Sunday, August 29, 2010
TheGreat Long Island Sphinx, Bayport, NY and the Anchorage Inn, Blupoint, NY
The Sphinx was built by Captain Will Graham in the early 1900's to attract people to his Anchorage Inn, also built by him in 1897. We will go into the Inn in the second half of this blog and Will Graham's life.
When the Inn burned to the ground in the 20's, the Sphinx was moved to the inside of the gas station that was built on the site. It was operated by the Ferri family from the early 30's to 1973, when the family sold their land and the gas station to a Long Island company called Power Test. While bulldozing the gas station in 1974, Power Test accidentally severed the head of the Sphinx from its body. If Lou and John Fontana, owners of Fontana Concrete in Bayport, hadn't passed by, the Sphinx wouldn't exist today. And so, in the fall of 1981, the Fontana brothers began their restoration of the Great Long Island Sphinx. Finished in 1983, it sits in front of Fontana Concrete to this day as a memorial to the Inn and its builder, Will Graham, Lou Fontana and the Ferri family who kept the Sphinx intact.
A few of the famous who stayed at the Anchorage: Theodore Roosevelt, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks among them.
While continuing to operate the Inn, Graham never stopped sculpting and building. His most famous work was the Great Sphinx. He did build an early aeroplane and once promoted a bullfight at the Inn to which two thousand people attended.
As usual, I have included the following sites which helped me out tremendously in bringing you this history.
This link talks about the Anchorage and it includes pictures of the old inn, the Sphinx and Will Graham.
This site describes the Sphinx and how it was saved and restored.