If you know, let us know. Send your responses to [email protected] or phone 631-275-1859.
Last week’s mystery photo, one of the Island’s most beautiful and hidden treasures, (see below), was correctly I.D.-ed by several Reporter readers.
Roger McKeon was first, recognizing the Smith-Ransome Japanese Bridge in South Ferry Hills and emailing us, and Eileen Bales Pascucci, Barbara Vandenbergh and Cynthia Michalak all weighed in with the correct answer on our Facebook page.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places it arches gently over a narrow inlet flowing from a lagoon that leads to Smith Cove, and has since 1905.
The bridge and lagoon — which can be viewed from a public path just south of 22 Merkel Lane — was constructed on the estate of Francis Marion Smith. Known as “the Borax king,” Smith made his fortune mining the mineral, which is used in everything from detergents to the manufacture of fiberglass.
The sturdiness of the bridge’s construction was proven when it survived the massive hurricane of 1938, while Mr. Smith’s house was destroyed in the storm.
The Shelter Island span is one of only two known surviving bridges built by architect and engineer Ernest Ransom, an early user of reinforced concrete in American structures. The design is, according to the National Registry, “based on Japanese inspired precedents.”
The South Ferry Hills Association acquired the bridge in 1969 and 3.82 acres surrounding it. Former supervisor Jim Dougherty was instrumental in assisting the association in gaining State Historic recognition for the bridge, followed by its inclusion on the National Register.
The enchanting structure, 60 feet long and 6 feet wide at both ends, is the centerpiece of an elegant scene of the lagoon’s moorings, docks, boats and the wider water beyond.