125 Years Ago - 1898
From The East Hampton Star, January 14
Last summer a large button ball tree in George Osborne’s yard was struck by lightning and it soon died. Early this winter during a wind storm about twenty feet of the top of the tree fell over and lodged in the top of another tree about thirty feet from the ground, and threatened to come crashing down at any moment. On Tuesday of this week the tree was felled to the ground, and passers by will now feel less timid about walking by that place.
It is quite noticeable that the spirit of improvement is more prevalent in East Hampton than it was a few years ago. During the past two weeks several of our citizens have greatly improved the sidewalks in front of their places by spreading sand and gravel upon them and travelling on foot has been correspondingly improved. There are many bad sidewalks in town yet, but no doubt the public will appreciate what has been done. There is no reason why the sidewalks cannot be kept in good condition the year round, if they are kept well covered with sand and gravel.
100 Years Ago - 1923
From The East Hampton Star, January 5
The attention of the town officials has been called to the matter of several property owners cutting trees that are on the highway. The highway law prohibits the cutting of trees on highways unless the owner has the permission of the commissioner of highways. It is earnestly requested that property owners comply with this law. The natural growth of trees and shrubs along the country drives is worth untold value to the townspeople and it is wrong that property owners who want to clear their hedge-rows extend their cutting into the highway, where they have no authority. Some of the town’s beautiful country drives have been ruined in just this manner the past few years. We predict that someday a well kept drive for autos and equestrians will encircle the great woods to the northwest of the town.
A car driven by B. Salisbury nearly ran over a child near Lusty’s shop last Sunday. The accident was averted by the quick action of the driver. When he saw the child’s danger he ran his car on the park property to the left running onto a pole which smashed his car.
Another car became mired on the Napeague Beach road and had to be pulled out.
Investigators of the District Attorney’s office are working with the local constabulary to round up a gang of housebreakers that have been operating at Sag Harbor and the Hamptons for the past three months.
75 Years Ago - 1948
From The East Hampton Star, January 8
Arthur Clinton Steele died on New Year’s Eve at 8:40 p.m. after an illness of many years, of acute myocarditis. Mr. Steel had been in and out of hospitals for 23 years, unable to work for months at a time, for so long that most men would have been completely discouraged long ago. He bore his troubles well, was always friendly and cheerful; even after years of a diet solely of bananas he worked whenever his health would permit. He was a butcher for 35 years with the Gilmartin Store on Main St.; and more recently with the Maidstone Market.
The annual meeting of the Cedar Lawn Cemetery Association will be held on Saturday evening at eight o’clock at the office of E.T. Dayton, for the election of directors and transaction of any other business. Anyone who has a plot in the cemetery is qualified to attend these meetings, but ordinarily only the directors are present. The Star has received communications regarding the high cost of dying in East Hampton. Instead of publishing critical letters, inquiry has been made as to the exact reasons for dissatisfaction, and the problems of the cemetery directors.
As one director put it, “We get no compensation, but plenty of hell.” Cemetery lots are not actually bought, but the privilege of using the ground is bought, subject to an annual charge for upkeep. This is scaled according to the amount of work needed on a given plot; care of just a plain lot jumped from $4 to $8 this past year; and a lot with planting might be as high as $50 a year.
50 Years Ago - 1973
From The East Hampton Star, January 4
The East Hampton Town Board began its year, at its annual organizational meeting on Tuesday, with 48 resolutions. The first and most substantial of these was for the adoption of a new police employment contract, which the Board and the Town Police Benevolent Association had agreed to on Friday. The old contract, negotiated in November, 1969, expired on Sunday.
Back in September, the PBA’s negotiating committee asked for a one-year contract increasing salaries in the 33-man Department by an average of 19 per cent, while the Town Board proposed a three-year contract with annual salary increases of four percent. The new contract will run for three years, but it provides for annual salary increases of about seven per cent.
New Year’s Day festivities were sober ones for some 250 persons who participated in a motorcade to Congressman Otis G. Pike’s Riverhead home in an effort to enlist his assistance against the war in Southeast Asia.
Meeting on the sidewalk in front of his house at 1 p.m., the group, which numbered many persons from East Hampton, was surprised to find the Congressman not at home and presented petitions to his wife, Doris.
25 Years Ago - 1998
From The East Hampton Star, January 5
A deal between East Hampton Town and the State Department of Environmental Conservation will allow the town to spread the gargantuan task of closing its two landfills over the next 13 years. Although a final decision on how to do so was not made, the town also learned last week that its 1990 application for $4 million in state assistance finally had been approved.
Town Board members were shocked by estimates last year that the cost of permanently closing the landfills, as required, could be as much as $50 million — the largest capital project in town history.
Without a $1 million plus gift from the town, the East Hampton Housing Authority’s beleaguered Accabonac Highway affordable housing project may never be completed, according to Maureen Murphy, the group’s new chairwoman.
Until the town agrees to help the authority meet its mortgage obligations and to cover expected shortfalls in the construction budget, the project’s largest investor, the Bank of New York, is reluctant to release even a third of the $3 million it pledged to provide, she said.
Supervisor Cathy Lester and her Democratic allies on the East Hampton Town Board voted Tuesday to appeal a State Supreme Court ruling ordering her to sign a construction contract for work on East Hampton Airport’s main runway.
The decision followed the announcement, during a State of the Town address on Friday, that she would create a “blue ribbon commission” to look into the runway’s reconstruction and other projects associated with the 1994 Airport Layout Plan.