Job spoke of Fisher’s brilliant mind, overflowing with ideas to bring wealthy vacationers to Montauk. The carriage with white horses that strode down to the Montauk train station to pick up Montauk Manor guests in the 1930s made a big impression on young Elizabeth. She relates how Louis McDonald, the first Custodian of the Montauk Firehouse, would bring visitors’ luggage from the railroad to the firehouse to sort and organize, and then deliver to the Manor and respective residences in Montauk where guests were staying. (Elizabeth Job also mentions that Louis’s brother, Leonard McDonald, was a fantastic dancer. During wartime village get-togethers, all the girls wanted to dance with Leonard, “even if he was old enough to be your father.”)
Elizabeth’s Job’s memory of Carl Fisher’s second wife, Margaret Collier Fisher, was that she was an elegant, considerate employer. Margaret returned to Montauk for rest and relaxation, and to make repairs on the house, which she still owned but would eventually sell. Elizabeth states that Margaret had promised Carl that none of his personal belongings would be sold for profit or gain, or to satisfy a debt. When Margaret Fisher finally sold the house, it was an empty shell. Everything of Carl’s left with her.
Carl Fisher’s first wife Jane was not a big fan of Montauk – nor was she a fan of Fisher’s second wife. In an oral history (now digitized) recorded by the University of Florida in 1967, Jane Fisher revealed a distaste for Montauk. I was “never in sympathy with it,” she says about Carl’s decision to develop his “Miami of the North.” In her opinion, Montauk was foggy and cold. “The season was so short there. The wind blew all the time, and I have always hated the wind.”
Jane went on about Montauk: “You see, Montauk Point was the cause of Mr. Fisher’s losing his money, his fortune, because in 1926, was the hurricane, the [Florida] hurricane. So Carl shut down Montauk Point. Of course, all the people who had invested poured in like flies swarming around a piece of cake. He lost the golf course, he lost the polo fields…” Jane said that if she hadn’t divorced him, Carl’s story may have had a happier ending. Margaret Collier Fisher would probably disagree. In the meantime, however, here is a wonderful time capsule from 1929 – happy days at the Montauk Manor – photographed right before Black Friday, the Stock Market Crash of October 29, 1929.