Point Lookout, Long Island, New York, U.S.A.

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Origin of The Name Point Lookout


Although the community of Point Lookout is of recent origin when compared to many other villages in Nassau County, its name dates back to the early 1700s. This locality on the eastern end of Long Beach island, was constantly changing in size and appearance as the present Jones Inlet moved westward and the sand, of which it was composed, was eroded by the winds and ocean currents. This area, however, was occasionally inhabited by fishermen and whalers, and they created the name by which it is now known.

Daniel M. Tredwell, in writing of Long Island whaling in the colonial period, stated that a number of whales were taken from the waters off the south shore during the 1600s and early 1700s. Because of the profits derived from this industry, the whalers established stations along the shore to maintain a constant watch for these whales. By 1721, "A lookout and station for whalemen was maintained at Whale Neck and another at Long Beach opposite the Hummocks near New Inlet."[2] The description of this locality, south of the Hummock and near New Inlet or present-day Jones Inlet, corresponds exactly to Point Lookout. That there was a lookout station there and since this area was at the easterly point of Long Beach island, the name Point Lookout is particularly descriptive.

The United States Life Saving Service, later to become part of the United States Coast Guard, established a station there in the late 1800s.[3] In searching for a name for this station they re-adopted Point Lookout. This eventually became the designation for the entire east end of Long Beach island.

During the early 1900s, a summer colony was begun in this area by the Nassau Cottage and Realty Company. By 1904, it was noted that there were twenty-seven cottages or bungalows in this development which had been named Nassau-by-the-Sea.[4] This popular colony was all but wiped out in May 1918, when it was reported:

Fire on Friday swept the summer bungalow colony at Nassau-by- the-Sea, on the eastern end of Long Beach, known as Point Lookout. Meyer's Hotel, a two-story building, forty one-story bungalows, the Post Office building, the boardwalk and a number of other structures were destroyed. [5]

The post office that was destroyed by this fire must have been the Point Lookout office which had been established in May 1906.[6] When the post office was opened, Point Lookout became the official name of this village. In effect, however, this name has been in use since the whaling station was established there in the early 1700s.

p83, The History of Nassau County Community Place-Names, Richard A. Winsche
A Long Island Studies Institute Publication From Hofstra University
Empire State Books,Interlaken, NewYork,1999
1. Daniel M. Tredwell, PersonalReminiscences ofMen and Things on Long Island. 2 vols. (Brooklyn: Charles Andrew Ditmas, 1912),2:206-7.
2. Ibid.
3. Letter from Mrs. Nonnan Mellon to the author, September 26, 1967.
4. Nassau County Review. August 5,1904; South Side Observer. May 10,1918. 5. North HempsteadRecord May 17,1918.
6. Letter from Mrs. Mellon, September 26,1967.