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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


President Lyndon Johnson ordered another 45,000 United States troops to Vietnam while China agreed to give North Vietnam an undisclosed amount of aid.

Pink Floyd released its debut album in the United Kingdom. “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.”

Bobby Gentry released her only hit, “Ode to Billy Joe.”

Americans were listening to “Light My Fire” by The Doors.

“Bonnie and Clyde,” starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, was pulling in movie audiences in the United States.

And on Shelter Island . . .



In August 1967 Shelter Island hired lifeguards for its beaches for the first time.

One of those hired was Stan Simes who pronounced that he had the best summer job on the Island.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, five lifeguards are posted at town beaches in season as a matter of course and, no doubt, today’s lifeguards have the same feelings about their summer jobs as Mr. Simes had back in 1967.


WAC previews proposed sprinkling system law

Thirty years ago, the town was already considering ways to deal with automatic sprinkler systems that were installed or applications for systems that would be installed on Island properties.

Proposed legislation called for issuing permits for both the existing and future systems and requiring full plans for new installations.

POSTSCRIPT: In 2003, the Town Board passed legislation banning the automatic systems, but delayed implementation of the law for 10 years.

When the legislation was to take effect, the Town Board reopened the issue and an Irrigation Committee spent many months re-examining the situation. Systems are allowed, but must be linked to cisterns so they’re not drawing on well water here.


Building boom hits Island

New construction and renovations were soaring 20 years ago in line with a Long Island Lighting Company survey that showed a spurt in both full and part-time East End residents.

Building Inspector Bill Banks attributed the increase in building permits to a healthy economy and said he had no idea how long it might last. At the time, there were still hundreds of buildable parcels on the Island, including 55 in the Shorewood area alone, he said. The Rams and Hay Beach were also seeing many  new houses, Mr. Banks said.

POSTSCRIPT: A U.S. Census interim report issued in May showed that the Island’s full time population had increased by only one person between the period of July 1, 2015, and July 1, 2016. Community Preservation Fund numbers show that sales of properties on the East End hit a plateau in 2014 and have taken a downward trend in more recent years.


Town citizens rally for Center café

Ten years ago owner Marc Wein told disappointed residents and the Town Board that he planned to convert the Osprey Café into office space.

Mr. Wein said converting the space from a café to an office was “not my first choice — it’s my last choice.”

Supervisor Alfred Kilb Jr. told those gathered at Town Hall that if anyone had a way to maintain the café, it was the time to step forward with ideas.

The non-conforming restaurant that predated the town’s restrictive B-1 zoning was allowed under the zoning code to function as office space. While the town couldn’t deny a permitted use, it could limit the amount of space that could be used as an office through parking restrictions.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, Melina Wein’s M. Wein Realty occupies the space that was Osprey Café. Previously, her office had occupied space next door to where her business now operates.

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