PUBLIC BUILDINGS, PARKS, & MEMORIALS

(also see separate headings for Post Offices, Schools and Library)

 

Generally, the 28 properties in the section are ranged from east to west and north to south among the following groups. Unless otherwise specified, they are on Town of Islip property.

 

 

 

 

Brown's River: Sans Souci, Meadow Croft, Bryan's Bridge, Captain Merrill H Masin,
Brown's River West, Willow Street Dock

 

 

Broadway Avenue:  Broadway Avenue, Islip Grange

 

 

 

Ida Gillette: Sparrow Park, Gillette House & Park, Common Ground at Rotary Park, Sayville Beach

 

 

 

Sayville North: Carl Johnson, Yonda,
Timothy J. Henke, Court House, Kay Porter

 

 

 

 

Sayville South: Florence Evans, Port O' Call,
Sayville Marina, Candee Avenue

 

 

 

 

Green's Creek: Brookside County,
Green's Creek County

 

 

 

West Sayville:  Baymen Soccer, Edwin Boogertman, Charles Dominy County
(including L.I. Maritime Museum & West Sayville Country Club),
West Avenue Dock, West Sayville Beach

 

Images: top row, Webb N. Morrison; 2nd row left, courtesy of Neil Spare, Jr.;
right and 3rd row left, Webb N. Morrison; right, courtesy of Tony Brinkman; bottom row, Webb N. Morrison

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BROWN'S RIVER &
SANS SOUCI LAKES NATURE PRESERVE

After World II, Long Island underwent a rather speedy and extensive growth of residential development; this, unfortunately, was having a very destructive effect on surrounding wetlands, most notably along the Island's south shore where many were filled in for new developments.  By the 1970s, Suffolk County, alerted to higher public environmental awareness and with the cooperation of the Town of Islip, embarked on a program of acquiring such areas which encompassed vital watersheds and tidal wetlands. Within that program was the Sans Souci Lakes Nature Preserve which eventually stretched about three and one-half miles north from the mouth of Brown's River to (on its eastern branch) Sunrise Highway; on the west (Sayville side), the River and this branch, particularly below the railroad tracks, was already heavily developed.

SANS SOUCI COUNTY PARK, Broadway Avenue:  The Suffolk County Girl Scout Camping Association had been organized by a group of local adults in 1937 and camped around (Heckscher Park, Baiting Hollow, their own place on Peconic Bay) for several years. In November 1944, they leased 44-acre Camp Connetquot,  fronting on the Sans Souci Lakes in Bayport, from Ralph C. Greene. It had previously been privately run and buildings included dormitories, a kitchen, bunk house, craft house and garage. By spring, the group had asked Girl Scouts from eastern Nassau County to join them at the new Camp. At a meeting at The Elms Inn in Sayville November 11,1947, the group decided to change its name to Camp Edey (after Birdsall Edey, a suffragist, of Bellport) and  to buy (and enlarge) the present campsite - now 66 acres including four fresh-water lakes - from Greene. They planned to seek the $100,000 needed from local chapters. The growing population in this area coupled with growing parental interest, encouraged Camp Edey to purchase another 170 acres immediately north of its present site in June 1954. In late 1969, the Camp filed petitions for rezoning of two parcels totaling 144 acres. Both were opposed, particularly the 68 acres in the Sayville School District because it was for "attached single-family dwellings"; on the Bayport side it was for an industrial park. The rezoning on the Bayport side was granted but the Sayville one denied. In December 1970, the County Legislature approved an expenditure of four million dollars for a "Greenbelt" encompassing 505 acres around Sans Souci Lakes. On January 21, 1971 all involved - the County, the Town, the Nellen group that wanted the industrial park and Camp Edey - agreed on a compromise and the County proceeded with its plan for the northern section of the land to be Sans Souci County Park within the Sans Souci Lakes Nature Preserve.

 

 

Sans Souci Park: A quiet resting place

 

Sans Souci Park: Down by the brook

 

Images: Webb N. Morrison

 

 

MEADOW CROFT ESTATE,  299 Middle Road:  Suffolk County condemned and purchased 64 acres of the Estate located at the confluence of the eastern and western branches of Brown's River in 1974 for inclusion in the Sans Souci Lakes Nature Preserve; Barney Loughlin, whose family had cared for the house and land for many years, retained 10 acres on the northeast corner for his vineyard.  (For more details on the Roosevelt Family, who had owned it, and the Loughlin Vineyard, please see Clubs: Museums.) Although the Estate was known locally, it appeared run down and abandoned, its "historic value" little recognized.  However, following an investigation by the Suffolk County Division of Historic Services, in 1982 it was dedicated to the Suffolk County Historic Trust and in 1985 nominated to the National Register of Historic Sites,  The County has now developed a plan for restoration, site development and maintenance of the historic landscape.

 

 

 

 

Viewed across the meadows from  Brown's River

 

 

 

Driveway from Middle Road, 1907

 

 

 

Meadow Croft grounds & dependencies, 1907
Windmill (left) draws water for water tower

 

 

Meadow Croft, March 2014


Images: top right, courtesy of Neil Spare, Jr; all others from Webb N. Morrison

 

BRYAN'S BRIDGE, Middle Road: Bryan Schneck, a Construction Foreman, was killed in an accident at Brookhaven Laboratories on June 20, 1997, just four days after he had completed the rehabilitation of the Bridge connecting Sayville and Bayport, originally built in 1935.  He was a graduate of Bayport-Blue Point High School and had gone on to study archaeology at New York Institute of Technology.  Born in West Islip on May 1, 1967, he "grew up living on the waterfront"; his family reported that his "first love was his boat and water sports on the Great South Bay". Bryan's Bridge was dedicated to him in May 1998. In 2013, based on a life cycle cost analysis, County Officials determined that the structure itself should be totally replaced and is now (2014) in the process.

 

 

 

The Dedication Plaque

 

 

 

The Meadows from the Bridge

 

Images: left by Alida Thorpe, courtesy of William Lindsay; right from a postcard by Heather Bugee

 

CAPTAIN MERRILL H. MASIN ISLAND, Brown's River: Merrill H. Masin was born November 26, 1945, grew up in Sayville and was a 1964 graduate of Sayville High School and a 1968 graduate of the State University at Stony Brook.  He served for one year as a fighter pilot in Vietnam and then returned to the United States for training as a transport pilot; thereafter, he was posted to Taiwan and had but one trip to go as a student pilot before qualifying as an air commander when he was killed with six other Americans in a plane crash as it was taking off from Soctrang, Vietnam on August 12, 1972. His body was repatriated and buried in Union Cemetery; his pet Spitz puppy, Sukie, was also repatriated and harbored by the Masin family. Merrill H. Masin was the recipient of the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Air Medal (with two Oak Clusters), Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and the New York State Conspicuous Service Medal. Chris Bodkin has noted that he, Merrill and other friends used to play on the Island as children, "almost lived there in summers". On November 10, 1998, owned by Suffolk County, it was dedicated in his memory as Captain Merrill H. Masin Island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

River Street Town Dock/Brown's River West (left center) & Captain Merrill H. Masin Island (upper right)

 

 

Image: Suffolk County GIS (Geographic Information System)

 

TOWN DOCK a/k/a BROWN'S RIVER WEST, foot of River Street:   In early 1903, the Town Board appointed a committee to select a site for a public dock.  The committee, Andrew D. Foster as Chairman, held a meeting in the Opera House on June 27, attended by about 45 residents.  The first question was whether they preferred a river or bay site; river won the vote.  The next choice was where on Brown's River; at that time, only three streets were open from Foster to the river bank: 1st Street (now Brown's River Road), Terry Street and River Street and there was no River Road.  There were three parcels available and the vote was for the most northern one, 2.7 acres with 500 feet of river frontage at the foot of River Street, owned by the Wilson J. Terry Estate.  On August 10, 1903, the Town purchased it for $5,000.  This later became a political matter, with the Town Board being accused of spending the money for a Town Dock "at a point inaccessible except to very small and unimportant craft "That accusation appears to have had some validity. Army Engineers did not begin the first dredging until May 1912, that for a 100 foot wide channel , 4.5 to 5 foot depth at low water, that extended only 600 feet up the river to the Skinner and Herring oyster shanties, far short of the Town Dock. However, the Town had staving bulkheading done at its Dock in the fall of 1912 and more dredging was done in following years. At that time, ferries were running to Fire Island from Greene's Creek in West Sayville and /or a pier at the foot of Candee Avenue; the latter had been in use from 1902 and continued in use through the late 1920s. The first to serve the Town Dock was Fred Stein  who, shifting from West Sayville to Sykes Pier in 1929, had moved back in 1930. He brought his boats into River Street for the 1931 season (soon getting early year competition from Gustave Pagels) and continued in the same location for 19 years before moving down river to his new facilities on River Road in 1950.

 

 

 

Town Dock from downriver, 1920s

 

 

 

Captains Fred Stein & Elmer Murdock, 1938

 

 

Beachcomber I & Beachcomber II at Town Dock, 1949

 

 

 

Town Dock, 1950s

 

 

 Town Dock/Brown's River East had little damage
after "Hurricane" Sandy, October 2012

 

 

 

Town Dock/Brown's River West

2014

 

 

Brown's River East and downriver from
Brown's River West, 2014

 

 

 

Brown's River West from Brown's River East, 2014

 

Images: top row, left  from collection of Sayville Library; right and middle row, left from the Stein Family archives;
middle row, right from collection of Tony Brinkmann; bottom row, Webb N. Morrison

 

Conditions in Brown's River deteriorated badly in the late 1940s and not only the ferry men but also private boaters and commercial fishermen complained about the need for dredging; however, the Engineers simply replied that funds were not available. Apparently, that encouraged Captain Kenneth Stein (who had taken over from his father) to acquire land for a new terminal closer to the Bay, which he did. In January 1949, John Koman, a local electrical contractor who owned what were then regarded as "swamplands" south of Terry Street zoned Residence B, was refused a change of zone to Business; his intent had been to sell or rent the property to Ken Stein for use of his anticipated passengers but the change had been heavily opposed by the neighbors. However, in March, the Town did approve the change for a small parcel (200 x 300 feet) already owned by the Stein family with the understanding that it would only be used as a parking field for ferry patrons...As a consequence of insufficient parking, when ferry service shifted to the new site in 1950, a major traffic problem ensued and the Board finally approved the Koman application  in December 1951. After the ferries left, Islip Town reconfigured  its harbor and has rented boat slips to private boaters on an annual basis; sometimes, the wait to get one has been several years.  Brown's River West has about 40 slips; adjacent Willow Street Dock has two; and Brown's River East across the River in Bayport has about 127.

WILLOW STREET DOCK, foot of Willow Street: Opened sometime after 1915, Willow Street had been as a private street on private property from Foster Avenue to the River.  Charles Duryea, an Islip Town Supervisor who had property on the Street, had been blocking the only cross street, River, one day each year to retain private ownership. In December 1965, Joseph Rendzio, who purchased Duryea land, permanently fenced off the narrow intersection between Willow and Terry, thus blocking River Road which stretched from Hamilton all the way down to Brown's River Road at the shore. It appears that when the Town declared Willow Street a public road in 1972, it may have acquired its two boat slips at the riverside at the same time.

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BROADWAY AVENUE

BROADWAY AVENUE PARK, Broadway Avenue south of Versa Place:  The arrival in the area of the extended Sunrise Highway in the mid-fifties brought increasing plans for development and increasing land prices. On September 30, 1964, the Town of Islip acquired three parcels (part or all of which may have been referred to previously as Sayville Mews) on the west side on Broadway Avenue from the Gibraltar Development Company; they totaled approximately 30 acres and stretched about three-quarters of a mile north from Montauk Highway. However, it was not until 1972 that the property was dedicated as Broadway Avenue Park and construction began on baseball diamonds and hardball courts which now, along with tennis courts, children's playground, picnic area, a concession stand and nature trails fill the northern section. During baseball season, the Sayville Little League uses and maintains the baseball fields (one of which is lighted) and a couple are converted for football in the fall.

 

 

 

Parade & Opening Day, April 17, 2010

 

 

 

Some of the players on Opening Day, 2010

 

 

More of the players on Opening Day, 2010

 

 

 

Diamonds & field house from Bernie Kolar field

 

 

Images: Top row and bottom left courtesy of Sayville.com; bottom right, Webb N. Morrison

ISLIP GRANGE, Broadway Avenue: On August 1, 1974, the Town announced its plan to develop a Historical Restoration on twelve acres at the south end of Broadway Park with work to begin the following month; the Restoration would be known as the Islip Grange. The intent was to move buildings of "historic value" that were donated by residents to the site; the Town would pay the moving costs.

The Nicoll Family: In 1697, William Nicoll, nephew of Richard Nicoll, the Royal Governor of New York, received an additional grant of land along the Great South Bay, stretching from Connetquot River to Namkee Creek, from King William III. In 1702, as a previously Nassau resident, he built and moved into a new manor house in East Islip (apparently Nicoll was also responsible for the name "East Islip") area in order to retain his membership in the Provincial Assembly as a duly qualified resident of Suffolk County; he named the house and grounds Islip Grange after his birthplace in Islip, Northampton Shire, England. The exact location of the house has been disputed for years.  One side puts it inside the current Heckscher Park; the other side places it in an area just north of the Park on what was later the Hollins Estate. Extensive archaeological work carried out by Professor Paul A. Shackel in 1982 produced many interesting and significant results but failed to resolve the argument. The fortunes of the Nicoll family appear to have drifted steadily downward through the 18th and 19th centuries and William Nicoll VII was the last to occupy the residence in 1899; in 1906, the house was sold to the Harry Hollins (partner of J.P. Morgan) family.  They built a new house in 1907 and, reportedly, Mrs. Hollins Jr. had the original building dismantled about 1910. 

 



Sketch of the Nicoll House, ca. 1890
from Graphic, August 19, 1892

 



William Nicoll House, 1890s
from Islip Town Archives
 
For more details, please consult  Shackel, Paul A. Conspicuous Consumption and Class Maintenance: An Example from the Nicoll House Excavations in The History of Archaeology of Long Island, Part 1:The Sites Suffolk County Archaeological Association: Stony Brook, 1985.

The first to arrive at Islip Grange in the fall of 1974 were three small outbuildings (carriage house and double privies which originally had been built for the Newton Benjamin property around 1800) from the Louise Ockers home in Oakdale; then the Ockers barn was dismantled and re-assembled at the Grange. On February 13, 1975, the Robinson family homestead (the Tuttle-Case house, built in 1850 for Captain Benjamin Tuthill, sold to John Case 1907, bought by Lillian Robinson 1946) ) and Lillian Robinson's Real Estate office/cottage (built for her business in 1926, see Business: Main Street, North Side) were both relocated from west Main Street; Main Street was closed to all traffic except for the two vehicles and their trailers carrying the two structures on their way via Lincoln Avenue north to and east on Overton Street, then back to Montauk Highway to Broadway.  Work crews stood by along the route to remove and replace overhead wires or to cut tree branches which may have been in the way. Both buildings were on their pre-built foundations by the end of the day. The Town had also been considering adding the "Red House", built in Bayport around 1785 and later the home of Dr. George A. Robinson (see Business: South Main Street) but it burned to the ground on Christmas Eve 1975 before this could happen. The windmill arrived soon after; it had been built about 1895 on the Powell [later Cedarshore] property at the foot of Handsome Avenue and acquired by Arthur Udell for his farm on Wilhelm (now Johnson) Avenue in 1914. Then, Richard Boyd, who had previously been Design Director for the Williamsburgh Restoration was named Design Consultant for the Grange.  For the Bicentennial on July 4, 1976, the TOI organized a "Happy Birthday America Festival" which was preceded by a Firemen's Parade (West Sayville was the host, celebrating its 85th anniversary) on Saturday July 3 and continued at the new Grange during a day-long celebration Sunday, featuring the dedication, Revolutionary military units staging mock skirmishes, fife and drum core, and an 85-foot high hot air balloon as Sayville Historical Society members  and other local residents demonstrated  colonial crafts. The buildings were opened for the first time  and a 1,000 limited edition of  Collectors TOI Commemorative Plates picturing Patriot Ebenezer Dayton were made available.  In the evening, the local American Legion and VFW posts sponsored a Fireworks Show at Bayport Beach. On July 11, 1983, the East End Tri-centennial (TOI, 1683-1983) Committee buried a Time Capsule in front  of the Church to be opened at 2 P.M. on July 11, 2083. Other buildings added to the Restoration since include a three-quarter reproduction of the First Dutch Reformed Church of West Sayville, built 1867; a reproduction of an 1860 carriage shed in St James; and a reproduction of the first Sayville Hook & Ladder Fire Company1878 truck house. Over the years, the Grange has also been host to a seasonal Saturday farmers' market; multiple Town entertainment presentations; annual events, including an Americana Fair and an Apple Festival; and periodic (week-end long) Civil War encampments.

 

 

 

First Reformed Church and Sun Dial

 

 

 

Tuthill-Case House and Powell Windmill

 

 

 

Ockers Outbuildings and Barn

 

 

 

Sayville Hook & Ladder Company

 

 

 

Apple Festival, October 19, 2010

 

 

 

TOI & Co K, 67th NY Volunteer Historical Society
re-enact Civil War. Sept 25/26, 2010

 

 

Images: top and middle row,Webb N. Morrison; bottom row, courtesy of Sayville.com

 

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IDA GILLETTE GROUP

SPARROW PARK, North Main Street:   Land at the intersection of North and South Main Streets was the site of the Smith & Gillette General Store, built in 1850; after Smith dropped out in 1884, Charles Gillette and his son built a larger edifice known as Grand Central.  In addition to the Gillettes, there were other retailers at ground level and a community hall and lodge rooms upstairs (see Business: North and South Main Streets). In later years, it was known as the Gillette Building and the property remained in the family until Ida sold it to Charles Duryea in 1923.  The name Sparrow Park has by some been attributed to Ida who fed the birds there. Sparrow Park (a/k/a Village Square) has always been the focal point of Town celebrations. Fourteen electric lights were installed in the Parl in August 1901 to accommodate the Sayville Band. Among the celebrations have been Memorial/Veterans Day, Christmas and, more  recently,  performances at Summerfest and Margarittaville. In 1918, at a Christmas Carol community sing, horns and confetti were distributed to five hundred children; at the Memorial Day Parade in 1918, escorted by Naval Reservists from Section 5 stationed on the West Sayville waterfront, the parade broke there for ceremonies en route before proceeding to the cemeteries to place flowers on the graves of departed veterans and firemen.  At the ceremonies, a new 12 x 18 foot flag given by Mrs. Robert Gibson. Smith  was raised on a new 40 foot flagpole topped by a golden eagle donated by the Women's Village Improvement Society (WVIS). In April 1919, Mrs. Smith - who had three sons in the Armed Forces, one of whom had died in France - donated a ten-foot golden eagle to top the granite War Memorial being presented to the Town by her two surviving sons in memory of their brother and four other local men killed in WWI; this second Eagle had originally graced the facade of the New York World newspaper building in New York City. The Memorial was dedicated on October 12, 1919. On August 3, 1920, Ida Gillette deeded a the triangle of land (14 feet, 9 inches on each side) on which the monument rested to the Town of Islip.

 

 

 

Sparrow Park a/k/a/ Village Square, early 1900s

 

 

 

Sparrow Park, 1920s

 

 

 

Sparrow Park, 1930s

 

 

 

Sparrow Park, 2014

 

Images: Top row, left collection of Sayville Library; right, Suffolk County News

Bottom row, left, courtesy of Neil Spare, Jr.; right, Webb N. Morrison

 

In March 1921, through the auspices of General and Mrs. Smith, two Spanish-American War cannons were obtained, painted and installed in Sparrow Park by the TOI. In November 1942, the Sayville Village Improvement Society sent a letter to the Town Board requesting that they be given to the current War scrap drive and they were. Regrettably, they never got to War; years later, they were discovered and the bores retrieved from an Islip junk yard with the hope of restoring them. In 1948, the Rotary Club had the names  of those 20 who had lost their lives in WWII inscribed on a bronze tablet to be placed on the ground in front of the existing Monument on which the original WWI names had been engraved; it may have been at this time that the monument was moved back from the apex to make room for the new addition. On May 20, 2011, the Town dedicated companion monuments for "Korea" sand "Vietnam" in the Park, thus remembering seven more men and women Veterans who made the supreme sacrifice.

 GILLETTE HOUSE and PARK, 47 Gillette Avenue: Captain Zebulon Gillette was born in Blue Point  January 12, 1827.   His formal education was that provided by local schools of the time but was supplemented by extensive reading and travel.  In his youth, he began his career in a retail store in Patchogue but soon turned toward the water to pursue a maritime one instead and eventually captained his own ship.  He retired from the sea shortly after it had participated in the Civil War battle of New Orleans in May 1862  and built Gillette House for his wife, Phoebe Edwards, whom he had married in 1847. In his later years, he founded a mercantile business, a forerunner of his Grand Central building/store.  (see Businesses: Sayville - North Main), was local Postmaster, served as Islip Town Supervisor for eight years and, about 1900, succeeded in having former Edwards Street (from Montauk Highway to the present Edwards Street) re-dedicated as Gillette Avenue. He died June 2, 1906 at age 79. When daughter Ida (only remaining member of the family) died August 3, 1936, she bequeathed practically her entire estate to charities and institutions; this included the Gillette Homestead, left to the Episcopal Church Charity Foundation (see Churches: CCF), which she wished to become a home for the aged and needy.  However, the CCF was unable to obtain the required approvals and, finally, deeded the House and its six-and-one half acre park to the Town of Islip on January 31, 1944. At the same time, the TOI acquired from the County the additional one-and-one half acres between Gillette and Candee Avenues  which Ida had acquired after her parents' death, all to comprise a Town Park. This land included the property of veterinarian George W. Clock directly across from Gillette House which she bought in the summer of 1915 (and almost immediately had offered all buildings on the site for sale); the Martin Manton home, bordering the Clock home on the south, which she had purchased in June 1916; and two lots bordering Clock on the north, which she inherited from her cousin, Margaret Brush, following her death March 9, 1916. The Town Park was popular at once.  The first event in the House was "Open House" at the "Teen Age Canteen" (ages 13 to 20) on June 30, 1944; thereafter, it was to be opened two or three nights a week for members only.

 

 

 

Capt.& Mrs. Gillette in front parlor, about 1900

 

 

 

Gillette House, August 1915

 

 

 

Gillette House, 2014

 

 

 

Gillette House, a corner of the BAFFA Art Gallery

 

 

 

Gillette Park (with Diamond left), 2014

 

 

 

 Gillette Park, Summerfest, 1995

 

 

Images: top row, left collection of Sayville Library; right, archives of Long Island Maritime Museum (Suffolk County News photo);
bottom left, collection of Sayville Library; right, Webb N. Morrison

 

During the summer of 1944, the House and Park had also hosted a bond rally, flower show, an organizational picnic and provided a meeting place for several local clubs, including a junior high group known as the Porthole and the senior-high Salt Water Junction..By fall, a Community Center Committee of local residents mailed out 1,500 letters seeking contributions. A softball backstop was erected but significant repairs had to await the "post-war" period when more funds, labor and materials would become available. A proposal to develop the property as a War Memorial and Cultural Center (new library in the west park and youth canteen in the House) was rejected in 1946. A Parks Commission appointed by the Town Board developed long-range plans but voluntary funding did not meet expectations. At the same time, youth activities were failing due to lack of volunteer adult supervision. The local park board didn't have the authority to develop the park properly and the Town Board was unable to authorize extensive funds without matching them for other areas. In 1950, the new Islip Town Police Athletic League made preliminary steps to take over the Park; it had sufficient manpower and finances to turn the property into a viable, well supervised youth center. The Town was agreeable to them leasing the grounds but had reservations about the house and barn; consequently, PAL  proceeded with its multiple activities, using the facilities of the public and parochial schools instead. In January 1951, the Sayville Community Council was organized by local residents who saw the need for a community meeting place. Their effort to revive public interest and attract funds (to be used for running expenses only; the Town would pay for repairs) met with some success and the facilities were being used by the Girl Scouts, Mariner Scouts, PAL, Railroad Club, Sayville Garden Club, Sayville Play School, SVIS, Southside Hospital Auxiliary, South Shore Women's College Club, Sayville Softball Association and Wet Paints Studio...In February 1954, Rotarians built a ball field for the Little League, naming it Grover Silliman Memorial Stadium for its first President, on the north side of Gillette House (where others had also proposed an outdoor theater for the Sayville Musical Workshop). The following spring, they helped landscape a portion of the Community Park adjacent to the Stadium. By August 1958, the end of the eighth year of Community Council administration, the House was being utilized seven days a week by 33 Sayville, West Sayville and Bayport organizations. In 1960, the TOI established a museum in the House, displaying an eclectic mix of antique toys, stuffed birds, women's accessories, irons and trivets, a Secatogue Indian skull and other Indian artifacts. Over the years, the House and Park have continued to host multiple organizations as well as many annual events, including SVIS Antique and Collectables Show and Holiday Party, Earth Day and Summerfest. Its permanent residents include the Greater Sayville Food Pantry, BAFFA and its Gallery,.SVIS and the Wet Paints Studio.

COMMON GROUND AT ROTARY PARK:   In October 1956, Rotarians began clearing the Gillette land between Gillette and Candee Avenues; they planned to convert it into a "public garden".  Their work continued into the next spring and on August 15, 1957, they dedicated their second public park, replete with new grass, shrubs, trees and a flagpole mounted on a Rotary wheel base. Unfortunately, repetitive vandalism forced the Club to modify its ongoing long-range plans for the Park.

 

 

 

The Common Ground at Rotary Park

 

 

 

Horse Shows in Rotary Park
accompanied Summerfest in the 1990s

 

 

 

Wednesday Night Concerts at the
Common Ground are popular in the summer

 

 

 

So are Friday Family Nights

 

 

 

and yoga, reiki and gardening 

(volunteer gardeners always needed!)

 

 

Images: top row, Webb N. Morrison; middle row left, collection of Sayville Library;
all others, courtesy of the Common Ground

 

In 2001, following the tragic September 11 attack, several Rotary members advanced the idea of converting the Rotary Park into a memorial to those lost. They were soon joined in the endeavor by other neighborhood organizations that wished to participate; all were soon merged together  into one committee to establish the Common Ground at Rotary Park. A groundbreaking ceremony took place May 4, 2002. Funded by businesses and residents as well as sales of memorial bricks and calendars, walks were marked, the flag pole relocated, a pavilion built and a labyrinth designed with an adjacent garden.. The Common Ground has become a year-round location for a diverse group of activities: art shows, concerts, community sings, movies, tai-chi, yoga, religious ceremonies, picnics and many children's events.

SAYVILLE (PUBLIC) BEACH, 60 Brown's River Road:  In the early 1900s, the shore front from Oakdale to Blue Point was home to many oyster shanties (see West Sayville: Waterfront).  However, Sealshipt, later the Bluepoints Company began to buy them out and consolidate their packing and shipping in West Sayville. Beebe Brothers located on Brown's River Road was among them and their property was vacated (see Business: Sayville, Main Street to the Bay). In the early 1920s, the Sayville Village Improvement Society and former Sheriff John Wells both saw the need for a public bathing beach for the village and then learned of the availability of the former Beebe land, now Bluepoints property, 138 feet of beach front for $5,000. In early 1924 they began an aggressive campaign to raise money to buy it and then turn it over free and clear to the Town of Islip. However, resident enthusiasm to use the new Beach overtook the fund drive, the Town accepted the deed on June 10, 1925 but the ladies didn't reach 100% of their target and pay off the deed until mid-August 1926.     

                                                                    

 

 

Sayville Public Beach, about 1935

 

 

 

SVIS Survived the Summer Beach Party
August 22, 2005

 

 

 

 

Sayville Beach after Hurricane Sandy, 2013

 

 

Images: top, courtesy of the Sayville Village Improvement Society;

bottom left, courtesy of Sayville.com; right,  from Town of Islip Archives

 

Upon acceptance of the deed in 1925, the TOI found $1,100 to immediately build 25 bath houses and pay a caretaker for the summer season. The Bluepoints Company, for the nominal sum one dollar a year, gave the Town a ten year lease on its land underwater (which was in Brookhaven Town) extending 400 feet out into the Bay so that docks, jellyfish nets, etc. could be placed without question of trespass. On February 5. 1919, the Beach shorefront was lengthened by 80 feet on the east when the former Broere strand was acquired  from Alfred Sykes. In the spring of 1936, considering its popularity, the Town approved construction of 45 additional bath houses to be completed by opening of the season. On August 30, 1945, the County deeded another small (.06 acre) strand on the east side to the Beach. On May 17, 1950, by acquisition of land from John C. Koman, a local electrical contractor, the Town received a land parcel with 70 foot frontage on River Avenue (now Road) to be used as an additional parking lot for the Beach (see Brown's River West, this section). The original wooden bathhouses were long-since replaced by concrete block facilities. Nevertheless, the Beach was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Among the 18 Town of Islip recreational sites, necessary repairs at Sayville Beach  were estimated to be the third most expensive at $ 1.3 million dollars and the Beach is currently (2014) closed.

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SAYVILLE NORTH

CARL JOHNSON MEMORIAL, Johnson and Lakeland Avenues:  Carl A. Johnson was born September 14, 1918 in the Bronx and went to school in Bohemia and Sayville. Thereafter, he was a mechanic in Pausewang's Machine Shop. He enlisted in the Army on January 3, 1940 and received training at Fort Slocum, New Rochelle, NY and Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn before being sent to Hawaii February 20.

 

 

 

 

Image: Webb N. Morrison

 

He was stationed at Hickam Field and was either working on or in one of the planes there when the Japanese attacked and he was killed on December 7, 1941. He was the first local resident lost in WWII and was awarded the Purple Heart. Carl was buried in the National Cemetery of the Pacific, within the rim of a volcano above the city of Honolulu. The Town of Islip changed the name of the street on which he and his family lived from Moscow Avenue to Johnson Avenue in his memory. Fifty years later, December 7, 1991, the Town dedicated a Memorial in his honor; he is the only Islip resident known to have been killed at Pearl Harbor. The monument is across the street from his original workplace, Pausewang's Machine Shop, demolished in 1913 (see Business: North of the Tracks).

YONDA PARK, 7 Yonda Drive:   In early 1947, Anthony Yonda, Sr, announced 33 lots for sale in "Sayville's Newest Development", the former Patrick Mullen farm on the north side of Tariff Street west of Lakeland Avenue. After development of the property, the Yonda family still held a 1.3 acre flaglot connected to Yonda Drive by a 50 foot right-of-way. In February 1957, in an agreement with the TOI, he gave the Town that land for park and recreation purposes in return for its approval of his purchase of adjacent property on Lakeland Avenue. The resulting neighborhood Park has a playground for children and a wide open field that may be used for soccer, football or lacrosse.

 

 

 

 

Image: by Webb N. Morrison

 

TIMOTHY J. HENCK MEMORIAL, Depot Street and Greene Avenue:  Timothy J. Henck was born in 1965, son of a Suffolk County police officer. He was a graduate of Sayville schools and was an avid soccer player. He first joined the New York Police Department and then shifted to Suffolk County where he served as a Sergeant in the 5th Precinct. On July 31, 1995, he found himself engaged in a high-speed pursuit of a burglary suspect who, when he found himself cornered, deliberately rammed Henck's car, causing injuries from which the Sergeant died six days later.

 

 

 

Image: by Webb N. Morrison

 

On April 24, 1997 a Memorial as a tribute to his life was unveiled adjacent to the Junior High School Soccer Field, naming the field for him. In May 1999, the Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau - following a long standing tradition to name patrol boats in remembrance of fallen officers - named one, # 292,  after him.

COURT HOUSE,  190 Railroad Avenue:   Until 1960, the only full service police department in Suffolk County was the State Police, organized in 1917.  Beyond that, law enforcement fell primarily to local town or village governments that often employed part-time and/or untrained personnel whose pay could be enhanced, based on specific tasks such as number of arrests. Initially, the accused would appear before a local Justice of the Peace (legal training not required); criminal offenses could be remanded to the County or other higher court...County government was handled by the Board of Supervisors of the ten towns. A 1958 State law provided for a County Executive and elected legislature to move in above the latter and for the County to have its own police force, if desired. The five western Townships (including Islip) elected to establish a Suffolk County Police Force as of January 1, 1960; the five eastern ones chose to maintain their own police forces and to draw upon the County force for special services. In the late 1800s,  the Sayville "court room" moved around, variously from the back room of a butcher shop to the truck house to some other available venue. Finally, in April 1897, it located permanently in Good Templars Hall on the second floor of the Raynor Block. Daniel D. White succeeded his father, who had just been elected as TOI Collector of Taxes but dropped dead before taking office.  Then in 1904, he was nominated by the Republicans of Islip Town as Justice of the Peace, an office he held until his retirement in 1930. He was a wealthy man with inheritances from his parents and grandparents and on June 1, 1900, was instrumental in forming and became first President of the Sayville Electric Company (see Business: North of the Tracks). He was also very active in the local financial market. He died on March 27, 1939.

 

 

 

Court House (note Old '88 left in distance)
Postmarked July 13, 1914

 

 

 

Court House, 2014

 

 

Images: Collection of the Sayville Library

 

In 1911, Justice White initiated plans for a new Court House and had I.H. Green design it. Downstairs, there was to be an office in the front and two small holding cells in the rear to replace an older jail on the same site (unfavorably referred to as the "little red brick jug") and upstairs, the Justice was to have his Court Room. Various names were advanced for the building: Sayville Court House, Sayville Hall, White Hall and Borough Hall. Judge White purchased most of the furniture for the new building and probably made the final name selection which was already painted high above the front door when it opened. The Justice heard his first case there on Saturday, September 7, 1912: four boys under the age of 15 were  arrested for stealing watermelons and managed to implicate each other for other various minor crimes, were all  charged with burglary in the third degree and ordered to face the Grand Jury in Riverhead in November; their parents paid the bail of $100 each. The second case the next day was a Mr. Hayashi, a Japanese put off the train for intoxication and brought in by Sheriff John Wells. He was the first to occupy one of the new steel cells where he spent the night; in the morning Judge White fined him five of the ten dollars that he had and sent him on his way. One of the of the original justifications for building the Court House had been to provide "local" offices for town personnel. In 1954, it was designated as Police Headquarters for the east end of Islip Town. About the same time, since the cells were no longer being used, the Sayville Cabinet for the Sick moved into the rear section where it remained until 1959 (see Clubs: Service). The last cases to be heard in the Court Room were in the early 1960s; most justice courts were replaced on January 1, 1964 by Suffolk County District Courts on January 1, 1964, although some still exist on the east end (e.g., Southampton) or in incorporated villages (e.g., Patchogue). In 1962, the building was completely renovated, including adding brick veneer, four columns and a colonial front door with a window on each side in the front. In 1963, it became one of three "command centers" in  the Town Civil Defense and, the same year, Councilman Norman DeMott  opened his office there and remained for 23 years A police COPE team and various County offices were later tenants. Currently (2014), the building has been unoccupied for several years.

KAY PORTER PARK, 54 Railroad Avenue:    Kay Porter - teacher, guidance counselor and long-time resident of Sayville; President of the Sayville Village Improvement Society (SVIS), Sayville Garden Club and Sayville Rotary Club - has been categorized as an :integral part of Sayville; she has always had a keen interest in the betterment of the Village. Among her many ideas was the establishment of a  specific parking place for bicycles as a way to encourage locals to trade their four wheels for two for a "shopping trip downtown"; this could help reduce both traffic and pollution.

 

 

 

Elroy Building, built 1913

 

 

 

Kay Porter Park, 2014

 

Images: left, Suffolk County News; right, by Webb N. Morrison

 

Following the demolition of the Elroy Building in 1974 and TOI removal of the remaining excavation in 1979, the Town - after a period of more or less abandonment - found itself in possession of  land very suitable to adoption of her idea and put it to use. Kay oversaw and donated the landscaping as well as initiating the selling of individually engraved bricks to support future resident benefits through efforts of the SVIS. On August 16, 2011, Kay Porter Park was dedicated at a reception attended by friends as well as business, political and organization representatives.  The Park was welcomed not only for its parking facilities but also as a place to take a little "break" and, possibly,  a sandwich in the midst of downtown visits. Robert Elroy, a professional entertainer and magician from New York, and his wife had opened Elroy's Variety Store in the Foth Building (106 Railroad Avenue) on March 8, 1913. Apparently, his ten cent store business did very well because construction of his own 40 x 50 foot building down the street began by November and he also talked of a branch in Islip.  (Elroy Variety postcards are now among local collector's items.) He opened his new building, not yet finished, on December 5. By spring 1914, Meyer's Confectionery had moved into the other retail store on the first floor; the second and third floor were apartments, first used by the family and later rented to others. In July 1918, Elroy sold the building to Morris Small of Brooklyn who opened The Leader, a dry goods store; Meyers remained on the other side. Subsequent tenants included Glaser's Shoes, Marek's Dry Goods and Tailor and, in the 1940s, Midtown Food Market.

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SAYVILLE SOUTH

 FLORENCE B. EVANS MEMORIAL, Overlook South:   Florence Evans was born in Oakdale March 11, 1915... She was a graduate of Sayville High School and then of William & Mary College, Williamsburgh, VA in June 1942. On March 1, 1943, she enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps and, in May, LT Evans left for overseas service in the African and Italian Campaigns. She was awarded the Bronze Star for gallant conspicuous bravery near Casino in 1944. Florence Evans was killed in a motor accident near Luynes, France on the last day of WWII in Europe, May 8, 1945. Her body was repatriated and she is buried in the family plot in Union Cemetery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Legion & VFW Commemoration Ceremony,  March 15, 2011

 

 

Images by Ed Neale courtesy of Sayville.com

  

PORT O' CALL, Brown's River Road:  In June 1896, Captain Carman Skinner built a small pavilion at the foot of Foster Avenue to sell soft drinks and cigars.  Over succeeding years, this was expanded to include bath houses, briefly a yacht club, dining facilities and, finally a yacht basin; it was known as Willow Pavilion, Sykes Beach, Lobster Grill, Fore 'n Aft and lastly Port O' Call. (For more details, please see Business: Main Street to the Bay.) Abandoned for some years, damaged by storms and condemned by the Town of Islip, in October 1946, Charles Alexander of Oakdale bought the Lobster Grill property, demolished some of the old bathhouses and renovated usable sections of the pavilion. By May 1950, he had completed a restaurant and boat basin with 50 slips and named the establishment Fore 'n Aft. In 1954, there was a split in the management with  the  basin operation being taken over by the Strong-Holland Company of Hauppauge whose business was boat sales; it named the marina Port O' Call. On December 20, the restaurant side was subjected to a Public Auction and in May 1965, the TOI moved to acquire the property by condemnation; the purchase for $ 115,000 (including the restaurant building) was agreed upon September 14. The Town undertook necessary repairs to the property and bulkheading and the Wet Pants Association leased facilities for three years at $ 100 annually. Generally, the Town leased the approximately 80 slips on an annual basis and also used it as a terminal for its Barrett Beach summer ferries (see below); it also rented the building for various events including art workshops, hobby shoes, children's performing arts  and precision drill teams such as fife and drum corps. Currently, the Wet Pants continues to lease the facilities (including the building and a limited number of slips), the TOI continues to rent a majority of the slips and there is no longer ferry service to Barrett Beach.

 

 

 

Willow Pavilion, 1913

 

 

 

Sykes Beach , 1925

 

 

 

Lobster Grill, 1935

 

 

 

Fore 'n Aft, 1950

 

 

 

Port O' Call/Wet Pants, Race Day, 2013

 

 

 

Port O' Call/Wet Pants Headquarters (center), Old Sayville Yacht Club (right),2014

 

 

Images: Top row left, collection of Sayville Library; right, collection of Tony Brinkman

Middle row left, courtesy of Neil Spare, Jr; right, courtesy of Tony Brinkmann

Bottom row left, courtesy of Lee Montes, DDS; right, by Webb N. Morrison

 

 Barrett Beach (between Fire Island Pines and Water Island): Most of Fire Island is  in Brookhaven Town; residents of the east end of Islip Town wanted something closer than Atlantique for their docking and ocean beach access.  Consequently, in the May 1957, the Town Board approved the purchase of a 300 foot strip of land from Bay to Ocean from the Home Guardian Company of New York for an Islip Town bathing  beach; for this land, the Town Board sat, not as a Board but as the Trustee. At the  time, there were no facilities. In the early 1960s, the Board named the strip after Elijah P. Barrett, a State Assemblyman and Senator, who died in 1966. In the late 1960s, it built a 40-slip marina and other facilities. Reportedly, the marina was constructed in a poor location, very susceptible to bad weather damage. In 1997, Supervisor Pete McGowan closed Barrett Beach down completely, citing bad damage and financial problems, declined to renew the ferry and concession contracts, razed the playground and signified "No Trespassing". It is now a part of the Fire Island National Seashore and there is no regular ferry service.  

SAYVILLE MARINA PARK, foot of Foster Avenue:  The Tidewater Inn opened at the Bay in May 1916; it was acquired by the Alfred Frieman Family in May 1935 and renamed the Shoreham Hotel and Beach Club.  (For the history of these operations, please see Business: From Main Street to the Bay.)   Alfred Frieman died very suddenly in April 1960. 

 

 

 

Tidewater Inn, 1920s

 

 

 

Shoreham Hotel & Beach Club, 1950s

 

 

 

Marina Park, Beach & Facilities Building, 2014

 

 

 

Marina Park, Playground & Tennis Courts, 2014

 

 

Images: Top row, collection of the Sayville Library, Bottom row, Webb N. Morrison

 

His son, Richard, assumed management and continued to run the Beach Club but leased the Hotel out to others including one reportedly with "mob connections". In 1966, it was operated as the Shore Club, a "go-go" operation, by Joseph Messina, said to be front-man for an ex-convict; a lead dancer had her throat cut, another was severely injured and money was missing.  The State revoked that license in January 1967 and the establishment was closed. Edwin G. Peters later re-opened it as The Shoreham Hotel Bar and neighbors complained that the Bar created conditions which jeopardized, "lives, safety and property". In December 1970, his lease was purchased by William Morton, then the current owner, whose family ran the adjacent restaurant and who planned to continue operating the Beach Club in the summer months.  Unfortunately, the Hotel burned to the ground on March 21, 1971. However, the Beach Club continued until 1985 when it was abandoned. On April 23, 1987, the Pavilion and the four blocks of bath houses also burned. After two years of squabbling over whether the land should be re-zoned for condos, houses or whatever, the Town acquired the Shoreham property and an adjacent parcel to the west by condemnation.  After clearing the land of debris, planting shrubbery and building a 65-car parking lot, it re-opened on July 4, 1989 as the Sayville Marina Park, sharing its entry drive with Port O' Call. In addition to providing a second (and more extensive) public beach, it also offers a children's playground, tennis courts, picnic tables, barbeque grills, plenty of benches and shaded walking areas.

CANDEE AVENUE PARK, foot of Candee Avenue:   John Treadwell Geen built a pavilion on the shore on the east side foot of Candee Avenue in1884; in 1888, to make room for the new South Bay House, he moved it to the west side next to the bathing beach...that building was followed by the Shoreham Restaurant (1903), Sayville Golf Club (1903), Sayville Country Club (1921), Sayville Playhouse (summer theater, 1941)  Sayville Playhouse (movies, 1947).  (For more details in these operations, please see Business: Main Street to the Bay and Clubs: Sports.)  The Playhouse burned to the ground March 15, 1959.

 

 

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Shoreham Restaurant, 1915

 

 

 

Sayville Country Club and 9th Hole, 1920s

 

 

 

Cherry Grove Ferry leaving Candee Ave Pier, 1934

 

 

 

Candee Avenue Park & Playground, 2014

 

 

Images: Top row, collection of Sayville Library;

 Bottom left, courtesy of Neil Spare, Jr; right, Webb N. Morrison

 

In September 1959, the Town Board authorized the purchase of the Playhouse property of almost five acres (two of which were under water) from the Prudential Theater Chain for $15,000; the TOI planned to use it for recreational purposes, probably a public park and launching facilities for small boats. Almost immediately, a  portion was leased to the  Sayville Musical Workshop; a house was moved to it from Oakdale to become the Group's office, meeting place and theatrical workshop. A children's playground was installed. However, broader activities are limited because of an agreement between the Town and the County. In 1987, the Town bought the deteriorating Lafayette Hotel property just to the north on the east side of Candee Avenue and razed it (see Hotels). It then applied for a variance to build four single family homes on the property. The variance was denied by the Suffolk County Board of Health which expressed concern with possible overall density at the site. In July 1988, the Town offered to keep the nearby beachfront Park undeveloped, the Board relented and the houses were built.

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GREEN'S CREEK

 BROOKSIDE COUNTY PARK, 59 Brook Street:   In the late 1800s, Samuel Willett Green, father of  I.H. Green, purchased 100 acres of land on the Sayville/West Sayville border; it encompassed a significant amount of swampland along Green's Creek. Around 1888, he began developing a northern section at the headwaters of Green's Creek, creating lakes with small islands and stocking the waters with trout. After he died in January 1893, his son, I. H. Green, Jr,  continued with his plans,  designed  and built a Tudor style mansion  on a hill close to Cherry Street (now Avenue), moved in in March 1897 and made that his home until he died in 1937. A windmill was added in January 1897 and a carriage house in September 1898.

 

 

 

I. H. Green Mansion, built 1897

 

 

 

The "Gatehouse"

 

 

 

Lake from the Entrance Bridge

 

 

 

Path along the hillside

 

 

 

Islands among the waterways

 

 

 

Headwaters of Green's Creek

 

 

 

The Entrance Bridge

 

 

Postcards: top, courtesy of  Frank McAlonan; bottom, courtesy of Tony Brinkmann

Photos: Webb N. Morrison

 

The house was sold to Roscoe and Evelyn Clock; the latter died in the fire which demolished the house on November 28, 1970. In December 1998, County Legislator Steve Levy initiated a bill to purchase the property at 59 Brook Street from the current owners, the Thurber Family, and the Great South Bay Audubon Society expressed a desire to become steward of the property for the County. In August 1999, the County purchased it with funds from its Drinking Water Protection Program. Society members cleaned litter and debris, cut paths and built several wooden bridges and began offering tours in 2001. They also renovated the existing "Gatehouse" as their headquarters and as a location for their meetings as well as community events. The structure, built in 1888, was used during the Green tenure for servant's quarters; the original gatehouse still stands on Greeley Avenue.

GREEN'S CREEK COUNTY PARK, Clyde Street: In the late 1800s and a majority of the 1900s, the lower west side on Green's Creek was lined with active boat yards and machine shops.  However, fire in two adjacent boat yards at opposite ends of Clyde Street put an end  to such enterprises. By the 1990s, the area had deteriorated with ramshackle shacks and grass spreading. In1990, NYCONN, a limited partnership, advanced a proposal to build a shopping center on Main Street, a reconstructed marina along Green's Creek,  and 11 condominiums at the foot of Atlantic Avenue facing the Bay;  in return, the Company would make a donation of about12 acres of wetlands along the Creek for preservation purposes; the Company emphasized the opportunity for the Town to develop a forever undeveloped marsh habitat. Eliminating the condominiums, which the neighbors opposed, all other items were approved by the Town Board in May 1992. However,  NYCONN eventually abandoned the effort and in November 1996, using $ 1.5 million  remaining from the Drinking Water Protection Program, Suffolk County purchased four acres of shorefront at the end of Atlantic Avenue (including Clyde Street creek area) and begun a clean up of the crumbling buildings and debris. In 2000, for another $1.4 million, it acquired the other 15 acres of NYCONN land. bounding the west shore of the Creek on the east and Bluepoints land on the south. In 2007, the County completed its purchases of Green's Creek Estuary lands by spending  $2.7 million for another 16 acres around and up Green's Creek.

 

 

 

Jelle Dykstra's Boat Yard, about 1910
Clyde & Canal Streets

 

 

 

Lightner's (Merolla's) Boat Yard, 1958
Clyde Street across from Bluepoints

 

 

 

Remnants of Boat Yard & Machine Shop
Clyde & Canal Streets, 1993

 

 

 

Townsend Seafood replaced Merolla's Boat Yard,
1992 and declared bankruptcy later

 

 

 

 

Green's Creek Park, entry from Clyde St , 2013

 

 

 

Green's Creek Park, Clyde Street in back,  2013

 

 

Images: top left, courtesy of William Leigh-Manuel; right, right courtesy of Marty Merolla;

middle row, courtesy of Loretta Stump; bottom row, by Webb N. Morrison

 

Green's Creek County Park was first discussed by the County legislature in December 1998 and approved by the County Executive on May 18, 1999.  However, the 4.7 acre park (3.3 upland, 1.4 underwater) encompassed seven buildings which had to be demolished and there was also a probable asbestos problem  Legislator Ginny Fields managed to get a grant of $250,000 for clean-up, installment of a small parking lot and decking. However, the Park was not completed until the spring of 2004 when the West Sayville Civic Association planted trees and legislator Bill Lindsay got a $20,000 County grant for final landscaping and maintenance. Today, it is a restive place offering boardwalks with multiple benches for a view of not only the Creek but also across the Great South Bay. Fishing, swimming and watercraft are prohibited. Vandalism and children crabbing have been issues that periodically arise and are resolved.

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 WEST SAYVILLE

 SAYVILLE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, BAYMEN SOCCER COMPLEX, CHERRY AVENUE COUNTY DOG PARK, 250  Cherry Avenue:  These three facilities are, at least for the most part, on land that had been occupied by Telefunken Wireless Company - the German company that may have sent the message sinking the RMS Lusitania in1915 (see Business: West Sayville) - and the U.S. government agencies (CAA, FAA) that followed it after WWI. In 1990, the FAA planned to establish a Dopplar weather radar station on a piece of the property and, as part of the deal, give the Town of Islip the use of an adjacent 8.7 acres that would be developed for the Baymen Soccer Club. There was immediate local opposition to the radar station and the plan was aborted in April 1991. Consequently, the FAA decided to give the land to the TOI and the 11 acres on which it had planned to build the weather station to the Fish and Wildlife Service anyway. At the time, there was a question about how contaminated the land might be from PCBs or whatever as a result of previous government activities.  The same year, Congress legislated the transfer of 101 acres from the FAA property for the establishment of a National Wildlife Refuge.  Following the transfer of an additional 26 acres of vacant FAA land in 1992, the Refuge was founded. The same year, the Baymen Soccer field was deeded to the Town of Islip (libor 11482; page 221) through the Regional Director of the National Park Service. However, overall the actual transfers of property required about five years; the FAA removed the existing structures and provided contamination clean-up before formal transfer.

 

 

 

National Wildlife Refuge (2006 Map) includes all land with red and black boxes

(127 acres bordered on east by Bohemia Parkway, Mobile Street & Cherry Avenue

 and on the south by the railroad); Baymen Soccer & Dog Park,  lower right

 

 

 

Baymen Soccer Complex

 

 

 

On the Field

 

 

Images: top, courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service;

bottom left, by Webb N. Morrison; right, courtesy of Sayville.com

 

Baymen Soccer was established in 1981 and is one of the few Island soccer clubs to now have its own field; in its early years, it played around, one of its venues being Sayville Middle School. The Club is a non-profit educational organization whose purpose is "to foster development of members through soccer".  Its boy and girl player members are aged four to twenty-one and are divided among multiple teams; coaches chose names  - which must be nautical or weather-related - for their teams.

 

 

 

 

Entrance to Sayville National Wildlife Refuge

 

 

 

Grasslands by Ed Sambolin

 

 

 

Sandplain gerardia, an endangered species

 

 

 

Intern monitoring sandplain gerardia

 

 

Images: top left, Webb N. Morrison; all others, courtesy of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

 

In September 2007, the FAA finally transferred it 101 acre tract (red box on map) to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to establish its National Wildlife Preserve housing one of the last remaining grasslands unique to the area.  Included in the plant and  animal species found here is the sandplain gerardia, the only plant on the Federally-endangered list found in New York State; two other endangered species also present are the frosted elfin (a butterfly) and the stiff tick trefoil (a parasite). Other current residents include white-tailed deer, red foxes, box turtles and hog-nosed snakes as well as multiple birds. The Sayville NWP is one of eight on the Island which, with one wildlife management area, make up the Long Island Complex of 6,500 acres.  Among them, Sayville is one of three closed to the public except for select uses or projects and then only by special permit.

CHERRY AVENUE COUNTY DOG PARK:   In May 2007, the Suffolk County Legislature passed what was referred to as the "five new dog parks" bill which directed its Parks Commissioner to designate five areas for development into dog parks; it also authorized the issuance of $59,000 in bonds to pay for them.

 

 

 

Legislator Lindsay dedicates Park, August 4, 2011

 

 

 

Afternoon in the Park

 

 

Images: left, courtesy of The Suffolk County News; right, by Webb N. Morrison

In November 2010, ground clearing began for West Sayville, the third, and it was dedicated on August 4, 2011. It is a fenced 1.5 acre field, covered by wood chips to minimize dust and mud.  The field is divided into two sections for dogs over and under 25 pounds; each of the segments has running water. Trash collection is provided but owners are requested to bring their own bags; two large PVC towers are available to receive donated bags. Leashed or unleashed, dog may not be taken on the adjacent Soccer Field.

EDWIN BOOGERTMAN MEMORIAL PARK, 99 Division Avenue:   Apparently, there are no existing records  detailing how and when the Town of Islip acquired what was the Division Avenue Park; however, in 1915, it was the Town sand pit and some "old timers", going back to the 1930s,  recall it as a vacant lot, sometimes a dumping ground with no memory of a structure ever being on the site. By the 1960s it had become a Park and when the Suffolk County Health Department closed West Sayville Beach (see: West Sayville Beach below), the pavilion and children's playground accessories were moved to this location. Unfortunately, vandalism later caused the Town to remove the pavilion but playground equipment remained, along with picnic tables and a playing field.

 

 

 

Edwin Boogertman Memorial Park, 2014
(TOI right-away path in rear leads to Tyler Avenue)

 

 

 

In September 2012, the Town officially renamed Division Avenue Park as Edwin Boogertman Memorial Park; he had been a resident of the street, volunteer fire fighter (and chief of Department for two years), a  tireless volunteer for other organizations, Navy veteran, and for 24 years tax receiver for the TOI.  He died in 1997 at age 71.

 CHARLES  R. DOMINY COUNTY PARK,  200 Main Street:   The 217-acre Anson Hard Estate had been on the market for some years when Suffolk County acquired it at a cost of $2.15 million in September 1965; the estate had been planning to sell it to a developer who had hoped to erect 500 homes on the property. In November 1966, Charles R. Dominy, former Brookhaven Town Supervisor, was named County Commissioner of Parks and would oversee development of 9,500 acres of land that the County had acquired in the last seven years. He decided to establish Park headquarters at the recently acquired Hard Estate. For more details of the history of the Hard family and its estate, please see: Clubs and Other Organizations: Long Island Maritime Museum and West Sayville Country Club.

 

 

 

 

Anson W. Hard Main House, built 1909

 

 

 

Adjacent Servants Quarters

 

Present Headquarters of Suffolk County Parks

 

 

Images: courtesy of Dowling College Long Island Historic Homes Collection

The County designated the Estate as Charles R. Dominy County Park. Further, it allocated the Hard carriage house/garage and 26 acres at the foot of West Avenue to the development of the now Long Island Maritime Museum which  was dedicated and opened May 1, 1969.

 

 

 

Hard Carriage House/Garage, about 1925

 

 

 

Suffolk Marine Museum, about 1980

 

 

 

Long Island Maritime Museum, 2013

 

 

Images: top left, courtesy of Tony Brinkmann; right,  courtesy of William Leigh-Manuel

bottom, courtesy of Long Island Maritime Museum

 

  The first County-owned  18-hole golf course was built on 137 acres of the Estate and opened as the West Sayville Country Club on May 25, 1968.

 

 

 

Entrance to West Sayville Country Club

(Gatehouse and entrance to original Hard Estate)

 

 

 

West Sayville Country Club

 

 

Images: left, Courtesy of Dowling College Long Island Homes Collection;

right,  West Sayville Country Club

 

WEST AVENUE DOCK, foot of West Avenue:  In the late 1890s, for most local fishermen and private boat owners the only docking space was a small pier at the end of West Avenue and most craft had to be anchored, unprotected, off shore.  Samuel P. Green still owned most of the shore front and they appealed to him for a safer harbor In 1896, he had some of the meadows dredged and opened Green's Harbor for anyone willing to pay his annual fee: catboats, $8, sloops $10. At the time, baymen had begun consolidating their operations in West Sayville (see West Sayville: Waterfront and Fishing), being driven from the Oakdale shore by Frederick Bourne.

 



West Basin, bulkhead damage, 1905


West Basin photo OB4047.jpg


West Basin, north side, early 1900s


East Basin from end of West (Public) Dock, 1917
(note Cedarshore Casino,  upper right)



Naval Station on West Street Dock, 1918




West Avenue Dock and Basin, 1982




West Avenue Dock and Basin,  2013




West Avenue Dock, looking toward the shore, 2014




West Avenue Dock, looking toward the Bay, 2014


 

In 1902, seven of major oystermen - the Westerbeke brothers (John, Edward, William), the Ockers brothers (Jacob and Frederick), William Rudolph and John Van Wynne - formed a partnership, bought land between Atlantic and West Streets (Avenues, now) as the base for West Basin from Samuel P. Green and added to the existing West Avenue pier by building the southern and eastern bulkheads. In September 1904, oyster shippers bordering on the new "big basin" built a bulkhead along its northside. In June 1908, T. H. Dykstra's oyster house was moved from the East to the West basin, making room on the East for Jacob Ockers' buildings being floated over from Oakdale. In 1926, with the West Sayville fishing fleet growing rapidly and opposition to the extension of the West Street Dock, first proposals were advanced for an outer basin with a protective southern bulkhead. In July 1929, work was begun on a 400 foot extension of the existing dock with an eastern 175 foot and a western 125 foot wing at the end in a "T" formation; apparently, the western wing was not approved by the Federal War Department, which had to pass on any petition before the Town Board could sanction such construction of a dock, and was never built. In May 1937, the Town authorized a new bulkhead 435 feet long 260 feet east of the West Street dock extension finishing the inner and outer basins. In 2002, the Town began renovation of the West Avenue dock with a modern type of composite sheet piling...The West Avenue Dock is a popular place for fishing, crabbing or just relaxing and watching activities on the Bay.

WEST SAYVILLE BEACH, foot of Atlantic Avenue: Origins of the"Beach" are unclear but apparently it was always on quasi-public land, privately owned by local oystermen but opened for public use. Reportedly, the pavilion was built by "Methodists" about 1920. In June 1945, WWII in Europe being over, a group known as the West Sayville Beach Association decided to improve the facilities, add a float, erect poles and jelly fish nets and do some painting. Apparently, money was not forthcoming from the  Town of Islip so the members planned to "canvass the town for funds". In the 1950s, besides the pavilion, the beach also had a children's playground and a merry-go-round; PAL had summer programs and the Red Cross offered swimming lessons there. There was another  beach segment to the east referred to "Whooping Cough Beach"  where children who had had the illness are said to have been exiled.

 



West Sayville Shorefront, 1948.
West Sayville Beach with its square pavilion is left center between  the two basins

 

Image courtesy of West Sayville Boat Basin

 

In November 1956, the West Sayville Civic Association requested that the Town of Islip erect a swimming pool with filters because the beach area was condemned for shell-fishing. In the 1960s, possibly of that and/or because the Suffolk County Board of Health condemned the beach in July 1963, the pavilion and play equipment were moved north to Division Avenue Park, now Edwin Boogertman Memorial Park.

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