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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Port Jeff Showcases Belle Terre Photo Exhibit

    The Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council is celebrating the 75th anniversary of Belle Terre’s incorporation with a photo exhibit at the Port Jefferson Village Center now through October 15.

    ‘It’s a marriage of old photographs and modern technology,’ said Kenneth Brady, the president of the Port Jefferson Harbor Education and Arts Conservancy. The exhibit features more than 40 photos of old Belle Terre that were enlarged and re-touched. It includes photos of private homes, the Belle Terre Gatehouse, and the Belle Terre Club dating back to the early 1900s.

    Belle Terre, originally named Oakwood and covering about 1300 acres, was owned by one exclusive family. ‘There was incredible wealth in this community,’ Brady said. The Arts Council included photos of the 200-foot bridge which once connected each side of Beach Road, houses from the 1930s that still stand today, and the stores which have transformed through the years.

    The building in which the Port Jefferson Arts Council resides in was originally the Chandlery Building from the late 1800s called Bayles Shipyard. There are also photos of the Belle Terre Club under construction as well as the workers and contractors. Brady wanted these photos included to show the hard labor and long hours spent constructing Belle Terre. ‘It’s not just high lifestyle,’ he said.

    Several of the photos featured in the exhibit were originally postcards that are from Brady’s personal collection. The architectural drawings are from periodicals that were originally found in the Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Library of Columbia University.

    The library was established in 1890 and collects books and periodicals on architecture, historic preservation, art history, painting, sculpture, graphic arts, decorative arts, city planning, real estate, and archaeology. The photos were enlarged and enhanced using a 12×18 Epson 10,000 scanner. After being scanned and re-touched, the photos were all printed on 100×44 paper.

    The Village Center was constructed during World War I as a wood yard which was eventually converted to steel. Freighters, target rafts, and other battle necessities were constructed in an effort to support. ‘It’s an adaptive re-use of a World War I building,’ said Allan Varela, the executive director of the Port Jefferson Arts Council. ‘It is known as Port Jefferson’s living room.’

    It is furnished with black leather couches and chairs, which overlook Port Jefferson harbor and a recreational park which is still under construction. There is a sculpture standing near the water of four men carrying a railroad rail. ‘Each man is dressed in clothing from a different era,’ Varela said. ‘It’s symbolizes the labor carrying the industry to the water.’

    The Village Center is located on East Broadway in Port Jefferson. The Belle Terre exhibit is sponsored by the Incorporated Village of Port Jefferson as well as the Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council. It is open to the public and admission is free.

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