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History: Photos of Long Island Beaches

Written by Ls Cohen  |  17. September 2021

Enjoy these old-time pictures of Long Islanders enjoying our favorite thing to do: going to the beach.

 

The title of this photograph is “Launching a Dory into the Ocean.” The description says that the picture shows a crew of baymen launching their dory into the ocean. The crew appears to have four men.

 

The image appears very similar or to be part of the images from the Men's Lives/Long Island Fisherman Photo project, which was the brainchild of Doug Kuntz and organized by Adelaide De Menil. Photographs from that project were taken between 1980 and 1985, and that date range is used to estimate the date for this image.

 

Photo: The Long Island Collection, East Hampton Library. This photograph is part of the collection of the Carleton Kelsey Collection of the Amagansett Historical Association. Kelsey was a local historian and librarian who collected photographs from others to add  to the many photographs he took of the community himself.

 

Harry B. Wilson and his mother, Grace B. Wilson, seated under a tarp at the beach. The woman on their left is probably Sarah Antoinette Fiske Butterworth (Grace's aunt). The image may have been taken at Main Beach, East Hampton, N.Y. This image is part of the Henry B. Wilson Collection of images and letters.

 

Photo: The Long Island Collection, East Hampton Library.

 

Surf Club, Atlantic Beach, Long Island, New York.

 

Photo: Beach scene III Gottscho-Schleisner Collection (Library of Congress). No known restrictions.

 

Photo: Surf Club, Atlantic Beach, Long Island, New York. Beach scene II. Gottscho-Schleisner Collection (Library of Congress). No known restrictions.

 

Photo: Surf Club, Atlantic Beach, Long Island, New York. Entrance view.  Gottscho-Schleisner Collection (Library of Congress). No known restrictions.

 

A 1952 photo shows Richard Mahler who stayed at the lighthouse with his family. Click here for the full photo and story.

 

Photo: Photo: Library of Congress. No known copyright restriction.

 

This 1904 image below shows people enjoying the beach in East Hampton at the turn of the 20th Century. The title of the image is “Bathers on the beach at East Hampton, Long Island - a watering place near the great city, N.Y.”

 

Near is a relative term in this case. Considering how long it takes to get from New York City to the Hamptons nowadays we can’t imagine that even without the bumper-to-bumper summer traffic that traveling to East Hampton was any less onerous back in 1904.

 

Photo: Created / Published - New York ; London ; Toronto-Canada ; Ottawa-Kansas : Underwood & Underwood, Publishers, [1904]. No known restrictions. Library of Congress.

 

During the 19th century, visitors seeking a respite from the summer heat and congestion of New York City began seasonally travelling to the greater Westhampton area. With the expansion of the Long Island Railroad to the Hamptons by 1870, travel became easier and this effectively turned Westhampton from an East End fishing and farming community into a resort town with an ever-expanding summer population. Oak leaf arbors, the forerunners of beach umbrellas, and wooden benches were some of the many amenities provided to guests at Westhampton’s popular ocean beaches.

 

Courtesy of the Westhampton Beach Historical Society

 

Taken sometime between 1933 and 1942, the photograph depicts a beach scene in East Hampton.

 

Photo: Genthe photograph collection, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. No known restrictions. Library of Congress.

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