Local History

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

Throwback Thursday – Menhaden and Men

The Depression was in full swing and one in four workers was unemployed when, on December 2, 1932, the East Hampton Star reported that commercial fishing on eastern Long Island was “almost at a standstill.” For decades fishermen had taken advantage of an abundance of menhaden, or bunker, along the coast. Factories, or “pot-works,” on… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Cattle, Not Turkeys

Early local settlers waited till the cows came home – literally — before celebrating Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving holiday was almost exclusively a local New England tradition observed as early as October or as late as January, depending on the town. On the eastern end of Long Island, the date was determined by the homecoming of… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Old Friends

Who else remembers card catalogues and date-due stamps and brontosaurus-size desktops? Leased for $1 a year from the Montauk Community Church, the first Montauk Library opened on November 24, 1980, in a cottage that was miniature but a massive improvement over not having any library at all. “On opening day, it was reported that there… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Veteran’s Day

That was the slogan on the letterhead of the American Red Cross in a November 10, 1943, thank-you to Mrs. Harry A. (Nydia) Bruno of the American Women’s Voluntary Services, also known as the AWVS. A blood drive that had been held the previous day at the Montauk Community Church was described as  “a record-breaking… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Schooner at Rest

It’s been almost 135 years since the Lewis A. King ran aground in a storm near Montauk Point. She was a two-masted schooner from Maine traveling from Boston to New York. The Lewis A. King could carry 142 tons and on December 18, 1887, was loaded with pipe clay and 300-pound sacks of dates. The… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Deep Hollow Ranch

Hardly a month had passed after the ’38 Hurricane when the East Hampton Star reported that Third House in Montauk, historically an inn, had been sold to William Bell and Frank Dickinson, who planned to start a dude ranch.   “The house will be restored completely … The Montauk Beach Company has made an informal… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – ‘Gunners’ Paradise’

  Jeannette Edwards Rattray wrote in 1938 about a previous time, in the late 19th century, when Montauk was a “Gunner’s Paradise,” a “practically womanless Paradise for groups of men who went ‘on’ gunning for days and weeks at a time.” They camped in little shacks and packed few provisions, as they could live on… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – One Final Blow

“A great price for a great waste of sand” – that’s how the New York Times described the auctioning off of Montauk for $151,000 in 1879. White settlers from East Hampton had used Montauk for pastureland for more than two centuries, building First, Second, and Third House for shepherds and visitors. Now Montauk’s new owner… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Two Red Beasts

As firetrucks go the old red Dodge was a beast. In 1939 the newly formed Montauk Fire Department purchased it, and one more, to replace a truck the Montauk Beach Company had used in a makeshift effort to fight fires. Voters approved the expense despite it being the tail end of the Depression and not… Read more »