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On Track For Train Station Restoration

The Oyster Bay Railroad Museum is making significant strides towards its goals of restoring the historic Oyster Bay train station and Locomotive 35. The museum has been awarded three grants to do the restorations, a project intended to preserve a large piece of history for the area.

Development Director Bill Bell said, “The contribution the museum will make to the cultural and historic fabric of Oyster Bay hamlet is astronomical. It is truly unique in the region, combining history, technology and political history. What the Long Island Rail Road meant to Oyster Bay, and Long Island, is an incredible history, and it’s important that it be told.”

A total of  $715,693 in grants was awarded to do a restoration of the station; $650,000 was received from two foundations who do not want to be identified. Legislator Judy Jacobs obtained a $65,693 grant from Nassau County to replace doors and windows and to do exterior masonry work. Together with a previous grant of $546,000 to restore Locomotive 35, the museum has received a major fundraising boost. Museum officials estimate that at least another $150,000 will be needed to completely restore the station, and $500,000 will be fund the creation of exhibits.   

The museum was granted a permanent charter by the New York State Board of Regents in December. Having this charter will assist in bringing school groups to the museum.  

The museum currently operates out of a storefront on Audrey Avenue, where visitors can explore exhibits of historic railroad artifacts. Many of them were actually used in the Oyster Bay Train Station. Just a short walk away, visitors can almost hear “All Aboard” being called out by a conductor, as they explore railroad cars, cabooses, and engines, which are being restored by volunteers. The turntable is almost in operational condition again. The motor has been refurbished, and once new rails are laid, and electric power is connected, visitors will once again be able to see a demonstration of how trains were turned around at the end of the line in Oyster Bay.  

The train station itself was built in 1889, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. It was designed by the noted railroad architect and “inventor of the skyscraper,” Bradford Lee Gilbert. When it was completed, the Oyster Bay Railroad Station was described as one of the finest stations in the country. Unfortunately, it has now been placed on the “endangered” list by the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities.  There are some structural and condition issues, including a crack in a brick wall, caused by some settling in the foundation. The museum is consulting with preservation architects to develop a plan to proceed with the restoration of the building and prevent further damage. The station was last used as a station in 1999, and was purchased by the Town of Oyster Bay in 2004.  

 As the station for Theodore Roosevelt during his presidential years, diplomats, politicians, and world famous writers traveled through the station, sharing space with commuters and the produce and mundane supplies being brought to supply the markets and homes of Oyster Bay.  

The community has demonstrated great support for the project, looking forward to the visitors and the museum will bring. Lower Audrey Avenue has been experiencing a renaissance with an interesting combination of museums, (the Railroad Museum and 21st Century Cycles), Sweet Tomato Restaurant and the Teaching Studios of Art, Ben’s Garden and Chalikian’s Jewelry.  Once the park entrance is moved to its new site next to the museum, visitors will be drawn down Audrey Avenue, where they will be able to walk into the park and visit Oyster Bay’s magnificent waterfront. It is truly something to look forward to, and will certainly contribute to the local economy, as well as enhance Oyster Bay’s reputation as a historic and cultural center.

News

The Oyster Bay community paid tribute to award winning journalist Marie Colvin at Oyster Bay High School on Saturday, Oct. 11. The school library was officially dedicated in her name and a portrait of the journalist who died on the frontlines in Syria in 2012 was proudly displayed at the entrance of the library. The event was put together by members of the Oyster Bay class of 1974 who held their 40th class reunion over the weekend.

Oyster Bay High School Principal Dennis O’Hara gave a short speech in honor of Colvin’s name. Nassau County legislators Judi Jacobs and Donald MacKenzie also gave speeches, along with Colvin’s sister, Catherine Colvin, and Donna Fiore-Houman, who helped coordinate the event. Both were members of the class of ‘74. Founding dean of the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University, Howard Schneider, also gave a small speech at the end of the ceremony.

Some people deserve a long obituary: in a way, it is a tribute to the number of people’s lives they have touched, so for Dottie Brandt, it is a given. A long line of mourners stretched down the street from the Francis P. DeVine Funeral Home, in Oyster Bay, where Dorothy R. Brandt, known to everyone as “Dottie,” was laid to rest, soon after her death on Friday, Sept. 12.

Dottie was a beautiful woman that age couldn’t change. When your warmth, spirit and love come from the inside, it keeps the outside looking bright and fresh. Dottie was always smiling, full of energy and always willing to help people.


Sports

5- and 6-year-old Peanuts

The Little Generals (Peanuts) stepped out into the cold Sunday morning ready to give the home crowd a show as they battled the Bellmore Braves, and that’s just what they did as the Generals beat the Braves 14-7. The teams battled to a first half tie as the Generals’ touchdown came on a 26-yard run by Kody Gehnrich, thanks to great blocks by John (Jack) Grace and Jack Symanski.

In the second half, where the Generals are usually at their best, the defense shut out the Braves as Rodney Hill, Jr. and Brandon Babel stepped in on the defense line to create a great push to allow Francesco Allocca to make eight tackles. The offense got a big boost with Allocca being allowed to play RB after playing QB the past two games, and boy did he respond behind great lead blocking from Luca Granito. Allocca carried the ball nine times for 60 yards and a TD coming on the last play of the game.

The Diane Whipple Foundation with the cooperation of Manhasset PAL, Manhasset School District and St. Mary’s High School Athletic program has announced a premier College Division I Women’s Lacrosse Scrimmage day on Saturday, Oct. 18.

Competing in this great event will be Columbia, Fairfield, Michigan, Sacred Heart, Stonybrook, UCONN, UMASS, and USC.


Calendar

Boys & Girls Club Gala

Thursday, October 23

Halloween Party

Saturday, October 25

Property Tax Exemptions Workshop

Tuesday, October 28



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com