On the Mastic area maps of the very late 19th century and very early 20th, if you follow Railroad Ave. AKA Mastic Rd. south from the Mastic Rail Road Station (original location) towards the Neighborhood Trail, there are two roads that veer off to the left and head on a diagonal south east direction. The first road would not get a name until after 1916 when Joseph F. Knapp purchased half of the Lawrence estate and either he named it after himself or the people who worked on his estate did. Probably to let others know how to find it, because that is exactly where it ended.... at Knapp's Mansion which had its entrance on the curve of what is now Dogwood Rd. & Monroe Dr.
Today about two thirds of Knapp Road still exists starting at it's original fork off of Mastic Rd. and ending at Locust Dr. The second road that was about 1/3 of a mile south of Knapp was known for a time as Sherman Rd. It has basically been wiped out but the photo above of what is now known as West Dr, is what is left of it. The picture was taken at the corner of Aspen and looks North West to Mastic Rd. Well Sherman Drive just like Knapp's went straight to Hannah Newbold Lawrence Sherman's house which like the road has been moved and altered a bit since she lived in it in the latter part the 19th century and early 20th.
The house has only had 4 or 5 owners in it's entire one hundred and fifty plus year history. Charles Jefferey Smith , who is buried in the General Woodhull Graveyard on Neighborhood Road built it around 1850. It became a John S Lawrence property sometime after the Civil War. It was originally located someplace else ( I have a theory it was closer to Pattersquash Creek) In 1890's when Hannah Lawrence took possession of it she had it moved and altered . You can see a 1897 photo of it here
The house was in Dodi Knapp's possession from 1916 till after his original sell off in 1938 of most of his estate. Click it and see the proof . It probably changed hands to Home Guardian when they bought up the mansion and the remaining out parcels in December of 1940. It appears that it served as a hunting lodge for a time and it could of also served as the barracks for the Naval aero squadron that was camped on Knapp's estate in 1917 during WW1. Speaking of that, I have just learned that Dodi Knapp was a veteran of that war just like his pal William Dana.
I originally photographed it when I first started this project in August of 2001. At that time no one was home , but I was enthused at the fine condition it was in. A websight reader who lives in the Shirley area drove over to look at it and the owner Robert F. Muse happened to be out in the yard. She struck up a conversation and the rest is history. Bob sent me photos of it when his parents, Emilie and Fred Muse bought it in 1948. The Muse family has owned it longer than anyone else. We struck up a phone and mail friendship that turned into a very pleasant meeting this past January with Bob, who is the only person I have ever met that shares my exact birthday (Mothers Day May 11th, 1947!) and as an added bonus....... I got to meet his Mother.....Ms. Emilie Neumann Muse who just turned 94 years young the week I was up there!!! If there is one person responsible for saving the Woodhull Lodge from the fate of what happened to Gen. Woodhull's mansion, The Knapp Mansion , The Richard Floyd (Bayview Hospital) and The Dana Mansion it has to be Emilie. She convinced her husband Fred it was worth fixing up..........
To fully appreciate what you are about to see below on this page you should pause and CLICK HERE to see what was left of it in '48. Just use your back button on your browser to return to this page.
With that said lets visit the Woodhull Lodge now known as The Muse Residence..... one of the true historic homes of Mastic Beach