Although we know Huntington to be a great place in the summer, few of us think of our hometown as a summer resort. Yet in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Huntington was as popular a place for a summer vacation as the Hamptons are today.
Starting in the 1870s, summer visitors could avail themselves of a waterfront inn established by the famous and colorful boxer and Brooklyn saloonkeeper William Clark on the shores overlooking Huntington Bay.
Clark was a bare-knuckle bantamweight fighter, who was known as the “Belfast Chicken.” The nickname didn’t have anything to do with any lack of courage. He was known to fight outside his weight class and his most famous fight was with the English champion Jem Mace, which lasted 99 rounds until the police stopped the fight. In 1910, when Clark was 82, a boxing trainer from San Francisco, suggested a re-match with Mace, who was then 79 years old (Mace would die a few months later).
Clark had come to New York from Belfast in 1851. He opened a couple of restaurants in lower Manhattan before moving to San Francisco, where he reportedly made “a good deal of money” before the Civil War. He came back to New York with suitcases filled with gold, which he sold for $40,000 (about $625,000 today). He opened a hotel in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, got divorced, returned to San Francisco, and then came back to New York and opened a saloon on Fulton Street, Brooklyn called Clark’s Shades.
In 1878, he purchased the old Hawkins House overlooking Huntington Bay on a hilltop west of Bay Road. The Hawkins House replaced an earlier home of the Fleet family. Clark opened “a magnificent summer hotel.” Business at the Huntington hotel was good. There were 60 to 70 guests at the hotel most of the summer and Clark made plans to expand. In 1879, a new road (now known as Locust Lane) was established to provide better access to the waterfront. That same year Clark enlarged his hotel. A typical advertisement for the hotel boasted that it was “one of the coolest and healthiest places on Long Island; no mosquitoes or malaria; rooms and table first class.”
In 1883, Clark advertised the hotel for sale. There were no takers. Two years later, Robert Cornell Townsend took up summer residence at Clark’s hotel. Townsend was a descendent of a wealthy old family from Flushing. According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle “Townsend was born with a golden spoon in his mouth and passed his youth as befitted a man of wealth who had the entrée into many of the best houses on Long Island, and among the best people of New York.” His father had died when he was four years old. Townsend became “an amateur boxer of some note.” It was perhaps that avocation that led the 38-year-old Townsend to Billy Clark.
When Townsend came to Huntington, he was accompanied by a woman he introduced as his wife. Townsend purchased the hotel from Clark early in 1886. Although The Long-Islander identified him as the “new proprietor of the Clark House,” the Brooklyn Eagle later reported that Townsend converted the hotel to a private residence.
Whatever the case may be, Townsend kept on the red haired Irish cook from Clark’s hotel. Mary Ann Murphy was a well-educated and refined immigrant whose father had had a large farm in Ireland. Unfortunately Mr. Murphy suffered a reversal that caused his daughter to emigrate and find work as a servant. Townsend and Murphy soon fell in love. Who pursued whom is unclear, but by Christmas, they were married at St. Patrick’s church in Huntington (after receiving a special dispensation from the Bishop, not because Townsend was previously married, but because Townsend was not a Catholic). The other woman—the one presumed to be Townsend’s wife—was out of town at the time and a scene ensued when she returned. But she soon yielded.
By all accounts, Townsend’s new wife took good care of him, but ill health (his father had been only 44 years old when he died) and fast living soon took their toll. The Brooklyn Eagle later contended that Townsend “yielded more and more to the desire to drink which had been acquired in the fast life of his youth. . . . He sought the companionship of the hangers on in the village gin mills and was a great favorite of them on account of the liberal supply of stimulants which he always provided.” A local newspaper simply noted that he had been “such a prominent figure in our village life.”
Townsend died on May 20, 1888, almost a year and half after his marriage. His will left an estate diminished by his extravagant lifestyle; yet it still totaled about $75,000, or almost $2,000,000 in today’s dollars. Townsend’s East Neck property was sold by the executor of his will in early 1891 to Nelson May, who was connected with the Huntington Company, the firm that had developed summer cottages in Hale Site, just west of the hotel property. May announced plans to enlarge the building to accommodate 250 guests—far more than the 60 to 70 guests at Clark’s hotel. The Long-Islander welcomed the news, noting that “What has been needed in Huntington for a long time will now be forthcoming, a first class hotel with first class accommodations,” implying that Clark’s hotel did not provide “first class accommodations.”
The purchase of the Townsend property by a party connected to the Huntington Company fulfilled a plan first announced when James Dill and Albert Palmer purchased East Neck property five years earlier: to provide a club house with accommodations for 40 to 50 lodgers.
May did not immediately enlarge the hotel. But he did add another attraction: sailboat races in front of his hotel, which was renamed Locust Lodge. May’s hotel also hosted Fourth of July festivities featuring fireworks and dancing. Young Edith Cartledge, whose father later would purchase the George Shaw estate to the east of Locust Lodge, wrote in her diary about her summers at Locust Lodge. On July 4, 1893, she watched the fireworks from the hotel and then listened to a group of singers. On other summer days at the hotel, she went sailing, sat on the hotel’s piazza to sew, watched the boys play tennis, went swimming, and read. Locust Lodge was a wonderful summer retreat.
Unfortunately, at the end of its third season under May’s ownership, the hotel was destroyed by fire. May built a new hotel that was much larger than the original. The new Locust Lodge was a 12,000 square foot, three story building with a 10-foot wide porch on three sides.
Even bigger changes were in store in 1906 when Locust Lodge was sold to three French brothers who ran a popular restaurant in Manhattan. Andre, Jacques and Louis Bustanoby had earlier purchased the Sammis farm on West Neck (now Lloyd Harbor), but disposed of that a year later when the Locust Lodge property became available. They wished to create a Long Island compliment to their successful midtown restaurant, Café Des Beaux Arts, located in the Beaux Arts Studio building at Sixth Avenue and 40th Street.
The three Bustanoby brothers were immigrants from France. Andre, the oldest brother, had studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He and Louis arrived in New York and found work in restaurants starting as waiters and working their way up, ostensibly with the intent of learning all they could about the restaurant and hotel business. Andre said he had worked in various departments at 36 different hotels and restaurants throughout the country. With all that they had learned, they, along with a third brother Jacques, opened the Cafe des Beaux Arts.
The Bustanobys arrival in Huntington came at a very exciting time for the local community. Long Islanders eagerly awaited the construction of the Long Island Motor Parkway, or Vanderbilt’s Speedway as it was familiarly known at that time. The new roadway would make Long Island a destination for “automobilists” and it was assumed their favorite rendezvous point would be at the Bustonobys’ new hotel, which would also be a favorite port of call for yachts. Proposals were made to build a boulevard from the Great South Bay to the Sound. Steps were taken to widen New York Avenue. The trolley line from the harbor to the train station was to be electrified and extended to Amityville. Plans—never realized—were also made to extend the trolley right to the Bustanobys’ new hotel. A new road from Mill Dam to the new hotel was also proposed, but likewise never built. The Bustanobys even set aside room on their property for a landing strip for airships. “It may seem odd now, but it will be commonplace in a few years to see people in their aerial machines making a fifty or one hundred mile trip for dinner,” explained one of the brothers.
The brothers planned to expand the Locust Lodge Hotel—renamed the Chateau des Beaux Arts—and hired the prestigious architectural firm of Delano and Aldrich to design a waterfront casino in the beaux-arts style that would accommodate diners at the water’s edge with broad terraces and a rooftop garden. The two story casino measured 140’ by 60’ with towers at either end. It was connected to the hotel by tunnels and between the buildings was a landscaped garden. A separate bakery building, with a footprint almost as large as that of the casino, was built into the hillside along the west side of Bay Road. Although called a bakery, this may have been where most of the cooking for the casino’s large dining room was done. The bakery was connected to the casino with a tunnel reportedly big enough to drive a pick-up truck through (these tunnels were reportedly used by rumrunners during Prohibition). A long pier extended into the bay to accommodate yachts of any size. And, of course, garages were provided to welcome hundreds of automobilists.
Enthusiasm for the new venture ran high:
From the heat and bustle and noise of the metropolis a spin of an hour and a half over fine macadam highways, a dash across thickly wooded hills with glimpses of shaded ravines and quaint old towns and then! A bit of Paris! A bit of Venice! A European watering place transplanted to the shores of Long Island Sound! That is what automobilists are promised in the splendid new Chateau des Beaux Arts now rising like magic on the sloping shores of Huntington Bay, thirty-five miles out from New York.
When it opened, the Chateau des Beaux Arts was a hit. In 1907, even before the casino and pier were completed, the New York Yacht Club included Huntington Bay on the itinerary of its summer outing. The Harmsworth International Motor Boat races were held in the bay in front of the Casino in 1908 and from 1910 to 1912. Movie producers also took advantage of the Beaux Arts scene (social and otherwise) to film several silent movies—few of which survive. Tales of gambling tables misapprehend the meaning of the name “casino.” Any resort of any size would have had a casino, meaning a clubhouse for social and recreational pursuits. While there may have been money wagered at a card table from time to time, there certainly were no roulette wheels—gambling was illegal.  Nonetheless, Huntington Bay was the place to spend the summer.
The brothers soon announced plans to develop the property beyond the hotel and casino. They hired local surveyor Conrad P. Darling to lay out 34 residential lots on the 50 acres south of the hotel. Beaux Arts Park, as the development was called, featured curving streets and large lots. Purchasers would receive a garage lot of 25’ x 100’ as well as two bathing cabins. A promotional piece described the offerings:
Beaux Arts Park is entrancing. The fervor and fire of Byron is needed to do justice to its charms. The rolling hills, the undulating lawns, the bold cliffs and rugged headlands, the splendid beach, the sapphire sea water, the majestic sound, the passing night steamers, like fairy palaces of light, the white sails of yachts—the whole panorama from dawn to dawn (sic) is a constant kaleidoscope of color, grace, charm and splendor.
Although it was reported that several lots had been sold, no houses were developed under this plan. In 1911 a new plan was filed containing 114 lots on the same 50-acre site. The lots of a third of an acre and larger were to be developed with French villas and chateaus. Those buying property from the brothers were not just buying a house, they were buying a lifestyle:
Cooks, chambermaids, waiters, butlers or other household help, will be furnished by the hour, day, week, month or season, on application of our purchasers.
The property is fully protected by reasonable restrictions so as to preserve and enhance all of its natural charm and beauty.
All necessary suburban improvements are provided, and arrangements have been completed for the erection of a number of bungalows, chalets and villas.
The property is being developed and homes will be erected, with artistic taste and touch for which the French Nation is so justly noted, and of which, as is generally conceded, Bustanoby Brothers are the leading exponents in this country. The American features of convenience and comfort, however, will be carefully combined, so that Beaux Arts Park will appeal to people of discriminating taste and artistic mind, and shall be known as the “Home of Fine Arts, beauty, comfort and luxury,” a blending of “La Belle France” and “Practical America.”
In August, workers used dynamite to clear stumps for the roads in the new development. Only five houses were built in accordance with this plan. The five houses survive and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Beaux Arts Park Historic District.
The roaring success of the brothers’ enterprise came to a screeching halt just four months later. Two years earlier, there had been a falling out between Andre and Jacques on one side and their brother Louis on the other. Louis claimed his brothers were trying to drive him out of the partnership. Andre and Jacques agreed to pay Louis $100,000 for his one third interest in the business. The first of four payments was made. But when it came time to make the second $25,000 payment, Andre and Jacques decided to pay other creditors and give Louis a chattel mortgage and asked him not to file it to avoid alarming the other creditors. Louis did file the lien, which did alarm the other creditors. Faced with demands for payment on their debts, Andre and Jacques made an assignment of their assets for the benefit of the creditors.
The brothers’ attorneys estimated the firm’s assets at $400,000, with liabilities slightly greater than that. Court filings a few months later revealed that the brothers’ liabilities amounted to $504,216, while their assets totaled only $247,083. There were 400 creditors, the largest of which was Elizabeth M. Anderson who held a $189,974 mortgage on the Huntington Bay property (she was also the purchaser of the Lloyd Harbor property the brothers sold after they acquired the Beaux Arts property and her husband was the landlord of their restaurant on Sixth Avenue and 40th Street). The brothers’ personal assets amounted to a trifle: Andre listed assets of 50¢ cash and $8 in the bank; his brother Jacques had 40¢ cash and $5 in the bank.
After giving up the Chateau, Andre and Jacques established other restaurants in Manhattan, but never reached the heights they had in Huntington Bay. Andre died at age 44 in 1916. Louis died the following year, also at 44 years of age. Jacques, the youngest of the brothers, continued in the restaurant business in Manhattan. He lived until 1942 when he died at age 62.
With the Bustanobys’ bankruptcy, the fate of the Chateau was up in the air. The hotel apparently operated during the 1912 season. There was some talk of the New York Yacht Club buying the property for use as a Long Island station, replacing the club’s Glen Cove location, but that talk amounted to nothing. The property was sold at a foreclosure auction held in front of the Suffolk Hotel on Main Street. The purchaser was Elizabeth Anderson, who held the mortgage on the property.
Subsequent newspaper reports seem to indicate that the property was sold a month later, but that appears not to be the case because Mrs. Anderson retained an ownership interest until 1920. However, she may have been one of the investors in a venture organized by prominent real estate investor Milton L’Ecluse. Huntington Bay Heights Association, which had been incorporated in 1909, had previously purchased 330 acres south of Beaux Arts Park. This large parcel consisted of the Henry and Gilbert Scudder farms (238 acres), the George S. Conklin farm (60 acres), and the Grant Hamilton property (32 acres). The land contained large orchards with thousands of peach and pear trees as well as “magnificent groves of old trees.” The company, which was “composed of several wealthy New York and Long Island capitalists,” hired “Civil Engineer and Landscape Artist Conrad Darling” to prepare “plans for laying out the tract in accordance with a park scheme, with rounding roads and walks, and in from three to ten acre plots.” The developers also hoped to open up the tract by building a 70-foot wide boulevard from East Main Street through the property to Beaux Arts Park. It was also hoped that the new trolley line would also be extended to the tract.
It was the plan of the company in 1909 “to secure some shorefront so that each resident of the colony may have shore privileges.” The purchase of Beaux Arts Park would fulfill that aspect of the plan. In 1913, the new road—today’s Huntington Bay Road—was laid out to connect East Main Street to the hotel property 1¾ miles away (the new roadway was accepted as a public road by the Town Board 15 years later). 
The hotel—renamed yet again, this time to Huntington Bay Lodge—continued to operate. During the 1913 summer season, it was under the management of Elmer E. Garretson. In 1914, the hotel was operated by James Ranelman. Unfortunately for Mr. Ranelman, he took on so much debt running the hotel that he had to file for bankruptcy by the end of the year. Perhaps realizing that the hotel was not a financially viable option, a new venture was organized. In 1915, Milton L’Ecluse, George Taylor and others incorporated the Huntington Golf and Marine Club to lease the hotel property. Nine holes of a new golf course were laid out within a month; the second half of the course was expected to be ready by July 4, 1915 (although later reports indicate the second half of the course was not completed until 1924). The golf course was laid out in a links pattern starting about one hundred feet or so south of the hotel building and continuing along one side of Huntington bay Road to a point about 225 yards south of today’s Copter Court. The course then swung to the northeast and then back to the northwest near today’s Golf Lane. Then the course turned west to Huntington Bay Road and north back toward the hotel. The club also included tennis courts and horses for hire. The hotel and cottages were still available to accommodate 100 guests. But now the venture’s finances were enhanced by 125 dues paying members of the club.
Nonetheless, the venture lasted only five years. In 1920, the property was sold and the formation of a new club was announced. In May 1920, Mrs. Anderson sold 110 acres to the East Neck Holding Company, the president of which was former Secretary of the Treasury George B. Cortelyou. Simultaneously, a new club was formed to lease the property from the holding company. The Huntington Bay Club was opened to “only those of unquestioned social standing. . . . It will include some of the best people on the north shore of Long Island. It will be maintained as an ultra-fashionable society resort.” Unlike the short-lived Golf & Marine Club, where the initiation fee was $25 and annual dues were also $25, members of the new club would be required to purchase a $1,000 bond and to pay annual dues of $200. The intent was for the holding company to lease the property to the club until the club had raised enough money to buy the land at cost. 
The club became well known for its annual horse show organized by Frederick D. MacKay. In 1925, the Huntington Bay Club Corporation, which had an identical membership as the club, was formed to hold the real estate. The Corporation leased the land to the Club. Membership fell to its lowest point in 1933, but rebounded the 1935. Nonetheless, the Club was not able to meet its obligations. The golf course was turned over to the newly formed Nathan Hale Golf and Marine Club, with the expectation that the new club would soon have bathing privileges as well. The Bank of Huntington foreclosed on the golf course portion of the property in 1935.
Soon, the ill-fated property was leased to the newly formed Huntington Crescent Club. That club grew out of another foreclosure proceeding. The Brooklyn based Crescent Athletic-Hamilton Club had purchased the Roy Rainey estate on East Main Street and Washington Drive in 1930 to establish a country base. In addition to the Rainey estate, the club purchased 32 acres on the shore and built its own casino and beach facilities. But less than ten years later, the Great Depression caught up with the club and the golf course parcel was sold at auction to the East Neck Corporation (not be confused with the earlier East Neck Holding Company) and leased to a newly formed club known as the Huntington Crescent Club. Many of the members of the new club had been members of the Brooklyn based club. The foreclosure sale did not include the beachfront property (which is now the Town’s Crescent Beach). Instead East Neck Corporation acquired eight and a half acres of the old Beaux Arts property and leased it to the newly formed club.
In the first year, the Huntington Crescent Club renovated the casino, but razed the old hotel for parking. In the 1950s, the Huntington Crescent Club was facing some financial difficulties due to the loss of Brooklyn membership that had not been fully replaced by local members and perhaps in part by the loss of the clubhouse to fire in 1951. It was decided to separate the beach and golf operations. In 1957, East Neck Corporation sold the Beaux Arts property to East Riding Company, Inc. East Riding Company in turn leased the property to the Head of the Bay Club, which had been incorporated in November 1956.
Shortly after the Head of the Bay Club’s lease term started in May 1958, the new club decided to demolish the Casino building noting that it “was in a state of disrepair and constituted a hazard to the residents of the area.” It is believed that the action of the tides against the sea wall that constituted the north wall of the casino slowly undermined the structure. A new, smaller, clubhouse was built in its place. The large bakery building and small storage building were also demolished leaving few traces of the grand resort.
As for the Bustanobys’ planned community of French villas and chateaus, East Neck Holding Company filed a new subdivision map for a part of the property in 1925. The plan altered some of the streets, but was consistent with the 1911 plan. Most of the land remained wooded and undeveloped into the late 1940s. Edwin Johnson, president of a national construction company based in Brooklyn purchased the land and built a home for his family near the club property. Johnson’s firm had built the atomic research laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a naval training station in Geneva, NY, and hundreds of homes throughout the country. Closer to home, they built the iconic Tryon and Perisphere and several of the concession buildings for the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing and the west wing of Huntington Hospital (built in 1933).
In 1950, Johnson filed a subdivision plan for the remaining land of Beaux Arts Park at the south and east ends of the property along Bay Road. The new subdivision was named Fleetwood Acres, which seems like a nice recognition of the Fleet family, owners of the land in the nineteenth century. But that was just a coincidence. The name refers to one of the models of houses the Johnson firm built.
 The Herald Democrat (Leadville, Colorado), December 1, 1910; New York Times, March 19, 1916; The Sun, March 19, 1916
 The Columbia Republican (Hudson, NY), June 10, 1910.
 Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 28, 1885
 The Long-Islander, September 6, 1878
 The Long-Islander, May 11, 1884
 Brooklyn Eagle, November 2, 1891
 The Long-Islander, April 4, 1886
 Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 2, 1891, page 6
 South Side Signal, May 26, 1888
 May’s attorney on the transaction was James B. Dill, the first to purchase lots at Bay Crest in 1886 and credited with “discovering” East Neck (i.e. Huntington Bay). Earlier real estate transactions were also in May’s name but he quickly turned those other properties over to the Huntington Company. This property was, however, to be held by May and used for hotel purposes.
 The Long-Islander, January 17, 1891
 The Long-Islander, October 2, 1886
 The Long-Islander, September 10, 1892
 Huntington Bay Hills History & Heritage (Bay Hills Property Owners Association 1992)
 They may a 140% profit on the Lloyd Harbor transaction. The Long-Islander, December 20, 1907, page 2.
 New York Times, September 22, 1906.
 The Long-Islander, December 21, 1906.
 The Long-Islander, July 21, 1911, page 2
 The Long-Islander, January 11, 1907
 The Long-Islander, July 31, 1908. The article did not indicate which brother made the statement.
 The Long-Islander, May 3, 1907
 The Long-Islander, August 9, 1907
 The Long-Islander reported on May 31, 1912—after the Bustanobys had lost the hotel—“We are reliably informed that plans are entertained to make a gambling resort of the former Bustanoby Chateau at East Neck. The people of Huntington are unalterably opposed to any such project, and if such infringement of the law is attempted, local officers will see that the undertaking comes to a speedy end.”
 The Long-Islander, December 4, 1908, page 2
 Beaux Arts Park promotional brochure
 The Long-Islander, December 22, 1911, page 3
 The Long-Islander, February 11, 1916
 The Long-Islander, August 10, 1917
 New York Times, March 24, 1942
 The Long-Islander, September 6, 1912. This article about a small fire at the Chateau refers to a bellboy and the proprietor indicating the hotel had been in operation.
 The Long-Islander, March 15, 1912, page 5
 A 1914 article refers to L’Ecluse as “part owner of the [Huntington Bay Lodge] property.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 29, 1914
 Suffolk County News, November 19, 1909.
 The Long-Islander, June 25, 1909, page 5
 The Long-Islander, July 2, 1909, page 3.
 The Long-Islander, June 25, 1909.
 The Long-Islander, May 23, 1913, page 1; The Long-Islander, January 6, 1928.
 The Long-Islander, May 23, 1913
 The Long-Islander, January 1, 1915
 New York Times, April 4, 1915
 The Long-Islander, May 14, 1915
 The New York Times, August 1, 1920.
 The Long-Islander, July 9, 1920.
 The Long-Islander, May 21, 1920
 The Long-Islander, May 31, 1935
 The Long-Islander, May 4, 1939, page 1
 The Long-Islander June 22, 1939, page 1; and December 14, 1939, page 8
 Suffolk County Clerk’s Office Deed Liber 4348, page 533
 Affidavit of George J. Stengel, president of the Head of the Bay Club, dated May 15, 1961 and submitted to the Village of Huntington Bay in support of an application to enlarge the new clubhouse that was built to replace the casino.