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Legislature Approves Montauk Park Renaming

Theodore Roosevelt County Park soon will be called Montauk County Park.

The Suffolk County Legislature unanimously voted to rename the to its former name, the Montauk County Park, during its session on Tuesday.

Legis. Jay Schneiderman, I-Montauk, sponsored the legislation, which also included the formal naming of Third House and naming the main room in the building after the president whose name is being taken off the park sign.

Schneiderman said the renaming of the park was the right thing to do for history's sake. "To keep the park named after Theodore Roosevelt is revisionist review of history," he said on Wednesday.

The park was given Roosevelt's name in 1997, ahead of the county park's centennial celebration of the Rough Riders' landing in Montauk in 1898. The troops were quarantined with yellow fever during the Spanish American War Roosevelt in Montauk, and Roosevelt visited them at Camp Wyckoff, located at .

However, there is no evidence Roosevelt ever visited the area that is now a 1,000-acre park that includes beachfront, fresh-and salt-water fishing, campgrounds, hiking, and horseback riding.

"What are we suposed to say, the park is named after Theodore Roosevelt because he might have visited?," Schneiderman said.

Barring a veto from Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, the park will be officially renamed, perhaps with a ceremony, Schneiderman said, when the sign is ready.

The issue was first brought to his attention three years ago, when Dick White, who is on the board of directors for the Montauk Historical Society and is the East Hampton Town representative to the Suffolk County Parks Trustee Board.

White said on Wednesday that the Concerned Citizens of Montauk initially asked the trustees to rename the park in the interest of history. "I'm delighted we now have it named Montauk County Park. It reflects the many uses of the park," White said.

The trustee board initially asked for the park to be renamed the Third House County Park, but Schneiderman said he objected to that. "The building itself wasn't the entirety of the park," he said. "I felt Montauk County Park was more inclusive," as it represents the Native American tribe, the Montauketts, as well.

Schneiderman said he added the other two aspects of the resolutions. Third House, which is the third house ever built in Montauk, was never formally designated that name.

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Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) June 06, 2012 at 11:03 PM
April Murray said via Facebook: Montauk County Park? Montauk is not a county...Just because Theodore Rossevelt didnt visit the area doesnt mean he wasnt a great president..his family came from long island. We should be proud of who he was, and what he represented. shessh come up with a better name at least!
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) June 07, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Also via Facebook, Michael J. Behan said, "Has Schniderman nothing better to do? Why change the name? If he dosen't want to name it after a president ( who actually fought for his country) how about the rough riders? Time for jay to get busy on more important business or get lost. Montauk County? How about actually making it a county." Karin Gosman: "I disagree with the name change! The current name stands for the history of the area. We are proud of the Rough Riders history here. I have to question, why??"
Liman June 07, 2012 at 11:50 AM
TR never visited the area??? He was stationed at the Camp. That's undeniable. There's lots of photos of him in the Camp. Newspapers at the time documented his every move at Montauk. The famous mustering out of the Rough Riders happened there. The Camp included Third House which was the headquarters for Army brass. I have photographs of it taken at the time. There's even a photo of a general sitting on the porch at the side door used today by the park office. TR was a colonel in the Army. He never went to the office? Nonsense. This is a big mistake.
John Ecker June 07, 2012 at 12:15 PM
There are other things that the so-called historians don't get right about Montauk. THE FISHING VILLAGE WAS NOT DESTROYED IN THE '38 HURRICANE. I KNOW IT READS GOOD BUT IT IS NOT A FACT. I LIVED THERE BEFORE THE HURRICANE DURING THE HURRICANE AND AFTER THE HURRICANE. IF ANY OF THE HISTORY WRITERS OUT THERE WANT MORE DETAILS GIVE ME A CALL.S
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) June 07, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Liman, the article says that the never visited the area that is now the park (named for him). The camp was over at Ditch.
Preliator June 07, 2012 at 03:17 PM
How much is going to cost to redo all the signs? The county is in deep economic trouble and all this idiot can do is see fit to rename a park? Jay Schindedumb, that is his real name.
Liman June 07, 2012 at 06:21 PM
The camp was not just at Ditch Plains, it was all around the area... from the railhead at Fort Pond to the area which is now the village. Housing (tents) and the hospital (more tents) extended north through the 'panorama' area. The troops "visited" the whole peninsula. They rode their horses (these were the Rough Riders, after all) all around the area for sport - that's well documented. The headquarters was at Third House (away from the quarantine area). Most importantly, "Montauk" was terra incognita to most people who had never heard of the place. There was virtually nothing here before 1898. The national media (magazines and newspapers) made TR a national star - his arrival at Montauk with the troops was a major media event (for the time). TR made Camp Wickoff big news, and the Camp put Montauk on the map, so to speak. Did TR ever go to the property which is now the park? How could he have avoided it? His headquarters was there. Perhaps more importantly, who asked them to change the name? This is what our legislature has time for?

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