City Island (Fay Jordaens)

Fay Schmahl Jordaens, 2005
City Island by Fay Schmahl Jordaens

My father Fred Schmahl first came to City Island [1926] when he mustered out of the Coast Guard and began working on his 120 foot gasoline barge situated between City Island and Hart Island, straight out from Jacobs famous Shipyard.

City Island shipyards [Jacobs, Nevins and Minnefords] were famous for building large, quality gas guzzler yachts and there was a need for a floating gasoline barge that was able to cater to such a clientele. At that time the 'yards' boasted of having naval architects in their employ along with a large crew, including master carpenters.

The Cordes brothers were master carpenters who lived on the Island during that era. They were brothers to Adelaide Cordes Cronk, of Island Diner fame. Architect Henry Devereau, whom our family knew, worked for Henry Sayers, owner of Minnefords. Because so many craftsmen lived on the Island, we met them and socially interacted. Some of the workmanship of the carpenters can still be seen in the older homes on City Island where carpenters plied their trade during their 'off' season. This fact was made known to me by the Landmarking Commision when they surveyed City Island for potential landmarking, and earmarked Belden Street's waterfront Hinck home.