Shelter Island Heights
Shelter Island Heights is on both the United States Register and the New York State’s Register of Historic Places.
“The Heights” was plotted out in approximately 1872. Much of the picturesque character of the Heights remains intact today. Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park in New York City, and Robert Morris Copeland designed the Heights for a Methodist church organization from Brooklyn for use as a summer resort that offered religious camp meetings as an added amenity.
Union Chapel which is the center piece of the Heights is the oldest public building on Shelter Island. Sited in “the Grove”, where ministers would speak to parishioners. The Heights was designed as a community with parks, open spaces, a hotel, and homes. Between 1872 and 1880 about 70 cottages were constructed; by the late 1880s another 30 were added; and finally by 1890 the layout as it stands today was completed.
The Heights Historic District is comprised of 141 buildings, designed in a variety of styles, including exuberant folk architecture found in camp meeting sites such as Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard and Ocean Grove in New Jersey. The most striking feature of these steeply pitched gable roof structure is the elaborate and delicate wood trimming on verandas, gables, windows, and doors.
The Heights is an area with a sense of community today. Many homes are within easy distance of the pharmacy, which still has a lunch counter and soda fountain, the Post Office, cafes, restaurants and hardware stores. The North Ferry landing brings residents and visitors by car and foot to the Heights, making it a convenient destination for those making the connection from New York City by car, bus or train.