Welcome to Fire Island Pines.
A Family Community… the sign.
The Home Guardian Company of New York – a subsidiary of the Smadbeck Company, and owned by brothers Warren and Arthur Smadbeck, were responsible for developments on Long Island including in Mastic, Syosset and Rocky Point. In 1952 they began planning a new community called Fire Island Pines. Designed and envisioned as what they called “A family community.”
The marketing literature targeted a certain demographic…
As the word of the new Pines community spread the gays of the nearby Cherry Grove, a known gay community began a migration. Also because of it’s connection to the Broadway and Hollywood personalities through owner Peggy Fears that population were finding their way to this oceanfront community.
As more and more gays arrived, Home Guardian found it necessary to create a sign dictating their moral values.
As you can imagine the sign created a divide in the community. Not only for it’s message of prejudice, but for the misspelling in the sign itself showing the authors intelligence. The gays were an unspoken population at that point. Somewhat accepted and some not. The sign posted in the harbor would mysteriously disappear on weekends as it became a running tug of war.
The sign had to be replaced several times until there was a homeowners FIPPOA meeting where all parties were represented. The realtors, acting in the owners HGC behalf realized they were fighting a losing battle as the Pines was at least 25% gay by then and growing. Many longtime Pines people would speak out like Alice Thorpe proposing a truce to live side by side. And so it would be. The sign now hangs on the Post Office deck as a reminder of our history. As the percentage has now shifted to mostly gay with a 25% straight population. Tolerance and unity must preside…
2009-2019. After years of being outside without the proper protection ( you can see the deterioration from the above photo taken in 2009 to the one below 2019) the sign is now being taken down for hopeful restoration. A strong reminder that our history must be preserved… #ownyourhistory#
We will be following this process and will update soon.