Throwback Thursday – Nixon in Montauk

Albert R. Holden Collection | Montauk Library Archives

This photo of Richard Nixon and Al Holden in Montauk is dated “circa 1970s” in our archives. It seems likely that it was taken before Nixon’s resignation on August 9, 1974, in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

The 37th president said at that time – in the second year of his second term — that he hoped his departure would start “that process of healing that is desperately needed in America.” He was the first and is still the only president ever to resign from office.

Nixon was a frequent visitor to Montauk in the 1960s and 1970s, often staying at Gurney’s Inn and visiting the Lake Club. It was at Gurney’s that he wrote his acceptance speech for the Republican National Convention on August 5, 1968. He and his Secret Service men had pineapple sundaes at the former A&B Snowflake in East Hampton before arriving at Gurney’s Inn, where he swam in the ocean and enjoyed a weekend of gourmet meals, the East Hampton Star reported in mid-July of that summer.

“I’ll vote for Nick Monte’s cannelloni any day of the year,” a photo caption quoted Nixon as saying.

Nixon must have liked seafood as well: This photograph from the Montauk Library’s Albert R. Holden Collection appears to have been taken on the deck at Gosman’s restaurant. We’re not sure who snapped it, but Holden himself was a prolific photographer as well as a chronicler, promoter, and supporter of all things Montauk. He published three editions of a “Pictorial History of Montauk” and, between 1977 and 1992, eight Montauk Almanacs filled with information about local people, events, organizations, and landmarks. He interviewed a number of longtime Montauk residents for oral histories, which the library has in its digital collection, and his widow, Vera, contributed some 500 photographs – one of the library’s most extensive collections – to the archives.

Both this photo and an identical one in black and white have crop marks framing a tighter shot of the two men. The library’s collection also includes a more heavily edited version of the same photo titled “Al Holden with Cropped Out Nixon.” Why was Nixon cropped out? To be honest, we don’t know.

#Montauk history #Montauk restaurants #Al Holden #Richard Nixon #Nick Monte #Montauk Library #tbt #Throwback Thursday

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