I M A G E S & H I S T O R Y : : N A S S A U P O I N T H I S T O R Y
THE BERGEN HOUSE
Dave Bergen is the fourth generation to own the property at 9525 Nassau Point Road. The land was bought by his great grandmother Bretz in the early 1900’s for $1000 and the house was built c. 1909, over 100 years ago.
At the time it was the southernmost home on the Point. The plot and two plots north of it and all the way to the Point was a high, treeless dune with only sea grass and scrub vegetation. Some trees were planted over the years, but many of them just evolved naturally.
Several additions have been made to the house, notably an up to date kitchen, but the house retains the look and feel of its time and is filled with beautiful antique furniture.
During renovations made eight years ago, a large galvanized cistern was uncovered in the ceiling along with extensive pipework. It had been used to store and feed rainwater by gravity for the house. The cistern was left in place after repairs to the roof and the ceiling were completed since it was too expensive and difficult to tear out. In addition to the cistern, they discovered all shapes and sizes of wood that had been used to build the house. The best guess was that the builders used a lot a scrap wood in the construction.
Dave’s grandparents, Schuyler and Margaret Bergen, came out from their home in Brooklyn regularly on Friday nights during Prohibition. One summer day, they drove out on Thursday and found a group of men unloading cases of alcohol from under the porch. The rum runners had been bringing the liquor to the house by boat. It was later picked up by a crew with a truck to bring it to New York City.
Grandfather saw this as a business opportunity and he gave them permission to continue their pickups on the condition that one case of Scotch was left for him each weekend. He kept a few bottles for himself and brought ten bottles or so a week to some of his favorite Brooklyn restaurants in exchange for free meals.
Since there were many transfer spots along the North Fork, Route 25 had a dangerous reputation as a shooting gallery with one set of “importers” trying to protect their loads from another. Two other photos show Dave and his grandmother standing at the same spot in front of the house.
Another set of grandparents, the Pfeil’s, bought a home in New Suffolk and, in the early 1940’s floated it over to Fishermen’s Beach. They did not realize the extent of the sandbar and the barge was stuck. They had to sit it out on the bay overnight and wait for the high tide to complete the move. Later, they bought land across the street and built a boathouse. The structure still remains, improved to a home that sits on Broadwaters Cove.
The Pfeils sold to the Samuels family in the early 1960’s and the house remains there with a few improvements. It is the second house on the left on Fishermen’s Beach Road.
Just north of the Bergen house is a home built in 1925 by Marian Ales parents.
In 1924, Marian’s father, Dr. S. Lloyd Fisher, a veteran of World War I and his wife, Maud Bouker Fisher, were staying at a hotel that had been established at the old Burr Mansion, the oldest house on Nassau Point. The hotel stood at the top of the hill at the confluence of Bayberry and Bridge Lane, on the site of property currently owned by the Lan family. The hotel burned down in 1927. The local real estate developer was sitting on the hotel porch one evening and took the Fishers to the bluff on the east side. They liked the area so much that they bought two lots of land.
The family contracted with an architect named Bryson, who had an office in Brooklyn. The local builder was Edgar Tuthill. And the house at 9475 Nassau Point Road was built a year later. The fee was 10% over cost and the deal was sealed with a handshake. A two story boathouse was built on the beach by Bernard Tuthill, Edgar’s son. The upper room of the beach house was used as a playroom by Marian and her brother, Paul.
In 1974, Marion and Paul sold the original house and her husband built her current home at 9345 Nassau Point Road.
Bryson also built a home for himself at 7650 Nassau Point Road, currently owned by the Stack family.
Submitted for web publication 9-12 By John Barthel, NPPOA Historian (Chair)