At the turn of the 20th century, the south shore of Long Island was compromised of many large estates. Among them, was that of John W. Masury. In 1894, Masury purchased the Seatuck Fishing Lodge, located between Senix (Mud) Creek and the Forge River. He continued to purchase tracts in and around the area of the lodge. In total, John Masury purchased 200 acres. The family soon started developing the peninsula and it became known as Masury Point or “Beau Rivage” to the locals. An extensive estate home, outbuildings and gardens were built. This exclusive compound also had quarters for the staff, an ice house, barn and a large windmill which provided fresh water through a system of underground pipes.
About the Holiday Beach Property Owners Association
John W. Masury made his fortune in the paint manufacturing business. Though born in Massachusetts, at the age of 22 he moved to Brooklyn and worked as a clerk in a paint store of John D. Prince. Masury made suggestions that helped Prince’s store prosper and was rewarded with a partnership. And in 1870, Masury was the sole owner. His many inventions and patents modernize the paint industry. His innovation of the “dripless paint can” is still in use today.
In 1895, John W. Masury passed away. His widow, Grace, soon started construction on a large summer mansion on the remaining portion of Masury Point. The recreation wing of the mansion housed a Victorian style ballroom complete with a balcony and a ceiling reminiscent of an Italian fresco. Additionally, there was a bowling alley, billiard parlor, card room and solarium. All this was to be used primarily for celebrations and parties held during the summer months, starting Memorial Day weekend and ending with Labor Day. Grace Masury passed away on September 6th, 1932.
The hurricane of September 21st, 1938 devastated most of the south shore of Long Island. The Masury summer mansion was all but swept away. As luck would have it, the recreation wing was spared.
In 1954, Walter C. Hewitt, a developer, purchased the property in its entirety from the Masury heirs. He started planning a recreation community, calling it Holiday Beach. In 1957, a group of homeowners formed the Holiday Beach Property Owners Association (HBPOA). They purchased what was left of the summer residence for $18,000. The HBPOA then proceeded to rebuild the recreation wing making extensive renovations in attempt to restore it to its former glory.
Eventually, a loan was procured and through the efforts of many volunteers and several contractors, the funds were used to bring the building back to the magnificent structure that stands at the end of Old Neck Road today.
On September 11th, 1986, the Masury Ballroom was added to the National Register of Historic Places (#86003513). This building is still maintained by the Holiday Beach Property Owners Association and is a shining example of 19th century architecture and a community’s desire to preserve this wonderful piece of history.