And a whole team of Saltaire Bloggers gives him a great response.
Saltaire didn't exist when the photo was taken, Does anybody recognize this photo? It wasn't exactly in Saltaire .
DERF WOULD KNOW THE NAME "DOMINY HOUSE" FROM EAST HAMPTON. THE DOMINY FAMILY "WAS KNOWN FOR GENERATIONS" OUT EAST AS CRAFTSMEN. A FAMOUS DOMINY HOUSE STOOD IN E.H. FOR A COUPLE HUNDRED YEARS.
FELIX DOMINY BUILT THE VERY FIRST HOTEL ON FIRE ISLAND, ALSO CALLED THE DOMINY HOUSE. IT IS MENTIONED IN A FI NATIONAL SEASHORE BROCHURE:
While in Kismet, look for the marker commemorating the site of the first hotel
on Fire Island: the Dominy House, built in 1844. Proprietor Felix Dominy was the
first keeper of the original 1826 Fire Island Lighthouse.
Liz Kelly adds: I'm pretty sure that marker is by the little bike rack outside the OUT, on the bay side, just before the path leading to the water west of the dock
The marker looks like the base of the ancient brick chimney I remember where the tennis courts are now. Kids used to say that the chimney was the ruins of the bakery of an old hotel, and that there were always millions of ant colonies that were descendants of ants that lived off the crumbs of the bakery from a hundred years before. The chimney went down when they built the tennis courts.
Dominy House is not to be confused with the more famous Surf Hotel which was built in the 1850s, probably slightly to the west of Kismet.
Two modern day Bay Authorities if ever there were, Noel Feustel and Francis X. Mina, add color to the the Dominy House Story:
Capt. Frank tells us:
"My archive has quite a bit about Dominy, Surf Hotel and Kismet. The Dominy House is quite famous in local lore. Felix was the lighthouse keeper from 1835 to 1844. At some point he purchased a tract of land east of the lighthouse and, after his "tour of duty", built a small inn out of shipwreck lumber and opened in 1847. No formal record has been found of any ferry service to the place, but since the inlet was so much closer to the Kismet area then, it became a hangout for fishermen and duck hunters.
Noel tells more:
The Dominy -- was located in Kismet, the Surf Hotel was erected to the immediate west blocking the Dominy's views of the Lighthouse--some things never change--just think of all the present day decks to the sky in present day Saltaire.
There is a fairly new book that I received as a gift from (expletive deleted by Rosemary Woods) entitled "Fire Island's Surf Hotel" by Harry W. Havemeyer--full of historical insight about the bay. Chapter two deals with the Dominy House.
JOH: Poor Old Felix, the first Fire Island Lighthouse keeper on Fire Island, and first hotelier on Fire Island, must have really been upset when the Surf Hotel came along and stole his best ideas: Not only did the Surf Hotel steal his idea for a hotel on the island, they had the nerve to block his view of his lighthouse.
2-4-08 Post Script: Cosmo does more great research:
It turns out that COSMO is an author and authority on Dominy House. He also found a great source:
Munroe, Ralph Middleton and Gilpin, Vincent. The Commodore's Story. New York, NY: Ives Washburn, 1930.
At page 41:
Dominy’s occupation while he lived in this house is open to much conjecture and still more romance. Ostensibly he kept a summer beach resort for sportsmen, but well-founded tradition says that he was next in rank to a first class smuggler, and the stories of his wrecking activities and dubious dealings with owners and underwriters agents would make a book…. The old house, with its curious arrangements of cellars, garrets, etc. bore mute testimony to (Dominy’s) thrift; the outstanding barroom was made of an entire ship’s cabin , completely covered on the outside with the name- boards and carved work of wrecked vessels. Munroe, Ralph Middleton and Gilpin, Vincent. The Commodore's Story. New York, NY: Ives Washburn, 1930, at page 41.
This is where you miss a guy like Frank O. Braynard.
All day long we
have been piecing together drips and drabs of stories about the Dominy
Frank Braynard were with us today I am sure he could have given us
more detail right off the top of his head.
But thanks for the collaborative effort of Cosmo, Liz Kelly, Frank Mina, and Noel for a great story.
This cooperation illustrates the importance and fun of this crazy blog.
Only on Saltaire38.blogspot.com
ADDED ON MAY 1, 2008: