FIRE ISLAND HISTORY >> By Thomas McGann

  • The Fascinating History of Lighthouses

    The Fascinating History of Lighthouses

    From Pharos to Fire Island By Thomas McGann On Aug. 7, we will celebrate National Lighthouse Day, and countdown to the 30th anniversary in which Congress passed this resolution. It was on Aug. 7, 1789, that the Bureau of Lighthouses was founded. When President Ronald Reagan signed the bill 200 years later, he did so in recognition of the incalculable ...READ MORE »
  • The William Floyd Estate

    The William Floyd Estate

    Gunpowder and Gumption By Thomas McGann This year celebrates the 300th anniversary of the William Floyd Estate, one of the gems of the Fire Island National Seashore. The estate is the ancestral home of William Floyd (1634-1821), one of only 56 original signers of the Declaration of Independence. The estate is not contiguous with the rest of the FI National ...READ MORE »
  • History: Rumrunners of Fire Island

    History: Rumrunners of Fire Island

    By Thomas McGann It started with Prohibition. Thanks to the active political participation of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), the Anti-Saloon League, and the likes of Carry A. Nation, an uncorseted woman (“bad for the vital organs” she claimed) who went about town with her handy hatchet chopping up taverns preaching “Death to Rum!”, in January 1919, the Eighteenth ...READ MORE »
  • HISTORY: Frank O’Hara: Poetry and Death on Fire Island

    HISTORY: Frank O’Hara: Poetry and Death on Fire Island

    by Thomas McGann Frank O’Hara (1926-1966) was a poet whose life and tragic death are inextricably bound with Fire Island. He was an influential member of what has come to be known as The New York School, a group of poets, writers, artists, and musicians who were active in the 1950s and 1960s. The movement included poets John Ashbery, Kenneth ...READ MORE »
  • A Brief History of Maguire’s Restaurant

    A Brief History of Maguire’s Restaurant

    By Thomas McGann It is hard to miss the obvious pride that the owners of Maguire’s Bay Front Restaurant, Jim Betz and Drew Becker, amply demonstrated over this past winter. One look at their extensive renovations is proof positive. Maguire’s is one of the oldest restaurants on Fire Island, predated by the Surf Hotel of 1855 (since demolished) and the ...READ MORE »