"LOT 6": SUSIE CHADBURN TRACES HER FAMILY’S AND FAIR HARBOR’S
is spending the month of August in Fair Harbor swimming, fishing, boating and
clamming as she has done most every summer since her first arrival at six
months of age. She only missed two summers when she was in the Navy for eight
years. She managed to get here six of the eight years she spent in the
is hard to find anyone whose family history goes back so far, and whose
love of the place has been captured so beautifully in her documentary. Almost
anyone who has spent time in Fair Harbor can share Susie's love and
should see "Lot 6". She is a professional and did
a fabulous job
THE ESTLER PIONEERING
Albert Estler’s father died, Albert came East from Nebraska for the
funeral. That’s when he met a
friend of the family, Eugenia Christmann. He told her he was leaving the next day to go back to his 1000 acre
ranch in Nebraska and would like her to go with him as his wife. Incredibly, she did.
of the Estler children (Lou, Mae, Bert and Frank) were born in a log cabin
between 1911 and 1915. The family
doctor , Frank Borglum, was the brother of Gutzon Borglum who carved Mt. Rushmore.
& Pop Estler
moving back to Bay Shore, “Pop” and “Mom” Estler bought property (1923) and
built (by hand with the help of his brothers) the 19th house in Fair Harbor, on
Broadway. “Pop’s” brothers, Ben
and Rob, also bought many lots and built houses. All the yellow Coreopsis which used to grow everywhere in
Fair Harbor came from plants which “Pop” brought from Nebraska.
settlers: Rob, Mom, Mae, Pop, Louise (Estler matriarch), Ben, Fred & Elsie
Harbor was so young, and not knowing what to expect, the brothers carried
shotguns with them when they first walked on the beach.
and “Pop” Estler and their grandson, Gene, survived the Hurricane of ‘38. The house on Broadway floated
down to where the Pioneer Store is now and was stopped when a telephone pole
went through a window. The youngest son, Frank, was
in the Coast Guard, stationed at the light house. He rushed to Fair
Harbor to find his parents safely on board the Atlantic. He then went to
Saltaire and rescued two people tied to a telephone pole.
stopped house '38
Estler (Chadburn, my mother) came to Fair Harbor from 1923 (age 10) until she
was 88. She passed away at age
92. She was the person people
would go to if they needed something. She knew just about everyone and loved talking to people, meeting
boats was her favorite pastime. She was an expert at digging clams and catching
crabs. Her best friend was actress Thelma Ritter. Thelma would come
to the house, lay out a paper towel, and say, “I’m ready, bring on the crabs.”
They would sit and pick crabs and chat for hours.
Estler’s routine was simple, raise the flag at the fire house, check the eel
traps, have an ice cream cone about 2 p.m. and sit on the porch smoking his
pipe and watch the new fashion …bikinis… parade by. He was a
good man and gave me a love for what the Bay has to offer. He taught
me how to fish, and that I should only take what I need,and leave the rest for
about 1998 people started approaching my mother searching her out for her local
knowledge for books and articles. That’s when it occurred to me to produce my
own video to tell the story of Fair Harbor So I contacted as many “old timers”
as I could round up, conducted interviews and collected pictures to tell the
story of Fair Harbor. I learned that 1923 was a very important year.
That’s when all the original claims to Lot 6 (now Fair Harbor) had
finally been cleared and the land could be sold and developed.
Partition Lot 6….Fair Harbor is now available on DVD for $35. Susie Chadburn can be reached at
583-9352 through August or at (772) 532-0546 anytime.