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Editorial: That Quintessential Ingredient

It was a great relief when the Main Street Association announced four years ago that they had chosen Isaac Kremer as their new executive director because he had a preservation background. The MSA was organized in Oyster Bay after people attended the National Preservation Society annual meetings and took hold of its concept of and the Main Street Association view of improving the downtown areas of America as revitalization through preservation. It is improving what is good, great and historic from our past and doing a little housekeeping to bring it into the present.

Isaac D. Kremer has just announced that he will be leaving the Oyster Bay Main Street Association where he served as executive director to assume a new role with the leading historic preservation organization in Austin, Texas. He will be the preservation program manager for the Heritage Society of Austin.

During Mr. Kremer’s time in office, the MSA didn’t build any large new buildings but preserved the Octagon Hotel and have been improving the downtown area little by little. It has been lovely to see the small touches that gently improve the downtown area while maintaining the quality of life this community enjoys.

Oyster Bay surely has that great history worthy of being preserved – we are after all the town Theodore Roosevelt decided to move to – from New York City – to raise his family. He followed his family Roosevelts to come here.

Oyster Bay Historic Society Executive Director Philip Blocklyn said, “If you go to TR’s birthplace in NYC and see the sleeping porch you can understand why they wanted to spend their summers in Tranquility, where TR, Sr. spent a few summers in the cove; unfortunately it was torn down. John Hammond has some entries about Tranquility in his book on Oyster Bay Remembered. It had a nice columned façade, not un-like the Trousdell House. It was an attractive place but it didn’t survive. TR’s introduction to Oyster Bay was both through his grandfather and his uncle.” The OBHS specializes in Theodore Roosevelt’s family in the Oyster Bay community.

“Oyster Bay was a resort town,” said Mr. Blocklyn. “Traditionally, at the turn of the century, this was a resort community and people came from New York City and upstate New York to enjoy what this area had to offer. So if you are looking at tradition and legacy -that is part of our history, not an invention or wishful thinking. That fact gives the Trousdell house more importance since it is one of the few residences remaining that reflects that resort community.”

So there is much to do, and much to get behind, and much to be interested in. We look forward to meeting the next MSA executive director and hope that person will bring a commitment to preservation as strong as Mr. Kremer’s – who it seems is someone who has found his roots here in Oyster Bay. He has that quintessential ingredient – an ancestor who was buried here in 1672. That is the essence of the continuity of Oyster Bay.