by Cheryl Dunbar
The first fundraiser of the Kismet Historical Society was
held on Sunday, October 6, 2019 at the Kismet Inn. The
board consists of Sam Wood, president; Cheryl Dunbar Kahlke, vice-president;
and Larry Cole, treasurer. Membership identification tags for the Kismet
Historical Society were purchased for a donation of $30 per person. Inside the
Inn were various artifacts from the beginning of Kismet Park in 1925 and other
relevant years. Featured “objects” included blown-up photographs of Kismet’s
devastation from the Hurricane of 1938. The current Kismet Inn building was the
Kismet General Store in 1938 – at the same location. The actual restaurant next
door had been carried off its locust pilings and was partially dropped into the
marina. Therefore, it had to be demolished.
It is true that Fred Weis, Sr. had made “a community out
of nothing.” And it is also true that Kismet Park was essentially gone after
its devastation. The family started again, first converting the previous store
into a restaurant. Fortunately, the Weis family re-created and re-built a
community, this time out of almost nothing. The Inn is still here today,
which is where the fundraiser took place.
Kismet residents arrived to support the effort and to
have Craig Abruzzo scan their vintage
photographs and other ephemera for the new virtual museum which is being
“built” and will be on the website. Others brought framed posters and maps of
Kismet throughout the years.
arranged for a display of antique automobiles, including fire trucks from
Saltaire and Ocean Bay Park. Also displayed were a safe stenciled with “Fire
Island Yacht Club” which was organized in 1927. Other memorabilia included a
chair from the original Kismet Restaurant circa 1926.
We spoke a bit about Herbert Weis, an older son of
founder Frederick Weis, Sr. who built Kismet Park with his brothers and their
father. The year 1925 was honored by a virtual check donation of $1,925.00 from
the KFDA [Kismet Fire Department Auxiliary]. John
Cochrane Jr. presented the Kismet Historical
Society with a citation from Town of Islip.
Angela Reich, author of a historical novel, Shipwreck
of Hopes, donated 25% of her sales to the Kismet Historical Society. Sam
Wood says we are “not just finding history, but making it!”