A EARLY CHRISTMAS GIFT
HELEN GOELLER'S PHOTOS OF
THE MASTIC BEACH KNAPP MANSION
Santa came early to my door today (Dec 10th 2010 ) when the postlady brought me a priorty package from Ms. Helen Goeller of Mastic Beach. Helen came to the Library show / signing and after reading the first few chapters of the book, she was inspired to look through some boxes of her old family photos. These were taken in May & June of 1955 by Helen's Aunt, Gertrude Friecer who lived in section one. As I called Helen to thank her, I had to quip " Had I came across these pictures 10 years ago, I probably never would have written the book!" But I have no regrets in anything that has transpired over the last decade that is connected to any part of the book, the website, the research or whatever. Old friends got reconnected, new friends were made world wide, and even some folks buried their hatchets.
Last week when I got that fantastic photo from Gertrude O'Brien Knapp's grand niece, Dr. Jolie Harris, of the mansion when the Knapps really lived there, I couldn't help but wish, wouldn't it be nice to have a picture of the east side of it too, and of course as I have said many times before, anything at all of the interior...
Well Gang Hang On To Your Hats ... HO HO HO... IT'S ON WITH SHOW ... AND AWAY WE GO...!!
THE FULL FRONTAL SOUTH FACE
It Was Approx 125 Feet Across
Notice the symmetry of the east and west terraces and sadly the start of the vandalism with broken windows.
THE NORTH FACE
The Back Yard
SOMETHING I FORGOT ABOUT TILL I SAW THIS PHOTO WAS THE LOCATION OF
THE SOLARIUM !
( I thought it was on the entrance to the east terrace)
IT'S ON THE THIRD FLOOR, BETWEEN THE EAST SIDE CHIMNEYS. THERE WERE TWO BENCHES UNDER THAT GLASS TO SIT & CATCH THE RAYS IN THE WINTER .
That very small window in the center at the roofline was in a walk in linen closet. That is where some of the first puffs of smoke were seen by Adolph Almasy from his backyard in 1959. I saw the smoke from the eastside upper window. FYI The Knapps Lived Here book answers the often asked question of
JUST WHO TORCHED THE PLACE ON FEB 15, 1959.
THE NORTH & EAST FACES
I forgot till I saw these that the rear north east bedroom also had a terrace
THE WEST SIDE
YEAH... IF YOUR GONNA HAVE A PLAYHOUSE WHEN YOUR A KID , THIS IS THE WAY TO GO
" One day around 1954, the church people that lived there just walked away from it. They never even locked the doors, before long people were hauling off carved furnitire, statues, antiques, musical instruments, and God knows what" The Knapps Lived Here page 24
WITHIN A YEAR AFTER THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN,
THESE FRONT DOORS BECKONED TO THIS NINE YEAR OLD & HIS PALS
Don't Be Afraid... Come On In ... Have A Look Around
GHOSTS - SMOSTS ! YOU DON'T BELIEVE IN GHOSTS NOW DO YOU?
GO AHEAD CLIMB THE STAIRS ... THERE'S TWO MORE FLOORS OF ROOMS TO EXPLORE
PLUS A STAIRWAY TO THE ROOF & DON'T FORGET TO TAKE A RIDE IN THE DUMBWAITER
ONE OF THE SIX FIREPLACES
This just might be taken the "Ballroom" aka livingroom (what's throwing me is the lightness of these wall panels, in the ballroom they were very DARK) Or it might be the one that was in the study on the other side of the north ballroom wall . I don't have a clue to what that is behind the firescreen. It was gone when I got inside the place. It was one of these fireplaces though where I stuck my head in and heard Donald Denning's voice yell out. "HEY...I'm Stuck up here!" He was stuck in the chimney up on the roof ...HO HO HO.
THE DEDICATION IN THE KNAPP BOOK
Part Of The Wall Of Refrigerators. I seem to recall there were between 9 - 12 Refrigerator Doors . The Pantry Is Off To The Left
Ironically That Looks Like A White Fireman's Helmet Hanging On The Lower Right Door
A RATHER ODD SHOT LOOKING OUT FROM THE MASTER BATH ACROSS THE HALL AND INTO THE MASTER BEDROOM
These interior photos are very small 2 x 3 Inch prints, taken under less than ideal lighting as the electricity was off, It also appears there was no flash used
Which is probably why there are no photos of the ballroom as it was all dark paneled wood. This bathroom was very large & very bright with all white and black tile.
NO JUSTICE AT ALL IS DONE FOR THE MASTER BEDROOM BY THIS SHOT
but you run with what ya got...
This room was HUGE , WITH BRIGHT WHITE WALLS ... I Seem To Recall The Ceiling May Have Been Quite Fancy Too
This Room Had A Large Fireplace As Well As The Radiator You See Here & Double Sets Of French Doors To The Terrace
A SHOUT OUT
I AM STILL CONVINCED THAT PRO PHOTOGRAPHER, CHARLES STEVENS, WHO LIVED ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE PLACE, TOOK MORE THAN JUST THE ONE EXTERIOR SHOT FOR ST. JUDE'S IN 1950 WHEN THEY BOUGHT THIS PLACE.. WHEN CHARLIE DIED, MRS. FLO STEVENS GAVE HIS PHOTO GEAR & NEGATIVES TO HIS NEIGHBOR JAMES DERMODY, WHO'S SON JIM JR, REPORTABLY INHERITED IT. WELL JIM STILL LIVES THERE AND SEVERAL INQUIRES IN THE PAST TO HIM (The retired President of The LIRR) WERE MET WITH TOTAL SILENCE...
WHO KNOWS SOMEDAY THE STEVEN'S PHOTOS MAY JUST TURN UP JUST LIKE HELEN GROELLER'S PHOTOS HAVE...
Ya Just Gotta Believe...and with that said
I JUST WANT TO SAY TO ALL OUT THERE