Local History

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

Throwback Thursday – Memorial Days

Kirk Park was dedicated in 1962 to the memory of Major General Norman T. Kirk, surgeon general of the U.S. Army during World War II as well as, as the park’s memorial plaque said, “village doctor, fisherman, friend.” Gen. Kirk was married in 1917 to the sister of Perry B. Duryea, Anne, who had been… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Property Management

A small collection of color and black-and-white aerial photographs of the west side of Lake Montauk is included in the Montauk Library Archives. Because they were taken in the 1970s, prior to many subdivisions and developments in the 1980s and beyond, they could be useful to illustrate what have undoubtedly been shrinking swaths of eelgrass,… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Hopelessly Overextended

Carl Fisher’s Montauk Beach Development Corporation went into receivership in May of 1932, leaving court-appointed custodians in charge of his holdings – the Manor, the Surf Club, the Montauk Downs Golf Club, the Montauk Yacht Club, and more. The properties were valued at about $10 million: Fisher and other investors had poured some $7 million… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – A Different Montauk

It was her father’s job with Carl Fisher that moved the family of Edna Sorenson to Montauk in 1927. At first they rented a cottage in the old fishing village on Fort Pond Bay, which was then known simply as “on the beach.” “We spent many happy hours in Fort Pond Bay perfecting our swimming… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Begging for Fairways

Forty-five years ago this week, New York State took ownership of the privately owned Montauk Golf and Racquet Club and named it “Montauk Downs State Park.” The state was well into planning a public golf course at Hither Hills State Park, but an option to buy the existing 171-acre Montauk Golf tract for $1.325 million… Read more »

Throwback Thursday — Serving Tea and Independence

Throwback Thursday — Serving Tea and Independence

In the 1910s and 1920s, tea rooms and tea houses dotted America’s new motorways, providing tea and light refreshments to traveling tourists. On the eastern end of Long Island, motorists driving through Montauk could find refuge at the Weeweecho Tea House situated on the southern bluffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. At that time when Montauk… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Nuns at the Seashore

He was better known as a spearfisherman and pioneering underwater photographer, but George Knoblach also took black-and-white photographs of nuns on the beach off Old Montauk Highway. “I was sitting at the table in my dad’s old house and a station wagon pulled in,” he recalled in an oral history interview in 2003. “At that… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – The Other “Montauk Project”

In the early months of 1948, the federal government moved to establish an animal disease laboratory at Camp Hero, which was no longer active as an Army base.  The USDA hoped to develop a vaccine to protect livestock from hoof-and-mouth disease, which had infected cattle in Mexico and, it was feared, could play a role… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Working Hard, Kicking Back

Throwback Thursday – Working Hard, Kicking Back

There was a surprisingly glamorous whiff to fish on Montauk Harbor in the 1970s and early 1980s. The commercial dock, Gosman’s retail and wholesale seafood operation next door, the new Dock restaurant next door to that – for many, work was hard and physical, and opportunities to kick back were most welcome. These photos come… Read more »

Throwback Thursday — The Maritime Gardener

Throwback Thursday — The Maritime Gardener

The vernal equinox on March 20th marked the onset of spring, as the sun passed the equator on its path northward, bringing with it longer and warmer days to the Northern Hemisphere. On March 21st, 1946 (the year the above photo was taken), the East Hampton Star reported “Spring is here today!… Cover crops are… Read more »