Carleton Opera House
This small park, on W. Main St., was once the site of the Carleton Opera House. The Carleton was erected in 1900, and expanded in the 1920s. It included offices and commercial stores, including a drug store-Luncheonette and a liquor store. During part of its lifespan it was also a movie theater. In 1957, a fire starting in the drug store spread throughout the building. Firemen from Islip and Babylon assisted the Bay Shore Fire Department, but the building was lost. You can still see evidence of its existence on the neighboring building.
In January 1916, Vitagraph Studios opened a motion picture studio on Fourth Avenue. The building chosen was formerly a Foresters Hall Lodge. It was opened for Ralph Ince to direct his films there. Ralph Ince and his sister-in-law, Anita Stewart, lived nearby. Anita was a famous actress in the silent film era. Much of the studios staff lived nearby.
Bay Shore used to have many movie theaters, now it basically has none. Two former movie theaters are now used by the YMCA. On the corner of Clinton Ave and West Main Street stands a large YMCA. It used to be a movie theater. I remember going there as a kid, and marveling at the humungous single screen, Italian furniture, large chandelier, and high ornate ceiling. This was the Cadillac of movie theaters, and I miss it dearly. It has been almost completely gutted, but I am told the projector room, ticket booth, and curtain pulleys still exist.
Another Main Street movie house was the Regent. I never saw a movie there while it was still a movie theater, because during my childhood it showed only pornography. Today it is the Boulton Center for the Performing Arts.
South Side Bank
Originally the Southside Bank, this building served as the library from 1932 to 1965. The Southside Bank opened their new branch at the corner of Bay Shore Ave and E. Main Street. Today this large impressive bank is a Citibank. Banks with large lobbies and high ceiling are become scarce these days. Bay Shore had another like it that is now the Drew Patrick Spa.
This old sub-station building, on Clinton Ave, still bears the acronym for the Long Island Lighting Company. LILCO was dissolved back in 1998. Next door is a lot that used to be a gas plant. Gas was produced by baking coal. The resulting ash was buried, resulting in a major cleanup operation currently underway.
Southside Hospital moved from Babylon to Bay Shore in 1923. The original colonial style building is hard to see, because of the hospital's additions. Here you can see the roof of the original 1923 structure. A former home for nurses is still standing as well.
This popular catering hall and night spot used to be an oyster processing plant.
During renovation of this small bar an anvil was found under the floor. The small bar was once a blacksmith shop, which made use of the stream that passes nearby.
The first locomotive stopped in Bay Shore in 1868, on its way to Patchogue. The stationhouse was a small Victorian station located at Third Ave. A newer station, on Fourth Ave, replaced the Third Avenue station in 1882. The current station, seen here, was built in 1912. Originally, the line was owned by the South Side Railroad. Before 1868 a stagecoach ride to Brentwood was required to take the train.
Toward the end of the nineteenth century Bay Shore had two competing hose companies. The east hose company, today an art gallery, is located on Second Avenue. For many years this firehouse was a private home, eventually it became run-down. It has been fully restored to its original charm.
During the last half of the nineteenth century Bay Shore became a vacation and resort town. Hotels were plentiful, and some still remain today. The Howell House, at 56 shore lane, is the earliest surviving hostelry from that era. It was build around 1855. It is named after John R Howell, a prominent businessman.
The Dominy House was built around 1861. Today the Dominy building, not the original structure, stands at the same site. The Dominy's carriage house was moved down Shore Lane, and still exists today. It can be seen behind a doctor's office at 21 Shore Lane.
The Prospect House was a huge sprawling resort. It was comprised of a large hotel, cottages, a carriage house, and buildings for various amusements. The Prospect could accommodate 400 guests. Inside the Astoria Federal Savings Bank, formerly Bay Shore Federal Savings, there is a mural of the Prospect House. The hotel burned down in 1903. Part of the carriage house can be seen behind 53 Ocean Avenue. Also, a cottage from the Prospect can be seen on Bayview Ave.
The United Methodist Church, on Main Street and Second Avenue, dates back to the 1890's. The Congregational Church was built in 1891. Both are beautiful architectural gems that Bay Shore can be proud of.
This was the home of Dr. Jarvis Mowbray, eighth generation descendant from the patentee that founded what is today Bay Shore. Dr. Mowbray not only practiced medicine in Bay Shore, but also served as town clerk, justice of the peace, county treasurer, trustee of town lands, and health officer. This house originally stood where Southside Hospital is today, but it was moved to make way for one of Southside Hospital's parking lots. Today it sits at 22 Mowbray Ave.
The Gibson-Mack-Holt House dates back to around 1820. It is the oldest surviving tradesman's house. In 1985 it was acquired by the Bay Shore Historical Society, and subsequently moved to 22 Maple Avenue. Today it houses a wonderful museum and photo archive.
Most people don't know that Bay Shore has its own windmill. It sits on the former estate of Daniel D Conover. Conover resided there during the nineteenth century. He was a developer who had local creeks dredged, and developed the area of Bay Shore by Saxon Avenue. The only remnants of his South Saxon Avenue estate are the windmill and a barn.
This storefront used to be part of a mansion. When Heckscher State Park was constructed the Plumb Estate mansion was cut into three sections. The center section was moved to East Main Street, and is today used as a commercial building.