Block island summer
/ photos by Klaus Gemming ; text by Elizabeth Gemming. -
Riverside (Conn.) : The Chatham Press, 1972. - 119 p. :
ill. ; 24 cm.
DESCRIPTION : At sea between the Rhode Island mainland
and the eastern tip of New York's Long Island lies a small « sandy
place » of not quite eleven square miles. It was called
« the Bermuda of the North » in the 1880's
and was, at the time, an elegant and fashionable resort.
Since then its face has changed, until today it is known best
as a landmark for yachtsmen, a mecca for ornithologists, and a
haven for the increasing numbers who seek a simple summer refuge
from the hustle and bustle of urban east-coast life.
Block island no longer has golf
courses, stylish shops, or fancy hotels, but instead is endowed
with the rarer distinction of crowdless beaches, peaceful wild-flowered
moors, and quiet privacy. Klaus and Elizabeth Gemming have
exercised great art in capturing these unique qualities
and have given us a beautifully clear view of the island
today, plus a fascinating glimpse at its little-known past
and its possibly perilous future.
Block Island Summer is an eloquent testament to what shoudl
be preserved and what stands to be lost if preservation
fails. Everyone, wether familiar with the island or
not, will share concern for this small special place, will cherish
its beauty and admire its rugged resistance to clutter,
chrome, and crowds.
centuries Block Island was known as Manisses, the « Isle
of the Little God, » and was inhabited only by Indians.
The little god was their sachem, who owed allegiance to the greater
sachem of the Narragansetts on the mainland. The Indians must
have observed ships passing their island from time to time and
the first white man to describe it was Giovanni da Verrazano,
an Italian in the service of France, in the year 1524. He noted
that it was « full of hills, covered with trees, well
peopled, for we saw fires along the coast. » Evidently
he did not go ashore. In 1614, the Dutch fur trader Adriaen Block
came upon the island while exploring Long Island Sound. He landed
and must have been pleased with what he saw, for on Dutch maps
of the period it was labeled « Adriaen's Eylant. »
- Charlotte and Aaron Elkins, « Nasty breaks », New York : Mysterious Press, 1997
|mise-à-jour : 29 avril 2019