There’s a lot to look at in this undated photo of the South Bay House, the largest and best-known of the boarding houses that rose from among the farm fields of Blue Point around the turn of the century.
What you won’t see are the many chimneys that lined the rooftops of similarly sized hotels of its era.
That’s because such summer retreats weren’t winterized, according to historian Gene Horton, in his book Blue Point Remembered (1982) which is available at area libraries. (More photos below.)
Thus, the South Bay House was only open from the Fourth of July through Labor Day, though there was an annex building on the property where owner and operator Joseph Senger lived with his family.
The interior was decorated with typical decor of the time, Horton writes, such as mission furniture, wicker, ferns, palms, oriental carpets,”and an atmosphere that is unfortunately gone forever.”
The spectacular South Bay House, which could accommodate 300 guests and was located at the southwest corner of Middle Road and Blue Point Avenue, burned down 85 years ago this month, on Sept. 11, 1930.
The Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk purchased the property from the Senger estate in 1935 for a convent, and today it’s used primarily as a place of retirement and care for older sisters, according to the Ursuline Sisters website.
The original convent building was also lost to fire in 1980 and re-built as it stands today.
historic photos from Blue Point Remembered
Top caption: The main entrance of the South Bay House, which faced Blue Point Avenue.