Some may think that Arthur House located on the corner of New York Avenue and Main Street is just an old, run-down structure, but the little white house once belonged to a prominent family in Smithtown.
According to , the home was owned by a few generations of the Arthur family. In 1747 John Arthur was deeded land southwest of Main Street by Obadiah Smith, a descendant of Smithtown’s founder. John gave the property to his son William in 1752, and the house was built around the same year.
William Arthur owned a large amount of property in Smithtown, according to local historian, Noel Gish. William, a patriot during the Revolutionary War, also owned a home in the Village of the Branch. In the book Smithtown, New York, 1660 – 1929: Looking Back Through the Lens, Gish shares the story where William, like many, would hide his livestock before British raids. On one occasion the patriot walked into the basement of his home in the Branch only to find that his hidden ducks got into the hard cider barrel leaving them a bit intoxicated.
William also originally owned the land where we find the house. A grandson of William’s, Franklin was a both a respected blacksmith and dentist in town.
In 1792 William’s son Isaac married Mary Smith, according to Colonel Rockwell’s Scrap-book. Smith was a descendant of Richard Smythe and her father .
Isaac and Mary’s oldest son John S. Arthur was the next in line to own the homestead. The couple had no children so after John’s death it was left to his nephew who was also named John S. Arthur. According to the scrap-book, the nephew was only 14 at the time, and the property was sold to Edwin A. Smith. Through the years it switched hands to Egbert Brush, Melville Brush and then Daniel Smith.
According to Portrait and Biographical Record of Suffolk County, Long Island, New York, published in 1896, John S. Arthur went on to became justice of the peace in 1890 and also Overseer of the Highways. His son Ethelbert ran a general store that once could be found where the Bull statue is today.
The Arthur house and surrounding property were sold to the Smithtown Central School District in 1924. Until 1963 the structure was known as the Home Economics House, according to Colonel Rockwell’s Scrap-book. Through the decades the structure was used for a library processing center, storage and after school programs.
On April 8, 2007 The New York Times reported that the town of Smithtown planned to rent and refurbish the home for a drug and alcohol education program. However, plans fell through for the building that was deemed unsafe in 2004.
Another plan would have had the district transfer ownership to The TriTech Group, according to a May 2, 2008 article in The Times of Smithtown Township. The company planned to fund the refurbishing of the structure; however, according to Gish, these plans also fell through.
Now unused for years, Arthur House stands only as a reminder of Smithtown’s past and the family that once called it home.