Local History

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

Throwback Thursday – A Toast to the Ebbing Days of Summer!

A toast to the ebbing days of summer! Color photograph of Alan and Christopher Yudt with their wives Jacqueline and Lisa, on the beach near the Surf Club, 1995 Beth Biondo, Photographer, Beth Biondo Collection, Montauk Library Archives.   August, with its oppressive heat and humidity, has stepped aside for Indian summer.  Mornings are chilly, but afternoons offer… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – The Pelican

The Pelican, photographed by Evangeline Pitts, 1951 Damaged open party boat Pelican sits behind clammer Ben Pitts, Pitts-Burke-Cullum Collection, Montauk Library Archives The man clamming in the foreground of this photograph was known as Augustus Petitpas in his native Nova Scotia, and as Ben Pitts in the United States. The beached boat listing behind him… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Two Pools

Postcard of the Wavecrest Motel. Printed by Color Photog. Assoc., Glen Cove, NY, ca. 1960s. Photographers, Olga Bedorf and Mona Shelley. Montauk Library Postcard Collection. Montauk Library Archives Postcard of the Blue Haven Motel, 1960s. J. J. Heatley, Smithtown, N.Y. Montauk Library Postcard Collection. Montauk Library Archives Knowledge about Montauk’s “Golden Age,” the period of sportfishing and vacationing that pushed our sleepy… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Buffalo Soldiers at Camp Wikoff

“Camp Wikoff, 24th Infantry (colored) coming to Detention Camp,” by photographer Dwight L. Elmendorf, 1898. African-American regiment arriving at Camp Wikoff in Montauk, N.Y. Montauk Historical Society Collection, digital image. Montauk Library Archives It was August 1898 when Camp Wikoff opened to what quickly grew to be to be more than 20,000 sickened, injured, and… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Hither Hills State Park, circa late 1940s

Hither Hills State Park, circa late 1940s. Postcard from the Montauk Library’s Postcard Collection.  The pensive girl in the kerchief and the stone walkway lend a kind of European flavor to this thoughtfully composed image. Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World” also comes to mind. Could the photographer be paying homage to a famous painting? The image,… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Margaret Potts, Montauk Aviatrix, and her Powderpuff Derby Co-pilot, Viola Gentry, 1961

Viola Gentry and Margaret Potts on their way to the Powderpuff Derby in California, 1961. Michael Potts Collection, Montauk Library Archives. In early 2021, the Montauk Library Archives received a phone call from Patrick Hreachmack in Columbus, Ohio.  Margaret Potts had taught him how to fly when he was a teenager living in Montauk (Hreachmack’s father… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Dog Days

“Marie and Chewy,” 2012. From the Mike Carlisi Collection, Montauk Library Archives. We are in the thick of the “dog days” of summer.  The reference comes to us from ancient Rome, when our brilliant forebears ascribed the excessive summer heat and humidity between July 3rd and August 11th to Sirius, the brightest star in the… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – Leisurama

Much as they like to talk about real estate, most people in Montauk these days wouldn’t be referencing a 750-or-more-square-foot house with no AC or winter insulation on a 7,500-square-foot piece of property. The product of a late 1950s collaboration, the 200 or so prefab summer residences were designed by Andrew Geller and Raymond Loewy… Read more »

Throwback Thursday – National Pet Fire Safety Day

Trusty Dalmatian Guards Crates of Budweiser Beer during 1992 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Color photograph from the Herb Herbert Collection, Montauk Library Archives. A favorite website is National Today, or nationaltoday.com.  It’s a day-by-day calendar, listing an event or activity that is celebrated on a particular day in a specific month, every year.  According to National… Read more »

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 »