BUSINESSES: SAYVILLE - NORTH OF THE TRACKS

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Sunrise Highway

 

Progress Homes Models

 

# 5260, Progress Homes :    In July 1962, the Company advertised the two model homes shown above in "The New York Times"; they were located at 5260 Sunrise Highway, 200 feet east of Johnson Avenue, as typical of those that it could custom build for you on your land....In April 1963, the Town of Islip rejected a bid that the Company had filed to downgrade 16 acres directly across the road from Island Hills Country Club from AA to CA so that it could erect 272 apartments (including 34 two-story units).  The proposal had been widely opposed by neighbors as well as recently formed Montauk-Broadway Civic Club.

 

 

Postcard from collection of the Sayville Library

 

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Broadway Avenue

 

Sayville Airport from air, about 1952

Sayville Airport on ground, about 1952

Sayville Airport, after Hurricane Carol

Ex-Sayville Airport from air, 1969

Sayville Airport, west of Broadway on land now encompassing Bethesda, Potomac, and Loop:  Application was made to establish an airfield in a Residential "A" district in December 1941.  After approval, in 1945 the land was bought by Allan Thomas who, in partnership with Philomena "Sis" Farrell, opened the Airport.  Allen - an ex-Air Force Captain, licensed as a flight instructor in multi-engine and airline transport training courses as well as a licensed airline captain in his own right - established the Long Island School of Aeronautics, a flying school.The first student was George Maklos, a bus driver from Patchogue.  By October, 63 students were receiving instruction in Piper Cubs or a Stinson V-77, many under the GI Bill of Rights, and the airport had six T-shaped hangars.  Both ground photos above show the Twin Cessna (a/k/a the "Bamboo Bomber" because of its wooden struts) which also was used as a training plane. Among students were local physician Peter Lerner and local lawyer George F.X. McInerney; McInerney entertained at one Air Show with aerobatics in a bi-plane.  A second popular show act  was  "The Flying Farmer"  in which Thomas demonstrated what NOT to do in the air. A third advertised attraction were passenger flights including "Night Flights Over Sayville" at $ 2.50 each.  Beyond various levels of flight instruction, the Airport also offered standard services of hangar storage, tie-downs and repairs..  Allan Thomas was also a frequent volunteer participant in air searches for missing persons (and bodies).  Thomas married his partner, Farrell in September 1951. Unfortunately, the Airport and its planes were severely damaged by Hurricane Carol in September 1954. Because of that and perhaps because of expanding flight services at nearby MacArthur, Allen Thomas sold the 122 acres to developers in June 1955 and the Town returned the zoning to residential "A".

 

Air photos from Town of Islip Archives; " ground 1952" from The Suffolk County News; photo" after Carol" from collection of Lee Rosche

 

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Moscow (now Johnson) Avenue

 

 

National Lead Paint Testing Station  about 1955: Straight-up and 45-degree fences

 

# 291, National Lead Company Paint Testing Station:   National Lead Company was noted for its white-lead paints, which first appeared in 1907 under the Dutch Boy label.  (It also manufactured lead, pipes, solder and, later, wiring and auto parts, safety systems and weapons)  In June 1916, it purchased 10 acres on the east side of Moscow Avenue from Judge Daniel D. White to be used for testing of paint and paint materials.  Testing was done on fences constructed from four or five different types of lumber customarily used in construction.  Most of the fences ran from east to west having north and south exposure; some were built at a 45-degree angle to record the effect of direct sun and driving rain.  In its first 25 years, the Station put up 42 test

fences on which it conducted some 20,000 recorded tests....The local operation also had a supplementary marine station at the end of Seaman Avenue, Bayport adjacent to Frank Rogers' Oyster House where a system of exposures was developed which simulated conditions encountered aboard ship; water-immersion tests were carried out  for marine and anti-fouling paints on up to  2,000 metal panels in a partially enclosed basin... In the 1920s, the Company began experimenting with titanium dioxide, a bright white pigment, as a base for paint.   In the 1930s and 1940s, NL mined its own titanium and notably expanded its business with such products...In June 1954, it built a new administration building on the Sayville property.... However, growing consumer concern with lead paint and its effects may later have contributed to a declining share of the business.  In February 1970, Sayville Schools took title to the Testing Station property to build a new Middle School. The following year, the Company changed its name to NL Industries and sold Dutch Boy Paints

 

Photos from the Suffolk County News

 

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Moscow (now Johnson) Avenue

 

 

1933

1938

1948

1964

 

# 286, Paul Schneeberg Nursery:  Reportedly, the first greenhouse in Sayville was built on Greeley Avenue in 1870 by a German florist (Briggs?) who selected the area  for its  mild climate and sunshine. Paul Schneeberg, who also  immigrated  from Germany in 1923, followed.  In September 1929, he came to Sayville where he purchased the Wilts Farm on the west side of Moscow Avenue for his future business, Initially, he grew crops and mums and in 1938 was known as the largest grower of gladioli in the Country. However, his love of roses eventually prevailed and developed into a four-generation family business. His output of varietals decreased as his concentration on roses, principally hybrid T and floribunda (sweetheart), took over. By 1980, the 18 acre farm encompassed 10 greenhouses covering 115,000 square feet; contained about 76,000 rose plants, each contributing about 30 roses annually; employed 22 people; and produced about  two million roses a year which were sold exclusively to wholesalers. Roses were cut twice daily; immediately placed in water to avoid drying out; graded  for size, color, length, and straightness; and grouped in bunches of 25.  During the 1990s, importation of flowers from Colombia, Ecuador and other countries began to rise more rapidly, even though they lasted for a much shorter time.  By 1994, the Schneebergs were one of two out of 15 rose growers remaining on Long Island; they opened a retail store. On October 1, 1999, Paul Schneeberg & Sons closed down and sold the land to developer.

 

Photos from the Schneeberg Family Collection

 

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Hopkins Street

 

Airfield from Southwest

Pitcairn Sport Mailwing at Airfield, c 1935

Jimmy Hornung, Parachute Jumper

WWII Barnstormer

 

Karl Pausewang Airfield:  In the early 1920s, Karl, in addition to his other enterprises (also see K.P. Machine Shop), also significantly expanded his earlier interest in airplanes and bought 22 acres of woods on Hopkins which he cleared for an airfield. He had been flying bi-planes and, as the "Long Island Flying Corps", he bought the first Pitcairn Sport Mailwing, a three passenger bi-plane built August 10, 1929.  In 1932, his LIFC advertised that "short flights, long trips and instruction" were available in land  or seaplanes (the latter from Bayport bayfront)). The same year he constructed a hangar on Grove Street to service his field. He flew the first local air mail from Westhampton to Islip Airport and, for National Air Mail Week" celebrating its 20th Anniversary, in May 1938, he operated a special flight between Sayville and Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.  He was also pilot for Jimmy Hornung, a local parachutist who had lost his left leg and had very little use of an injured right arm, and who made a living jumping to land or into the Bay.  Karl was reportedly a stern, tough taskmaster who arrived at work at seven A.M., wearing a tie and sometimes a jacket, and expected punctuality from his staff.  He refused to answer his phone and his work floor was not opened to visitors. Customers desiring repairs or parts simply waited on line outside until he finished his machine work and was ready to serve them.  Among others, he was a friend of Glenn Curtiss (regarded as founder of U.S, Aircraft Industry), Leroy Grumman and Doug "wrong way" Corrigan. His flying activities tapered off in the 1950s and his Field was closed down to make way for   the Lincoln Avenue Elementary School. Karl Pausewang passed away in 1987 at age 97. 

 

Photos from collection of Jennie Pausewang except Barnstormer from Cradle of Aviation Museum/Chuck Webber Historical Collection

 

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Bourne Boulevard

 

 

Plant & Wax Bleaching in Sun, 1935

Shredding Machine,1932

 

 

# 90, Koster-Keunen:   The Company originated in Aalst, Holland as a leading refiner and blender of beeswax in 1852. Having expanded widely in Europe, in 1929 it decided to establish a U.S.A. operation and in May 1931 bought 10 acres in Sayville Heights, NY.  At the time, it appeared to be an ideal location because there was no heavy industry in the area so the air was free from pollution and there was no risk of soot from factory smoke-stacks falling on beeswax bleaching benches and impairing purity of its products.  Additionally, it was noted that the village already had many Dutch immigrants and their descendants and religious services were still held in the Dutch; "the home Country remained strong and a reliable work force was guaranteed".  The factory was positioned in the center of the land (where it still stands today).  Here, raw yellow bees' wax imported from Africa was melted, refined, and put through a shredding machine.  The resulting strands were then placed outside in the sun on bleaching racks for up to a month until they were bleached absolutely white. (During the hot weather, the wax was sprinkled with water to keep it from melting.)  Finally, the wax was formed into slabs or discs and sold to candle or cosmetic manufacturers. The plant initially employed from 20 to 30 people and production was on a seasonal basis from May to October.  Eventually, bleaching  benches were expanded until they covered about 40,000 square meters, there were up to five bleaching cycles a year and the operation was capable of producing 200,000 ponds of bleached wax in each cycle.   During World War II, five more acres were acquired and the firm expanded into mineral waxes required by the Military.  Today, the Sayville plant specializes in small tea light candles and candles used by the mass market, restaurant and hotel industries under the trade name of Paramold Manufacturing.

 

Photos from collection in the Koster Family Archives

 

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Lakeland Avenue

 

Machine Works,1920s (lower half photo)

Machine Works, 1930s

Equipment Inside

Eastern Coach Restoration, 2013

 

# 137, Karl Pausewang Machine Shop:   Karl Pausewang borrowed $ 35 from his mother to begin business in 1905 with a bicycle shop on his grandfather's land; his first job was to repair his school principal's bike. In 1910 he purchased a giant lathe for his shop; it was 27 feet long, weighed eight tons and Davis Brothers, movers, had to called in to move it from the railroad to his premises.  Then, he began repairing cars. He built his main shop, 110 feet long by 40 feet wide, in 1920. In the 1930s, the name was changed to Long Island Motor Works, handling automobile and airplane parts and marine hardware.  He was also credited with producing a lightweight diesel engine for W.K. Vanderbilt; consulting with RCA on the Empire State Building's first TV antenna;  and  participating in the installation of the first diesel engine in submarine.  He had  become interested in flying in the 1920s and In 1942, he was supervising 40 men making molds for parts at Grumman Air Craft ( also see K. P. Airfield .)  In addition, he had ten expert  machinists working in his own shop as long as 18 hours a day turning out parts for Republic Aircraft, including much precision work, particularly with dural, an aluminum alloy.  His was regarded as one of the best equipped machine shops on Long Island with its broad array of lathes, pressers, shapers, milling, grinding, polishing and cutting machines. Karl retired in 1979 and died in 1987.  Steve Sessions, who had founded his Eastern Coach (Antique Car) Restoration business in Blue Point in 1968 moved into the quarters in 1981 and remained until 2013 close. Among many others within those years, he had restored about 50 National First Place as well as Grand National and President Cup winners in Antique Automobile Club of America auto shows.

 

Top photos from collection of Jennie Pausewang;

Bottom from the Suffolk County News and from Webb Morrison

 

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Lakeland Avenue

 

 

# 2, North Pole:  The Grohs' Oakland House  was immediately north of the railroad tracks.  After his father's death in 1886, son Paul added a large pavilion and an ice house.  Sometime around 1900, the Oakland House itself ceased commercial operations and became exclusively Paul Groh's family homestead.  At about the same time, he built a separate tavern with bowling alleys fronting on Lakeland Avenue.  It was referred to as "Groh's Place" or simply "The Place" .  It was characterized as "a working farm, hostel for traveling salesmen, drummers, and agents of the L.I. Railroad" but, possibly due to the bowling alleys, became a popular spot for many around town. It continued under Groh management through Prohibition. However, after Paul Groh died on April 25th, 1937, his son sold the business to Raymond F. Jackson who, following some alterations, re-opened it on December 23rd, 1938 as The North Pole Bar and Grill, featuring steaks, bowling alleys and ping pong. For the next quarter century, it was a center for many bowling teams in the area.  In 1944, Jackson went off to sea and leased the business to Tom Jahoda, a 20-year restaurant veteran, who had been the recent proprietor of  Markvart's Hotel in East Islip and planned to specialize in "home cooking".  He reconditioned the alleys in 1948. Thomas Oakes took over in December 1951 and locally noted Chef Zeb Fitzgerald introduced full-course "Family Style Dinners" in October 1957 at $1.50 (reduced rate for children).  In April 1960  Al Ferguson and Mike Conway assumed control and  several years later, the building was demolished to make way for large parking lot serving the  Railroad Station. (For more information on Paul Groh, please see Hotels: Oakland House and Tidewater Inn.)

 

Photo from collection of George E. Spruce

 

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Greeley Avenue

 

 

# 195, Sayville Cement Block Company:  Although concrete block had a long history, widespread manufacture of concrete blocks and their popularity did not commence until the early years of the Twentieth century. Arthur Cambern, who was initially owner of the Sayville Lumber & Hardware Company (later known as E. Bailey Hardware on Main Street) and Arthur Udell, local contractor, opened the Sayville Cement Block Company at the railroad tracks about 1915. They offered primarily cement blocks and posts and building sand; later, the block product line was significantly broadened and availability of top soil, team work and auto trucking services were added. In April 1922, John H. Hawkins became proprietor. In February 1927, Louis A. Otto and Joseph B. Weeks obtained land on Lincoln Avenue near Church Street and adjacent to a big sand pit where they built a new factory. By 1946, the name had been changed to Sayville Sand, Gravel and Cement Company. In October 1950, it was taken over by the Concrete Wall Insulation Corporation of Lawrence, NY. A year later it was up for sale: "Csmsng\f block plant with 10 acre gravel pit, $ 15,500 ".

 

 Photos provided by Robert Affenita

 

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Easy Street

 

Sayville Electric Company Power House, after abandonment

 

Sayville Electric Company, Easy Street opposite Cliff Avenue:  On June 12, 1900, President  Daniel D. White and the Board of Directors made application to the State for incorporation, with a capital of $ 15,000. The power house was built, the engine, boiler, dynamo, and switchboard arrived, and electricity formally came to Sayville when lights were turned on on November 13, 1900.  The Company' had its business office with A.C. Edwards on Main Street.  Upon installation of service, the customer paid for each of his lamps and lamp sockets but, thereafter, lamp bulbs were replaced free upon receipt of the unbroken burned out bulb. No charge was made for the meter but if the consumer's bill was less than fifty cents a month, he was charged that minimum.  Within a year, noting local success and anticipated expansion beyond Sayville,

the Company  doubled the capacity of its  plant.  In 1903, it extended its lines through Bayport to the Brookhaven Town line and sold more stock, doubling its capital to $ 30,000. Until this time, all funds had been used for expansion and practically no dividends had been paid; part of this

new revenue went for a 2 1/2% semi-annual dividend in December. The Company continued to bid on and contract with "Lighting Districts".  Among them, it received one for the 65 street lights in Bayport, charging annually $18 for each, providing 25 candle power all night.  In 1906,

it laid lines along the railroad tracks to serve Oakdale (Sportsmens' Club) and Great River (Cutting Estate) . It had also hoped to serve Lake Ronkonkoma.  The Company became reasonably profitable and had been paying a 3 1/2% dividend when the Patchogue Electric Company, as a final offer, tried and failed to buy it for $ 50,000 in January 1910.  In March 1911, a new corporation approached the Public Service Commission, offering to buy the electric companies of Amityville, Islip, Sayville and Northport and merge the four  as the Long Island Lighting Company; it was approved and the Sayville Electric Company transferred all of its assets to LILCO and went out of business.    

 

Photo from Town of Islip Archives

 

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