MEET THE

SMADBECK BROTHERS
Warren & Arthur

"THE HENRY FORDS OF REAL ESTATE"

&

"The Original Mastic Beach Boys"

 

Dr. Warren Smadbeck & Warren Jr. November 1956 / Arthur Smadbeck 1949

photo courtesy of Warren Smadbeck Jr, / Arthur's photo NY TImes

 

Warren Smadbeck today in Boulder, Colorado

I have been corresponding with Colorado realtor Warren Smadbeck for some time now. I'm sure he was as initially surprised that someone was asking about his father and uncle's realty developments of the 1920's , as I was to learn that Dr. Warren Smadbeck 1885-1965 had a son my age! But like everything else that has been connected to this story.... it's simply amazing what happened in that little town of Mastic Beach and most everything and everyone connected to it .

Recently I sent Warren a photo of the Hotel Presidente that his father built in Havana,Cuba in 1928. I have that photo in developer Walter T. Shirley pages. Warren reminisced some about vacationing there in the 1950's pre Castro Cuba. That coupled with him sending me the photo taken at their home in The Dakota , New York City has led to this page where you will learn a little bit about the two brothers who developed Mastic and Mastic Beach along with a "few" other towns across Long Island, the United States and Canada.

They were known in the media as "The Henry Fords of Real Estate" because of their style of making vacation land and home ownership possible for the average Joe. Their father Louis was active in New York City Real estate from the late 19th century until his death in February of 1911. The first Smadbeck Real Estate Transfer that I found in the N Y Times took place in May 22 of 1885 the year Louis and Jennie's first son Warren was born.

May 22,1885

After his fathers death Warren, who was a dentist, took over the family realty business along with his mother and his kid brother Arthur who was born in 1887.

By 1913 the name Home Guardian Co. was appearing in Smadbeck transactions. In the 1920's Warren and Arthur started developing & marketing large estates "out in the sticks" but near railway stations. One of their early ones was Mastic Park about 1922 derived from acreage purchased from August Floyd and William Dana's estate .

1920 Classified Ad

 

Using newspaper subscriptions to sell land was a new concept and may have been the Smadbeck's original idea. The Brooklyn Citizen's publisher, John Frost's name appears on many of the Mastic deeds. Mastic Park was on it's way when they purchased the Lawrence Estate and started the town of Mastic Beach in 1926. Most every Smadbeck development during the 1920's - 50's was marketed as a vacation destination and situated either near a lake or waterfront. In the 1926 they also developed Rocky Point on the North Shore of Long Island and it shares most of the same street names as Mastic Beach.

Grove, Magnolia, Forest, Dogwood, Hickory, and of course Elm Road are very familiar names.

Click to See Mastic Beach's 1928 "MIRROR IMAGE"

 

Besides Real Estate, Warren was interested in art collecting

 

Warren was also deeply involved with Child Welfare and was appointed to the

Child Welfare Committee by Governor Al Smith in the 1920's.

 

I don't know if Warren ever had time to practice dentistry ...... But he and his brother were busy fellows with a whole lot going on both big and small.

On the rather small side ......

In August of 1938, Arthur paid a visit to the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association as reported by the Moriches Tribune

The rest of the article is fairly unreadable because of the quality of the copy but it basically continues :....

....Brooklyn Citizen developer of Mastic Beach. Mr. Smadbeck's offer was made Saturday night in a talk to the association members. Mr. Smadbeck stressed the advantages to be gained to the ownership of the beach by the property owners group but agreed that 70 percent of the home owners should be members of the association before his offer was accepted. He declared that numerous residents have been operating fishing and boat stations in the beach are located there on purely squatters rights, and legal action would have to be taken to remove them, numerous notices served on them have thus far had no effect.

After Mr. Smadbeck's talk the association members discussed the situation at great length and decided that until the Brooklyn Citizen had cleared the beach front of all squatters and a clear title could be given, the association would not accept ownership.

It was a Saturday Night I wonder if Artie stayed over? Perhaps he went down to the Beach Tavern or Schulte's to hoist a few with the locals?

 

HOLY MACKEREL !

Seventeen Fishing Stations in Mastic Beach in the 1930's WOW....by the 1950's it was just three : Mike & Walters, Captain Andy's and Freds.....And so the balking continued for well over 60 years ...beaches were built in the 40's and by the 70's they were a memory. For the rest of the century a lot of that property was in limbo. In 2002 the beach property obtained in the Knapp Estate (Section 10) was confiscated by the State for back taxes. I hear it is getting resolved. But I'm sure Warren & Arthur never lost any sleep over it.

 

NEXT

THE DEVELOPING STORY