The other day when I was searching the old archives of the New York Times for something, I ran across a totally unexpected article that I thought I might share with my readers, especially those interested in local history. Most locals will probably recognize the photo below of the house on Rockledge Dr., it being one of the largest and showiest homes on the River Road.
For most of its early history this was referred to as the Metzner home, it being the winter home of Martin A. Metzner and family. The Metzners were permanent residents of New York and they spent their summers in a grand mansion on the shores of Lake Ronkonkoma, Long Island. The Metzners were probably the wealthiest family that wintered in Rockledge and as such were well known in the area. The Metzners had a son and three daughters and all were very active in sports and outdoor activities.
The September 2, 1908 issue of the New York Times carried an article entitled, "Just A Question of Girls" which states that Sheriff Wells of Suffolk County, Long Island had arrested one of Martin Metzner's daughters for speeding some time ago, and that she had paid a fine of $10 and had been released, having stated her name on the paperwork as simply, "Miss Metzner." On Sept. 1, the Sheriff stopped her for "tearing along the Suffolk County roads" again and charged her with a second offense, which was a much more serious charge. However, the writer took delight in reporting that, "Mr. Metzner has three charming daughters, who look so much alike that even their friends have difficulty in distinguishing one from the other." When brought before the court the judge asked the accused if it was her second offense at which point her two sisters got up and stood beside her and each asked the Sheriff in turn, "Are you sure it wasn't I?" The Sheriff was at a loss to identify the culprit and responded in court, "Blest if I know." As a result the paper reports that Miss Metzner pleaded guilty to the speeding charge, but not to the second offense, and the Justice fined her $10, which she paid, and "the three Miss Metzners departed in triumph."
This happy family was to suffer a great tragedy in 1917 when the girl's brother and the Metzner's only son Nicholas W. was killed in a car accident on his way to Miami where he was going to receive his degree in aviation prior to his enlistment in the Armed Forces during World War I. The family was very involved in the war effort and Mr. Metzner even donated his private yacht to the Navy to be used in combat.