Editor's note: All week long, Erin Geismar is profiling people around Bay Shore, from community leaders to residents she bumps into around town.
Barry Dlouhy, 62, of Bay Shore
Bay Shore Historical Society
Dlouhy, who was a teacher for 31 years in North Babylon, lives in the Mowbray House, which was originally owned by the first family of Bay Shore. The house was moved from its original location on Main Street to its current spot on Mowbray Avenue in 1945. Dlouhy grew up in North Massapequa and said Bay Shore’s Main Street was a shopping destination when his family visited relatives in the area.
When did you move to Bay Shore and why?
My wife and I moved in 1981. At that point, we were looking for a place that was near the water, I've always been a water lover. Bay Shore is centrally located. It was close to where I worked but not where I worked.
Do you still live in the same house you bought originally?
No, we lived on Shore Lane in a nice cape surrounded by two Victorians. But we'd be riding our bikes around the neighborhood and we always saw the Mowbray House, although we didn't know what it was, it was just a beautiful property at the end of the canal.
In 2000, we were docking our boat behind a house on the Mowbray canal, and I had gone to the store for something and my wife called me and said, "The house is for sale," and I knew exactly what she meant. So we made an appointment to see the house.
Did you know it was historic at that point?
Probably on our second visit we found out. We talked to the previous owner, Donald Tuttle, who was the last of that side of the original family.
Is that related to your interest in the historical society?
Yes, I only joined five years ago, in part because I was learning more about the house.
Here's something that's interesting: My house was originally filled with antiques, but when it went on the market, the broker told Don Tuttle to get rid of all of it, and that's exactly what he did. Many of the invaluable items were placed on the street and the neighbors took them.
Over the years, I have gotten a lot of those things back.
What is it you love about the Bay Shore community?
I've really come to love and appreciate this community. It's an extremely caring, supportive community. A lot of communities, when they fall down, they fall down. People in Bay Shore care too much, they wouldn't let that happen, they wouldn't let it become a blighted community. There's ways someone there to step in.
Just take a walk down Main Street. It's not just the businesses but the shoppers. You can see the faces of people and something positive about the place. People care about what's going on locally.
You mentioned earlier that there was a time -- in the 80s, after the mall was built, which changed the community landscape -- that Bay Shore was headed downhill. That's right when you moved in, why did you choose to move here anyway?
I didn't let the negatives overcome our outlook. I saw potential in it. You can see an element of vibrancy that wasn't going to fade away.
What challenges does the community face?
Making sure the growth continues but we also maintain the businesses that exist. We have to be careful not to have overdevelopment.