UPDATE: Read the town's proclamation below, which marks the dedication
It's been about 60 years since the Foster family handed over what's commonly known as Long Beach to the Town of Southampton. Now the Sag Harbor Historical Society is sponsoring a dedication tomorrow to officially designate the sandy strip as Clifford J. Foster Memorial Beach.
At 10 a.m., members of the Foster family will gather for a picture at a rock that bears a plaque commemorating the family's gift. Family members will include Clifford H. Foster, whose father, Charles, and uncle, Everett dedicated the beach in honor of their father, Clifford H. Foster, in 1949.
At 11 a.m., an official dedication will be made at the Sag Harbor Historical Society’s Annie Cooper Boyd House on Main Street.
Afterward, a historical society photo exhibit depicting the history of the property all the way back colonial times will be open, said Assemblyman Fred Theile, who represents the area and will be at the event.
From its dense woodlands to its abundant wildlife, the beauty and bounty of the East End has drawn visitors, residents, settlers, and indigenous peoples to its shores; and
WHEREAS: Among Southampton’s greatest assets are the pristine beaches which comprise nearly all the Town’s coastline. For four centuries, they have provided a source of sustenance, livelihood, and recreation to those near and far. Known affectionately as “Long Beach,” the sandy crescent along Noyac Bay has been one of the most active and beloved places on the South Fork; and
WHEREAS: On May 23-24, 1777, Lieutenant Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs landed in the vicinity with 234 men in 13 whaleboats. During the next several hours, they attacked British forces in Sag Harbor, killing six, capturing 143, burning 12 brigs and sloops, and making off with tons of goods—without losing a single life; and
WHEREAS: Even as a series of bridges were erected since 1799, the beach remained the surest route to North Haven and Noyac, allowing Sag Harborites to bypass the often unsound structures and their requisite tolls. Even after the current bridge was opened on December 26, 1936, motorists continued to travel directly along the waterfront until County Road 60 (“the new road”) was constructed in 1965. Today it remains the maiden voyage of both newly licensed drivers and new car buyers alike; and
WHEREAS: Beginning in 1891, the E.W. Bliss Company ran torpedo tests in the area around “Short Beach,” where the water’s depth, minimal tidal currents, and isolation proved an ideal setting for more than 30 years. Manufactured in Brooklyn, assembled in Sag Harbor, and tested in Noyac, Bliss torpedos such as the Whitehead-Schwartkopf model employed up to 50 Sag Harbor men and over 15 boats, barges, and launches; and
WHEREAS: At the western end of Long Beach, on a separate parcel, there stood Lenny’s “casino,” which had food, friends, and fun. A local haunt and hotspot until 2004, the property was later the Salty Dog and Waterside. Over the years, other businesses along the beach were McNally’s, the Shack, and the Oasis; and
WHEREAS: Years later, Clifford J. Foster of Sagaponack, who was also President of Sag Harbor Savings Bank, acquired the 13 acre Long Beach property from the heirs of Charles Lamont in 1925. Another 13 acres were purchased in 1926. Upon his death, he bequeathed it to sons Charles and Everett, who in 1950 deeded it to Southampton Town. It was then officially named Clifford J. Foster Memorial Beach and preserved for the enjoyment of future generations. Since that time, it has been a favorite for swimming, sailing, and surfcasting. It is the site of frequent youth-oriented gatherings, and like for Pierson High School’s 2007 Centennial, it is a staple of its annual homecoming festivities; and
WHEREAS: In recognition of the 60th Anniversary of the Foster Family’s generous donation, the Sag Harbor Historical Society has unveiled an exhibit detailing the history of the Long Beach property since 1774. As part of that effort, and in partnership with the Historical Society, the Town of Southampton has chosen to hold a special rededication ceremony at “the Rock” at 10:00am on August 21, 2010 to further commemorate this milestone year; and now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Town Board of the Town of Southampton proudly presents this proclamation to the Foster Family in grateful recognition of the dedication of
CLIFFORD J. FOSTER MEMORIAL BEACH
and, in so doing, acknowledges their part in continuing the preservation of both Southampton’s natural beauty and the public’s access to beaches and waterways. May this enduring symbol of their generosity continue to inspire for generations to come.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we hereunto set our hands and cause the seal of the Town of Southampton to be affixed this twenty first day of August, in the year of Our Lord two thousand ten.