A MASTIC BEACH GARDEN SPOT
83 Locust Drive, Mastic Beach, NY May 10, 2006
When Anne and I went to New York City this month for our son Erik's college graduation from Pratt Institute, I had an extra day to give her a whirlwhind "Knapp Estate" and Mastic Beach area tour capped off with a little pre 59th Birthday Eve Dinner at Neighborhood Pizza now Ornofrio's. along with my friends and bandmates from as far back as 1950. Our first band The Islanders was literally formed there. One of the highlights of our tour that afternoon was showing Anne in person the Robert F. Muse residence on Locust Drive Mastic Beach. Aka Charles Jefferey Smith circa 1850 House aka "The Woodhull Lodge", Hannah Lawrence cottage 1896 and Joseph F. Knapp hunting lodge and WWI airbase barracks.
General contractor Bob Muse who's mother Emilie and dad Fred rescued this former Knapp Estate outbuilding from oblivion in 1948 has been living and always improving on it for many years now. On May 10th inspite of rainy weather, Bob rolled out the red and green carpet for us . Besides our common interest in historic preservation Bob and I share exact birthdays May 11, 1947, Although we never met up with each other in person when I lived in Mastic Beach from 1950-1964 I have enjoyed learning more and more about his homes history and sharing my discoveries with him. There are several pages on this website that document that including a full interior tour of the home I took in 2002. All are linked at the bottom of this page. When we were going through the home again I commented on a photo he had on the wall of the home taken in 1949. When we arrived back home in Nashville, not only was there a copy of that photo but about a dozen more that were taken between 1949-1951 which were the early & critical Muse Years of rescue. The home built circa 1850's by Charles Jefferey Smith 1803-76 along with another nearby farmhouse also on Locust Drive he built then are two of the real 19th century Mastic area jewels that remain in private families.
A VIEW FROM THE FAIRWAY DECEMBER 1949
This is looking northwest at the south face of the home from what was near the fairways of Joseph F Knapp's golf course. His helicopter would land here in the 1930's The home has already been reshingled with what was then modern asbestos shingles by Fred Muse . Bob removed those and home is now back to its original 19th century board and batten siding that is shown in these May of 1949 photos below
The second story square room was part of "cold room" that Dodi Knapp had built for the storing of game (Deer & Ducks) During Hannah Lawrence's ownership 1896-1916 it was all an open porch and terrace. After the airmen moved out of it in 1918 I'm not sure if it was ever used for anything but storage by the Knapps.
Posted No Trespassing signs were necessary long after the Muses owned it. They commuted from the Bronx in that little Crosley station wagon on weekends to work on it.The home was basically empty and unoccupied from 1938-1948 The Lister Family were the first purchasers of it when it was acquired bt Home Guardian in the last parcels of the Knapp estate to be sold off in 1941, but the Listers never did anything with it.
THE WILDS OF MASTIC BEACH
Undated photo circa 1949 This is looking east across Monroe Dr . Home in the background is on the Knapp 9 hole golf course
MAY 1950 It's Shaping up
On the ladder is Fred Muse. On the stoop Juanita, Bob and Richard Not unlike Gerry Butchie & Me
4 year old Bob and his dog "Buff" Notice the Crosley has been replaced by a Chevy. Had to be a much better ride from the Bronx
Most recent project was the matching of the roof of Bob's Workshop to original home.
Plans are now in the works to do the same for the old "cold room tower" on the other side.