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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


Dr. Michael DeBakey and a team of surgeons from Baylor University implanted the first artificial heart into a human being at Houston’s Methodist Hospital.Yahoo! founder David Filo was born in Madison, Wisconsin.

The New York Herald Tribune published its final issue.

“You’re My Soul and Inspiration” by the Righteous Brothers topped the Billboard Charts in the United States.

The average annual income was $6,900 and gasoline was selling for 32 cents a gallon.

And on Shelter Island …

Town Board restricts beach use

It happened 50 years ago that the Town Board passed a resolution restricting use of its beaches to only Island residents and their guests.

In a unanimous vote, the Town Board determined it would use stickers to identify residents and their guests with others not allowed to park at either beaches or town landings.

POSTSCRIPT: It has taken along time to revisit this issue, but in the summer of 2014, for the first time, up to five Island visitors at a time could obtain one-day beach passes from the Town Clerk for $20 each to visit Wades and Shell beaches.

CD funds put to use at SIHS and SICC

The Suffolk County Legislature 30 years ago approved $19,000 in funds to enable Shelter Island to renovate two buildings — the Shelter Island Historical Society’s Haven’s House and the Shelter Island Country Club’s clubhouse.

The money was going to be added to  funds set aside since 1981 that would bring the pool of money to $86,000, enough to also cover fencing installation at the Town Disposal Area and construction of fire ramps at town landings.

POSTSCRIPT: The Country Club Clubhouse underwent considerable improvements during the winter and early spring of 2015 to bring the restaurant up to par with needed changes and the Historical Society is nearing the start of a major addition that will provide space for archives, displays and research.

Amanda Clark is on top of the world

Amanda Clark was 14 years old when she brought home a wave-shaped glass trophy from the 24th South American Optimist Championships in 1996. It was the highest honor the young local sailor had received, but it would hardly be her last.

The competition had been conducted off the coastal town of Salinas, Ecuador. Ms. Clark finished seven positions ahead of the next nearest competitor.

POSTSCRIPT: Ms. Clark went on to compete twice in the Olympics — in Beijing in 2008 and in England in 2012. She was an alternate in the 2004 Olympics.

Last lady of the manor

Alice Fiske, the last lady to occupy Sylvester Manor as her full-time residence, died 10 years ago at home at the age of 88. She was the widow of the 13th heir of Sylvester Manor and was fondly considered the doyenne of Shelter Island society.

She married Andrew Fiske, the last direct descendent of Sylvester Manor’s founder, Nathaniel Sylvester in 1952. Mr. Fiske predeceased her in 1992.

In 1990, the Lions Club named the Fiskes Citizens of the Year.

Ms. Fiske was a generous contributor of time and money to such organizations as the Shelter Island Historical Society, the Shelter Island Library, the Educational Foundation, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and the Garden Club of Shelter Island.

POSTSCRIPT: Today the Manor House, barns, windmill, farm fields and most of the grounds have been gifted to the nonprofit Educational Farm by Eben Fiske Ostby. His nephew Bennett Konesni founded the educational farm in 2010 and continues to work there as special projects advisor.

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