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Shore Road

What is left of the foundation of the Brookhaven Sand and Gravel Company in Mount Sinai. Photo by Edna Giffen

By Edna Giffen

When doing a project to benefit present and future generations, a municipality uncovered an item from the past.

As part of a stormwater mitigation project, the Town of Brookhaven has cleared a large area on the northeast corner of Mount Sinai Harbor adjacent to Shore Road. During this clearing, a cement structure was uncovered: the last remnants of the Brookhaven Sand and Gravel Company.

During the early 1900s, cities were expanding and cement was needed in ever-increasing amounts, with Long Island sand being considered the highest quality.

Companies looked all over Long Island for easily accessible quantities of sand, and in February of 1909, The Port Jefferson Echo, the local newspaper at the time, started reporting on activities concerning mining in Mount Sinai.

On Feb. 6, 1909, New York parties purchased a small piece of bayfront for a dock in the northeast corner of the harbor. This group had already purchased a total of 64 acres of sandy hills across Shore Road, and the American Sand and Gravel Company brought in a pile driver to build a 200-foot dock. A mud digger was brought in to dig a channel to the harbor entrance on the northwest side of the harbor to permit barges to come and go as needed. A railroad trestle was started near the mining area.

In 1910, the American Sand and Gravel Company, which had started this process, sold everything to the newly formed Brookhaven Sand and Gravel Company.

The company moved quickly. The railroad trestle was torn down and rebuilt in a more substantial manner to stand 16 feet above Shore Road, and a building for refining the sand was built on the property. The original plan was for the refining plant to help with housing development, but it became apparent that it’s real purpose was a full-scale mining operation.

Equipment was brought in, including a steam shovel, a donkey engine train and cars to carry the sand over the trestle. Crews of men were brought to work on the construction and the sand mining. By 1912, everything was ready to start the mining operation.

While the work was being done, there were concerns as to the benefits of the operation to the village, as evidenced by an item of Mount Sinai news in the Echo dated April 17, 1909.

A piece in the paper read: “The question whether the sand pile operation at Mount Sinai will bring into the village more money than would the desirable resident community, which they may drive away, is still being canvassed by the inhabitants. There is, however, no doubt of the dismay which has been created in the minds of some of those residing near the proposed sand dump, whose property is already seriously depreciated. On the other hand, it is claimed that if the talk of dredging of the harbor should prove to be of such a character as to be of benefit to the public, as well as to the sand company, the villagers will have cause to be grateful.”

Despite this, sand mining finally began in August 1912.

During the night of Sept. 3, 1912, the plant and part of the trestle were destroyed by fire. The cause was never discovered, the company did not rebuild and everything was left as is.

In 1913, local and summer residents petitioned the Town of Brookhaven to have the lease of the Brookhaven Sand and Gravel Company cancelled as the company was no longer in operation.

The steam shovel, donkey engine and cars were taken to the Miller Place Railroad Station and sent to Canada in July 1916.

Finally, in November 1917, the trestle over Shore Road was removed.

Up until a few years ago, the wooden pylons from the dock were visible and the cement was recently exposed. The foundation of the refining plant is all that is left of this once controversial episode in Mount Sinai history.

Edna Giffen is a 12th-generation Miller Place resident now living in Mount Sinai. She is a local historian, archivist and current president of Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society.


Video by Wendy Mercier  

An excavator recently tore down the home at 182 Shore Road in Mount Sinai, which has been in poor condition for the last four years after being damaged during Hurricane Sandy.

The storm flooded the property near Satterly Landing and the owner sold it to New York Rising, a program that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) established to help homeowners affected by Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

The Town of Brookhaven purchased it last fall and, now that it is torn down, will allow nature to take over, as the space is not suitable for reconstruction of a home.

The home formerly at 182 Shore Road near Satterly Landing. Photo by Giselle Barkley
The home formerly at 182 Shore Road near Satterly Landing. Photo by Giselle Barkley

“[There] will always be a problem with flooding, so we’re just going to incorporate it into Satterly [Landing],” Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) said previously.

Brookhaven is also evaluating another property on the block that has been around for two decades, examining it because of issues with its structure.

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The home at 182 Shore Road near Satterly Landing. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Hurricane Sandy left many homes in shambles, including 182 Shore Road in Mount Sinai.

The storm flooded the property, which stands near Satterly Landing, four years ago. The owner sold the parcel to New York Rising, which is a home recover program that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) initially established to help homeowners affected by Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

Town of Brookhaven purchased the piece of land last October-November and will allow nature to take over, as the space is not suitable for construction or reconstruction of a home.

“[There] will always be a problem with flooding, so we’re just going to incorporate it into Satterly [Landing],” said Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point).

Brookhaven is also evaluating another property on the block that has been around for two decades, examining it because of issues with its structure.

File photo

A Miller Place man died in a neighboring community on Friday evening, after his pickup truck crashed into a guardrail.

The Suffolk County Police Department said 64-year-old Reinhold Schierwagen was driving a 2002 Ford F150 east on North Country Road in Mount Sinai when he hit a guardrail and shrubs. Police said he later died at Stony Brook University Hospital.

According to a police description of the crash site, Schierwagen was driving by the curve near the Mount Sinai Congregational Church, by the intersection with Shore Road, at the time of the crash.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident is asked to call the 6th Squad detectives who are investigating the case, at 631-854-8652.