robinson. Phineas Smith was a 41-year-old farmer who owned real estate valued at $6,000. He shared his household with a 26(?)-year-old woman named Tammy (?) E. Smith; three Smith children, all attending school (Minturn B., male, 12; George W., 8; Anna M, 6); and a servant (Jane Smith, 17). The family was located on the 1850 census, with the 30-year-old Phineas working as a seaman and living with his 21-year-old wife, Fema E., and their son, Minturn (3). The Smiths sold the house in 1861.

The new owner in 1861 was Charles Rourke. There were three Rourke households in Brookhaven Town in the 1880 census, headed by Cornelius, Patrick, and Francis. There was just one Rourke household in the 1900 census in the town, headed by the widowed farmer Chaterine (sic - Catherine) Rourke (67). She shared the home with her 87-year-old brother-in-law, John Rourke; four of her six children: Frank (40, captain in U.S. Lifesaving S.S.), John J. (33, clothing salesman), Minnie (27), and Lorretta (24); and Frank's wife of six years, Rossetta K. (24). The two elder Rourkes were natives of Ireland, with both arriving in 1850; the remaining family members were New York natives. Looking back to 1880, a Katherine Rourke (45) was married to Francis Rourke (65, farmer, Irish native). All six of the children lived at home: Annie (19), Frank (17), Cornelius (?, 15), John (13), Minny (11), and Lorratey(?, 5). The Rourke family owned the home until the 1950s, when Robert Duckworth bought the property.

The carriage barn in the rear yard is one story plus a loft, rectangular, covered in vertical pine siding, and topped by a 1970s shingled gable roof with its own cupola. There is a sliding barn door on the front (north) side with an electric door hidden behind. Inside the carriage barn in 1988 were four pony stalls and a root cellar. The Smith-Rourke House is considered to be a distinguished, intact example of upscale domestic architecture on Long Island, erflectin the prosperous coastal-sea oriented local economy of the mid-nineteenth century. The 2,560-square-foot home was listed for sale in 2015 for $749,000, featuring original cherry plank flooring, seven fireplaces, three large bedrooms, and a full basement. The carriage house was being used as a two-car garage.

Bonner, Ryan. Wow House: Historic Smith-Rourke House in east Patchogue, Patch: East Patchogue, Real Estate. April 29th 2015. Accessed May 28th 2021.

Dunleavy, Virginia. Historic Home in East PAtchogue for Sale, Newsday. April 10th 2015. Accessed May 28th 2021.

Kuhn, Robert D. NRHP Nomination of Smith-Rourke House, East Patchogue, N.Y.. National Register. Washington, DC. National Park Service, 1989.

U.S. Census. Household of Phineas Smith in Brookhaven Town, Suffolk County, N.Y., dwelling 389, family 429. Washington, DC. U.S Government, 1850.

U.S. Census. Household of Phineas Smith in Brookhaven Town, Suffolk County, N.Y., dwelling 822, family 859. Washington, DC. U.S Government, 1860.

U.S. Census. Household of Francis Rourke in Brookhaven Town district 315, Suffolk County, N.Y., dwelling ---, family 659. Washington, DC. U.S Government, 1880.

U.S. Census. Household of Chaterine [Catherine] Rourke in Brookhaven Town district 749, Suffolk County, N.Y., dwelling 153, family 159. Washington, DC. U.S Government, 1900.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

New York State Cultural Resource Information System (NYS CRIS):


Library of Congress: