Tag Archives: Long Island

The Extinction of the Long Island Heath Hen


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Turvey Heath Hen IllustrationRecently, the federal government of the United States relaxed land-use restrictions designed protecting the greater sage-grouse, hoping the change might spur economic development via increased oil and gas excavation and expansion of cattle grazing areas. The grouse, a strange chicken-sized bird known for its flamboyant displays of plumage and bizarre, warbling vocalizations, once made its home on the great western prairies of the United States and numbered in the millions. Where settlers once encountered birds blanketing the landscape, today a mere five-hundred thousand remain.

A similar bird once inhabited the more eastern portions of the United States. The heath hen, a sub-species of grouse, exhibiting a similar appearance and familiar behaviors, extended along the coast as far North as Massachusetts, South to Virginia, and East to Pennsylvania. In New York, an environment of scrub oak and pine trees made Long Island an attractive home for the hens. Their habitat stretched from the pine barrens of Suffolk County west to the Hempstead Plains. (John Bull in his Birds of New York State notes that they may have also appeared in the scrub and sand plains west of Albany). As in other locations, it is generally assumed that here, a combination of hunting and habitat change led to the hens extinction. Still, it is only an educated assumption – the the Long Island heath hen and the causes for its extinction have gone largely unexplored. Continue reading

DEC Acquires Historic Setauket Property for Conservation


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dec logoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has acquired 17 acres of woodland in the historic maritime hamlet of Setauket. The property will be added to Patriots Hollow State Forest.

The property, the former Fitzsimmons Farm, is located in the Old Setauket Historic District within the watershed of the Long Island Sound. Its protection is cited in the 2016 Open Space Conservation Plan, released by Governor Andrew Cuomo in December, as a priority acquisition for protection of the Long Island Sound Watershed. The $3,400,000 purchase was paid for with funds from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Continue reading

Unpacking Long Island’s Support For World War One


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Chancellor Von Bethmann-Hollweg“New York State has prepared for war.” The headlines of the South Side Signal for April 6, 1917 announced the entry of the United States into conflict. “Local War Notes,” a new feature (later, simply, “War Notes,”) would chronicle Long Island developments through armistice.

On April 6th , it was announced, that, among other news items, Edwin N. Post, R.N. had been appointed head of the enrolling party for the naval reserves, establishing recruiting headquarters over Smith and Salmon’s drugstore in Babylon village. Recruits thronging to Babylon village, seventeen had already enrolled at Sayville and another fifteen at Bay Shore. Legislation had been introduced to increase the size of the naval militia, allow the state to appropriate lands, and expand punishments to those showing disrespect to the flag. Continue reading

Boomtown: Oyster Bay During the TR Era


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roosevelt save your parkThe Thirteenth Annual Dr. John A. Gable Lecture Series, sponsored by the Friends of Sagamore Hill, continues on Thursday, March 30, with “Boomtown: Oyster Bay During the Theodore Roosevelt Era.” In his lecture, Park Ranger Scott Gurney of Sagamore Hill National Historic Site will discuss how technological advances in transportation, communication, and lifestyle at the turn of the 20th century — combined with the popularity of Theodore Roosevelt — transformed Oyster By from a quiet country town into the focus of world attention. Continue reading

Stony Brook Harbor: A New Natural History


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between-stony-brook-harbor-tides-bookStony Brook Harbor, or Three Sisters Harbor as it was known historically, is a pristine Long Island north shore pocket bay.

Untouched by major commercialization, it has been designated a Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat by the New York State Department of State and a Significant Coastal Habitat by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Despite these designations however, there is constant pressure to increase development in and around the harbor. Continue reading

Historical Journal Rediscovers Long Island Woman Architect


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tjaden-and-workmenThough Olive Tjaden’s name is not known to most Long Islanders today, a mayor of Garden City in the 1930s reportedly suggested that the community be renamed Tjaden City, because she designed so many houses in the village.

Cornell University, her alma mater, named Olive Tjaden Hall for her in 1980. The story of this prolific woman architect appears in “Designing Suburbia: Olive Tjaden on Long Island,” in the recently issued Nassau County Historical Society Journal. Continue reading

Preservation of Unique Long Island Schoolhouse Underway


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modern-times-schoolThe Brentwood Historical Society has made the preservation of the Modern Times School in Brentwood, Suffolk County, Long Island the primary mission of the group for the past five years.

In 2016, the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation awarded a grant in the amount of $72,290.00 for preservation, matching funds already raised by the historical society. The grant is expected to allow work to start. Continue reading