Lots of Ice But No Water
Total destruction by fire of a 100-yearold landmark on the morning of Feb. 4 last, was blamed on a construction blunder that left the hamlet of Grassy Point, N. Y. (pop. 200) totally without water.
Because of lack of water, the Schermerhorn Tavern burned down at 3:00 A.M. before volunteer firemen could lay out hose lines and get water from the icy Hudson River. Local officials protested that faulty installation of the water main, on which the community depends, had permitted the main to freeze solid in sub-zero weather.
Grassy Point consists of about 50 dwellings, three taverns, a general store, church and a bathing beach. It is connected with the larger community of Stony Point two miles away by a road that crosses a bridge over Minisceongo Creek. The water main in question used to run underground from the Stony Point pumping station. It never froze. When the old bridge was replaced last November, the water main was also replaced, and carried across the creek strapped to the underside of the new bridge.
Residents evidently failed to draw off enough water during the chilly night of the 3rd to keep the water running. When the fire, of undetermined origin, routed the owners of the Tavern from their two-and-one-half story building, volunteers from Haverstraw, West Haverstraw and Stony Point were called and responded promptly, despite the frigid weather. But they couldn’t get water from the street hydrants, or even from house taps.
By the time they stretched hose out beyond the ice in the Hudson and started pumping (no minor job), the Schermerhorn Tavern was burned out, with a loss estimated at $30,000.