History: 19th Century Photo of Tryworks on the East End of Long Island


We dug into the archives to find this picture from Long Island history.

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Photo: The Long Island Collection, East Hampton Library.

The East Hampton Library collection of images has some rare and interesting photos from Long Island's history.  According to a description with the photo, this image shows Captain John Edwards' Tryworks on Atlantic Avenue. There is a group of six men standing in front of the building. The photo was taken anytime between 1880 and 1899.


A tryworks is a furnace that was used in the past, sometimes on whaling ships, that were used for rendering whale blubber into oil.


Whaling was a dangerous but lucrative endeavor in the early history of Long Island.


Photo: The Long Island Collection, East Hampton Library.


A podcast episode on the The Long Island History Project website features Dr. John Strong, professor emeritus of Southampton College, who wrote a book on the subject called America’s Early Whalemen: Indian Shore Whalers on Long Island, 1650-1750.


A description of the episode days that a whaling frenzy gripped the East End of Long Island in the mid-1600s.


“Prominent settlers in the area fought the elements and each other to pursue this often brutal, bloody, yet extremely profitable trade. And the most sought-after crews were drawn from the local Native American population: Shinnecock, Unkechaug, and Montauketts.”