Friday, June 8, 2018

Republic Airport

Republic Airport was developed by Sherman Fairchild as the Fairchild Flying Field in East Farmingdale in late 1927 as his airplane and airplane engine factories and 10-acre flying field on Motor Avenue in South Farmingdale were inadequate to support the mass assembly line production he desired for his FC-2, Model 21, Model 41 and Model 71 airplanes. Fairchild's Faircam Realty, Inc. purchased property on the south side of Route 24-Conklin Street and had the Fairchild Flying Field's original layout plan prepared on November 3, 1927. Airplane manufacturing in Farmingdale originated with Lawrence Sperry in the village of Farmingdale in 1917 and continued in South Farmingdale from 1921 until his tragic death in December 1923.

During World War II, 1-19 was Republic's longest runway- stretching almost to Route 109. Conklin Street at Republic was closed to the public in January 1941 by the Suffolk County Highway Department to permit the construction of the massive Republic industrial complex.  In 1942, Republic Aviation built a 900' "dogleg" around the factory after Ranger Engine had built in the Conklin Street roadbed. The "dogleg" allowed workers in carpools driving east access to the Southern State Parkway via New Highway. Conklin Street was re-opened to the public in 1965 when Republic was taken over by Fairchild Hiller. The cumbersome "dogleg" was ended in the late 1990's when the Republic factory complex was razed and Conklin Street was straightened.

In 1965, Fairchild Hiller Corporation acquired Republic Airport and sold it to Farmingdale Corporation. In December 1966, the airport became a general aviation airport. By March 1967, the airport was of interest to the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority as a means of meeting demands of aviation on Long Island. Recognizing the airport as an asset, Metropolitan Transportation Authority two years later acquired the airport at the cost of $25 Million.

The MTA installed an instrument landing system (ILS) on runway 14-32, built the Republic Airport Terminal building cooperated with the Federal Aviation Administration, which built the new 100' high control tower, convinced the US Government to transfer 94 acres to the airport in 1971, and purchased the 77-acre Lambert property on the north side of Route 109 and the Breslau Gardens property between New Highway and Route 109 in 1972. 

After complaints that the MTA was not contributing taxes to local governments and questions about MTA deficits at Republic, ownership of the airport was transferred to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) by the New York State Legislature in April 1983.

Companies that have existed at the Airport:

The Fulton Truck Company was the earliest manufacturer at the airport
Years Active: 1916-1925

Sherman Fairchild chose the new location for his company after surveying the site by air.
Years Active: 1925 -1931

Sherman Fairchild started his engine company
Years Active: 1928 -1955

Leroy Grumman moved from Valley Stream To Farmingdale 
Years Active (at the airport): 1932-1937

Alexander De Seversky founded a new aircraft company
Years Active 1935-1939

Seversky was dismissed from the company and the board of directors re-named it Republic Aviation
Years Active 1939-1965

Fairchild-Hiller Corporation
Years Active 1965-1972

Fairchild Republic Corporation
Years Active 1972-1987


“New – LI Republic airports.” Google Sites.

Republic Airport - Long Island's Executive Airport – History.

Friday, June 1, 2018

South Oaks Hospital

On March 1, 1881, a group of men met to discuss plans to form The Long Island Home Hotel for Nervous Invalids. Among the original founders were David S. S. Sammis, Adolphus G. Bailey, Townsend Cox, William Blake, Stephen R. Williams, Prince H. Foster, and Daniel J. Runyon. On April 12, 1881, these Trustees met at the Grand Union Hotel in New York City and agreed to purchase 14 acres of land in Amityville.

The first patient was admitted on January 26, 1882. In 1894, physician-in-charge Dr.  O. J. Wilsey’s emphasis on keeping up with the times resulted in the construction of a separate cottage built to accommodate seven patients. The Villa was opened in 1895 and was later renamed Sammis Cottage. This same cottage was later renamed Hope House.

In 1948, Griffing Hall (named for Board Member, Robert P. Griffing) was erected with offices for administration, doctors, social services, admissions and medical records.

In the 1950’s, The Long Island Home transitioned from a long-stay sanitarium to a psychiatric hospital. At that time, the hospital became known as South Oaks Hospital was born. In 1952, the Board of Directors decided to convert Searle Cottage into a nursing home. This facility was renamed Broadlawn Manor Nursing Home.

In July 1970, South Oaks established Hope House, a specialized inpatient unit for young men and women who were addicted to drugs. In March 1971, recognizing the needs of adolescents with emotional problems, the hospital opened an Adolescent Pavilion for young people between the ages of 13 and 20. In 1972, South Oaks set up a Training Program for Alcoholism Counseling. The Institute of Alcohol Studies at South Oaks was formed in 1972 and was chartered by the Board of Regents of the New York State Education Department.

In June 1980, South Oaks established Sage House, a rehabilitative program for young men aged 13 to 20 who had a history of abusing more than one drug, in combination with alcohol. In 1981, South Oaks conducted an extensive study and three-part program on compulsive gambling. With the advent of this program, South Oaks became one of the first hospitals in the country to offer services for compulsive gamblers and their families.

In 1995, Broadlawn Manor opened its medical model and social model daycare programs to support the frail and elderly during the day while allowing them to remain active in the community.


“History.” The Long Island Home.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Farmingdale State College

Farmingdale State College, originally designed to accommodate upper-level high school students in agricultural training, was founded in 1912 under the name of New York State School of Agriculture on Long Island.  The school has also be named: the New York Institute of Applied Agriculture, the Long Island Agricultural and Technical Institute, SUNY Agricultural and Technical Institute, SUNY Agricultural and Technical College, SUNY at Farmingdale, SUNY College of Technology at Farmingdale, and SUNY College of Technology at Farmingdale.

The founding of the College was originally proposed by State Assemblyman John Lupton in 1909. Lupton Hall, which houses the departments of Chemistry and Physics as well the School of Engineering Technology, now bears his name. The bill to create the school was originally vetoed by Governor Dix. With the lobbying efforts of Franklin W. Hooper, John Lupton, Frederick Cox, Hal Fullerton, James Cooley, and C. H. Howell, the bill was passed to create the school.

The earliest years of the college were devoted to the technology of farming – both farm crops and dairy and animal husbandry. The early curriculum consisted of courses in agronomy, horticulture, and general studies.

In 1920, the college began a farm equipment show that included the various kinds of machinery that would be used on a farm. In 1987, the agricultural programs were discontinued; only Ornamental Horticulture remains. The school became a four-year college in 1990. In 1946, the mission of the college expanded to include technical education.

Hicks and Cutler Halls were originally called the Horticulture and Agronomy Buildings. They were both constructed in 1914.  Ward Hall was constructed in 1914, this building served as a dormitory for over 40 years. Thompson Hall, named after Senator George Thompson, was built in 1938. It was originally the Administration building, housing the Director's Office, the main office, the library, animal husbandry laboratories, and some classrooms.

Dr. Franklin W. Hooper, the namesake of Hooper Hall, was the Director of the Institute of Arts and Sciences, Brooklyn, NY. In 1911, he called a meeting of his colleagues to discuss the establishment of a School of Agriculture on Long Island

Horton Hall was named for D. Hart Horton, and early Professor of Poultry Science. Built in 1936, Knapp Hall was dedicated on October 20, 1937, by then Governor Herbert H. Lehman. The Director's Cottage was built in 1914.

Mott House was owned by the Mott family, one of the families who sold land to the college to become part of the original campus. The house served as a women's dormitory for many years. It is no longer in existence.


“Campus Buildings- Past, Present, Future.” Farmingdale State College,

Cavaioli, Frank J. State University of New York, Farmingdale. Arcadia Publishing, 1999.

“Farmingdale State College.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 May 2018,

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Massapequa "Haunted" House

For decades, a Massapequa home has been the center of tall tales and teenage rite-of-passage visits. The owners call it Cafaro Castle. The house’s legend stem from its looks. The house is bright red with gothic trimmings along with turrets and an iron fence. One of the more common rumors is that the curtains are made from coffin liners. Another one is that the number of candles in the window represent the amount of people in your car and seeing them will bring misfortunes. There’s a persistent tale of a horse-drawn hearse in the backyard.

While neighbors have noted that there are residents in the house, there is little activity throughout the course of a normal day. The surrounding homes on the block carry on with daily activities as if there wasn’t a large, brick mansion across the street; complete with turrets, a “bleeding” maroon sidewalk and a hearse parked in the driveway, barred behind an eight foot tall wrought iron fence that is perpetually chained. Several overgrown trees block some of the house from view.

The design of the house is architecturally symmetrical, down to the 25 plus windows that evoke a grinning devil face. The curtains are drawn at all times and are said to be coffin linings. Legend has it that candles suddenly illuminate in the upstairs window when cars drive by the house. Supposedly, the number of candles in the window corresponds to the number of people in the car, and it is said to be very bad luck for those who see the candles.

Some say that the residents belong to a Satanist cult who chant behind closed doors. Others claim to have seen people emerge from the house, dressed head to toe in Gothic black.

Of course, the reality is, none of this is true. A normal family lives at the house.


“Haunted Houses In Massapequa.” Massapequa Observer, 14 Oct. 2016,

Leita, John. Long Island Oddities: Curious Locales, Unusual Occurrences, and Unlikely Urban Adventures. The History Press, 2013

Friday, April 20, 2018

William Flloyd Estate

Richard Floyd, first appeared in American records in the late 1660s as a leading landowner on the North Shore of Long Island, first in Huntington, then in Setauket.

A half-century later, in 1718, his son Richard Floyd II (1665-1738), bought over 4,400 acres of property from William "Tangier" Smith of the Manor of Saint George. The property stretched six miles north from Moriches Bay and approximately one mile west from the Mastic or Forge River. It included use rights for the Great South Beach on what is now Fire Island. Richard Floyd II gave this property to his youngest son, Nicoll Floyd.

The first Floyd to live on the estate, Nicoll Floyd built the first portion of the "Old Mastic House" in 1724, constructing a two-story, six-room shingled wood frame house. He developed the land into a prosperous plantation, using both slave and free laborers to raise grain, flax, sheep, and cattle. Nicoll Floyd expanded the home as his wealth and his family grew. Nicoll Floyd's oldest son, William Floyd inherited the property in 1755 at the age of 20.

General William Flloyd was born in Mastic Neck on December 17, 1734. He was an officer of the Suffolk County Militia for years, and in 1775, he was a Colonel in the First Suffolk Regiment. At the end of the Revolutionary War, he received a commission as a Major General. He served a shirt term in the Provincial Assembly of New York and was delegated to the Fist Continental Congress at Philadelphia.  He became one of the signer of the Declaration of Indepedence, He was a State Senator from 1777-1783 and again from 1784-1788.

He retired, leaving his home in Mastic Neck to his children. The house was sheltered on all sides by dense wood growth. The oldest part was built around 1724. Additions were made at an early date, so the house is virtually the same as when the General lived there.

The Estate was authorized as an addition to Fire Island National Seashore in 1965.  The 25-room "Old Mastic House," the twelve outbuildings, the family cemetery and the 613 acres of forest, fields, marsh and trails all graphically illuminate the layers of history.


Eberlin, Harold Donaldson. Manor Houses and Historic Homes of Long Island and Staten Island.   Ira J. Friedman, Inc., 1966.

“Historic William Floyd Estate Grounds.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior,

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Big Duck

The Big Duck, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, overlooks Reeves Bay in Flanders, Long Island, New York. The vision of Long Island duck farmer Martin Maurer, The Bog Duck was designed by Broadway set designers, the Collins Brothers, and crafted by locals George Reeve, John Smith, and Merlin Yeager in 1931. A live duck, attached to the porch of the Maurer’s home, was used as a model and Reeve used the skeleton of a cooked chicken to study how the interior architecture should be constructed.

The Big Duck was built in Riverhead as a shop to sell ducks and eggs. It was then moved to the Maurer Duck Farm in Flanders in 1936, where it remained for 52 years. In 1988, Kia and Pouran Eshghi, who had hoped to build condominiums on the property, purchased the land and the duck was quickly moved to the Sears Bellows County Park in Hampton Bays. In October 2007, the Big Duck returned to its former home of Flanders.  When the Big Duck moved from its home in Hampton Bays, it left behind a 125-pound cement egg in its nest – an old storage cellar covered with straw. The Big Duck’s big egg was made by Ronkonkoma sculptor Dick Fleig.

The bird stands 20 feet tall, and is 30 feet long and 18 feet wide. It weighs 20,000 pounds. Cement covers the duck’s wood and wire frame. The bird is painted white, save for its bright orange beak. Model-T Ford taillights were used for the duck’s eyes.

Roadside architecture designed to promote what is sold inside is now commonly known as "Duck Architecture", in honor of the whimsical grand-daddy of them all. The architectural term “duck” is used to describe buildings that are shaped after the object to which they relate. It was coined by architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown.

Supermodel Christie Brinkley, recorded a 2-minute recording detailing some of the history of the duck in 1991.


Uda, Rachel. “85 Years of Long Island's Big Duck.” Newsday, Newsday, 2 Sept. 2016,

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Cast Iron Eagles of Grand Central Terminal

The eagles were mounted in 1898. It is unknown how many eagles there originally were nor who sculpted them. Each eagle has a fourteen-foot wingspan and weighs a ton and a half. They were removed in 1910 when the building was razed to make room for the present-day Grand Central Terminal. The eagles were moved the various places:

Two eagles ended in Mount Vernon.  One was sold to Daily News photographer David McLane in 1966 and the other was removed to an unknown location. The rest of the eagles are placed as follows:

Capuchin Seminary in Garrison, NY, overlooking the Hudson River

St. Basil’s Academy in Cold Spring, NY houses two eagles

The Vanderbilt Museum in Northport, NY houses two eagles at its entrance

A house in Bronxville, NY

A private estate in Kings Point, NY

The Philipse Manor-North Tarrytown Railroad Station, NY

David McLane wanted the eagle he purchased to be placed in a location where it could be seen and enjoyed by the public. In 1985, the town of Shandaken, NY adopted the eagle. There was a dedication ceremony for the newly restored eagle on August 23, 1986. McLane went to great lengths to research the eagles history. He contacted museums, libraries, and organizations, but never solved the mystery behind who created the Eagles.

On March 23, 1997, the Westchester Gannet Newspapers published a story about the Bronxville eagle. The writer mentioned there may have been eleven original eagles. It seemed the eleventh eagle may be located right in Tarrytown. The owner of the property of the time. John Daniell Jr.  When he died, the property was sold to John Perry. After further investigation, this specific eagle was not a Grand Central Station eagle.

The Bronxville eagle was moved from its home and installed at the Lexington Avenue entrance to Grand Central Terminal in 1998. The Garrison eagle was also moved and was installed above the terminal’s southwest entrance at 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue.


Morrison, David D. The Cast Iron Eagles of Grand Central Station. Cannonball Publications, 1998.