Western Union Research Laboratory
About 1925, Western Union built a small brick research laboratory on six acres of land on Water Mill towd road just northwest of the Head of Pond Road intersection. The electrical engineers there worked on a number of projects, including ocean cable maintenance equipment, the concentrated arc lamp and a fasimile machine.
During World War II two large wings were added to the original laboratory for the manufacture of military equipment, including an experimental night flight simulator. At the height of its activity 75 people worked at the lab. After the war Western Union slowly phased out the research and the lab building was closed in 1965.
Although several projects were proposed for the site the building remained empty for the next 25 years.
Robert Wilson, internationally renowned theater and visual artist, purchased the building in 1992 with the idea of establishing a laboratory for creative performance art. After realizing the building and the site would not easily convert from itrs current configuration to the needs of the new uses, construction started in 1996 to change the site from one form and function to another.
With the support of the Byrd Hoffman Watermill Foundation, the site was transformed by 2007 to a beautifully designed building sitting in the middle of woodland gardens filled with 85 outdoor sculptures.
Students and artists from around the world come to live at the Watermill Center to work on their own projects or in collaboration with other artists or Robert Wilson. Wilson also develops and rehearses some of his world wide touring productions at The Center.
The Watermill Center has an extensive art library and houses Wilson's large collection of artifacts from various cultures around the world.
The Woodland gardens are open year-round and no permission is needed to view them. While The Center is open year round it would be best to check our their website: www.watermillcenter.org for hours.