The Montauk Library’s archival collection includes stellar examples of aerial photography. This overview from the Al Holden Collection is undated, but if we research the motels and businesses that appear in the picture it seems certain it was photographed in the 1950s.
In fact, this aerial view beautifully documents the early years of Montauk’s booming resort industry. The Sea Breeze Motel is easy to spot. Others surrounding it take a little more discernment, but there in front of Marshall and Sons (known in 1952 as Marshall Prado’s Esso Gas Station), we can make out the pre-Rolling Stones-era Montauk Memory Motel.
At that time, Montauk Memory’s “Sea Glamor Lounge” had a decidedly different vibe. When Elizabeth Ann Pfund got married to Donald Roys in 1954, the April 8th edition of the East Hampton Star reported, “the wedding supper was served for the family and friends by the groom’s mother at her Montauk Memory Motel.” In the 1960s owner Sally Klein brought Teddy Roland in to play the piano during cocktail hour. By 1966, the owner / manager team of Sara and Esther was established. It was these two who would have greeted Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in the Memory Cocktail Lounge and Bar.
The Yankee Trader sold antique furniture, glassware, “bric a brac, and objets d’art.” A large Star ad taken out on August 7, 1952 invited readers to browse around this store located in “the Heart of Montauk” on South Elmwood Ave. Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., these hours of operation were justified by the record numbers of visitors who poured into Montauk during the 1950s and 60s, bringing the laid-back, sleepy Village into the modern era.