44 YEARS AGO

SUNDAY

FEB 15th 1959

 

It is now forty four years ago that the Knapp Mansion left the landscape of Mastic Beach. Funny thing is I have discovered even way back then, few folks knew anything about who the namesake family was. It's one of the true threads that runs through this entire story. But then even in the 1930's when folks started moving into the area around Knapp's estate they were kept at quite a distance. The closest any bungalows would get, would be the west side on Locust Drive, which was still two blocks away before Dodi Knapp started selling out. With the tall pines that were planted over there, you may of seen the chimneys or perhaps the dormers on the the third story. Even Malcom Garrity's view (The Dermody house) from his second story balcony was most likely blocked by tall trees. So unless you worked for Dodi or knew Willie Schluder or Charlie Penney (his caretakers) it's highly unlikely you knew what went on over there.

Here again is the newspaper account that ran in the Patchogue Advance and Moriches Tribune complete with lots of wrong information. The only correction I made to the original copy was to restore a 1/2 a story to Dodi's house. It was three full stories , not 2 and a 1/2 as was reported here. For more on the errors of fact and assumptions the newspaper made, you can read my original comments on the fire reporting here.

And also more eyewitness stuff here.

If there's one thing I really know about this whole deal .....it's the fire, as there are only three people that were there during the entire blaze; my brother Butch, my friend Doug, and me. Prior to that there were only two people there before us. The two arsonists who lit it up for the one person who really wanted to see it go. No it wasn't inadverntaly started by youngsters as reported here. It was deliberately started by "adults" . As for me, this youngster would of loved nothing more than to see someone buy it and restore it.

 

 

And so life goes on.

 

It's funny that I ran across this photo of Claire Antoinette Knapp's grandaughter this very week. She is also named Claire Antoinette and is on this 1995 cover of a dog magazine. Timely too as this was the week of Westminster Dog Show, the one they now call the "superbowl of dog shows". Her grandmother and her mother both have "superbowl rings" and she is continuing the tradition of champion dog breeding that started all the way back 127 years ago with her great grandfather and grandmother Joseph Palmer and Sylvia Theresa Knapp.

 

Claire certainly has a lovely smile and her two whippets are stunning. I would like to think that based on the exciting conversations I once had with her cousin Sibby, before the lawyers stepped in, that we could all be friends and I could tell her all about what I have found out about her family's home in Mastic Beach that her cousin never knew existed. And that she could tell me stories that she knows about her grandmother Claire and uncle Dodi. But like my wish that someone would of bought and restored the fine house that Claire & Dodi once lived in , I've learned that some wishes just go up in smoke.

 

 

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