The story of the Saint Thomas Summer Home

04/05/2014 4:00 AM |
In this undated postcard, campers play on the lawn of the Saint Thomas Home in East Marion, which provided a summer respite for hundreds of New York City children from 1893 to 1925. (Credit: Oysterponds Historical Society)

In this undated postcard, campers play on the lawn of the Saint Thomas Home in East Marion, which provided a summer respite for hundreds of New York City children from 1893 to 1925. (Credit: Oysterponds Historical Society)

East 60th Street, New York City.

It’s a fashionable address now, but at the turn of the last century the neighborhood was home to hundreds of Irish and German immigrants, many of whom lived in crowded, unclean tenements and were parishioners at nearby Saint Thomas Episcopal Church.

In the late 19th century, Saint Thomas provided a number of social services to families living in the tenements. Among these was the introduction of a summer camp for children at a 75-acre property on Long Island Sound in East Marion, 100 miles away.

The property was purchased for $4,485.40 using part of a donation received from a New York City philanthropist. The camp was established so the church could offer city boys and girls an opportunity to get away to the North Fork for two- to four-week stays, during which they could benefit from fresh sea air and exercise.

The children had, as a church bulletin from the period stated, “perfect freedom to wander where they would.”

And until 1925 — the year the camp dissolved amid mounting repair costs — that’s just what children did at the Saint Thomas Summer Home: They wandered. They played.

Read more on northforker.com.