This week in Shelter Island history: Chequit sold


The National Basketball League expanded to 18 teams with the addition of Buffalo, Cleveland, Houston and Portland.

John Wayne won an award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama, “True Grit,” at the 27th Annual Golden Globes.

“Pistol” Pete Maravich became the first player to score 3,000 points in his college basketball career at Louisiana State University and would go on to play in the pros for the Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Jazz (that became the Utah Jazz) and Boston Celtics.

The Grateful Dead released their “Live at Fillmore West” album.

“Zabreski Point,” produced by Carlo Ponti, written and directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and best known for its setting in the counter-culture of California at the time, was released in movie theaters.

And on Shelter Island . . .


A little higher, a little safer

A Reporter editorial at this time 50 years ago endorsed plans to require higher elevations for waterfront houses. At the time, such structures had to be 6 feet above mean high tide levels. The call was to increase the requirement to at least 9 feet above mean high tide levels

POSTSCRIPT: In 2020, both North and South ferry companies are looking at higher levels for their landings to deal with higher water levels that in particularly stormy weather make docking difficult. Both companies are putting substantial money into the effort to protect their vessels and the vehicles and passengers they carry.

Many attribute the higher sea levels to climate changes while some see it as a cyclical occurrence.


Chequit changes hand

Thirty years ago, after two years of complications and legal snags, the Chequit Inn was sold to a partnership operated by Mindy and Harry Chernoff of Silver Beach and New York City and Alice and Guy Chernoff of Westmoreland and New York City. Former owner Philip  Franzoni had owned the Chequit and the partners purchasing the property promised to maintain the character of the inn. The property included the main building, an adjacent cottage and a structure across from the Chequit on Washington Street.

The new owners said they planned extensive renovations, but wanted to retain the original charm and flavor of the buildings.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, the Chequit remains in the hands of partners David Bowd and Kevin O’Shea, who purchased it from subsequent owners James and Linda Eklund in the fall of 2014.

It opened under the new managers in the spring of 2015 after another round of major renovations.


Residents buck horse farm

It was standing room only at a Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on an application from Lear-Ruig LLC to create a horse farm on 36 acres of residential AA property on Ram Island Road. Residents were split on both sides with many who said they were there to get more information about what owners had in mind.

For three hours, the ZBA entertained comments and questions with then ZBA chairman Al Hammond finally calling a halt and saying that it was obvious the hearing needed to remain open for more comments at a later date.

POSTSCRIPT: The horse farm was ultimately developed with comments from some that the horses’ quarters were better than houses in which Islanders lived. The farm operated for several years before the site was ultimately sold.


DEC: Island wetlands rules to prevail

Concerned about the effect of pesticides on the Island’s fragile aquifer, town representatives 10 years ago won approval from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to impose its own restrictions regarding wetlands regulations needed to avoid contamination from pesticides and fertilizers.

Then town supervisor Jim Dougherty said the DEC agreed Shelter Island is different and he said local officials won “a modified yellow” if not a green light to enforce its own restrictions as long as they are pitched as environmental protections.

POSTSCRIPT: It seems to be an ongoing battle today as baymen report spraying of pesticides by private companies hired by homeowners sometimes result in not only landing in the water, but sometimes even directly being sprayed on those fishing surrounding waters.

There’s an ongoing struggle to discourage such spraying and an effort to offer other means of protecting private properties.