Book Signings

We will be discussing and signing copies of our book Long Island Oddities at the following dates and locations:

10/23/13 7PM Carle Place, Barnes and Noble

10/24/13 7PM Bay Shore, Barnes and Noble

10/30/13 7PM Lake Grove, Barnes and Noble

ImageBetween the 1830s and early 1860s, Cold Spring Harbor boasted a small whaling industry. The Whaling Industry in CSH started as a business venture by John H, and Walter R Jones, descendants of a prominent Long Island family. The onslaught of the civil war and the discovery of petroleum led to a waning of this once bustling industry. The Jones? whaling company was on the west shore of the harbor and referred to as Bungtown, pertaining to barrels. A bung plug is a plug in a barrel and barrel manufacturing was another industry that flourished in the CSH of whaling days.

In 1889, John D Jones gave the Brooklyn Institute of Art and Science land and buildings to open a biological laboratory. This lab complex is today known as the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. This area was the former site of the Jones? whaling company. Some of the original whaling buildings still exist.

Wawapex Building
Osterhout Home
Hooper House
Davenport Mansion

The Wawepex Building was a whaling-era warehouse. The Hooper House was built for workers of the Jones? barrel factory. The barrels were needed for the whale oil. The Osterhout is a nineteenth-century home.  The Davenport house is a bountiful example of a Victorian-era house.
 This 2 ? story home originally housed Frederic Mather, the hatchery director. Later it housed Dr. Charles Davenport, the lab's director. Davenport was a major player in the field of eugenics, a highly controversial field.  Dr. Davenport directed the lab from 1898-1924. Even during the Nazi atrocities he remained steadfast with his beliefs in eugenics, a belief central to Nazi ideology.   Dr. Davenport was instrumental in founding the Whaling Museum.  A killer whale had washed up on shore in the winter of 1944. Dr. Davenport, then 78, was determined to have its skull for the Whaling Museum. He spent long nights boiling the whales head.  Though filled with steam, the shed was not insulated. Davenport began appearing weaker each day. He ultimately succumbed to pneumonia.

In 1978, the Davenport House, being used as a dorm for visiting scientists, was restored to its nineteenth-century appearance. They analyzed fragments of the original paint, with a microscope and ultraviolet light, to match the original color.

Fish Hatchery


The Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery was started in 1883 by New York State. Its mission was to breed fish, used to stock ponds, lakes and streams.  The site was ideal as it could take advantage of several former mill ponds and springs.

The first director of the Hatchery was Frederick Mather, a naturalist who specialized in fishes. Mather was a civil war veteran serving in the 113th New York Volunteers, starting as a private and rising to sergeant.  He later became a commissioned captain of the 7th New York Artillery.
In 1982, just shy of its 100th birthday, the Hatchery was facing closure.  Luckily, a group stepped in and took over the operations of the hatchery.  Today more than 50,000 people per year visit the hatchery. It?s interesting to see the different stages set up to rear trout.
St John?s Episcopal Church was built in 1836 by Jones family members and others with help from NYC's Trinity church. The steeple was used as a landmark to vessels entering the harbor.

ImageThe Upland Farm Sanctuary is dedicated to the study of maize and other farmed goods.  The farm was once a dairy that operated until the 1950s. It was part of the George Nichol?s Upland Estate. He was wed to the eldest daughter of J.P. Morgan. While still a dairy the effects of DDT entering the food chain were studied, leading to a ban on the chemical.

Image105 Harbor Road, now a restaurant was once the Walters-Van Ausdall hotel.  It began as a whaler?s hotel complete with a brothel. Later it transitioned to a hotel for weekend tourists of the post-whaling steamship days.

ImageThis Colonial Revival building at 1 Shore Road sits on the western entrance of the village. When it was built in 1912, it served as the library. Today it houses an art gallery ran by the Society for Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA).
ImageWe ran into a band of jolly pirates roaming Main Street. They are a group called the Ye Pirate Brotherhood that poses for pictures, and can be hired out.
ImageSome of Cold Spring Harbor's buildings were constructed with timbers from salvaged ships.  During renovation of this commercial building, a ship?s nameboard, bearing the ship name James Cook, was found. Click the photo to  see the nameboard.
ImageThis church once served the Methodist community of CSH. It was built in 1842, by horseback riding preachers traveling from place to place to perform services.  Today it serves as the headquarters for SPIA.

ImageImageArriving at the eastern end of the commercial section of CSH we come to some cottages that are said to be built with ships timbers. These snug cottages housed seaman during the whaling days.


Some of the commercial establishments have banners describing their nineteenth-century usage.

ImageThis old house was once the residence of Daniel Rogers, an attorney with close ties to the Jones?, and their whaling endeavors. His Daughter, Helen Rogers, was an avid diarist. Her writings and poems tell of the ships that would come into the harbor and gives a personal view of this thriving nineteenth-century village. One of her poems is about the two CSH churches:

ImageSome go to church just for a walk,
Others go to laugh and talk.
Some go there, their time to spend,
And others go to meet a friend.
Some go there to hear the news,
And others go their horse to use.
Many go to show their clothes,
Some go there to take a doze.
Some for name do often go.
Whilst others come to catch a beau.
Some go when evening meetings
To wail upon their sweetheart's home.
Some when winter comes with snow,
To take a ride in sleighs do go.
Some go others for to see,
How they're dressed and how they be.
Others go to show their beauty.
And all no doubt to do their duty.

ImageThis private home used to be the Baptist Church. It was built in the 1840?s.  Families would sing the Sailors Hymn to keep their husbands and sons safe at sea.

Captains Row

Traveling east from here we come to part of Main Street known as Captains Row. This is where many whaleboat captains took up residence.

ImageThe house of Captain Enos leads me to tell a tragic tale. CSH?s residents were too young to command a whaleboat in the village?s short lived whaling days. Many whaleboat captains, who sailed out of other ports, built their fine Victorian homes on Captain?s Row after CSH ceased being a whaling port. Captain Enos served as a lower seaman on the Huntsville and Sheffield, based out of CSH. He married a local lady, and tried twice to retire from the sea. Not being able to make a go as a land lover, he returned to the sea after commissioning the construction of his Captain?s Row house. Captain Enos would never see the completion of his home, as he was lost at sea.

ImageThe Captain DeWitt Barrett?s home is classic CSH architecture of the mid-1860s.

ImageCaptain James Write?s house prominently shows a captains wheel, replacing one from a vessel he commanded.

Whaling Museum


ImageAppropriately, next door is the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum. Inside friendly volunteers showed us around.  They have a scale replica of CSH, as it was in the 1850s, as well as a Scrimshaw display, among their numerous exhibits.

ImageImageOn Spring Street, behind Main Street?s stores is Liveryman John Totten?s house.  Across the street, we can still see fence posts where the livery stable was located. This was the stage coach mail stop. When the coach would arrive a bell would toll, so folks would know to pick up their mail.

ImageToward the end of the nineteenth-century, and long after the whaling era had ended, CSH became a resort town. Weekend visitors and day trippers would arrive by steam boat, staying at local hotels and resorts. The Glenada Hotel was built in 1890, to serve the summer guests. The park like, waterside setting it sat on was originally a salt marsh. The hotel had a Casino, not the gambling kind. A casino is a large area used for entertainment. The Glenda?s casino contained a ballroom, caf?, ladies billiards, telephone and telegraph. The casino is the only building to survive today. Since 1921, it has been a private beach club.


Comments (8)

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    Where can I find more info on the Jones family?
    Am looking for merchant ship logs leaving from Cold Spring Harbor, or Oyster Bay, Long Island 1829-1830
    Still exists the Captain Enos House? If it is thus they can show the picture of this house?
    A fun article, but some of the captions are not matched with the correct photos.
    My sister and I grew up (1950s)nearby, in a house on the former Otto Kahn estate in the Town of Huntington. We would bicycle to CSH to visit the fish hatchery and the whaling museum. Thank you for reviving some pleasant memories!
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