Local History

Information, News, and features from Montauk Library’s local history collection.

Throwback Thursday — Ladies Who Fish

“Sportfishing, even for the biggest fish, was not just a man’s sport,” Bill Akin wrote in The Golden Age of Montauk Sportfishing. “Women had always been part of the picture.” Women – particularly the partners of wealthy sportfishermen – boated some impressively large specimens. One was Chisie Farrington, the wife of the sports journalist and… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Blessing the Fleet

Throwback Thursday – Blessing the Fleet

Montauk’s first Blessing of the Fleet – born as the “Blessing of the Boats” – was in 1956 and the brainchild of Vinnie Grimes, a charter boat captain and Navy veteran who’d seen Portuguese tuna fishermen blessing their boats before they headed out to sea on the West Coast. “It is an old European custom… Read more »

Throwback Thursday — On Sandpiper Hill

Throwback Thursday — On Sandpiper Hill

The house that used to stand on Sandpiper Hill, an oceanfront estate just west of Ditch Plains, was built for a Wall Street broker named Walter P. McCaffray in 1928, during the same gilded age that enticed Carl Fisher to stick shovels into the wild Montauk landscape. In fact, Fisher’s architect, Richard B. Webb, also… Read more »

Throwback Thursday — R.I.P. Maria-Louise Sidoroff

An earlier version of this post was published on August 30, 2023. It has been updated with additional images and information to reflect the passing of Maria-Louise Sidoroff, Ph.D., on May 9, 2024 at the age of 87. Maria-Louise Sidoroff, Ph.D., an anthropologist, was working as a waitress at Gosman’s Restaurant, whose owners she was… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Montauk History on Tap.

Throwback Thursday – Montauk History on Tap.

Before Frank Tuma Sr. bought the Montauk Tavern 90 years ago, it was run as a sweet shop that “pulled off a clandestine existence during the Prohibition beginning in 1927” — at least according to a story in Dan’s Papers. “The speakeasy survived six years until 1933 when the ban of spirits was finally lifted,… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Happy Mother’s …

Throwback Thursday – Happy Mother’s …

Happy Mother’s … Clockwise from top left: Karen and Patty Urvalek, Barbara and Abbey Friedman, Lili (right) and Abby Monahan, Jane and Jennine Liebell, Connie and Cheryl Keller, and Virginia and Robin Veltri. The photos were taken in 1991 at a Montauk Girl Scouts event at the firehouse. | Jane Liebell Collection, Montauk Library Archives… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Party Like It’s 1992!

Throwback Thursday – Party Like It’s 1992!

What a difference 32 years makes! Here are some photographs that were meant to be buried in a time capsule in 1992. Middle-school Montauk Girl Scouts were equipped with disposable cameras to record what Montauk looked like at the time, said Jane Liebell, who led the group: Top: Rita’s Stables, left, and the Blue Marlin…. Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Doolittle Up a Tree

Throwback Thursday – Doolittle Up a Tree

This photograph, from the Montauk Library’s Harry Bruno Collection, is labeled “Doolittle up a tree, Montauk, Sept. 1954.” Doolittle refers to General James H. Doolittle, a “fearless pilot [who] repeatedly risked his life to test the flight characteristics and limitations of experimental aircraft,” according to an article in Air & Space Forces magazine. As a… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Mad About Shad

Throwback Thursday – Mad About Shad

What’s not to love about shad trees, which will soon be gracing the skyline with their gorgeous white tufts? There are four species of shadbush growing in Montauk, one of which is very rare. The shadbush is a member of the rose family that goes by many other names: shadblow, shadwood, serviceberry, juneberry, Amelanchier, wild… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – A Most Beautiful Section of Long Island

Throwback Thursday – A Most Beautiful Section of Long Island

The Parsons Inn, 1900s. | Albert Holden Collection, Montauk Library Archives. Right, Montauk’s first schoolhouse, the Hither Plain school, in 1918. It served children from Fort Pond Bay and the life-saving stations at Hither Plain and Ditch Plain. Turtle Hill and the entire Point seem to be an immense sand pile, packed so tight that… Read more »