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ISLIP'S THIRD TOWN HALL
Table 4
Islip Town 1969 Seal
East & West Wing

Harry J. Kangieser, Supervisor
Joseph J. Giordano, Councilman
Richard E. McKay, Councilman
Louis 1. Palombi, Councilman
Caesar Trunzo, Councilman
Auriga Building Contractor
Siems & Nepf, A. I. A.
Table 3

Islip Town Hall Renovated 1955
Under the direction of the Islip Town Board

James F. Willis, Supervisor
Moses W. Drake
Joseph Arming
Fredrick B. Hose, Jr.
Thomas D. Harris
John O. Ross, Associates, Architect
E. Minstein Construction, Co. , General Contractors
Table 2

Town Hall Township of Islip Erected A.D. 1931

Members of the Town Board
Roy B. Davis Supervisor
Warren C. Haff , Town Clerk
Arthur G. Griffiths,
Frank A. Page,
John T. Kube,
Charles H. Duryea:Justices of the Peace
Eugene S. Helbig, Architect
Fuller & Dick, Supervising Architects
John H. Eisele, Co. Inc., Contractor
Table 5

Islip Town 1970 Seal
East & West Wing


Clyde W. Pearsall, Supervisor
Joseph J. Giordano, Councilman
Richard E. McKay, Councilman
Louis J. Palombi, Councilman
Caesar Trunzo, Councilman
Auriga Building Contractor
Siems & Nepf, A.I.A.
Despite the sudden impact of the Stock Market crash in 1929, the full effect of the coming worldwide economic depression were clouded by a temporary stability and resurgence of the market. During this period the Town of Islip's population nearly doubled from 18,346 in 1910 to 33,194 in 1930. (See table 1) It should be noted that at this time all adults had the right to vote, significantly, increasing the constituency that had to be accommodated by local political officials. Similarly, demands for Town services mirrored the Town's growth in population and land development.
Acting on behalf of the Islip Town Board, W. Kingsland Macy of Islip, John J. Gibson of Bay Shore and w clock of Sayville appeared before the Board to report that for the sum of $1 an option had been obtained for the Town by Justice of the Peace Charles W. Duryea on the Vail property. The Vail property consisted of 11 + acres on the north side of Montauk Highway (741') and east of Nassau Avenue (786'), Islip for a purchase price of $125,000. Justice Duryea obtained the option expiring on August 1, 1930 from Helen, Anna and Vail Blydenburgh. Macy added, in response to an earlier Board question, that he doubted that the existing Town Hall (corner of Locust Avenue and Main Street, Islip) could be remodeled advantageously. (43)
The Town Board soon after advertised for bids to wreck the "Vail House'. William Ruland of Islip was selected as the lowest bidder since out of the 13 bidders ranging in costs to the Town of from $295 to $1,400; he offered to pay the Board $25 to wreck the "Vail House". (44)
Van Sicklen noted, "The present town hall was built as a replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Many long years ago, this land was Vail property, surrounded by many big shrubs and trees. A prominent citizen told those razing the old home on the site that he would give them $.10 for each homemade nail they recovered from the place." (45)
On Monday, February 16, 1931, the Town Board authorized a contract with Eugene Heilbig, Architect and Fuller & Dick, supervising Architects for Plans and Specifications for the erection of the new Town Hall. The bid price for the architects was set at 10% of the bid price for construction not to exceed $16,000. The board also set March 11, 1931 to open sealed bids for general building, heating, plumbing and electrical work.
The Board acquired the "Vail" property with the intent to erect a new Town Hall to be used by the Police Department (including a jail), the Town Board (Board room), Justices of the Peace (Court) and Receiver of Taxes. To do so the Board authorized the issuance of a certificate of indebtedness in the amount of $65,000 with an estimated cost of construction of $235,000. Since the Town of Islip had no funds available the Board decided to issue a certificate of indebtedness for $300,000 along with the sale of bonds.
The bonds would be issued in $1.000 increments numbered 1 through 300. $15,000 would be payable by the Town each March for the years 1932 through 1951 with revenue raised annually from property taxes to satisfy principle and interest. The Board selected the firm of Wallace, Sanderson and Co. to market the bonds. (46)
Bids for the construction of the new Town Hall were opened and awarded to John H Eisele for thc price of $150,700. The contractor also had to agree to include a 'local labor clause' provision in the contract as well as with any of the subcontractors secured for the job where possible.
The Local Labor Clause stated, "It is agreed that the contractor will make an honest effort to employ local labor as far as such labor is available and satisfactory in the judgment of the contractor. The contractor further agrees that he will insert the above local labor clause in his subcontracts whenever possible." (47)
Clearly, the impact of the Stock Market crash was beginning to effect the economy resulting in local labor, most likely organized labor, seeking to keep wages out of competition especially such a bold public construction project funded by the taxpayers of the Town of Islip.
A complaint under the local labor clause was raised by the Carpenters and Joiners Union, Local 357, indicating that John H. Eisele and Co. were violating the clause by the non-­employment of local labor. In response, Eisele reported that nine carpenters were employed all but two were local men. He added that all labor on the job are local and he was fulfilling the terms of the contract. No other complaints were filed during the period of construction. (48)
As construction neared completion, bids were received for furniture for the Justice's Court, the Town Board room and the counter in the Tax office. Van Valkenburg of Bay Shore was selected as the low bidder for $3,677.44. (49) Suffolk County Bimasco, Inc. was awarded the construction of roads, curbs, gutters and sidewalks at a price of $12,305.25. (50). William McCollum of Islip was low bidder for the planting and seeding of Town Hall following the Long Island State Park Commission guidelines for $6,750. (51)
On January 2, 1932, Town Board met in the new Town Hall. (52) The new Islip Town Hall was formally dedicated on Washington's Birthday, as reported by the Bay Shore Sentinel. Upwards of 1,000 residents attended the ceremony. The Reverend Thomas Connolly, St. Mary's Parish, " ... likened the new town hall to a birthday gift to George Washington, "to the Father of Our Country from the Fathers of Our Town" ... He asked the blessings of a Divine Providence upon the building." (53) (see Table 2)
The final touch to Islip's new Town Hall, considered the most attractive on Long Island, was the installation of the "Isle of Safety". Approved by the Town Board for sum of $235, the Weyauwega Co. constructed an island immediately south of the new Town Hall to separate traffic heading north and south, as well as the circular traffic around the Hall. (54)
Even with the completion of Town Hall, the deepening economic impact of the Stock Market Crash is reflected Havemeyer's comment, "The Great Depression hit Suffolk County as hard as it did other parts of the country. The land boom ended and home building slowed to a trickle. Unemployment went way up and labor became much cheaper as those who could find work were willing to do so at very low wages. Public spending projects, such as Robert Moses Parkways and parks and the Town of Islip's new town hall, did provide some work "(55)
Another practical example of the impact to the local economy was the Town Board resolution granting the use of the 'old' Town Hall (Locust A venue and Main Street) to the Emergency Work Relief Committee. The Bay Shore Sentinel's December 22, 1932, describes the relief activities in the 'old' town hall, " ... Valuable information concerning about 1 ,500 cases - all strictly confidential - had already been complied in a Central Index ..... Occupying the former Town Clerk's office we find the clothing room in charge of Mrs. Donald Belford. Suits, dresses, underwear, shoes, and other articles given by the Red Cross and by private individuals or stores .... Across the hall, in what was formerly the Tax Receiver's room are stored potatoes supplied by the Social Service Committee. The old lockup next to it houses bags of flour supplied by the Red Cross ... Upstairs, where Town Board members used to meet, there is a toy room. Here volunteer workers .,. repair damaged toys and wrap them up. The Boy Scouts will help distribute the toys before Christmas to children of needy families (56).
At the same meeting on May 11, 1932, the Board sold the jail cells from the 'old' Town Hall to Supervisor Tuttle of Shelter Island for the price of $50. Tuttle had to take down and remove the cells at his expense, they added.  In the December 24, 1931, Bay Shore Sentinel, in a report issued by James McC. Shillinglaw (New York State Department of Corrections), it was noted that Islip's Town Hall 'lockup' was, "one of the best in Suffolk County and New York State". The article went on to describe that the new lockup, " ... located on the west side of the new Islip Town Hall on the first floor. It has six single cells for men and a detention room for women .... equipped with the latest in sanitary improvements that exceed the State department." (57)
Interestingly, at the same meeting, the Board unanimously passed a resolution establishing a Building and Sanitary Code in the Town of Islip. As you can imagine significant public issues arose as Islip Town’s population continued to rise despite the poor economic situation by 60% from 20,709 in 1920 to 33,194 in 1930. Growth continued during the depression by another 54% from the 1930 to 51.182 in 1940 (see table 1). However, it is somewhat surprising that the Town did not address these building and sanitary issues earlier as a result of the shift from a rural to emerging suburban community. (58)
In 1976, the Town of Islip hired Society for the Preservation for Long Island Antiquities to perform a historic architectural survey of significant historic sites within the Town in recognition of our nation's bicentennial. On September 2, 1976, Ms. Barbara Nadel, SPLIA, described the notable features of the Town Hall as, "Flemish bond brickwork. Had marble trim and double curving staircase."(59)
A more detailed description of the new Town Hall noted ", , , a Georgian style building, which was completed in 1931. The building house offices of the town officials of Islip, a branch of the Suffolk County Health Board, and the local office of the WPA. The town jail, police headquarters and a large court also are found in the building." (60)
In 1949, Paul Bailey described Islip's Town Hall is one of the most beautiful in Suffolk County and was dedicated in 1932. (61)
Soon after the Town of Islip satisfied it's depression era bond to pay off the 'Vail' land purchase and construction of the 'new' Town Hall, it was then 20 years old and the population of Islip grew another 39% to 71,465. In 1955, Town Hall was renovated by the architectural firm, John O. Ross, Associates. A. E. Minstein Construction Company was the general contractor. At the time, the Islip Town Board was comprised of: James F. Willis, Supervisor and Councilmen: Moses W. Drake; Joseph Arming; Fredrick B. Hose, Jr.; and 1bomas D. Harris (see Table 3).
Subsequently, Islip Town government was having a difficult time in keeping up with the huge increase in land and home development and the resulting growth in population. In 1960, Islip Town experienced its largest single decade growth in its entire history. Between 1950 and 1960, Islip's population grew by 142% to 172,959. (See table I) The town needed more staff and office space to keep up with the growth.
In 1969, plans were drawn to complement the existing Town Hall with east and west wings. The Islip Town Board approved a basic proposal presented by Supervisor Harry J. Kangieser to add two wings to the Islip Town Hal,l construction of which would add three times the present amount of space for office used. This proposal won out over suggestions of Brookwood Hall and the Bay Shore Incinerator as the new Town Hall. In addition, to the Town Hall expansion a 1.3 acre employee parking lot would be added east of the Hall ($15,000) and provision of $5,000 for a Volunteer Fireman's Memorial statute fronting on Montauk Highway. The estimated cost of construction would be from $700,000 to $800,000. (62)
In an Editorial by the Islip Bulletin regarding Kangieser, it opined, " ... The Town Hall, when it was built in 1931, was an attractive, well designed building of which we could be proud and which was adequate to house our town government facilities at that time and for some years to come. However, it is, and has been for years, hopelessly inadequate to handle the tremendous expansion which has been necessary as the population of our town and the complexities of its problems have mushroomed. For many years, departments have had to be "farmed out" to rented quarters which are not only inconvenient but are very costly in rent .... Mr. Kangieser ... graciously admits that it is not entirely his own, since our former Town Enginee,. Maynard Lednum, had presented much the same idea in 1959. " (63)  In hearing before the public it was noted that the Town wanted to centralize its staff and eliminate approximately $65,000 in rents to house existing staff. (64) An official ground breaking ceremony, entitled, "Diggings" was held on August 28, 1969 attended by the Town Board, Lester Siems, Jr. Architect and Maynard Ludnum, former Town Engineer. (65)
Under the successful architectural design and direction of Seims & Nepf, A.I.A. and general contractor Auriga Building Contractor, both wings were completed in 1969. It  should be noted that in recognizing the completion of the project, two plaques are affixed to the east and west wings containing different dates of completion and the names of different Supervisors. One plague is dated 1969 and the other in 1970. The former plaque located in the west wing lists the Supervisor as Harry J. Kangieser. The Town Board is listed as: Councilmen Joseph J. Giordano, Richard E, McKay, Louis J. Palombi and Caesar Trunzo. However, in the east wing, the 1970 plague which is exactly the same as the 1969 plaque lists the Supervisor as Clyde W. Pearsall. A desire to share the claim for completion may be the basis for this minor, but unusual designation (see Tables 4 and 5).
Despite research on the 1969 Town Hall expansion, its interesting to note that this writer did not find any significant commend on what a wonderful job the Town Board, architect and general contractor did on the extension and the grounds. Islip Town Hall is still the most attractive Town Hall on Long Island.
By the next decade, Islip experienced its second largest population growth. In 1970, the population of Islip Town had grown by 84% to 278,880 (see Table 1) .. Mirroring the demand placed on Town government, local school districts began expanding their facilities throughout the 1950's, 1960's into the 1970's to meet the needs of the next generation. The Town saw an opportunity in that.
Islip Public School System (K -12) had been housed in the 1926 brick structure located at 401 West Main Street. Subsequently, three separate elementary school buildings as well as a middle school and high school were built. Town of Islip then purchased 401 Main Street for additional facilities.
At one time, Islip Town government met once yearly at a resident's home or a local tavern. All of the Town's records were contained in a single chest.
Now government requires a larger more sophisticated staff and facilities to house a more complex, and growing Town government to deal with an ever growing, more educated, demanding population while balancing the age old mantra of private land rights versus public interest coupled with demands of State and Federal government entitlement programs.
Footnotes:
(24) Curran, Patrick J., Ph.D., A Brief History of The Town of Islip, p. 3, Suffolk County Tercentenary
(25) Idem., Town of Islip Board Minutes, June 19, 1884, p. 111.
(26) Ibid., March, 1905.
(27) Ibid., May 10, 1905, pp. 2-5.
(28) Ibid., May 10, 1905, p. 5.
(29) Ibid., June 10, 1905, p.8.
(30) Ibid., July 12, 1905, pp. 9-10.
(31) Ibid., July 14, 1905, p. 13.
(32) Ibid., August 23,1905, pp. 14-17.; September 14,1905, p. 17.; October 5,1905, pp. 18-19.; December 23,1905, pp. 26-27.; May 12, 1906, p. 39.; May 19, 1906, pp. 40-41.
(33) Ibid., December 22, 1905, p. 25; April 28, 1906, p. 39; May 19, 1906, pp. 40-41.
(34) Ibid., May 19, 1906, p. 40.
(35) Ibid., June 14, 1906, pp. 42-43.
(36) Ibid., June 23, 190(), p. 43.
(37) Ibid., July 9, 1906, pp. 44-47.
(38) Ibid., August 10, 1906, p. 50.
(39) Ibid., July 9,1906, pp. 44-46; August 29,1906, pp. 51-54; February 19, 1907, p.71.
(40) Ibid., December 6, 1906, pp. 62-63.
(41) Ibid., Apri123, 1907,pp.90-91.
(42) Islip Bulletin, Memorabilia of Islip Village, Van Sicklen, Edward, Installment 19. 1969.
(43) Idem., Town Board Minutes, May 28, 1930, pp. 5-6.
(44) Ibid., January, 1931,p. 6.
(45) Islip Bulletin, Memorabilia of a Village, Van Sicklen, Installment 19. 1969.
(46) Idem., Town Board Minutes, February 16, 1931, pp. 9-10.
(47) Ibid., March 17, 1931,p.17.
(48) Ibid., March 19, 1931, p. 18. Bay Shore Sentinel, February 18, 1931, p.1 Ibid., Bay Shore Sentinel, April16, 1931, p. 8. Idem., Town Board Minutes., May 29,1931, p. 42. Idem., Bay Shore Sentinel, March 26, 1931, p. l..Idem., Bay Shore Sentinel, May 28, 1931, p. 1. Ibid., Bay Shore Sentinel, June 11, 1931
(49) Idem., Town Board Minutes, September 4, 1931, p.66.
(50) Ibid., 1931, p.68.
(51) Ibid., 1931, p. 88.
(52) Ibid., January 2, 1932, p. 92.
(53) Bay Shore Sentinel, February 25, 1932, p..l.
(54) Idem., Town Board Minutes, 1932, p.135.
(55) Havemeyer, Harry W., Along the Great South Bay, Amereon House, Mattituck, NY 1996, p. 385.
(56) Idem., Town Board Minutes, May 11, 1932, pp. 146-147. Idem., Bay Shore Sentinel, December 22, 1932, pp. 1-2.
(57) Idem., Town Board Minutes, 1932, p 135. Idem., Bay Shore Sentinel, December 24, 1931, p. 3.
(58)       Idem., Town Board Minutes, 1932, p. 135.
(59) Nadel, Barbara, Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, September 2, 1976 report funded by the Town of Islip.
(60) N.Y. Sun, March 28, 1936, No. 261.
(61) Bailey, Paul, Long Island's Nassau and Suffolk Counties, 1949.
(62) Idem., Islip Bulletin, January 16, 1969, p. 1
(63) Ibid., February 20,1969. p.10.
(64) Ibid., April 10, 1969. p. 1. Ibid., Apri117, 1969, pp. 1,8
(65) Ibid., September 11, 1969, p. 1.
Table 1
Population of the Town of Islip