The Terraces On The Sound was a community founded by Dr. S. Ormand Goldan, as “a haven of peace, comfort, rest, health and quiet enjoyment.” The doctor sold one quarter acres plots with homes on them. The homes came with large living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, and screened verandas complete with running water and electricity, and could be purchased in a ten year payment plan of $25.00 per month including interest. The doctor had community rules which he believed were conducive to a good community and they stipulated that houses had to be set back form the road 25 feet and that no trees were to be sold or removed from the property. Any plans for building residences also needed approval. Dr. Goldan purchased the Terraces from the Radio Corporation of America, which continued to retain use of an access road and a small building on the bluff. The land had previously been owned by Amos Hallock and before him, his father Josiah Hallock the second. There are said to be ruins on the corner of Longview Ave. just south of a current home, where Amos Hallock used to live, and where his Hallock forebears once lived. Dr. Goldan deeded the New York Telephone Company the right to build and maintain telephone lines on the property in 1932. The Terraces On The Sound Property Owners Association Inc, was founded on August 17, 1943, to govern the community.
Rocky Point has many churches. Many people’s lives revolve around religion, and religious institutions have played a critical role in the development of Rocky Point and Sound Beach.
In 1948 Msg. Vincent Margiotta came to Rocky Point to build a Roman Catholic Church. In the same year, he and a committee of local parishioners approached the RCA corporation, which owned 6,000 acres in the small town, in order to try and secure some land. It was arranged that ten acres of land at a going rate of $1,400 per acre would be sold to the parish. While the church was undergoing construction, Roman Catholic Mass was held at various locations throughout the town, including the North Shore Beach Association’s Clubhouse as well as in parishioners’ homes.
On weekends, mass was held at De Bari’s Pavilion (which was later Avenues, and then sat abandoned until very recently when the land was purchased by Thurber Lumber). The building was used for fire practice and eventually torn down in 2008. The land where De Bari’s once stood is located at the corner of Prince and Polk Streets, and is currently used for lumber storage.
The church, St. Anthony of Padua, was completed in 1951, and the first mass held there was on Christmas Eve of that year. The mass was held in what is currently the auditorium, and the churchgoers used wooden folding chairs as seats. The church bought an additional acre in 1956 for the purpose of constructing a convent to house the nuns who would teach CCD to the children of the parish. The church has grown much over the years, and is currently composed of a convent, church, auditorium, priests’ residence, religious education annex and a large sports field as well as a large shed. The church continues to play a role for thousands of town residents. Whether it be for mass or CYO sports, the facility is readily used.
On the corner of King and Apricot Rd there is a recently expanded LIPA power substation, with large stone walls. Before LIPA expanded this small piece of land, it was home to the Bethany Gospel Chapel which was mainly used for summer services. This interesting-looking church was built in 1952, and was designed by local architect Albert Gildersleeve Hallock, a direct decedent of Noah Hallock the first. A Terryville group of Christian Gatherers, led by elders, built the church. However, over time the church became defunct and was eventually purchased by LIPA to provide for the power demands of the growing community, resulting in its demolition.
On Jefferson Ave just West of Route 25A, there is a small church which was purchased from the Knights of Columbus in 1982 by a Christian group, and their Sunday 10 am and Thursday 7:30 p.m. services are open to every denomination. The church building was not always located at its present location; it was formerly located on Tyler Avenue, and served as the Democratic Club headquarters of the area. It had also once been a Methodist Church, and in 1942 it was used as a Sunday School by the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church. It was the Lutheran Church that moved the building from the property after purchasing it for $150. It was moved with the help of the Brookhaven Highway Superintendent.
On December 29,1960, land on Route 25A was acquired from the Radio Central Corporation of American by the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in order to construct a place of worship. The building was begun in 1961 and the dedication ceremony was on June 28.1964. In 1967, additional property was obtained from RCA, and in 1969 a Parish Education and Fellowship Building was constructed, with funds from the the estate of Ernest Whitman. The main building was designed by renowned architect Edward Slater, and he designed the church to look very interesting (like many of his designs). Some people think it looks like a fish, others a bird, and the local citizens affectionately call it the “Fish Church”. We can all agree, however, that it is a one of a kind church, and very space-age looking.
The Trinity Evangelical Church started out in Rocky Point with a Sunday School in 1941 based out of the Democratic Headquarters building which was located on Tyler Road. Reverend Saudner of the church conducted some local services in 1942 all over town, including at the North Shore Beach Clubhouse, Cedar Beach in Mt. Sinai, and in Sound Beach. The Trinity Evangelical congregation obtained land on Jefferson Street and had the now defunct Democratic Party headquarters moved to their new property. Today the original Sunday School Building is occupied by the Community of Christ Healing Center Church, a church which welcomes peoples of all denominations. The Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church continues to serve Rocky Point and the surrounding communities with church masses, nursery school, a soup kitchen, Alcoholics Anonymous, senior citizen groups, a food pantry and many other good things.
In the past there were no televisions, no game systems or computers-- fun was all about community events and outdoor activities. Rocky Point used to be one of the premiere entertainment locales in the early 1900’s which drew people from many surrounding communities. There were many bars, and restaurants, as well as water sports and beach front activities. It was all about common meeting places and Saturday night bands----- a time long gone. However, I hope that you will join me in reliving the past entertainment spots of Rocky Point and Sound Beach.
The Rocky Point Clubhouse was built by the Daily Mirror for the North Shore’s new property owners and was officially taken over by the North Shore Property Association on July 15,1929. The Clubhouse is located on the highest point in the community, 254 feet above sea level, and at the time must have offered great views of the Long Island Sound and surrounding area. The Clubhouse was used mainly for community social events such as dances and parties, as well as community meetings. In 1977, the association voted to turn the clubhouse into a facility which would be open year round and would be available for use by the North Shore Beach Association’s individual members.
In 1979 the Clubhouse caught fire, resulting in the calling of fire departments from six surrounding towns. Luckily, the caretaker was rescued from the roof of the clubhouse, and most of the damage was confined to the interior of the structure. The members of the town banded together to rebuild the clubhouse to its former grandeur. The North Shore Beach Association Clubhouse, as it is currently known, is still open today. It can be rented for parties, and is the home of the monthly civic association meetings. It continues to be a rich part of the local history and culture of the surrounding area, and helps to remind us of how Rocky Point and Sound Beach came to be.
The southwest corner of Route 25A and Rocky Point Road (Marconi Blvd.) did not always house a Capital One Bank. According to an 1870’s map, the area once housed a blacksmith shop, where the sounds were that of a hammer hitting an anvil rather than that of busy traffic passing by. According to the E. Blecher Hyde maps of 1896 and 1906, the blacksmith shop was converted into Reverend E. Van Wart’s Church, and on June 9,1934, (a Saturday evening), the grand opening of a dance establishment was celebrated on the former blacksmith and church property. The name of the establishment was originally the Blue Whale, and had previously been located in a rented building on the beach at the west end of Hallock Landing Road, on property leased from Sylvester Hallock, a farmer. Over the years, the Blue Whale was renamed the Kameo inn and then George’s Crossroads after new owner George Faulkner.
Rocky Point had become a famous nightspot for the surrounding towns due to the many social establishments, the influx of jobs from Radio Central, and the city folk coming out to build their summer cottages. Eventually, George's Crossroads became known simply as the Crossroads, a name the old timers still refer to the area as. The area where the Crossroads once thrived has undergone many changes over the years, becoming a Home Federal Savings Bank, then a North Fork Bank, and most recently, a Capital One bank. The citizens’ daily life in Rocky Point revolved around the beach and the Long Island Sound, ever since the cordwood shipping days, a fact which the Daily Mirror also played on to draw out subscribers.
Due to this fact of Rocky Pointers being “married to the sea”, a grocery store and restaurant was built at the west end of Hallock Landing Road, and was known as Luerssen’s Pavilion. Before being Luerssen’s Pavilion, the site was the location of the Blue Whale, which moved to the southwest corner of Route 25A and Rocky Point Rd. (Marconi Blvd.), and later becoming the Crossroads. In 1932, a ten foot by ten foot square, wooden, orange and black striped building was built by the Luerssens. Luerssen’s, among other things, sold ice cream out of the building, keeping it cool with dry ice and rock salt, because they had no refrigeration. Luerssen’s also had a juke box for dancing, and they rented out bungalows and row boats as well. During the winter, the building burnt down and had to be rebuilt. During the great 1938 hurricane, a large brand- new pier broke loose from its mooring in Connecticut and landed on the beach right in front of Luerssen’s. The family broke the pier apart, and used it for constructing an extension to the pavilion as well as for the foundation, which was composed of locust poles. There was enough wood left over to sell to the people who lived on Cullross for their bungalows. The festivities at Luerssen’s included a live band on Saturday nights, and once a week there was a five dollar and ten cents roast beef sandwich, with all of the beer you could drink.
On July 20,1929, during a Saturday Night Dance at the Clubhouse, an announcement was made about the formation of a Motor Boat Club. Immediately, by- laws were drawn up, as well as rules and regulations. The Boat Club’s property consisted of 11 lots at the end and on either side of Friendship Drive. Charles F. Davis was the builder selected to build a dock and float because he was a prominent bungalow builder of the area. While the boathouse was being built, two dams were constructed and a grove cut in the hillside in order to deal with and divert rainwater runoff, in such a way as to not cause a landslide. The Boathouse, with screened observation porch and dock was all completed and ready for Labor Day of 1931. At this time, the North Shore Beach Life Saving Corps was also founded, and a small first aid shack was erected for them on the beach. Bathhouses were also constructed. The Boat Club held many wonderful dances as well as swimming and motor-boating contests each year which drew people from all around.
On the west side of Broadway stands Tommy’s Place Bar and Restaurant, formerly known as Manniello’s, which was built in 1933. Cyrus Manniello, the man who built the restaurant, also operated a real estate and general store on Broadway. The general store was located on the northwest corner of Broadway and Prince Rd., and also offered three gasoline pumps, and a soda fountain and ice cream shop. On the northwest corner of Route 25A and Broadway, there is a building which is being renovated, and was most recently known as the Blue Lounge. This building used to be known as the Tavern and
The Rocky Point Delicatessen stands on the southeast corner of Broadway and Prince Road,and is the former site of the Village Inn. The Inn was a popular dancing and nighttime spot.
On the southwest corner of Broadway and Prince Road, there is a dirt lot and George's Barbershop. George's Barbershop has been a fixture in Rocky Point since the 1940’s, and was formerly located on Eagle Rd. The land where the barbershop is currently located used to be the location of Lutz’s Roller Rink, Bowling Alley and Recreation Center, a local hangout for the hamlet residents that was also an ice-cream parlor.
Located on the corner of Prince and Eagle Roads and built in 1934 was the Rocky Point Icehouse, built and operated by Tony Sini, an Italian Immigrant. The Icehouse was the first stop for the “city-folk” who would come out to their land and bungalows, because back then ice was a very important commodity. Mr. Sini also delivered fuel (oil and coal), and based all of his operations from his Icehouse. Eventually it became necessary to dig a well for the icehouse. A couple of neighbors began asking if they could hook up to the well, and eventually Mr. Sini developed North Shore Water Inc., and for a price anyone could get well water hooked to their house. In 1989 when Mr. Sini sold his water company to the Suffolk County Water Authority, he had 1,500 customers-- quite an impressive feat. Unfortunately, this local entrepreneur’s Icehouse base of operations no longer stands. It was destroyed on June 30, 1960 by a pyromaniac, and he lost many possessions.
Currently, the property where the Icehouse once stood consists of storefronts. On the northeast corner of Broadway and Route 25A, the current location of King Auto Sales, stood Bruer’s Gas Station. The property was purchased by Rudolf Bruer from the Daily Mirror. The station was built in 1930, and gasoline was retrieved by hand cranks until 1936, when they were replaced with electric pumps. The station operated through the gas rations of World War Two and continued to operate until 1955. In that year, the station was taken over by City Service gas company, and the Bruers moved over to what is now the Benjamin Moore paint store. King Auto Sales took over the location in 1989 and has occupied the location ever since.
Following the discontinuation of the Wading River Branch of the Long Island Rail Road on March 20,1939, the old Rocky Point Rail Station was rented out to the North Shore Beach Association for use by its Police Department. The North Shore had its own police department, which by 1934 consisted of three motorcycles and 29 men, all of whom furnished their own equipment including badges. Eventually, the Rail Station was moved east and was converted for use by the Heather Lumber Company, which is now known as Thurber Lumber Company. The building is still used for offices and a showroom.
“Everyone love a parade.” This saying still rings true today as it did in the past, and the local St. Patrick's Day Parade is no exception.
Route 25A has seen many changes since 1951, from a small two lane road to a four lane highway. However, one thing that has stayed the same is the St. Patricks Day Parade. The Rocky Point-Miller Place St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the oldest parade in the Town of Brookhaven, and the first parade took place on March 17, 1951. In December, 1950, a meeting was held at De Bari’s Pavilion in Rocky Point, later known as Avenues. The Friends of St. Patrick was founded, and the parade details were drawn up. The original parade began at Sullivan’s Tavern on Harrison Ave., as it still does today, and went all the way down 25A, nearly three miles to the Rocky Point Town Square on Broadway. In 1954, the radio station WPAC sent the out the first broadcast of the parade. In 1981 Governor Carey visited Rocky Point to witness the parade, and in 2000, Governor Pataki did the same. In 1982 and 1983 the parade route was shortened to begin at Rocky Point Road, however in 1984 the original route was restored. The Rocky Point-Miller Place St. Patricks Day Parade continues to be the largest parade on the island, and in 1991 boasted 3,000 marchers and 40,000 spectators from all over the island.
The original Rocky Point School was located at the site of the current Rocky Point Firehouse at the intersection of Hallock and Rocky Point Landing Roads. The schoolhouse was built in 1861, and when the classroom became crowded, the older students were taught across the street in what was known as the lecture room and became the Parish Resource Center in 1985 which it is still currently used for. The Lecture Room was completed in 1850 as a branch of the Mt. Sinai Congregational Church and was built on land donated by Amos Hallock. The school used the building from 1924-1928, until a four room schoolhouse was built on the easternmost four acres of the Tuthill Farm cow pasture. The school building was built at a cost of 80,000 dollars and was located on Route 25A. It had two teachers-- Joseph A. Edgar, who taught grades 5-8 and served as principal, and Alice Hawkings, who taught the lower grades
Rocky Point had always been a relatively small town, not very well known outside of the surrounding towns. This, however, changed when the Radio Corporation of American decided to build the world’s largest and most powerful transmitting station there. The station was to be known as Radio Central, and it was officially opened for business on November 5,1921. Twelve large steel towers standing between 410 and 450 feet tall dwarfed the small hamlet of Rocky Point and could be seen from Connecticut. From a research lab on the grounds of Radio Central, the design for the first television was constructed, and the towers were responsible for transmitting many important world events, from the news of Charles Lindbergh and his Spirit of St. Louis’ Flight, to the Little America Broadcasts from the South Pole.
Radio Central also played a role in World War Two, enabling communication with convoys, destroyers, and submarines in the Atlantic Ocean. Radio Central became obsolete with the advent of short-wave technology and the facility was closed. The final tower was spared demolition for years because it was used as a landmark for planes and boats. On December 13,1977, the final tower, Tower One, was demolished. It took 15 seconds to fall, its impact shattering nearby windows.
Today, the remnants of this once vast facility are almost completely gone. One of the most noticeable remnants of the Radio Central Facility is the vast amount of land, which is now owned by New York State, purchased for one silver dollar from the RCA Corporation. The property makes up part of the Long Island Pine Barrens, and is one of the best hunting and recreational areas on the island.
There are, however, other small remnants that still exist. Concrete Jonah Road still exists off of Marconi Blvd. and leads to the circular drive which once led to building #1(Administration), and to the fountain in front of it. The decorative trees still line the road, but they are so overgrown that you can barely notice that they are out of place.
Following an old chewed-up asphalt road a mile and half northeast, you will come to a small patch of concrete road, and another small circular drive. This is where Building #9(Storage/Backup Equipment) was located. The exact spot where the building stood is surrounded by a modern chain link fence, cordoning off the area, as it is said to contain ground contamination. Along the forest floor you will also find some remnants of the facility, many by accident. There are two 195 foot towers still remaining, rusted and green, laying on their sides (one along a bike trail). You may come across wooden masts (remnants of the short-wave antennas), or the concrete anchors which once supported the massive towers, (as well as some that supported the smaller ones). You may also find some old cables, cable tensionors, downed and standing electric poles and the like, but for the most part this once- grand facility is only a memory-- a great memory of a pioneering time.
Today the most composite remnant of the facility is that of Radio Circle, which is presently located diagonally west of the Rocky Point Waldbaums Shopping Center on the south side of Route 25A. The concrete drive is still intact, although the spot near the entrance has been removed and is currently in use as a stone parking lot. While walking through this area, you will find remnants of the tennis courts as well as the foundations for several of the four cottages, which once existed there. The foundation for the Community House is still intact, and you can clearly see its shape and dimensions. You will also see the sunken foundation for what was the pump house, with the pumping apparatus still deep in the ground, as well as an old fire hydrant. From the air one would also notice the scars left on the ground of the entire facility, even though they fade more and more each passing year due to new plant growth and the planting of new pine trees. Unfortunately, because of the lack of remnants, many people who frequent this area don’t even know the history of what was once located here. However, now YOU know!
The current site of Gracie’s, a restaurant on Broadway, was formerly known as Harry’s Beer Garden and Amusements.
Jonah Road, the concrete road which led to Building One, the administration building at Radio Central, was named after Jonah Miller, who owned and farmed the surrounding area beginning in 1790.
A portion of the Radio Central land was excluded from sale because it is listed as an African American burial ground. A section of the Radio Central property was owned and farmed by African Americans during the 1800’s.
In the 1940’s, members of the Sound Beach Property Owners Association were given garbage and water pick-up cards, which were to be displayed at home and on the car respectively. There were two locations in Sound Beach where you could fill water jugs-- at the Clubhouse, which had two spigots, and at the Community House in the square which had several spigots. The town square water came from two communal springs, and the water was pumped by hand.
One entrance to the beach was at the end of Amagansett Road, where there was a gazebo, with steps leading to the beach, a cement walk and a concession stand, followed by the final steps to the beach.
There were no street signs in old Sound Beach; people would just nail homemade signs bearing their last names to trees at major intersections, with an arrow in order for others to find their residences.
The beach used to have boat racks on it, and people would leave their boats right there-- no need for locks, no worry of vandalism. The teenagers used the angled boats for shade and privacy.
Each Labor Day, there were festivities on the Sound Beach beach to celebrate the holiday, such as three legged races and swimming races.
The Sound Beach beach used to be much larger-- at least 100 ft wide, and was as nice as the more popular beaches people frequent today.
Early bathrooms were holes in the ground with canvas surrounding them for some privacy. The town’s early residents really were pioneers.
The Sound Beach Fire Department was founded on July 4,1930, at a hotel in NYC, and was housed in what today is a Real Estate office near the town square. The first engine the Sound Beach Fire Department purchased was a Ford Chemical Engine, and it was purchased from the Elmont Fire Department. The engine was kept on Malba Drive at the original Sound Beach Property Owners Association Club House in an open-air garage. Due to money problems and a new engine being repossessed, the department became incorporated in 1931. In order to alert others that there was a fire, you would have to ring one of two gongs situated throughout the town by hitting the steel circular railroad track gong with a hammer. A brick fire department building was constructed in 1944 on Sound Beach Blvd. It went through many expansions over the years, until it was finally outgrown. In 1956, the fundraising efforts of the members could not support the self-sufficient department, and so the Sound Beach Fire District was formed by Suffolk County. Currently, the Sound Beach Firehouse is a large brick structure on Sound Beach Blvd. and it was built in 1989. Today, one of the fire gongs resides at the Sound Beach Blvd. fire house a a memorial to the past.
Sound Beach had its own police force, like Rocky Point, with one motorcycle cop based out of the Community House, along with the highway department. The town police force was disbanded when the Brookhaven Town Police Force took over, making a local force unnecessary.
In Sound Beach Square, at the present location of George's Kitchen, once stood Callace’s Superior Market, a grocery store. Mr. Callace would have all the mail delivered to his store, and people would come to pick it up from him. The first actual post office was set up in a small building in the square at the current site of a barbershop. At present, the post office is a modern brick building across from the Firehouse.
In the early 1940’s and 1950’s, the Sound Beach Community Square, also known as Journal Square, was bustling. In addition to the Superior Food Market, there was Muller’s Mom and Pop Store, (a laundromat), and Nelson’s, later known as Sam the Butcher's Deli and Meat Market. Today, Nelson’s is the Deli Express. There was also Marvin’s Sweet Shoppe, a variety store, and an ice house. Later, a Bohacks and Caggiano’s Drug Store also joined the other shops in the square. The boxing light heavyweight champion for 1925, Paul Berlenbach, also the US 190’s Olympic Wrestling Gold Medal Champion, opened up a restaurant known as Paul Berlenbach’s Ringside Restaurant. Each summer he would hold a contest to find the prettiest girl in Sound Beach and award them a trophy. The Sound Beach Hartlin Inn was also built by Arthur Callace, although it was originally known as Cataldo’s, and other names such as Boyle’s and Shorty’s.
The St. Louis De Montfort Church was built in 1978.
West of Sound Beach Square, at the intersection of New York and Echo Ave. a Tavern and Deli named Scotty’s was located. Continuing up the hill at the present location of the Handy Pantry was a beer and soda store, and if you kept going, you would hit Rulau’s Lumber and Hardware. Across the street from Rulau’s was Ennis’ Candy Store, which had a big enclosed deck where dances were held. Next to Rulau’s was Ziegler’s Well Drilling office and there was a Ward’s Grocery Store nearby.
At the cliff overlooking the water at West Beach was a great pavilion, which served refreshments and offered people shade and conversation. The pavilion washed away in a storm and, sadly, was never replaced. Access stairs to the beach constantly wash away, and are constantly rebuilt. Sound Beach has always had a special relationship with the beach and it will always continue to. Membership in the Sound Beach Property Owners Association has dwindled from when it was first formed, but the present members remain strong and vigilant in their efforts to preserve their history.