The Photographic Records of Progress maintained by Fisher’s Montauk Beach Development Corporation document the construction of the Manor, Surf Club, and Shepherd’s Neck homes. These meticulously maintained architectural records — donated to the Archives by Frank Tuma — reveal how the local community was transformed by the Montauk Beach Development Company’s ambitious construction program and town planning.
We have 6 pages (12 photographs) of these Photographic Records of Progress that relate to the Montauk School. The Pearson Construction Company was the contractor. The workers built this, Montauk’s third school, on the “Great Hill,” as it was called. (Montauk’s first school, the “Little Red Schoolhouse,” opened in 1899 in Hither Plain village and served children from Fort Pond Bay and the life-saving stations of Hither Plain and Ditch Plain. The second school, built in 1919, was erected below the Montauk Inn and eventually became the Montauk Firehouse.)
For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we are sharing the very first Photographic Record of Progress for the Montauk School, dated April 18, 1928. The building had only recently leapt from blueprint page to 3-D structure. A basement foundation and pile of lumber were all that existed. However, bricks, stone, and stucco were the stuff that Fisher’s dreams were made of, and soon the town could boast a brand-new school with an auditorium that seated 450 people.
The school was considered an architectural achievement. Pearson Construction was a local company that had delivered a world-class center for learning. Everybody in town wanted a tour. This article appeared in the East Hampton Star on November 23, 1928: Montauk School to Be Dedicated Tomorrow Evening.
“Attractive posters placed conspicuously about Montauk proclaim the official opening of the Montauk Public School to the public, at exercises to be held in the school auditorium this Saturday evening. True, the school has been open and used ever since September, but on this occasion the exercises in connection with turning the school over to the community will be observed.” The program included speakers, dancing and music, and in a wonderfully egalitarian gesture, “an opportunity for all present to inspect the new school building in every detail.”