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 early 1900's.

The first really ambitious plan was from the Tangiers 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 Town Historian


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, N.C.

Although they were divorced since 1904, it refers to the Knapp's Bellport residence as that of his parents.

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.



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