This week in Shelter Island history

PETER BOODY PHOTO | Bridge Street was inundated with snow in this President’s Day storm of 2003 with highway crews working to open roadways after 20 inches dropped on Shelter Island.

Most snow some have ever seen

No. It wasn’t the winter of 2013, but February 2003 when 20 inches fell on Shelter Island in what was called the President’s Day storm. At the time, it was the most snow the Island had in at least seven years and highway crew members were quoted saying it was the worst they remembered. Ten crew members worked through the storm with five working 24 hours straight and five others working 33 straight hours to clear roadways. Even Shelter Island Police were pressed into service delivering meals on wheels to shut-ins that Frank and Inez Koone managed to cook. In spite of the heavy storm, there was no reported loss of power and both North and South ferries continued running uninterrupted.
POSTSCRIPT: The Island got close to 20 inches of snow in the February 8-9 storm with a few more inches overnight from the February 13-14 storm. Again, highway crews worked through the storm, only to have to continue after to clear away more snow.

Housing hearing set

The Town Board pushed ahead in February 1993 with a hearing to examine the efficacy of building six affordable houses on Bowditch Road. The aim was to provide soundly-constructed and reasonably priced dwellings on 30,000 square foot lots at no cost to taxpayers. Qualified purchases were to be selected by a lottery from among Shelter Island residents whose incomes were below what was required for open-market purchases of comparable entry-level houses.
POSTSCRIPT: Today, these houses are still occupied by the original applicants who qualified for the purchases and most have expanded their original dwellings to provide more living space as their incomes enabled them to build.

New Island water study outlined

Then supervisor Mal Nevel and Town Board members took initial steps to launch a comprehensive study of Shelter Island’s drinking water supply. The town had $66,000 from county and federal funds and was scrambling to raise the $14,000 balance while bringing pressure on the county for more money. “A comprehensive water study such as we’re planning for the Island has never been done on Long Island before and I want a correct analysis of what we’ve got underground,” Mr. Nevel said. Donald Bingham of the United States Department of the Interior said there was a need to delineate the salt water-fresh water boundary and to study long-term changes in groundwater levels.
POSTSCRIPT: Concerns about the drinking water supply have persisted through the years with some drought periods that led to a 2003 resolution to ban use of underground irrigation systems that lacked cisterns to replenish water with supplies brought in from off-Island. Barring any change, that ban is slated to go into effect on September 1, 2013.

Board grants OK for nursing home

In was in February 1963 that the Shelter Island Zoning Board of Appeals cleared the way for the establishment of a private proprietary home for adults that would be operated by Mr. and Ms. William Loper. The structure, formerly owned by Agnes Clark and Belle Jauchen opened as a nursing home in the spring of 1963. Accommodations were to be limited to 12 people.
POSTSCRIPT: The 100-year-old building that was originally an inn before being converted to a nursing home, was returned to its roots by Herbert and Yvonne Loinig and their daughter Aimee and was to be reopened next month for another summer season when it was badly damaged by fire on February 6. The owners plan to renovate and reopen the inn.