Another stop Kenny and made that day was "The Muse House" on Locust Drive. This Civil War era home was most likely built by C. J. Smith or The Lawrence Family. It would later become part of the Knapp Estate. I would of liked to talk with the present owner but between the chain link fence , no sign of anyone around , and the Beware Of The Dog sign . I opted to stay inside the Hudson and snap these pics through the window.

 

The Muse House

As I mentioned it was Hempstead Village Historian Jim York who told me about this house. Originally it faced the bay, but in the '60's the owners turned house sideways so it now faces west on Locust. I remember it from when I was a kid, but had no idea it was part of the Knapp Estate, but then I had no idea my house was sitting on Knapp land either. Jim was in an ideal position to know about the Muse place because his grandparents built a bungalow just a stones throw south of it in the 1920's. Jim spent his summers there all through the late 1940's - 60's. Jim's mother who was a girl in the 1930s remembers it well because of the tower that was on the land in front of it. It was an observation tower that you could view the entire bay and beyond across Fire Island and the ocean from. There's lots of speculation as to what the tower was used for, but no need to get into that now. She said as soon as they arrived from the city, she would head for it. Here's a tiny snapshot of it taken around 1935 and a view from the top, courtesy of Mr. York. You can just barely the roof of the Muse house in the background.

Locust Drive South Of Elm Rd. Looking North At The Tower....

The roof of Muse/Knapp/Lawrence House is peeking through the trees behind it

......Up on The Tower Looking South Across The Bay. Part of Pattersuquash Island is visible on the right and Fire Island across the horizon. Jim spent his summer's in the bungalow. Check out that 1920's Sedan parked in the driveway

 

It must of been really exciting for Jim's Mom as a young girl to take that long drive out on Montauk Highway from the city to the wilds of Mastic Beach. Their bungalow backed up to the Knapp golf course and it was there in the 1930's she saw an incredible sight. A helicopter landed there. A common sight perhaps today but in the mid 30's??? Most helicopters were still very experimental looking, one man open frame deals, with a motor strapped to them. Igor Sikorsky the father of the modern helicopter had applied for a patent in 1929 and was building experimental craft on Long Island, but nothing like Mrs. York described. "It was enclosed and looked like a modern day one" Well if anyone had the connections to have a private helicopter of that type and that early it would be the Knapp's or their business associates. I did some research and the only enclosed helicopter that I could find available during the mid 1930's was this one built in France. The Knapp's had business and social ties with France going the way back to the 1800's. Joseph Fairchild Knapp was on his way home to NY from Paris when he passed away aboard the steamer La Champagne in 1891. Though I cannot say this is the actual helicopter Mrs. York saw back then , I can say this is the only enclosed helicopter I could find that was available in 1935. Can you imagine a well oiled patron of Paul Schulte's Stable wandering out of that watering hole and seeing something like this. THE MARTIANS HAVE LANDED!!!

No it's just Joe Knapp and his friends...... dropping in to tee off.

 

 

Here is a piece of a Beer's 1873 Map. The yellow brick road (it was dirt) going south to the homes is most likely close to what is now Monroe or Locust Drive on the left bend and Jefferson Dr on the right. Notice all the residences of C. J. Smith & Mrs. Lawrence. The tan dot farthest to the south is most likely the "Muse House" and the red dot ,Mrs. Lawrence's Residence aka "The Dermondy House" The green dot could possibly be where the Knapp Mansion was built, but it's highly unlikely it was built by Smith or Lawrence. The W. Robert house was Richard Floyd's Mansion. It would become Bayview Hospital in the early 1950's. H. Nicoll was also indirectly involved in land transfers to the Knapp's. They would eventually wind up with most of what you see on this map and more. Over 166 Acres.

 

 

The Dermondy House

The Dermody's owned it when I lived there and their sons John & Peter went to William Floyd School with me. It's a pretty fair assumption that the some of the Knapp's occupied it while their mansion was being built across the street. Both places could of easily become "guest cottages" if the Knapp's filled the bedrooms in the big house.

 

NEXT