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This week in Shelter Island history


David Bowie released his single, “Space Oddity,” just nine days before Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

Russia launched an unmanned Luna 15 to the moon.

“Easy Rider,” starring Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson was released.

The Rolling Stones released “Honky Tonk Women” as a single.

And on Shelter Island . . .


Society starts drive for barn construction

The Shelter Island Historical Society launched a drive to raise money to build a working barn on its property. More than 75 people gathered on the grounds at Havens House for a garden party — the first major benefit.

What the group envisioned became a place for exhibits, activities and storage.

POSTSCRIPT: The latest addition to the property is a space for records, exhibits and room for those who want to research subjects about Shelter Island. Finishing touches on the project are underway with an expected opening this summer.


Bond not needed for asbestos work at school

Thanks to sound fiscal management and money in the Shelter Island School’s contingency fund, a bond anticipation note voters had approved in May 1989 wasn’t needed to deal with state-mandated asbestos removal in the building. The project was anticipated to cost $250,000. By not borrowing, it was estimated the district would save about $17,000 in interest charges.

POSTSCRIPT: In the past year, mold had to be remediated in one area of the building, and was  handled within the district’s 2018-19 budget.


Siller declares town drought emergency

Gerry Siller was supervisor in the summer of 1999 when a prolonged period of little or no precipitation resulted in the Town Board declaring a water emergency. Water was to be restricted for drinking purposes only. There would be no washing of cars or boats and no lawn sprinkling and, of course, no filling of swimming pools with the Island’s fresh water supply.

POSTSCRIPT: It’s a new day on Shelter Island in 2019 with what has been frequent rain since April. The frequency of rain throughout May and June left many wondering if they would ever have a summer season.

While there is still no filling of swimming pools with Island water, much of the attention these days is on water quality, with a current emphasis on working to reduce  nitrogen content, largely through installation of nitrogen-reducing septic systems.

The United States Geological Survey continues to do testing of both water quantity and quality for the town.


Islanders mark opening of Bridge Street’s Volunteer Park

Following much planning and development, Volunteer Park on Bridge Street was officially opened.

Former supervisor Jim Dougherty and resident Victoria Weslek drew much of the credit for moving the project along. In a gardening column written by Carol Galligan, the space described prior to development as “a graceless asymmetrical place,” became a flowering  park with soft grasses that blew “gently in the breeze off the water.”

POSTSCRIPT: Through the years, Volunteer Park has been the site of many musical programs. In the past year, the park finally saw construction of a bathroom and, more recently, a new bulkhead.

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