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Tom Speeches nailed the ID of last week’s photo of the open space in the Heights (see below), writing “it’s Prospect Park, named after the Prospect Hotel, which burned in June of 1942. The downward slope goes to the North Ferry.”
Cynthia Michalak and Georgiana Ketcham also had the correct answer, commenting on our website.
The original structure was built as Prospect House in 1872 and was a social center for Heights residents, according to a history written by Shelter Islanders Patricia and Edward Shillingburg.
A fire damaged the building in 1923 and when it reopened the following year, it was renamed the New Prospect Hotel. There was a time when only Heights Association residents were allowed to attend social events at the hotel, according to the Shillingburgs, but that changed by the 1930s.
A major fire started on June 26, 1942 in the hotel bakery and quickly spread to engulf the entire building. The blaze burned so brightly in the early morning hours that it could be seen by people on the North Fork.
Although winds were relatively calm, burning shingles were found five miles from the hotel.
There were debates about rebuilding the hotel, according to the Shillingburgs. But the Heights Property Owners Corporation decided against it.
Now Prospect Park welcomes all visitors and residents returning via North Ferry, as the road winds up the hill and past the lovely, open space of Prospect Park.