"The Goin' Over"
In the 1950's when they held a meeting at Walter Shirley's New York office on the northwest corner of 5th Avenue and 42nd Street to discuss the erection of this sign on the north west corner of Montauk Highway and the bank of Carman's River, you can be sure of two things. Every word on the sign and the fisherman, the fish etc. were discused at length (I have several years worth of their minutes. They didn't do anything at Shirley without a meeting not even where to stick the coke machine at the property office) AND no one present least of all the man who's name would be going on the sign * probably ever heard the phrase or of the place "the goin' over" or had a clue about what transpired there in days gone by. Shirley's lawyers must of seen references in the early deeds to a boundary line called "the goin' over". But you can be sure they too probably had no idea. The "goin' over" was once the center of culture and commerce for all of Mastik Neck that would lie just beyond the east bank of Conneticutt or Carmen's River and extend all the way to the west bank of the Mastic or later Forge River. It was also the center for many of the residents of the nearby hamlets of Fireplace and Brookhaven .....
* Walter T. Shirley was a born salesman not a historian....At a 1950 meeting to name the new school that he donated the land for, Shirley reportedly said to one of his assistants as they left the meeting "Bill ...who the hell is William Floyd ? I never heard of him"
So what will follow here is a Going Over of the history of the "Goin Over" aka "the crossing over place" Pay close attention now .... Mr. Collins will have a test for you on Friday!
FLYIN' OVER THE GOIN' OVER IN 1946
CARMAN'S RIVER MAKING IT'S WAY SOUTH TO THE BAY
A decade after this aerial photo, Shirley would place his billboard on the edge of the property below just to the left of the fuel tanks. Dead center in the forefront is the defunct Swezey Fuel Oil Co that replaced the Robinson Coal & Fuel Co. They had replaced the colonial era Carmen's Tavern & Inn that was there since the beginning of America until 1936. Today it is a canoe rental place called the Glacier Bay Outfitters (where the hell in the world of global warming is that?) or something of that nature. Across the road the pillar of the community though was the South Haven church. It was started in 1740, with the building in the photo erected in 1828. The building was moved west to Brookhaven about two miles westward in 1960. The large barn is part of the Robinson Duck Farm.
I wouldn't have a clue either about about what the area once was. or the amount of times I went over the "goin' over" when I lived in the area from 1950-1977. Until the Sunrise Highway reached Floyd Parkway, Montauk Highway was the only route West. During two years in William Floyd high school (1962-64) I crossed it twice a day on my way to BOCES Auto Mechanics which was in Bellport and then back to Shirley. The times I paid most attention to Carmen's river would of been when crossing it on the train bridge just south of Montauk Highway or later on as an area you could not go clamming in.
The first time I ever saw the term "Going Over" was in 2001 when I read the 19th century deed between the Smith brothers and sisters and Joseph P. Knapp. Knapp the life long fisherman most likely heard several of the many versions of Daniel Webster story about catching the worlds biggest trout in Carman's River and so he leased a large part of it from the Smith's for 6 years 1893-99. John Dietz's website on Brookhaven hamlet gave me a heads up on what is probably the most researched article on that legendary story and I've posted it here.
THE THREE ANCHORS OF THE GOIN' OVER
SAM CARMEN'S TAVERN
ALL ROADS LEAD TO CARMAN'S
This inaccurate map from 1815 (Forge River is Missing) demonstrates clearly the role CARMENS played in the history of Mastic
Still Carmens Circa 1870
"I said Hey Carmen, c'mon let's go downtown"... The Weight by Robbie Robertson
BY 1880's IT WAS CALLED SOUTHAVEN
Notice the population explosion except for Mastic which is still all Private Estates. Map is from 1888
The Goin' Over In The 1880's
Like A Bridge Over Trouted Waters .... Salmon & Goldfish