THE ROARING SMADBECKS

First The Park, Then The Beach

 

Long before Walter T. Shirley would make his mark on the area, have his post WWII development renamed from Mastic Acres to Shirley, and get the Long Island Rail Road to move their train station from Mastic to Shirley there were the Smadbecks.....

Brothers Warren and Arthur who were probably savvy enough to realize selling land for Smadbeckville wasn't gonna cut it with their targeted demographic ( The Kramdens & The Nortons eg. Brooklyn Blue Collar Families looking for an affordable vacation spot) So they called their little company Home Guardian and the W&A Construction Co. Then starting in 1922, they began selling off the land they had already been buying up cheap since 1912. Savvy they were too in how to price it...like the Levitt Brothers and W. T. Shirley they made their money in volume. The entire area that once was only known as Mastic, would soon become sub divided into Mastic, Mastic Park, and most importantly to the Knapp's and later me..... Mastic Beach.

 

 

This Seal Of The Home Guardian Company would soon be appearing on hundreds of deeds all over town. This one from 1950 is on a deed to the Knapp Mansion property.

 

Not only were they smart enough to not call it "Smadbeckville" or some other ego stroking name like that....( can you just hear the LIRR conductor strolling through the car saying SMADBECK next stop Smadbeck...)

Warren and Arthur had a unique way of reaching the mass audience they were looking for as customers.They teamed up with an established Brooklyn daily newspaper The Brooklyn Citizen (1885-1947) and if you took a 3 month trial subscription (2 cents a day) you were "entitled to buy a building lot in this vacation paradise for next to nothing with EZ terms 0% interest to boot" Here is one of the first ads that appeared touting Mastic Park on the Beautiful Forge River (where the Dana Estate was)

 

It was a success and forward looking guys that they were Warren and Arthur looked South....to an even more exclusive area that had the Great South Bay on it's doorstep...and they could get an extra 34.00 for lots there

Post Card and Photo Courtesy Of George Barnes

 

Here is the office that the six Home Guardian salesmen worked out of. At least two of them, David Simon & Harry Bloomquist would go into the real estate business for themselves and were active in the area in the 1950's. Check out that car. Is it a pilgrim from Brooklyn coming out to look around? My grandparents did in the '40's and eventually like so many others, turned their summer bungalow into an all year round residence. Unlike this office, their bungalow still stands on the end McKinley Drive aka "Swamp Road", Mastic Beach

 

You got to hand it to them Smadbeck's They knew how to develop and sell property. In Mastic Beach they did it in Ten Sections. Starting in June of 1926 with Section 1 which bordered on the west of the Floyd Estate. Here is an excerpt from a letter to one of their customers that deals with the road situation. It appears in Janice Schaefer's wonderful little book The History Of Mastic Beach.

Section one was also once the area the Town Of Mastic Beach developed in. The Post Office, General Store, Fire Department and Paul Schulte's hotel were located there. That was to change after 1938....like I said earlier, 1938 was to prove to be a pivotal year for Mastic Beach and for more than a huge hurricane that was blowing it's way.

 

"Vandenburgs" In The Center Of Town

It was the site of the first Mastic Beach Post Office in the1920's. Located in Section 1 on the corner of Whiitier Drive and Aspen Road, Vandenburg's would later be known as Chester's, (Madeesi's, and Sal's during the 50's & 60's) and....so on . I believe the building still stands , but not sure if it's open anymore

1927 DAILY NEWS AD FOR MASTIC BEACH PROPERTY

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MEET J F K Jr.