Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

preserving, protecting and enhancing
our nature and recreation trails



West Hampton

A Stone Ship



On Saturday, I walked with Bill Mathews on one of his field outings.  Bill has been giving a course called “Trails of Greater Westhampton” for the Adult and Continuing Education at West Hampton Beach School District for the last fifteen years.  The walk started from Speonk Riverhead Road south of Suffolk Community College on the east side of the road.  Three vertical metal bars stand at the trail opening.  I checked Larry Paul’s map (for map call 631-360-0753) and saw that the trail we were meeting at is called “Middle Line of Toppings Purchase”.  When I asked about the origins of the road, Mathews told us that Toppings Purchase was a huge land purchase that was overturned by the courts after Toppings died. 

The trail we walked runs east west and intersects a lot of other boundary roads and fire breaks running north and south.  Again, I found myself walking on ATV-disturbed trails, but I was caught up in the excitement of an adventure.  Bill had informed us that we were searching for a stone ship.  During WWII, an outline of a ship was created by laying stone on the ground in the shape of a ship.  It was used by the U.S. Air Force for bombing practice.  In aerial photographs the “ship” shows up well, and while we searched for it, Bill entertained us with historical facts pertaining to the area.  I won’t tell you where the “ship” is because Bill feels that we need to protect the area for its historical value before its location becomes common knowledge.


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Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

Ken Kindler
Open Space & Trails Advocate
Post Office Box 1466
Sayville NY 11782
Phone:(631) 563-4354

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