DODI & TOM'S
MISADVENTURE AT SMITH'S POINT
Long before Walter T. Shirley built his bridge
at Smith's Point, Long Island, that area was attracting the eyes
of developers, boaters, and beach goers alike. Originally owned
by the William Tangier Smith family, there were several attempts
before Shirley's at a major beachfront park going back to the
The first really ambitious plan was from the
Manor Corporation who bought a lot of land including the bay
bottom from the Smith family around 1910.
With a proposed casino and hotel,
plus 50 cottages on the dunes the Tangiers Manor Corp. had high
hopes for Smith's Point, but they may of been a tad pre mature.
this article was in NY Times August 28, 1910
The bridge that did get constructed
was made of wood, took 6 years to build 1910 -16 and got destroyed
in the ice. The Hedges Hotel became a soldiers rest home after
WW1 and was destroyed in the 1938 hurricane. Photo: Brookhaven
The article below appeared in the
New York Times in June of 1911 and sheds new light about the involvement
of one Joseph F "Dodi" Knapp and the Mastic area history
as it applied to his family.
It tells us that the relationship
between the Knapp's and Dixon's goes much further back than the
hunting trip meeting in 1918 between Dodi's father and Tom's that
led to J. P. Knapp acquiring the Dixon estate on Mackey Island,
Although they were divorced since
1904, it refers to the Knapp's Bellport residence as that of his
The fact that the Knapp's Boat is
named Lady Dixon suggests the families may have known each other
much longer, perhaps back to when Rev. Thomas Dixon and family
lived in New York from 1889 to 1896.
It also tells that Thomas Dixon
III was aka Thomas Dixon Jr, much earlier than thought, even though
his father was often correctly referred to as that.
Although they would not marry for
more than 30 years, it introduces to the Knapps, Thomas Dixon
the future husband of Claire A. Knapp, at least 10 years earlier
than previously thought.
And perhaps most importantly, had
Capt. Charles Rice not heard their cries for help, these web pages
if they existed at all, would be very different.
"HEADING FOR HOME"
In 1898 a young Tom Dixon III, aka
Jr. aboard the Dixon family yacht "Dixie: sits and observes
Captain George Isdell at the helm
on Chesapeake Bay.
A quick glance at the map will give
you an idea of how close the yet unpurchased future Knapp
Estate (green lines) was to the
area young Dodi knew about from his sailing days.
The Bellport shoreline circa early
1900's. That may be the Wyandotte Hotel on the left