Mastic Beach in The 1940's & '50's

One of the earliest homes on the new road "Tennis Place" that ran east to west across the Knapp Estate in the new Section 10. This bungalow of Peter & Rose Scimeca was self built around 1942 . It was literally in the woods. I got the worst case of Poison Oak I ever had from the Scimeca woods just to the east of this house. It sent me to the Doctor Stamphl in 1958 for radical treatment. If the name Scimeca rings a bell it should. The family is also on the Clune pages and several other Way We Were Pages.


Margaret , daughter Peggy, John, John's Mother Rose & Rose's Daughter Phyllis

My sister was friends with Phyliss and I believe they were in the Girl Scouts together. This is the same house radically restyled. The small window is now where the front door was. It may of been the only home with English Manor Tudor Styling in Mastic Beach. It was always meticuosly landscaped. The Scimecas listed their address back then as The Knapp Estate and they had Tennis Place renamed to Phyllis Drive in the early '50's for their daughter.

Rose & Peggy Scimeca 1940's

The Schulz Family Lived Directly Across The Road.

Rebecca, Salvatore and Delores Scimeca Inside Pete & Rose's Living Room 1957

Peter & Rose's son Sal built his home directly behind his parents in the 1950's. It was just 3 houses west of mine. I remember riding my bike on the dirtpile when they cleared the land on Elm Rd. And playing in his house when it was under construction. I had a very nice phone conversation with their daughter Rebecca Anselmo and her daughter Christina Anselmo - Walrath just a week ago. It was Chris who graciously sent me these pics. Her Mom who was born in 1953 had many of the same teachers at Floyd that I had. Rebecca who was seven at the time also vividly witnessed the mansion fire in 1959. After the fire her father brought home some of the broken marble mantles from the fireplaces and used them in this fountain. I know Dodi Knapp would of approved and probably would of thought the flamingos were a perfect touch. A touch of Fort Lauderdale!


Located on the eastern edge of the Knapp Estate Golf Course. Once upon a time a pine tree lined road ran directly through this property from the Knapp tennis court all the way down to their dock. Rebecca told me they found traces of the road and horseshoes whenever they dug in their yard



Phyllis Callahan Potts has lived mainly in Mastic Beach on Daisy Drive since 1937. In 1985 she retired from a very long career at the Mastic Beach Post Office. She truly made history when she became the first female mail carrier in N.Y. State. I went to school with her children Kathy & Lee who are pictured here in Larry Schulz's yard on Phyllis Drive along with me and my brother Butch, The occassion was Larry's Birthday in 1955 which was when he got his new Columbia bike.

We all were home from school because Larry's birthday is the same as George Washington's ; Feb 22 and this of course was before it was consolidated with Abe's , a guy George never met. But Phyllis, Kathy and I met again after 40 some odd years at my talk at the Library Show last November. These photos from her collection are just priceless as documents of the way the town once was. Which once again raises the question ..... What Photos Are At Your House?


They are sitting on the bumper of a 1937 Olds convertible sometime during WW2 era . Notice the Gas Ration Sticker (A). Marion Weisser was the daughter of Nat Weisser a Home Guardian real estate salesman turned Mastic Beach merchant. She would marry Tex Lanham a carpenter who built our home extension in 1959. We also went to school with the Lanham children Shirley & Donald. (hey it was a small town) Phyllis would marry Tex's army pal Paul Potts. View is looking east from southside of Neighborhood Road & Elder Dr.. That's Birdsall's Hardware store behind them, Beach Garage, Beach Tavern and 5 Corners in the distance. This place was to the youngsters in the '40s what Jean's was to teens in the '50's. For more pics of the Sugar Bowl itself click here

Phyllis and Friend about 1945 sitting pretty on a 1937 Ford. The town is now sporting a 5 & 10 Cent Store. It was located between the Stop & Shop on the northeast corner of Elder & Neighborhood and the hardware store which by now may be called Watrous Hardware. The 5 & 10 disappeared for a few years and re emerged in the 1950's at the west end of town.

Phyllis recently gave an oral history of her life in Mastic Beach at the Community Library. You can listen to it by clicking here


Three blocks if your heading east or two blocks west. The Weisser Gulf Station was almost in the center of town at Neighborhood Road and Huguenot Dr. about midway between Triangle Shell formerly Palmer's White Oak Station at the X of Commack and Neighborhood and Pat & Mikes Texaco on the 5 Corners . This photo is not as old as it appears (I have sepia toned it for artistic effect ) I would date it around 1950 or so. The reason is simple The Sugar Bowl sold Good Gulf Gas until about 1948 and the town now has sidewalks.

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