If I had a nickel.....


" Heading South On Swamp Road "

If I had a nickel for everytime I walked down this road between 1950 and 1964 , I could of bought the entire Knapp Estate.


I don't know who first gave it the name Swamp Road, but that was the only name Butchie & Me ever knew it by. Technically it was two roads that met in the course of the Smadbeck's (Home Guardian Co.) changing plans. If you were heading south below Elm Road, as in the photo above, you were on McKinley Drive, but as soon as you went around that bend , you were heading west on Forest Road. On all the old maps of Mastic Beach from it's 1926 inception, to well into two decades later, you will still see McKinley and Forest intersecting each other with a proposed Mckinley continuing south until it met up with Cottonwood / Grove and Forest Road heading east all the way to the lagoon. It never happened in 77 years and most likely never will. And the major reason I would say that is, because of what is out there. The land that gave the road it's unofficial name.


" The plans on the left and the reality on the right"

Notice the roads that never were completed . X : our house G: Gramps P: Peterson's


It was always a dirt road when I was a kid, at least the part that is shown dark brown on the maps. There were only two small bungalows on it. Both built post Knapp, in the late 1930's early 40's on the west side of McKinley, about where Elfin Place was supposed to connect. The first one belonged to my grandfather Walter Joseph and next door to him was Gus Peterson's. The Peterson one is gone and my grandfather's is so highly changed, you can't tell it was at one time a 3 + bathroom job. Just past Gus' the woods started to turn into a swamp. There were some great grape vines in there though and our Mom would make some serious jelly out of what we kids would bring home in buckets, pots and pans.


Almost everyday after school we would take Boots our dog for his afternoon walk either heading down it and over to Jefferson and back up or vice versa. Like I said If I had a nickel..... On both sides of it there were drainage ditches that ran deep into the swamp. We used to follow the north one over to where it came out on Jefferson a lot. It was some kind of long "shortcut" and all kinds of adventures seemed to unfold, usually involving someone getting wet. One year Larry Schulz had a broken leg and they decided to take the shortcut. "They" were Butch, Larry and his brother Dennis. Why I wasn't with them I'm not sure. I may of been at home nursing a bad case of poison oak. According to Butchie, Larry was getting through the swamp fine until he stuck his crutch into a hornets nest. Butch and Dennis took off and left poor Larry hobbling to deal with the hornets. He got stung pretty good.


One day it was just Boots and me out there and I decided to follow the south drainage ditch. I was probably no more than 8 years old. It seemed to go on forever. Then I went into a really dense wooded area and for awhile I thought I was lost. When I came out on the other side. I was right behind Mike & Walter's Fishing Station on the end of Beaver Dr. Not wanting to treck back through the woods, I figured I would just take Beaver back up to Elm. I had not counted on a canal just a little too wide to try jumping over keeping me from getting to Beaver. It was back through the woods. Just whistle a happy tune.


We always took Swamp Road as the way to get to Beach 10 at the end of Jefferson. And going to the beach was not just a summertime swimming activity. There were flounders to catch in the spring, snappers in August and September, ice to walk on and sometimes go through (Larry again)in the winter. Of course the biggest adventure I recall on Swamp road was the "Conklin Studebaker Into The Tree & Swamp Caper", that is told in great detail on the Pat & Mike's pages. As I look at the top picture I took in August of 2000, I can still see them coming around the bend or trying to that is. Add a little sand over the blacktop and I would swear it was 1961 (an upside down year) again.