West Meadow Beach Historic District
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West Meadow Beach Historic District
The shoreline of the West Meadow Beach Historic District, with a few cottages
|Nearest city||Stony Brook, New York|
|NRHP Reference #||04001195|
|Added to NRHP||October 28, 2004|
West Meadow Beach Historic District is a peninsula of park-land approximately 1.5 miles long and a national historic district located in northwestern Stony Brook in Suffolk County, New York. The district contained 120 summer cottages along West Meadow Beach built during the 1920s and 1930s (although some are dated much earlier and others rebuilt as late as the 1980s), most since removed under state court orders. In an attempt to apply pressure against the state court order and subsequent state legislation, the cottage "leaseholders" worked with allies to have the entire peninsula added to the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic District on October 28, 2004, however regardless of such status, the state-court mandated removal orders and subsequent state legislation to restore the public's beach took precedence. West Meadow's long beach and nearby tidal salt marshes and wetlands, along West Meadow Creek, make the area home to a number of bird species, inclusive of the endangered piping plover, least terns, as well as egrets and osprey, which makes the park a popular spot for wildlife photographers.
In 1996, A State Supreme Court ruled that these privately held cottages where illegally existing upon, and therefore alienating, public parkland owned by the Town of Brookhaven. Assemblyman Steve Englebright took measures to allow a short extension of their leases (8 years) in exchange for rents collected during that time period by the Town to be used to remove the structures at the end of that time period (before 2005), to also restore the public lands to their natural state and have some resources to both protect this ecosystem and assist the public in understanding the significant value of this wondrous coastal salt-marsh ecosystem. The State Supreme Court ruling was in part based upon previous Brookhaven Town Board resolution in 1979 which had clearly dedicated this peninsula as a town park. In December 2004, the remaining residents were evicted and the cottages were removed and the beach restored to its natural state. A few cottages were preserved under the state law written by Assemblyman Englebright for readaptive use for various public purposes including use by the Brookhaven Town Parks Department, Public Safety Department and Division of Environmental Protection, to assist in ecosystem protection of this invaluable parkland and in education of the public. Additionally the most historic structure the famous Gamecock Cottage (c. 1876), with Victorian style architecture, at the southern tip of the peninsula, known as Shipman's Point, was likewise preserved. The Gamecock Cottage and has recently been repainted (fall of 2010) and is going through a restoration by the town government and will be protected under a stewardship agreement with the non-profit community organization the Three Village Community Trust. Public parking is available in the northern section of the peninsula near the active Town Beach and is open to Town of Brookhaven residents for free and for non-residents on a daily fee basis during the beach season.
- More about West Meadow Beach
- Coverage of the Evictions
- NY Times Article, 2004, Cottages Facing Eviction