VIEW STOP 20 SCRIPT
Greetings. This is Halsey again. Let me tell you about why some of the timbers in this wing are so much bigger than they need to be. In 1899, a bunch of us farmers along Sound Avenue got tired of paying high rates to the Long Island Rail Road to ship our produce to New York City. So we decided to build a 400-foot pier into Long Island Sound. We organized a joint stock company. Like most everything else in the Sound Avenue community, it seemed like a Hallock enterprise. My nephew Herman Hallock was the president, my cousin Henry Hallock was the corporate secretary and the pier was built on the north end of his farm. Naturally we were a shareholder.
Although we called it the Iron Pier – except for the pilings – it was made entirely of wood. We hired a contractor, Henry Case, who had built two long piers at Coney Island. But from the beginning, things began to go wrong. A storm blew most of the timber off the barge on which it was being carried. Then Case encountered financial difficulties, and we had to hire a local contractor to complete the job.
We finished it in 1901, but discovered that the water wasn’t deep enough for most boats except at high tide, so it didn’t work very well to ship produce. Finally, in the cold winter of 1904, the sound froze solid. Then a strong southerly wind blew the ice out across the sound towards Connecticut. Then the wind changed direction and the ice came crashing back against the pier – totally destroying it.
But naturally as shareholders, we had salvage rights. We used that salvaged lumber to build this shed. Some of the large timbers we used directly. That’s why some of the beams in the shed are so oversize. The rest of the timbers we sent to a Riverhead mill to have sawn into planks.
Now come with me to that rusted piece of machinery just behind you. It doesn’t look like much now, but it sure was useful back in my day.