"The first Hampton you come to...and the last one you leave..."
Westhampton Beach proper is the center of activity in the Greater Westhampton Beach area, with a top-notch school system, trendy, sophisticated shops, a super-market, many outstanding restaurants, a twin first-run movie theater and the wonderful Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center for entertainment, and beautiful ocean beaches, one of which, at Rogers Pavilion, is regularly cited as one of the top 15 in the world.
The Westhampton Beach of today is a distant cry from the one first settled in 1666 as part of the Quogue Purchase. Then it was a quiet, sleepy community that experienced its first real estate boom in 1675 when buying land for investment purposes became very popular. However, development was slow and the hamlet remained tiny over the next century and a half... until 1870 when the railroad reached Westhampton Beach and development really began. People began spending their Summers here as "bathing stations" flourished, and the character and economic development of the village was altered. As the Village began to evolve into a burgeoning Summer resort, real estate kept pace with the changing times and values increased considerably.
In the same era, agriculture took on a diminished role as the "locals" found new occupations. Once-bounteous farmlands were sold to make way for Summer homes and hotels, the first of which being the Howell House on the corner of Beach Road and Main Street (the parcel known now as "Hampton Square"), and was constructed in 1868 with the financial backing of one Phineas T. Barnum. The Oneck House and the Ketchaboneck House were soon built and it was not long before simple bathhouses were erected on the oceanfront at the foot of Beach Lane, now the site of Rogers Beach and Pavilion.
A casual tour throughout the residential areas of the Village reveals sections of affluence and grandeur in the estate sections of Oneck, Seafield and Beach Road. The exquisite blend of tree lined streets, beautifully landscaped lawns and opulent mansions are the envy of the Western Hamptons. And down along Dune Road may be found some of the most outstanding examples of contemporary home architecture in the world.