Local History

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

Throwback Thursday – Cattle Drives

No, these cowpokes aren’t headed to the Surf Lodge. They’re hot to trot to Deep Hollow Ranch instead  ̶  after meeting up with some ­livestock about to arrive on the Long Island Rail Road. Cattle drives were an enduring part of Montauk’s history starting in the 17th century. Its grazing pastures were used to bulk up… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Friends of the Montauk Library Book Fair

Photo collage of Book Fair volunteers, ca. 1996-1998:  Starting in the top left-hand corner: Mary (last name unknown), Angela Lambriola, Robert Schorr, Christine Langerfeld, Judith Rade, Bob Mautschke, June (last name unknown), Charlotte Schorr, Eileen Mautschke, Doris and Frank Donahue, Suzanne Gosman, and Elaine Kahn Photograph of Bob-e Metzger, Chairperson of the Friends’ Book Fair, looking over boxes in the storage area… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Children of Fort Pond Bay Village

This week’s Throwback Thursday is a tribute to the children of Fort Pond Bay Village.  The Bay was their frontage and the train tracks their backyard boundary.  Nothing, however, could restrict these kids from exploring the larger world around them. This image from around 1938 comes from the Pitts-Burke-Cullum collection, a large group of photographic… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – School Trip

As the school year draws to a close, everyone looks forward to passing their exams and moving up another grade level.  Especially seniors!  (Or in the case of Montauk School graduates, 8th-graders.)  Graduation ceremonies bring celebration and a sense of freedom.  Before graduation, however, there’s the school trip.  Its itinerary is usually structured around an… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Blessing of the Fleet

The annual Blessing of the Fleet became part of Montauk culture after Vinny Grimes witnessed a similar ceremony during his tenure with the U.S.  Navy.  In 1955, the Montauk community supported Grimes’ idea of creating a blessing ceremony for fishermen’s vessels. On June 7, 1956, the East Hampton Star ran a notice alerting the public… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Richard T. Gilmartin shares the Fishing Stand experience

If Montauk ever produced a Renaissance man, it was Richard T. Gilmartin. An insurance businessman who entered politics and fought for people with disabilities, he loved history and surfcasting and shared his passion for both.  Richard Gilmartin had started writing a history of Montauk when he died suddenly in 1964.  The loss of Gilmartin’s knowledge base was like… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Memorial Day Weekend

The Memorial Day weekend is upon us, which means the unofficial start of the summer season has begun. This picture radiates positive energy, and seems a good omen for Summer 2021.  Will the era of social distancing finally come to an end? This week’s Throwback Thursday photograph was donated to the archives by Herb Herbert when Joan… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Fishing at Fort Pond Bay Village

There are quite a few postcard views of this Fort Pond Bay scene that date from the early 1900s, but this one is a little different because it looks more closely cropped, as if a camera were positioned high, maybe on the mast of a boat.  The close angle offers a sense of intimacy, reminding… Read more »

Throwback Thursday- Pet Month

May is National Pet Month.  An early Montauk resident, architect Andrew J. Thomas, was an animal lover known for the “personal zoo” he kept on his Spanish-style estate overlooking Fort Pond Bay.  On August 9, 1929, the East Hampton Star published this report about the exotic menagerie residing on the estate grounds after visiting with the… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Celebrating the Long Island Potato!

In 1937 the first annual Long Island Potato Festival took place in Riverhead, on the grounds of the Suffolk County Agricultural Society. It was advertised nationally as “the Long Island potato growers answer to the thousands of dollars being spent for publicity by other potato-producing states,” and was called the “first, constructive campaign to be conducted on… Read more »