Could everyone write one simple essay about something that once happened in Saltaire…that they saw or were a part of…and put it on one big website? Somebody should collect a lot of stories before we all forget. Otherwise it is like a line in “On The Beach” : The history of the war that now would never be written.” -(JO'H)

Friday, November 23, 2007


The AP is running this amazing story this afternoon:


by Tom Quinn

Saltaire, New York, November 23, 2010

Underwater divers in Long Island’s Great South Bay in New York have located the wreckage of a Dutch registery ship from 1600. The discovery of the ship, including a water tight, strong box containing a ship and community log, establish that there was a community of Dutch settlers on Fire Island, New York that lasted for about two and one half years before mysteriously disappearing in 1603.

Perhaps most startling, the community celebrated a "Thanksgiving" festival in 1601 and 1602 at the site of the present-day Saltaire on Fire Island. "This establishes that the first Thanksgiving in the New World was a celebrated on Fire Island 19 years before the Pilgrims set foot at Plymouth Rock." according to Professor John Crackinkle of Springfield College in Massachusetts, a leader in the study.

In early 2007 workers rebuilding a ferry dock at Saltaire uncovered a large wooden sculpture that naval historians have identified as the ship’s figurehead. That led to Springfield College’s underwater recovery team to scour the bay, and the hull of the ship was recovered nearby.

By all appearances, the ship, registered in Amsterdam in 1600 as the "Beaverflower” did not wreck on Fire Island. It apparently lay abandoned at anchor in the bay for many years about 100 feet north of Saltaire.

Records found in the ship’s log indicate that the small Dutch community, although based on the island itself, continued to use the Beaverflower as a repository for records, and possibly as a meeting place. Hence, the ship log served as a sort of community history book until the community mysteriously disappeared.

There are no diary entries after March, 1603 . Researchers theorize that the ship and community was abandoned, probably suddenly or violently, because the ship was left moored but unmanned about 100 feet north of Saltaire. Years, perhaps decades later, the ship eventually sank in the bay, and was forgotten to history.

The mystery surrounding disappearance of the colony without a trace is sure to create controversy among historians for years to come. Although the ship’s log makes no reference to any problems with Native Americans or other Europeans, there are several notes about “creatures” or “bush babies” dwelling in sand dunes that may have raided the settlement from time to time.

Historical treasures recovered included the ship’s log and other documents that had been stored in a water tight chest in the captain’s quarters. The figurehead, a five and one half foot long sculpture of a beaver, is being donated to Springfield College for installation at “Cracktinkle Hall.” Other items from the ship, described by historians as “priceless” will be sold to set up a scholarship fund for non athletes at Springfield College.


cosmo said...

Recycling that same stupid story. Saltaire didn't exist in 1600. The island ended around Cherry Grove at that time. A blog is about the free exchange of ideas and stories about Saltaire, not about one Blogmaster censoring the posts of others.

Richardinhingham said...

OUCH! Surely you jest!

Anonymous said...

Same old stupid story? Saltaire may not have existed as a legal entity at that time but where is the proof that the island ended at Cherry Grove in 1600? Did it end at the east or west end of the community? If Saltaire didn't exist in 1600 are you claiming that early gay immigrants, seeking a haven from sexual repression, established the community of Cherry Grove in 1600?