Hometown History: Port Jefferson’s Bay View Pavilion

Hometown History: Port Jefferson’s Bay View Pavilion

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The Bay View Pavilion, left, and Wilson’s Sail Loft, right, are pictured on the waterfront off Port Jefferson’s East Broadway. Photo from the Kenneth C. Brady Digital Archive

Once a lively Port Jefferson hotspot, the Bay View Pavilion was located in the village on the north side of Water Street (East Broadway).

The building was situated on shorefront property leased from Brookhaven Town by the Ladies Village Improvement Society (LVIS) of Port Jefferson, which also funded Bay View’s construction.

The two-story pavilion was 20 feet wide and 40 feet long, open on all four sides and protected from shoreline erosion by a stone seawall.

Bounded by a small lawn on its east and west, the building was painted green and adorned with a decorative sign, “Bay View,” donated by gifted local artist William M. Davis.

Opening to the public on July 4, 1901, the pavilion soon became a village landmark and well known for its summertime activities including ice cream socials, bazaars, cake sales, band concerts, dances and church outings.

Bay View Pavilion was located on the north side of Port Jefferson’s East Broadway. Shown decorated for Old Home Week, 1911, the building was the center of summertime activities in the village. The site of the former pavilion is known today as Mary Bayles Park. Photo by Perry; Photo from the Kenneth C. Brady Digital Archive

Water carnivals were also held at Bay View’s public dock which had been built by LVIS in cooperation with the Port Jefferson Yacht Club.

During the Old Home Week celebrations of 1908 and 1911, the pavilion hosted swim meets, boat races, diving contests and other aquatic activities.

Because of its prime waterfront location near Wilson’s Sail Loft, the Harbor View Hotel, F. F. Darling and other establishments, people were drawn to Bay View where they took in the ever-changing sights, but unfortunately the pavilion was also a magnet for rowdies.

The situation had gotten so out of control by 1924 that Leopold Cordier, who ran a paint store next door to Bay View, was appointed a deputy sheriff with authority to keep order at the pavilion.

Bay View also suffered from neglect and was in such poor condition that in 1927 the Port Jefferson Business Men’s Association called for the pavilion’s immediate removal.

After the Bay View eyesore was razed, the plot where it had stood remained largely unimproved until 1943-1944 when Brookhaven Town developed the property as parkland and the Suwassett Garden Club of Port Jefferson landscaped and maintained the grounds.

The site of the former pavilion is known today as Mary Bayles Park.

Kenneth Brady has served as the Port Jefferson Village Historian and president of the Port Jefferson Conservancy, as well as on the boards of the Suffolk County Historical Society, Greater Port Jefferson Arts Council and Port Jefferson Historical Society. He is a longtime resident of Port Jefferson.