Saturday, March 12, 2005

The BMW Montauk motorcycle. Ain't it cool?  Posted by Hello
I worked with people who worked on the archaeology of Montauk a number of years ago. It was determined in a Federal court that they had no title to the lands. I also read Carl G. Fisher bought what he thought was a title from them. He developed sealed beam headlights, making millions, developed Miami Beach (Montauk was to become a Miami Beach of the North, apparently construction from his era still there, before the "Stock Market Crash" which some argue is almost irrelevant as the major cause of the Depression, few compared to today were actually vested in it) and lived in a small cottage on the Florida beachfront. Back when I first met the archaeologists working at the early "Second House" the "modern" empty tall hotel (12 stories?) from that era was still for sale. I wonder if it still is? I read one building there, a lodge of sorts is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places and being restored by local interest. Geologists report George Washington asked the locals where the best place for the lighthouse he authorized should be. A sad story relates how many of the local natives were lost trying to rescue a wrecked passenger sailing ship, which they often were known to do. One ship sailed away to return five years later, in the interim the steady light lighthouse and the Montauk flashing light were switched (or vice versa) and the ship thinking it was rounding Montauk Point crashed into the south shore. The Suffolk County Archaeological Association has published one or two large paperback books on the Montaukett natives, in fact it was an unpublished thesis from NYU on their history by a Ms. Fisher, that began their research and publications, last I looked there were seven, about Long Island natives, some of whom were known to Thomas Jefferson, who collected their words and James Madison who visited William Floyd's place, he the first New Yorker to sign the "Declaration of Independence" (fourth signer overall) at which the Association mapped the basement prior to its gift to the Fire Island National Seashore, Federal Wilderness, Dept. of the Interior. I attended the public hearing for its creation at the William Floyd High School, archaeologists also turned in a report, which if I recall, shows "wilderness" a relative term. I later assisted the Denver Service Center's archaeological tests as they prepared the place for public entry. Interesting, a William Lloyd (well-to-do Tory on the North Shore) bottle seal was found, and perhaps not a surprise as it's related the British Army used the fine house of the American patriot William Floyd, as a stable for horses and cut down all the manor's trees. Recently Camp Hero has opened out at "The End" as a State Park, after some (or one) of the areas were set aside for having UXO (British developed "science") or (unexploded ordnance) in it and appropriate warnings placed on signs. Other areas there are still off limits, once two 16" guns and other parts of a shore battery were there, probably went up in the 1920's. A State Policeman and his family lives there. There was a large radar dome and a "concrete fishing village" and its reported that some of the first modern electronic computations went on there, perhaps tracking aircraft and ships at sea. It's where it's said one of the "Green Mountain Boys" Captain Hulbert and a number of the locals marched around one hill, reversed their coats, and marched around another part of a hill, convincing the British Navy, who would have put ashore for the sheep and cattle out in the "Hither Hills" to provision itself, not to put ashore to augment their lousy rations. A "fake" Hulbert Flag, he is recorded as having submitted one of the considered designs for the new nation, (the Smithsonian reports that the fabric of the artifact was "power" woven dating it to the 19th century) exists in the Suffolk County History Museum, in Riverhead, the 13 stars in the shape of another star, like the "Seal of Solomon" or the "Star of David". Interestingly the "Green Mountain Flag" has them in an almost random way, unless some secret design or other pattern. Captain Hulbert's father was a cobbler and had a shop in Bridgehampton on the northeast corner of the Sag Harbor Turnpike and the Montauk Highway. I went to camp overnite at Montauk years ago on my Japanese police bike, a 1968 Kawasaki 650cc, with a friend John Kirschenheiter, whose brother was a policeman, on the back, another one, a Kawasaki 650 TT, I took to Grad School. I once borrowed a Honda 160cc and went to Orient Point, maybe Honda will issue an "Orient". Maybe its like the old bike songs from England that went into rock-and-roll ballads, going to see a girlfriend riding back down the coast or something I heard from there. Maybe that's why they call this BMW "Montauk" except I seem to never see people again I've gone out there with. Then again REI had an expensive pair of loafers called "Montauk" too. More likely it's a good thing. Some of the older car maps have "Summer Ferry" that used to leave from Montauk, NY to Rhode Island's Block Island. "Of all the islands lying off the East Coast of the United States, the one 12 miles off the shore of Rhode Island, first noted by French navigator Verrazzano in 1524 and later named by Dutch trader Adrian Block in 1614, has the most successfully clung to its past." That too, perhaps, a ferry to Block Island from Montauk would be a "good thing." One problem back around 1980 or so was development, some of the building lots going for $1 million an acre there near or on Lake Montauk I believe, though I was not directly connected with the research. Apparently a cemetery of the Montaukett natives, and judging from the artifacts recovered from grave-robbing by a collector tracked down and "caught" in return for cooperating in re-locating the burial ground, was from about the time of the "Contact Period" when Europeans and native Americans first began interacting, i.e., "onion" shaped bottle, etc. just seen in a few polaroids. The story I was told was that the archaeologist went back to the robbed grave to screen the excavated soil to see if small artifacts had been missed by the diggers, i.e., small beads, etc. The guy helping says that no sooner had they started doing that a group of native Americans from the Shinnecock and elswhere perhaps, approached and they ceased what they were doing. The County I think bought the property with a buffer and the building went on around it.

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