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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


Jim Morrison of The Doors incited a riot at the Chicago Coliseum during a performance in which 4,000 audience members ended up battling with police while he hid backstage.

A little more than a month after Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Reverend Ralph Abernathy led a March of the Poor to Washington, D.C. where some 50,000 people camped out in tents and wooden houses that became known as Resurrection City on the Mall to demand the government pay attention to the need for jobs, healthcare and decent homes.

American skateboarder Tony Hawk was born in Carlsbad, California.

“Little Orphan Annie” cartoonist Harold Gray died in La Jolla, California, at age 74.

Actor Paul Newman appeared on the cover of “Life” magazine with an accompanying story about how Hollywood stars were becoming political activists.

And on Shelter Island . . .

Litter is everyone’s responsibility

In a notice appearing in the Reporter 50 years ago, there was a reminder to residents and visitors that litter doesn’t throw itself away and that people cause it and can prevent it.

“People means you,” read the notice.

POSTSCRIPT: On May 19, the Lions Club has organized a cleanup campaign, encouraging volunteers to join the effort to do away with the residue of a brutal winter and prepare to welcome Island visitors to the beauty that is Shelter Island.

If you’re willing to help, register at cleanup.shelterinslandlions.org and show up at the Center Firehouse at 9:30 a.m. for coffee, bagels and doughnuts before setting out with a crew to various parts of the Island. As a reward, after the cleanup, the Shelter Island Fire Department will host a barbecue for volunteers back at the firehouse.

Society launches barn-raising project

It was at this time 30 years ago that the Shelter Island Historical Society launched a fundraising effort to build a barn on its Havens House property with plans to use it as a museum to house artifacts. In addition to $55,000 already raised for the effort, several Islanders had offered their skills and equipment without charge to be used in building the barn.

The total fundraising goal was $125,000 and plans called for preliminary construction to begin in June of 1988.

POSTSCRIPT: The barn, besides becoming a repository for artifacts has been the home for the Historical Society’s special events including the May 5 Run for the Roses Kentucky Derby party. The barn built in 1988 replaced a long-gone barn that had deteriorated and been removed from the property. Chris Fokine built the current barn and is working on the new addition to the Historical Society that will provide much more display space, improved storage of records and study space for those using the resources of the Historical Society.

Town agrees to new centers for seniors/youths

Twenty years ago, as the old highway barn was about to be demolished with the construction of the Recycling Center, the Town Board approved a resolution to create a combined senior center and youth center on Route 114 where the old barn was standing.

Plans called for the new senior/youth center to occupy about 3 acres of the 4.1-acre site. The Senior Citizen Affairs Council was to draft a plan for development and the Town Board would review that plan and make the final decision on its viability.

POSTSCRIPT: With the best of intentions 20 years ago, a combined senior/youth center never came to fruition. Instead, the senior center now occupies space in the basement of the Medical Center and the Youth Center operates out of the American Legion Post.

Village, town, school win grant

Thanks to a combined effort by the Village of Dering Harbor, Shelter Island Town and the Shelter Island School District, New York State awarded a $213,003 grant that was put to work relocating a fueling station to the Recycling Center to serve all three entities.

The new fueling station would replace an aged one that had been inadequate to meet needs.

POSTSCRIPT: The award came at a time when the concept of shared services was relatively new but today, grants often are awarded when there is a demonstration of various groups working together to achieve the same end. Such is the case with the combined effort to upgrade septic systems serving both the Youth Center at the American Legion Post and Shelter Island School.

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