From Ocean to Sound!
34 x 22 in (86.36 x 55.88 cm)
A truly stunning 1892 O.H. Bailey chromolithograph bird's-eye view of a portion of Suffolk County, Long Island. Bailley issued the view for the New York and Brooklyn Suburban Investment Company. It is an important historical artefact charting the urbanization of Long Island, as well as the premature aspirations of land speculators.
A Closer LookLooking north, the view takes in a wide section of Long Island, including Fire Island and the Great South Bay in the foreground, the towns and communities of Patchogue, Bellport, Brookhaven, Medford, Coram, Selden, Middle Island, Rocky Point, Mt. Sinai, and Port Jefferson. In the background are the Long Island Sound and coastal cities of Connecticut. The lines of the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), the backbone of transportation in the area (along with ferries), run east-west across the view.
A grid demonstrating available plots overlays illustrations of existing coastal towns on either side of the island. Development along these lines seemed like a safe bet, given the exploding population of Manhattan and Brooklyn, the abundance of inexpensive land, and attractive qualities noted here, such as beaches and sailing. However, the effort was premature, and the vision laid out here was not realized, or at least not immediately.
The New York and Brooklyn Suburban Investment Co.Although relatively short-lived, the New York and Brooklyn Suburban Investment Co. played a central role in trying to develop this portion of Long Island as a suburban retreat in the late 19th century. Frederick W. Dunton and George E. Hagerman were the driving force behind the company, buying up large parcels of land and aggressively promoting sales, including with the present broadside. Although the view here suggests neatly planned suburbs, in reality almost none of the necessary infrastructure needed to accommodate such communities existed, and most of the company's buyers were recently-arrived immigrants who tried to establish small to medium-sized farms, many of which failed, with ownership of the land reverting to the county.
As for Dunton and Hagerman, the men had a bitter falling out in 1897, with accusations of financial misdeeds and lawsuits flying back and forth. The dispute doomed the company and it was defunct by the early 1920s. Still, the vision of suburban coastal communities presented here was realized to an extent in the post-World War II population boom on Long Island.
The Long Island Boynton Bicycle RailroadAlso present here is the north-south Long Island Boynton Bicycle Railroad, which is also speculative and was never completed. Eben Moody Boynton had conceived of bicycle railroads, so named because the trains sat on two wheels running along a single rail on the ground (effectively a monorail) and were stabilized by small wheels on either side of an overhead rail, as a less expensive method of passenger transportation. His model allowed relatively small trains traveling in opposite directions to pass each other using around the same space as a single track of a standard gauge railway. Boynton was able to implement the concept in the 1890s on two short-lived lines running to Brighton Beach and Coney Island, and hoped to use double-decker passenger trains on the line displayed here between Rocky Point and Fire Island.
Having received the crucial backing of Frederick Dunton and George Hagerman, Boynton built a test track between East Patchogue and Bellport in 1894, which was written up in the Scientific American in February of that year. The test track operated a passenger service between the two towns for a short time. But the project ran afoul of the LIRR, whose president was incidentally Dunton's father-in-law, as it would have to intersect with LIRR tracks using either subways or elevated portions, and because the success of Boynton's train might open dcompetition to LIRR's virtual monopoly over transportation in the area. With LIRR outright opposed to the project, Boynton was never able to secure funding and the test track was dismantled in 1902.
ChromolithographyChromolithography, sometimes called oleography, is a color lithographic technique developed in the mid-19th century. The process involved using multiple lithographic stones, one for each color, to yield a rich composite effect. Oftentimes, the process would start with a black basecoat upon which subsequent colors were layered. Some chromolithographs used 30 or more separate lithographic stones to achieve the desired product. Chromolithograph color could also be effectively blended for even more dramatic results. The process became extremely popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when it emerged as the dominant method of color printing. The vivid color chromolithography produced made it exceptionally effective for advertising and propaganda imagery.
Publication History and CensusThis view was published by by O.H. Bailey for the New York and Brooklyn Suburban Investment Company. It is undated, but likely was published between 1892 and 1894. Only one example is known to exist in institutional collections, at the Brooklyn Public Library, and it is scarce to the market.
Oakley Hoopes Bailey (June 14, 1843 - August 13, 1947) was a prolific American viewmaker, artist, and lithographer active in late 19th and early 20th century. Bailey was born in Beloit, Mahoning County, Ohio. He matriculated in 1861 at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio. At the outbreak of the American Civil War (1861 - 1865) he briefly abandoned his studies for 2 years, wherein he saw combat as a Union solider. After the war, in 1866, he returned to Mount Union to complete his degree. Bailey was the younger brother of another view artist, Howard Heston Bailey (1836 - 1878) and followed his brother into the print business, producing his first city views, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1871. Active from 1871 to 1926, Bailey is known for more than 375 recorded city views, covering more than 13 states 2 Canadian provinces, making him one of the most active viewmakers in American history. In 1875, he settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts and most of his subsequent work focused on Massachusetts and Connecticut. Bailey worked with many other American viewmakers of the period, including his brother, Howard Heston Bailey, Thaddeus M. Flower, and J. C. Hazen, among others. Around 1904, by this time in his 60s, Bailey entered into a publishing partnership with Thomas S. Hughes, publishing their 'aero-views' as 'Hughes and Bailey'. Together, Hughes and Bailey revisited the sites of many of Bailey's early views, remaking them sometimes 20 - 40 years later, the idea being to set them beside the earlier views to show how much the respective towns had changed. The partnership lasted until about 1926. Bailey died in his hometown of Alliance at the ripe old age of 103. Learn More...
Very good. Light foxing.