Local History

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

Throwback Thursday – Montauk Tower No Mirage

Government-conspiracy theories rising like a mist from Camp Hero may not be a new or even recent thing. On this day 62 years ago, the U.S. Air Force officially acknowledged that it had nearly completed one of the largest radar systems in the world. “It’s Official: Montauk Tower No Mirage,” the East Hampton Star reported… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Carry-Out Restaurant

As you can see, the black-and-white photo is dated 1940, and what was then called “Bill’s Restaurant” seems to be situated, still, in Montauk’s old fishing village on Fort Pond Bay. We can probably assume then that the restaurant was moved around 1943, when the U.S. Navy took over the fishing village to test torpedoes… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Visions on a Hill

  “This is where we are staying. Isn’t it fine?” wrote F.C.H. in 1906 on a postcard from the Montauk Inn. “Am staying here. I am having a fine time. Board costs $20.00 a week. I have my auto here also,” Doris wrote in 1907. The Long Island Rail Road opened the Montauk Inn in… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Men’s Lives

In the spring of 1981, Rick Whalen was a couple of years out of college, “knocking around East Hampton trying to find work.” Somehow he hooked up with Stuart Vorpahl for a few months fishing pound traps in Napeague Harbor, and he recalls a good run of weakfish. In this photo Rick is flinging a… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Alma Baker’s Luncheonette

It’s hard to believe that 100 years have passed since this rather somber photograph was taken at Alma Baker’s Luncheonette. The restaurant catered to passengers who arrived in Montauk’s old fishing village on Fishermen’s Special trains, day trippers who were eager to hop on a boat and hook what was sure to be a plentiful… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Leading The Way

How serendipitous that the Montauk Friends of Erin’s St. Patrick’s Day parade steps off in March, a month also dedicated to women’s history. This photo from the Montauk Friends of Erin celebrates Mary Gosman, who in 1982 was the parade’s first female grand marshal. Peg Joyce followed in 1993, Ann Duffy in 1999, Suzanne Koch… Read more »

Throwback Tuesday – A Pair of Paintings

This painting has turned the head of many a visitor since the newly expanded Montauk Library opened on February 18. It’s of the original Lazybones owned by Mike and Kathy Vegessi, with Captain Mike at the wheel and the U.S. Coast Guard station in the background. Mike and Kathy Vegessi have the same painting at… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – One Smart Move

Given the price of land today, a waterfront building is more likely to be replaced with something grander than moved from one spot to another. Back in the day, though, homes and even restaurants (like Trail’s End) in the old fishing village on Fort Pond Bay were moved to other places like Shepherd’s Neck and… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Share Your Treasures

For years, Kathleen Ernst has staged amazing miniature exhibits in the Montauk Library’s little display case, and we are looking for more for when the expanded library opens on Friday, February 18. Don’t think that your fascination with driftwood or beach glass, pigs, horse or penguin figurines, train sets, floral watercolors, or children’s school portraits… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Repurposing a Resort

Imagine girls dancing with servicemen in the elegant lobby ballroom. Picture the grandly arched dining room transformed into a mess hall for military personnel. That’s what the Montauk Manor looked like during World War II after the Navy appropriated the luxurious resort to serve as a military barracks – portions of which can be spotted… Read more »