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Women's Softball Game at Jones Beach, 1948
Women's Softball Game near the West Bathhouse, 1948, Jones beach State Park. Photo courtesy New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Summer at Jones Beach

Called the crown jewel of the New York State Park system, Jones Beach State Park is an internationally renown bathing facility, drawing seven million visitors a year. The park derives its name from Major Thomas Jones who acquired 6,000 acres of land in Massapequa around 1700. Jones established a whaling station on the outer beach near the current side of the park. Following his death, the area became known as Jones Beach. In 1925, Robert Moses, the visionary designer of the Long Island State Park system expressed interest in making Jones Beach into a park. In 1926, the first engineering survey stake was driven in the sands of Jones Beach at the precise spot where the water tower now stands. After three years of work, the new park was inaugurated at an opening ceremony attended by then Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, former Governor Alfred E. Smith, and Commission President Robert Moses.

In the park's first full year of operation in 1930, one-and-one-half million people visited. The park's nautical theme was reflected in the staff's maritime-style uniforms; water fountains enclosed in various nautical instruments, and cigarette receptacles designed as life preserves. Among the park's highlights was its massive tower, modeled after the campanile in St. Mark's Square in Venice, which contained 315,000 gallons of water. The park's first bathhouse had 10,450 lockers, a cafeteria, a beach shop, and sun deck. In 1931 the west bathhouse, which resembled a Moorish castle and contained two heated saltwater pools, opened. In 1967, the east bathhouse was expanded and two freshwater pools were added inside.

Jones Point has evolved to meet the needs and desires of each generation of park goers. Over the years, park attractions have included a sports stadium, miniature golf course, theater, pony track, Indian Village, and band shell for evening concerts and dances. In 2000, a nature center was added to the park.

Documentation includes a text report, historic photos, and a video.

Originally submitted by: Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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