Fire Island Bought For the Use of the Quarantined Cabin Passengers 1892

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Fire Island, with its hotel, 13 cottages, 125 acres of beach and a steamboat to carry passengers to and from the mainland, was this morning contracted to be sold by D.S.S. Sammis, the present owner, to the state, at a conference in the Hoffman house this morning, as a refuge for the cabin passengers of the Normannia and other vessels that may be detained in the harbor. The purpose of the purchase is to furnish a refuge for the passengers who are not suffering, but are in danger of infection from the cholera stricken patients who are either on the vessel with them or are carried close by them to the pest house or the morgue.

It was reported that the negotiations were being conducted by Adolph Lewisohn of 81 Fulton street, New York, on behalf of the Hamburg packet company on whose line the Normannia is. This is denied by Mr. Lewisohn, who says his efforts in the matter have been on behalf of his brother, Leonard, who is a passenger on the steamship.

Said Mr. Rosenstamm, on behalf of Mr. Lewisohn, this morning: "This firm does not represent the Hamburg packet company in anyw ay. The purpose is to get all of the cabin passengers off, or none at all. There is no doubt in my mind now that they will all get away by Monday. The steamboat Stonington will take them down. Even if the state should finally fail to ratify the contract made through its representatives it would be a good speculation for the passengers themselves. There is no doubt, however, of the state ratifying the sale, for Governor Flower has telegraphed to the health officials as follows: "You may purchase or rent the necessary land or buildings on Fire Island for quarantine purposes. "Do not hesitate to do all that is needful to make the passengers as comfortable as possible."

As soon as the Hoffman house conference ended Mr. Sammis grabbed his grip and started for quarantine, where the matter will be definitely settled by the deposit of $30,000 on the contract price of $210,000. It is said that the Nourmannia's passengers stand ready to put up this amount, through their representatives, providing the health department has not the ready money.

Dr. Jenkins has confirmed the report that the health department have acquired Fire island. He says that the cabin passengers of the Normannia will go on board the Stonington and be transferred to Fire island probably today. They will only be allowed to take their cabin baggage and of that what is absolutely necessary. She was boarded by Dr. Jenkins at 11:30 as she way lying off quarantine. The emigrants of the Normannia would be transferred from Hoffman Island to Sandy Hook and the emigrants on board the Rugia and Moravia be moved to Hoffman Island.

Fire island, as most everyone knows, is about forty miles from Brooklyn, on the south shore of Long island. It is a strip of sand five miles away from the main land, and as a hotel property has been occupied for thirty years. All that time Mr. Sammis has been the landlord. The beach is also occupied by the Fire island lighthouse, and from here the incoming ocean steamships are first sighted. Fire island inlet is the first break in the long line of sand bars that make the Great South bay, from Rockaway east.

The Fire island hotel has been the resort of many wealthy and famous people in its time and old man Sammis, as he is called, has been an attractive personality to all with whom he came in contact. The hotel, until the past season, has been a rambling old structure without any pretense of architecture or exterior air of comfort. Inside it is painfully neat and plain, but very comfortable. It used to be said that there was nothing fancy about Sammis but his prices. As showing the character of the man it is said that a grumbling guest went to pay a bill that had been made out for him. He pointed to each item and complained that he could get them cheaper somewhere else. At last came an item that he could not read but for which the charge was $20.

"What is that?" he asked, as he pointed to it.

"That," said Sammis with an expletive. "That is ozone, and. you, you can't get that anywhere else than on Fire island, and I'll make you pay for it."

Syracuse, N.Y., September 10__Governor Flower, in an interview today with a Herald reporter, said that he had wired instructions to Dr. Jenkens at New York to buy Fire Island for the use of the quarantined cabin passengers in lower New York bay. He said that the cabin passengers would be provided for there and the steerage passengers at Sandy Hook. He said that he had also directed Dr. Jenkins to buy or hire a steamship if necessary for the accommodation of the passengers.


Website: The History
Article Name: Fire Island Bought For the Use of the Quarantined Cabin Passengers 1892
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The Brooklyn Eagle 9/10/1892
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