Friede's Inn, Smithtown, Long Island

Land Introduction
Long Island Maps
St James, Long Island Photos
Smithtown Photos

The Riverside Inn, Smithtown Long Island

On the banks of the Nissequogue river in Smithtown, Long Island was a farmhouse which once belonged to the Smith family of Smithtown. The building was turned into an inn as early as the mid 1800s. Original know as Newton's Inn it became famous as the Riverside Inn.

According to a history of the inn printed on a 1950's menu:

"In 1859 it was sold to Benjamin B. Newton, who conducted it for 17 years as "B. B. Newton's Hotel, except for a short interval when the hotel belonged to William Spurge."
Benjamin Newton was listed as a hotel keeper in the 1865 and 1870 censuses in Smithtown.

By 1880 William Spurge owned the "popular hostelry" which was called Spurge's Hotel at that time. Traveling salesman frequently stopped at the well-run establishment. It also attracted trout fishermen and wheelman from far and wide.

William Spurge was listed as a hotel keeper in the 1900 censuses in Smithtown. The 1890 census records burned and so are not available. Spurge was still the inn's proprietor in 1905.

Before the advent of the automobile people came by horse and later by train to Smithtown.

In October 1900 the main building burned to the ground but the barns and outbuildings were saved. Under the management of William Spurge the inn was quickly rebuilt with modern conveniences like heat and hot and cold running water.

William Spurge sold the inn in 1908 and from that time until the advent of Frank Friede circa 1918 the inn was managed by a number of people, including a woman.

The 1910 census and other records indicate that James P. Kilroy was the manager of the inn from at least 1908 until 1914. James P Kilroy was an ex-cop from Buffalo, New York.

In 1914 an excise certificate was issued to the "Smithtown Company" Riverside Inn, Main st. Smithtown Hotel. An advertisement in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in June 1914 listed J. P. Kilroy as the proprietor.

In a 1915 ad Pearl Hendrickson was listed as the proprietor of the Riverside Inn.(Long Island and Real Life By Long Island Rail Road)

An ad in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in August 1917 listed William Palmer as the proprietor of the Riverside Inn.

In June 1918 Henry E. Hayes, "proprietor" was advertising the Riverside Inn in the New York Times.

Frank Friede bought the hotel circa 1919. Local histories say he bought it from William Spurge. Frank Friede and his mother, Rose Freide Welzel, had a restaurant/hotel on Middle Country road near Lake avenue from about 1908.

Under Friede's management the Riverside Inn was a destination for celebrities and socialites who stopped on their way from "the city" to the beaches at the east end of the Island. It was also a place the locals frequented on week-ends and special occasions like birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. In the 1940s and 1950s it was a frequent venue for meetings and fundraisers for a variety of business, civil, political and religious organizations.

After Frank Friede died in 1954, the inn was run by his second wife, Thelma Friede Burke.

Thelma Friede Burke retired due to ill health circa 1969.

The inn burned to the ground in December 1981 and was not rebuilt.

1869: Residents of Huntington, Smithtown and Brookhaven met at the hotel of B. B. Newton to discuss the proposed extension of the Northport branch of the Long Island Railroad from Northport to Port Jefferson. The proposed extension was to run though Smithtown, St. James, Stony Brook, Seatauket and Port Jefferson. (BDE)

1876/1877/78: W. N. Spurge was a horseman and raced trotters in Smithtown.

1880: William Spurge was listed as a hotel keeper in New Rochelle, Westchester Co., New York in the 1880 census taken in June.

1885: Smithtown was described as a "rural picture of shingled houses, gardens and farm life" forty-eight miles from Brooklyn. Six trains daily and two on Sunday. Round trip $2.50. Three hotels were listed including the "River Side Hotel" on the banks of the "Nessequogue" half a mile from the train depot, William Spurge proprietor, ten guests. (Brooklyn Union)

1885: William Spurge was raising partridges.

1889: In the late 1800s the river was stocked by the State Fisheries Commission. A report from the Cold Springs fish hatchery recorded a distribution of 8,500 Brook trout "fish-fry"* to W. N. Spurge Smithtown in 1889. In addition, 20,000 Penopscot Salmon were sent to the Nisseuogue river.

*("Trout all start their life cycle as a very tiny fish egg and then larval fish fry." Michigan State University Extension)

1900: October - the original Riverside Inn burned to the ground.

1901: In January construction was underway on the new Riverside Inn and the Proprietor, William N Spurge, expected to open the hotel in early February. The new inn was twice as large as the old hotel and contained all modern conveniences.

"There is an office, reception room, cafe, and dining room, and fifteen bedrooms, all which are to be handsomely furnished and fitted throughout. Steam heat, gas, hot and cold water and sanitary plumbing are innovation that will add to the homelikeness of the inn and ensure the comfort of all who may become its guests." (Times Union, Brooklyn, 18 January 1901)


"Smithtown and Smithtown branch are quiet but pretty country places, abounding in shady walks, picturesque drives, brooks, and birds. It is a retreat well worth the spending of a week or so of one's vacation. The new Riverside Inn, at Smithtown, managed by W. N. Spurge, who for twenty-six years successfully managed the house burned last, winter, is an ideal hotel. Its light finish, large rooms and pleasant location recommend it at first sight." (Brooklyn Daily Eagle 30 June 1901)
1901: In September driving parties from Bay Shore and Babylon to the Riverside Inn in Smithtown were very popular. Every day several carriage loads of society people would make the trip from the south shore to the north shore to lunch at the inn and return in the late afternoon. Mrs. Spurges who was staying at the inn took a party of 19 by carriages to Bay Shore. From there they took a ferry to Fire Island for the day. They returned to the inn around dusk. (Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

1902: In June naturalization courts where held at the hotel of William Spurge in Smithtown. (SCN)

1902: In July the Riverside Inn was the destination of "many gay driving parties from Bay Shore, Oyster Bay and Port Jefferson." The Riverside Inn in Smithtown was the Mecca of driving, bicycling and automobile parties from the south shore.

1904: Ad

"Hostler wanted in country hotel; must thoroughly understand care fine horses, carriages, lawn, milk; no incompetent or intemperate man wanted; wages $20 per month. W. N. Spurge, Smithtown." (NYH)

(A hostler was a man who took care of the horses of people staying at an inn.)

1905: The Riverside Inn had a very successful season. I was filled with guests form the early part of the summer.

1905: The New Riverside Inn - advertisement in the Times Union

"Offers superior accommodations to limited number of guests; house just completed; fitted with hot and cold running water in rooms; acetylene gas, steam heat and bath; first class table; fresh vegetables, eggs and cream raised on place; one of the coolest places on the Island; good fishing; beautiful drives. W. N. Spurge, Proprietor - Smithtown"
November Wanted cook - small country hotel; full charge; soups, roasts, pastry, bread; fare retured; $20 a month for winter; reference required. S. N Spurge Riverside In Smithtown


Multiple newspapers announced the sale of the Riverside Inn in the summer of 1908. William Spurge, the proprietor of the inn, sold it to James D'Orsay Murray of Manhattan. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle asserted that Mr. Murray would be "catering to the appetites and - shall it be said - caprices of the traveling public." The price was undisclosed but was reported to have been "quite a large sum" - around $30,000. Spurge planned on retiring to a small farm not far from the hotel - said to be the "Arthur place" which was Mrs. Spurge's personal property. The Brooklyn Eagle also reported that Mr. Spurge had been "keeping" the hotel since 1875.

1908: James P Kilroy obtained an excise certificate in Smithtown.

(The arrival of James P. Kilroy most likely coinsides with the start of the gambling for which the inn became infamous in later years.)

1910: Ad - September

"Before and After the Cup Race - Riverside Inn (on the Jericho Turnpike) offers the best to motorists - J. P. Kilroy Manager"

(The Vanderbilt Cup race of 1904 was the first international road race held in the US. The race was held on Long island from 1904 until 1911. The 1910 race was held on the Long Island Motorway. Videos of some races are available on YouTube through the Library of Congress.)

1910: In September 1910 the Brooklyn Daily Eagle published an article on Hotels and Road Houses on Long Island. J. P. Kilroy was listed as the manager of the Riverside Inn on the Nissequogue river in Smithtown. Long Island with its "perfect roads and magnificent scenery" was called the Mecca of automobile enthusiasts. The inn was open year round. The inn boasted of two garages where all kinds of repairs could be made on short notice. It also bragged of all the most modern convinces such as steam heat in addition to great wood fireplaces. The inn contained 35 rooms, both single and ensuite, all larges, and several with private baths. The new dining room on the main floor seated 150. Inclosed in glass the dining room made a beautiful sun porch in the winter. There was a separate chauffeurs' dining room, smoking rooms, parlors and a cafe. The front of the building was shaded by a 120 feet long veranda. Mr. Kilroy was described as a very hospitable manager.

1910: Articles of incorporation of the Smithtown company of Smithtown were filed with the State Department in November. It proposed to conduct "a hotel etc." Capital stock $10,000 divided into $100 shares each. Directors John H. O'Brien of New York City and Frank M O'Brien and James P Kilroy of Smithtown. (Times Union, Brooklyn)

(James P. Kilroy, was a former desk officer for the Buffalo Police Department. He was the son of Buffalo police officer Patrick Kilroy. John and Frank O'Brien were brothers and newspaper reporters from Buffalo. They both received significant civic appointments from the New York City Mayor McClellan in 1905. In November 1903 Police Captain Patrick Kilroy and member of the press, Frank M O'Brien, (and other guests) made "merry" at the annual ball of the Police Mutual Aid and Benefit Association. It would appear that Kilroy and the O'Briens knew each other from their time in Buffalo.)

1910: December 20 - Frank M. O'Brien, secretary to former New York Mayor George B. McClellan, married a Brooklyn actress, Marion Stanley, who had been married several times before. O'Brian was her third husband. She was once widowed and once divorced. The couple were to live in Smithtown where he was the manager of the Riverside Inn. (BDE)

(Frank O'Brien was reported to own the Riverside Inn in 1913. George B. McClellan served as mayor of New York from 1904 to 1909. He had the backing of Tammany Hall.)

1911: As indicated by an ad in the Automobile Official Blue Book, James P. Kilroy was the manager of the Riverside Inn in 1911.

1912: Annual Report of the State Commissioner of Excise, Volume 2 By New York (State). Dept. of Excise - among the Certificate holders in Suffolk County were:

  • Kilroy, James P Smithtown, Riverside Inn, Main Street HOTEL

  • Friede, Frank, Smithtown, Middle country rd, HOTEL

- no listing for Spurge

1912: In July 1912 The Sun ran an article entitled "LONG ISLAND ROADS MAKE ATTRACTIVE TOUR". The recently opened Jericho Turnpike offered a "run" (a one day moter trip) from New York to Smithtown. Most of the turnpike was of tar and gravel coating on a macadam base. The last three miles leading into Smithtown were of asphalt macadam construction. The trip to Smithtown and back was about 90 miles. The Riverside Inn was recommended as a place to stop and eat lunch.

1913: Ad

Riverside Inn

Smithtown, L.I.

Table d'hote served on - Sundays and Holidays - the best on the Island - A la carte service - rooms with bath - splendid place for week ends

1913: August 17, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that the Riverside Inn at Smithtown was under new management. Unfortunately, they neglected to actually name the new management. In November it was reported the Riverside Inn was under new management Mr. Kilroy having resigned and returned to Manhattan.

1913: September 10, 1913 According to accounts in multiple newspaper "Big Tim Sullivan" the leader of Tammany Hall disappeared for a week and was finally located the Riverside Inn at Smithtown. The newspapers said the inn was kept by James P. Kilroy an old friend of the Tammany leader and was owned by Frank O'Brien, the former "Fire Commissioner", also a friend of "Big Tim". Tim Sullivan had tertiary syphilis. He had suffered a breakdown and was judged incompetent. He entered a sanitarium in 1912. He escaped from his brother's house in the early morning of August 31, 1913. His body was found later that day on the railroad tracks in the Bronx. His family did not report him missing for ten days.

(Why was it claimed Sulllivan had turned up alive at the Riverside Inn when he had clearly been dead for over a week? It was Frank's brother, John O'Brien, who had been the New York City Fire Commissioner. However, John O'Brien was also somehow involved with the inn. Not long after this incident James P Kilroy went back to Buffalo from whence he had come. John O'Brien was appointed Fire Commissioner of New York City January 1, 1906 and resigned the position in October 10, 1906.)

Timothy Sullivan

1915: A 1915 ad listed Pearl Hendrickson as the proprietor of the Riverside Inn. 49 miles from New York - 12 Trains on weekdays - 5 trains on Sundays (Long Island and Real Life By Long Island Rail Road)

(The 1915 census listed on Main street Smithtown - Pearl Hendrickson 27(?), hotel keeper, Ernest Hockanf 32, barkeeper, Moses Codd 30, waiter, Frank Scott 28, waiter, Wm H Montgomery 43, cook, Edith Williams 26, servant)

1915: Brooklyn Eagle ad - The Riverside Inn - Smithtown, L. I. - situated on the Jerico Turnpike and Nissequogue River, 47 miles from New York; good roads; accommodate 60 guests; electric lights; room en suite with bath; rates $14 and up - Pearl Hendrickson, Manager

1917: An August ad listed Wm Palmer "Prop" of the Riverside Inn in Smithtown.

1917: In September nine people received licensees to run saloons in Smithtown. Among them were "William T. Reilly" and Henry "Haber"* at the Riverside Inn and Frank Friede in St. James.

*Could this be Henry E. "Hayes" who advertised the Riverside Inn in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1918?

(In the 1915 census Henry Haber was listed as a farmer on Hauppaugue rd. On his World War I Draft Registration in 1917 Henry Haber, birth My 16, 1879, listed his occupation as Hotel Prop in Smithtown Branch, wife Margaret. In the 1920 census he was listed on Main Street with his wife and two daughters - occupation "hotel". In 1925 he was listed as a "game protector". In 1930 he was a game warden in Smithtown. He died in Smithtown in 1955.)

(The Times Union reported William T. Riley took possession of the Central Hotel in Smithtown Branch in January 1914. The Central Hotel was previously run by George W. Penny and known as Penney's Hotel. The 1915 census listed Wm Riley age 46, hotel keeper, his wife, Anna, son Wm and two employees, a stable man and a barkeeper on Main Street, Smithtown. The 1920 census in Smithtown listed William Riley age 50, born Ireland, "hotel keeper" his wife, Anna, son, William, brother, Benjamin, and a hotel cook on Main street. William Riley age 63 an owner of the Capital Theater in Riverhead died after an illness of more than two years. He was survived by his wife, Anna, a son, William Jr., and a brother Robert. William Riley and his brothers, Robert, and Benjamin - all born at Riverhead - constructed the two story brick building that housed the 1,100 person capacity theatre in 1919. William T. Riley of Riverhead left an estate valued at $55,970 to his wife, Anna, and son, William Jr.)

(In 1917 Frank Friede and his mother were connected to a restaurant and hotel near Lake ave. and Middle Country road in St James.)

1918: June 2, 1918 "Long Island RIVERSIDE INN Smithtown, Long Island A Beautiful Auto Trip on the Jericho Turnpike; 44 "Miles ... HENRY E. HAYES, Prop." (BDE)

1918: June 20th Ad in The New York Times - Resorts Listing

"Riverside Inn

Smithtown, Long Island, 45 miles from New York on the Jericho turnpike, at the Nissequogue River. Canoeing, bathing, horseback riding, shooting and fishing. Rooms en suite, with private and shower baths. American and European plan

H. E. Hayes, PHOP"

1918: According to his obit in 1954, Frank Friede bought the Riverside Inn in 1918.

1919: At the death of Mrs. William Spurge the Brooklyn Eagle reminisced about the Riverside Inn a "small, unpretentious hostelry" with a warm welcome for the traveler, great "home cooking", and personal attention from the Spurges . Mrs. Spurge was described as a person with a "charming personality" and "unfailing in her courtesy". Mr. Spurge, aka "Billy", was recalled as a charming host, who was very witty and a good story teller.

1920 to 1933: Prohibition lasted from January 17, 1920 to December 5, 1933. Prohibition laws were obviously overlooked at the Riverside Inn.

1920: In March Frank Friede at the Riverside Inn was advertising for kitchen help.

1920: In July Frank Friede at the Riverside Inn, a "summer hotel" was advertising for "upstairs help".

1920s and 1930s: Friede's was often the venue where clubs and businesses held outings that included sports events, races, contests and games.

1924: An automobile outing was held at Friede's Riverside Inn, Smithtown in September.

1925: A motorboat belonging to Frank Friede of Smithtown was returned to him by the Federal court. The boat had been seized by Federal revenue men as a rum runner. Friede pleaded innocent to the charge and the judge held there was no proof to convict.

1928: August 2 - Two slot machines were seized at the Riverside Inn Smithtown. A fine was paid and the contents of the machines were distributed among the local poor. (BDE)

1932 August - The Smithtown Star reported a holdup at Frank Friede's Riverside Inn around 11:45 P. M. while there were still many dinners in the restaurant. Three gunman arrived at the inn by car. One stayed in the car while the other two entered the building and held Frank Friede and his assistant, Henry Wagner, at gun point. Neither guman wore masks. They took $450 in cash and drove off. The Riverside Inn, a popular rendezvous for a number of prominent New Yorkers and Long Islanders had been the victim of several holdups in the past.

1933: February - Federal men raided the Riverside Inn Smithtown. Henry Wagner age 35, bartender, was arrested and pleaded guilty. He was held in $1,000 bail.

1938: Feb 3 - Brooklyn Daily Eagle - Four people were robbed by three armed men on a Saturday night around 7 o'clock at Firede's Riverside Inn on the Jericho Turnpike in Smithtown. One of the robbers, Charles Campiglia, age 33, was captured and sentenced to 35 to 70 years in Sing-Sing. His prison admission record from Sing-Sing states he was convicted of robbery in the 1st degree. His criminal act: "Held up a bookmakers room" Smithtown LI - $500. He was eligible for parol July 9, 1961.

The four men who were held up were: Henry Wagner of Smithtown for $225; Jack Brown owner of Jack Brown's tavern at Lake Ronkonkoma for $130; Lou Keiser, former proprietor of the Normandy at the Lake for $57; and Edward Griffiths, bartender at Friede's for $30. The holdup men had a high powered rifle and automatic pistols.

1938: February 10, 1938 - The Country Review reported a raid by the District Attorney and the Sherriff's office of a bookie room in a barn within a stone's throw of Frank Friede's Riverside Inn. Frank Kelly, 45, and Henry Wagner, 43 were taken into custody and charged with operating an illegal gambling establishment. Bail was set at $300. Telephone equipment, some money, charts, slips and other items were confiscated.

In March Frank Kelly and Henry Wagner pleaded guilty to bookmaking charges. They were to be sentenced at a later date. On March 31 they were fined $50 each and assured the judge they would not re-open the betting room.

1938: February - Frank Freide went on a six week vacation to Florida and Havanna.

1936/1938: Andre Koltay and his ensemble kept things lively playing swing music at the inn in 1936 and 1938.

1939: The Nissaquogue River was being polluted by cesspools and sewage flowing directly into the river. Offenders were listed in the Smithtown Star on July 19. A small building on the east side of the main building at Friede's inn was used as the help's headquarters. Sewage from the building flowed into a tributary which led to a storm drain which in turn flowed into the river.

1941: Frank Freide spent the winter in Miami Florida. He left mid January and returned mid March.

1943: Telephone and telegraph companies were in competition for customers. The telephone company had make inroads in the business by providing service for race track news outlets including installation at Friede's hotel in Smithtown in the name of Frank Kelly. (BDE - 17 Aug 1943)

1943: Henry Wagner died of pneumonia on Christmas Day.

1944: On March 13, the Nassau Daily Review reported that a police raid caused the forced clousure of one of Long Island's "best known headquarters for the sporting set, the Nissaquogue Club in the rear of Frank Friede's Riverside Inn." Police found about 200 men and women "lounging in comfortable chairs, studying dope sheets and apparently making wagers." Frank Kelly, age 52, the manager of the club and five other men were arrested and fined $50 each. The "guest" were allowed to leave "unmolested". Kelly told the state police that Friede was in Florida and was unaware of any gambling. Five telephones, two public speakers and a ticker were confiscated.

1945: March 24, The Suffolk County News reported a state troopers raid of the bookmaking room in the rear of Friede's inn. The room was "the most elaborate in Suffolk County." The police confiscated teleflash loudspeaker equipment, racing charts, furniture, and tore down the cashier cage. There were approximately 125 betting patrons in the room when the raid occurred. Six of the inn's employees were arrested and fined $250: Clyde Barbieri, 32, of Alrington ave, Smithtown Branch, Allen R. Bryden, 49 of Stony Brook, Herbert M. Maroid, 37, of Jersey city, Victor J. Puzo, 45, of Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown, Frank W. Kelly, "30", of Old County Rd. Patchogue, and Frank Rettenberger of Smithtown.

1945: "The bookmaking establishment in the rear of Frlede's Riverside Inn in Smithtown, was raided on Monday afternoon by State Police." It was the second raid in 18 months. Four men were arrested: Clyde J Barbieri, 34, in charge of the ticker machine, Frank W. Kelly, 52, and Victor P Puzo, handling bets and posting results, and Frank Rettengerger, 58, general helper - each fined $50. The equipment was seized. (The Suffolk County News August 31, 1945)

(In 1918 Victor J Puzo was a truck triver. In 1934 he was the driver of an ice cream truck that skidded on a wet road and crashed into a car. An occupant of the car, William Hopp, was instantly killed. Mrs. Hopp was awarded $42,500 in damages. In 1942 Victor James Puzo, born 1899, had been a bartender at Friede's for three years when he resigned to join the armed forces. He was given a sendoff at Mother Friede's. He joined the Army 9, November 1942. According to his WWII Draft Registration in February 1942 he lived at the Riverside Inn and had a Tatoo of a sailor on his right forarm. He died in Smithtown in 1966.)

1945: Frank Freide was granted a liquor license for locations on Middle Country Road and Route 25, Smithtown.

1947: April - The barn behind the inn was a known gathering place where politicians and socialites could gamble at cards, dice, roulette, birdcage and horse betting. It was frequently raided. The horse room behind Frank Friede's Riverside Inn was a famous gambling resort. In one raid a reported $1,357 in cash was confiscated but the 300 or so men and women were allowed to leave quietly in their cars. The "promoter" and six club employees were arrested. The manager of the hotel, Frank Kelly, pleaded guilty, was fined $250 and given a 30 day suspended sentence. Four of the clerks, Louis Boyer, Joseph Slivorik, Bernard Lamb and Edwin J Griffiths were fined $150. The fifth clerk, Norman H. Land, who had only worked there for 48 hours*, and the handy-man, Frank Rittenberger, received suspended fines. All were given a 30 day suspended sentence. Kelly paid all the fines from a $3,000 bankroll. Gambling equipment was removed from the spacious room. The long low building behind the famous hotel was known as the center of book making is Suffolk County.

*(Norman H. Land was my grandfather's brother. His World War II Draft Registration filled out in February 1942 listed his employer as Frank Fiede Riverside Inn Smithtown. Norman H. Land )

(Bernard Lamb was born June 20, 1917 - served in WWII - died in 1963 - bartender.)

The "Missequogue Club" sic had been raided repeatedly for the previous 30 years and had reopened "promptly" after each raid. (Daily News 13, April 1947 and the Suffolk County News, April 18, 1947)

1949: In October 1949 the inn was targeted by crime busters who shut down a gambling ring rumored to be run by the Colombo family. The barn at the back of the inn was raided by the Smithtown police who found the barn empty but there was evidence of a horse track betting room.

The newspapers reported organized secret gambling in a horse room in the barn behind the Riverside Inn. Photos of the operation at Friede's were printed in the papers. Word of potential raids had spread across the Island. By the time the raiding party drove up the winding road behind the restaurant they found a deserted building, completely empty of betting paraphernalia. It was said Smithtown police had personally warned Friede to shut down.

Friede claimed the press had him all wrong. He know nothing about any horse room or gambling on his property. Friede claimed he had rented the barn to a man who wanted to use it to store highway building equipment. He didn't remember the name of the man. He said the stream of cars passing the restaurant at race time on their way to the barn every afternoon were "highway workers". He further claimed that the barn had been empty since the previous raid in 1947. The town clerk confirmed the building belonged to Friede. The plot it was located on was 133 acres bounded by the river on the west, the Long Island railroad on the north and other land belonging to Friede on the south and east.

1950: The Beverly hotel suite of Mrs. Telma Friede, wife of the Long Island restauranteur and sportsman, was broken into and about $15,000 worth of jewelry, furs and silver coins was taken. But the thieves overlooked another $10,000 worth of jewelry - a diamond ring and a diamond studded watch. None of the missing items were insured. Mrs. Freide was at Smithtown at the time of the burglary. She had recently returned from a trip to Las Vegas.

(The Beverly Hotel at 125 E 50th street is now the Benjamin Hotel.)

1951: Frank Friede was doing business at the Riverside Inn, Smithtown and the Middle Country Road Hotel Smittown Branch.

1953: Daily News 27 June :

"Frank and Thelma Friede's restaurant in Smithtown not only has the best boiled beef and potato pancakes outside New York, but also some sports prints which flip all true art lovers."
1954: Frank Friede, age 72, owner and operator of the Riverside inn, and "one of long Island's most noted restaurant operators died in Smithtown after a brief illness."

Frank Friede "was a delightful story teller and a quick man with a house drink." Daily News 10 May 1954

1955: Thelma Friede's was the place to stop on a trip to the Island from the city.

1955: Frank Kelly was still doing a "big job" with Thelma Friede in continuing the traditions of the Riverside Inn in Smithtown. (New York Daily News 31 July 1955)

1960: Ad - Frank Friede's RIVERSIDE INN - Open All Year - Smithtown, Long Island - Service A La Carte - Junction 25 and 25A at Smithtown.

1962: Thelma Friede maintained the tradition of her husband and had not changed anything about the inn except to replace the white clapboards with white aluminum siding.

1964: Thelma Friede Burke continued "the tradition of hearty no-nonsense fare in the same sort of congenial atmosphere." Most visitors flocked to "the big Champion Room with the bar and sports and hunting motifs". It was a "masculine atmosphere which women find appealing, too." (Cue)

1969: Thelma Friede retired due to ill health.

1977: In 1977 the inn was said to be the headquarters of of $200,000 a week floating crap game run by the Colombo crime family.

1978: In March 1978 Friede's Riverside Inn was undergoing refurbishing and would open under the new management of Ed Meyer formerly of Linck''s Log cabin in Centerport.

1981: By the time the Frank Friede's celebrated Riverside Inn burned to the ground in 1981 it had been known by several other names including the Yellow Balloon and the Riverview Inn. The restaurant had been closed for a few weeks before the conflagration and is was rumored that the owners were filing for bankruptcy. The fire spread so quickly from one part of the building that arson was suspected. There were rumors of foul play, insurance scams, arson, etc.

Fire companies came from the surround towns but the building could not be saved and it took four hours to bring the situation under control.

The original Riverside Inn pre 1900 - December 17, 1981 The Smithtown News

The New Riverside Inn 1901 - Times Union

W. N. Spurge proprietor - Riverside Inn 1905 - Times Union May 20, 1905

Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 8 September 1910

Riverside Inn Ad - 1911 - The automobile official 1911 blue book Volume 1

Riverside Inn Ad - 1918 - Brooklyn Eagle

Riverside Inn Smithtown, Long Island, L.I.

Posted 1910

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

"Long Island - Riverside Inn - Smithtown - on the Nissequogue River

Boating, canoeing, bathing; trout and bass fishing; beautiful woodland; shady, cool and quite; cousine famous; purest water; suites with baths; garage; stables; convenient for commuting; write for leaflet and rates"

Riverside Inn Smithtown, Long Island, N.Y.

Posted 1915

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

"Famous Frank Friede's
Riverside Inn
Smithtown, L.I., N.Y.
Route 25
Phone: ANdrew 5-9895 - 9898
Now There is MUSIC
In the Champion Room
Wed. thru Sat. from 9:P.M
at the piano"

Not posted

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Inn on the Nissiquogue River, Smithtown, L. I.

Posted 1912

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Riverside Inn from R. R. Bridge, Smithtown, L. I.

Not posted

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Riverside Inn, Smithtown, L. I.

Not posted

In June 2005 Joan Rust and her sister, Betty Korman, emailed some of their memories of Smithtown/St James including the following about Freide's:

My Dad was a waiter at Frank Friede's Riverside Inn for many years and still worked there in 1969 or 1970 when he got ill. I have one of their menus from the early 1950's with Judy Garland's autograph. (Joan)

Our Dad's name was Bill Korman and he actually lived at the Inn for 5 days of the week and would commute upstate to where we lived after we left St. James for his 2 days off. (Joan)

There was a fire in the early 80's and it (Friede's) burned. It was in 1983 I believe when Andrea and I "drove" to the actual site. The only thing there was foundation. I do not know when exactly the ownership changed. (Betty)

It had changed names to something like "Harry's Balloon???* (Betty)

I would like to find any surviving people that may have known Daddy when he worked there. (Betty)

In February 2007 Arthur Valentine wrote to say,
It was actually called "Harry's Yellow Balloon"* at the time of the fire. It was also rumored that it was an insurance job; But I have no idea if that is true or not. Either way, Our town lost a wonderful landmark that day."
Joan sent xeroxes of two menus that her father had:
  1. Undated, Autographed by Judy Garland
    "To Joan Mary Korman with my love, Judy Garland"
    In addition to the specials, the menu includes A La Carte sections. The following includes the cheapest and most expensive items and a sample of others:
    • Relishes - .30 for Tomato juice, 2.50 Asst Canapee's, 2.00 Oysters Casino
    • Cocktail - clams, crab, shrimp, lobster, mellon, grapefruit - .60 fruit cocktail, 2.25 seafood cocktail
    • Soups - .35 chicken cons, noodles, 1.00 green turtle soup with sherry
    • Sea Food - broiled lobster priced according to size, shad, scallops - 2.50 fish in season 4.00 lobster a la Newburg or Thermidor
    • Eggs and "Omelettes" - jelly omelette, chicken liver or ham, .75 plain, 2.25 eggs benedict
    • Entrees - 2,50 half broiled chicken with french fried potatoes, peas, 3.50 Half long Island Duckling, Apple sauce and red cabbage
    • Steaks and Chops - 3.20 Thumbits a la Friede, 5.75 sirloin, 6.00 filet mignon, 14.00 planked steak garni (for 2)
    • Cold Buffer - 1.50 ham or beef tongue with potato salad, 3.00 tartar steak
    • Sandwiches - .50 fried egg 2.00 caviar, 1.25 hamburger with french fried potatoes, 3.25 steak sandwich garniture
    • Salads - .50 mixed greens, 3.00 lobster
    • Vegetables - .30 carrots, .50 sting beans, spinach or peas, 1.50 broccoli or asparagus with butter or Hollandaise Sauce
    • Potatoes - .40 julienne, .75 au gratin
    • Deserts Cheese - .35 raisin cake, .50 sherbet and ice cream, 1.75 cherries jubilee, 2.25 crepe suzettes
    • Cheese - .40 American, .50 Liederkranz
    • Rarebits - Golden buck, Welsh or Yorkshire all 1.50 to 1.75
    • Coffee Tea etc. - .35 Coffee, .50 expresso
    • An 8 course dinner of relishes, cocktail, soup, steak, salad, vegetable, dessert, cheese and coffee ordering the most expensive items for each course - total bill $21.25

  2. March 20, 1949
    " To Joan best wishes, Margaret Truman"
    Some additional items on the this menu not included on the other menu: 1.25 smoked eels, .75 turtle soup a la Ducret, 1.75 fried oysters, 1.25 scrambled eggs with country sausage, 2.50 Steak Minute with O'Brien Potatoes, cold roast beef, anchovies on toast, sardines on toast, .40 roqueford dressing extra


Friede's Riverside Inn is proud to carry on a tradition of service to critninating (?) clients. An Inn has stood on this site for nearly 100 years. And long before that the original house, which was turned into an inn in 1859, was a famous landmark; it was the family home of one of the Smiths who have been at Smithtown for three centuries.

About 300 years ago Smithtown, also called Smithfield, was settled by the patentee Richard Smith. The Indians he found here, "a friendly people, were the Nissequakes, called so from the character of the terrain, which was known as "The Land of Mud and Clay."

The story goes that in 1663 the Indians granted Richard Smith as much land as he could cover in a day. Whereupon Smith, who had trained a bull until he could ride him as other men did horses, rode around almost all the land which today comprises Smithtown Township. From that time on he was called "Bull" Smith.

Chief of the Nissequakes was the Sachem Wyandanch. One of the most romantic tales in local history concerns his daughter, who, having been kidnapped, was ransomed from her father's enemies with the help of Lyon Gardiner of East Hampton. The land Gardiner received from the grateful Indian chief was later bought by Richard Smith, and formed part of the tract divided by heirs.

Other settlers soon followed Bull Smith, and by the time of the Revolution George Washington, during a visit found a thriving community. Washington slept here, too, it is told, at the Widow Blydenburgh's.

The home which later became an inn was built by "Ed Henry" Smith, great-great-grandson of the Founder of Smithtown. In 1859 it was sold to Benjamin B. Newton, who conducted it for 17 years as "B. B. Newton's Hotel, except for a short interval when the hotel belonged to William Spurge. The original inn was burned down during that interval, but was soon rebuilt.

At the turn of the century the inn at the Head of the Harbor became a Mecca for New York celebrities of the stage and sport worlds.

Frank Friede, present boniface (?) of Riverside Inn, took possession in 1919. It was under his management that Riverside Inn achieved widespread fame. During World War II a soldier in New Guinea enclosed a wrapping from a River Side Inn sugar cube, and wrote that it was a thrill to come upon it in the South Pacific. A noted host, Frank Friede's friends are 14on (?); in every gathering where fine food and Good Companions are mentioned, Frank Friede's name, like Abou Ben Adhem's, leads all the rest.


As taken from a Freide's menu of the early 1950's contributed by Joan Rust whose father worked there.

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Famous Frank Freide's Riverside Inn, Jericho Tpke, Smithtown , L. I.

Not dated

"Gracious country dining- Long Island's oldest and most famous Inn. Princess and Oval rooms for weddings, social and business functions. The Champion Room Open daily except Tuesdays for business lunches, dining, and entertainment. Piano music Sat. nites in the Champion Room"

In March 2010 Barbara Berg wrote: "The bartender is Nick Lamb (another distant cousin)."

In December 2009 George Boone wrote:
"I bought 10 acres, built a home and raised 6 children in Nissequogue in 1949. knew many of the names and places you mention in Nissequogue's pictures and history. What memories it evokes.

I spent many an evening dining at Freide's and I confirm the presence there of many a celebrity. I specifically recall Peter Lawford with a gorgeous blonde, not his wife, sitting at the back of the bar and later dining (while carrying on discreet foreplay) as a twosome in the shadows at the rear of the restaurant.

There was, for a time, very illegal gambling on the second floor, and the horse crowd made much use of Freide's enroute to/from NYC and the Hamptons. My Aunt was married to Ott MacIntyre who owned race horses and was part of this crowd.

I loved this delightful time in my early adulthood. Wonderful food, discreet formally dressed waiters. No reservations needed, but the restaurant was almost always full. There aren't anymore Freide's that I know of anywhere."

George Boone

In April 2010 Kevin Collins wrote:
"I started as a dishwasher in FF Riverside Inn in 1967 when I was 14, and then later became a busboy. I worked with Dick Kuri (sp?) who ran the floor and my waiters were Gibby, Victor and Hans.

Nick Lamb was behind the bar and would often break out in song. His favorite was "You only hurt the one you love". Margo was in the pantry with Edna and Simon was the pie man. Charlie was the chef and bookmaker.

The restaurant changed hands while I was there. A man named Segal who owned the Swan Club on the south shore bought it from Thelma and that was the beginning of the end. He changed almost everything and took all the class out of the place. I have a lot of fond memories of working there. It was a great experience for a young guy.

Thanks for the walk down memory lane. Best wishes,


Friede's Hotel, Middle Country Road, Smithtown Branch, Long Island

"Compliments of Friede's Hotel, Smithtown Branch, L. I."

Mailed in 1919

Sign over door

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

In a 1929 real estate ad the Middle Country Road Hotel was used as a landmark in Smithtown Branch.

In 1950 the Nesconset Republican club held a meeting at the Middle Country Road Hotel.

In March 2010 Barbara McConnin Berg Wrote:

The Middle Country Road Hotel was originally Mother Friede's. It was located on Jericho Turnpike near the intersection with Lake Avenue toward Saint James. Frank was her son and inherited it before he bought the Riverside Inn. My great grandmother and Mother Friede were sisters and my grandmother and her sisters, having come from Carbondale, PA worked in Mother Friede's hotel as maids and cooks. I suspect they were given room and board, but very little salary. There was a regular cliental of traveling salesmen. Mother Friede owned a home on Lake Avenue, Saint James, in which she allowed my grandmother to live when she married in 1920. Frank Friede willed the home to Nana when he died. They are all buried in St. Patrick's cemetery, Smithtown.

So, they are 2 different hotels. Mother Friede's has been gone for 70 years or so.

Our family went to Friede's very often and had all our landmark occasions there. My wedding reception, my sister's, our parents 25th, our grandparents 25th, Aunt Thelma Friede's second wedding to Jerry Burke (Uncle Franks wife inherited the Inn and married a second time). They are also buried in St. Patrick's, Thelma in the Friede plot. My sister and aunt worked at the Inn for many years.

Hope this helps. Barbara McConnin Berg"

A few days later Barbara wrote again;
"I emailed a couple of days ago identifying the building as Mother Friede's (that may be a "family-ism" instead of the actual name) and said it had been gone for many years. My sister corrected me and told me it is still there. She was in the building last year and it is now a fence company.

Barbara Berg

A Little Friede History

Rose Friede Welzel was born circa 1864 in Germany. She married Henry Friede and was the mother of Frank and Anton "Anthony" Friede. After the death of her first husband, she married Henry Welzel about 1888.

1899 -Immigration: from Antwerp to New York in 1899 - On the S S Southwark August 1899 - Wetzel, Rosa age 36, married, Franz Friede age 16, locksmith and Anton Friede age 15 from Schalke, Hungary, to NY to husband/stepfather, Roman Catholic

1900: Scott, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, Henry Welzel 36, coal miner, Roza Welzel 36, 3 children 2 living, married 12 years, Frank Friedek 17, stepson, coal miner, Tanny Friedek 15, step son, coal miner John Behn 24, boarder, coal miner

1908: May 19, Mortgages - Friede F & ano. to W. F Gruesser, lots 1019, 1072 20th map of property of the House & Home Co. situate s of Middle Country rd Smithtown $2,000. (Times Union, Brooklyn)

1908: Mortgage Welzel H & wife, to W. F. Gruesser 1 A e s Jefferson av ajd land of C. Leonhardt st St. James $250

1917: February 18, 1917, Henry Welzel died in Smithtown, NY.

1920 Census: Middle Country Road,

  • Friede, Frank, head, age 38, immigrated 1899, or Romania, hotel keeper
  • Friede, Clara, age 35, born New York
  • Welzel, Rose, mother, age 57, born Hungary, immigrated 1899, occupation none
  • Wagner, Margaret, grandmother, age 89, born Germany, immigrated 1899
1922: February - Simmons Anton Friede plaintiff - against Rose Welzel - An action to foreclose a mortgage on real estate consisting of one acre of land, and improvements thereon on Jefferson Ave. Smithtown. being the same property conveyed to the deceased Henry Welzel by Charles Leonhardt on August 24 1908

1930: Middle Country Road, Smithtown, Friede, Rose, head $24,000 born Hungary, age 66 widowed, proprietor hotel, Schmitt, Frank, boarder age 33, clerk hotel, Margaret boarder age 19, none, Sruler, Thomas boarder, age 33, gardener, private estate, Mary boarder, age 26,

1939: Ad

Middle Country Road Hotel

"Mother Freide"- Dine and Dance - Chicken and Duck Dinners - Smithtown Branch L. I.

1943: Smithtown Branch, September 22 -
A requiem mass was offered today at St. Philip and St. James R.C. Church for Mrs. Rose Welzel, widely known as "Mother Friede", who died Sunday. She was 79, a native of Germany, and was the proprietor of the Middle Island Road Hotel here. A resident of this village since 1900, she had operated her hotel and restaurant, famed for its homecooked meals, since 1905. She entered the hotel business after the death of her first husband, Frank Friede. Her second husband, Louis Welzel, died some years ago. Surviving is a son, Frank Friede, proprietor of the Riverside Inn. The Rev. Clarence Murphy was the celebrant at the mass. Burial was in the Catholic Cemetery, Hauppauge.

Mrs. Rose Welzel, mother of Frank Friede, proprietor of the Riverside Inn, and a hotelkeeper of no mean ability in her own right, died Sunday at her home on Middle Country Road, Smithtown after a long period of ill health. She was in her 80th year. A resident of Smithtown the past 42 years, Mrs. Welzel had operated the Middle Country Road hotel, better known as "Mother Friede's Hotel," to distinguish it from her son's much larger place two miles down the road, since 1905. Her relatively modest establishment has long been favored by people who appreciate good food and hospitality. A cook of the old school, Mrs. Welzel wide fame for her culinary abilities. Services for Mrs. Welzel were conducted Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the Sts. Philip and James R.C. Church in St. James, the Rev. Clarence Murphy officiating. Mrs. Welzel was a faithful member of the church and of the Catholic Daughters of America. Interment took place in the Catholic Cemetery at Hauppauge."

Rose Welzel left an estate of $4,800 gross and $4,075 net to her son, Frank Friede owner of the Riverside Inn.

Frank Friede

Birth of Frank Friede: Rumania on December 4, 1882 to Henry and Rose Friede.

"Franciscus Friede, (Male), Taufe (Baptism), Birth Date: 5 Dez 1882 (5 Dec 1882), Baptism Date: 7 Dez 1882 (7 Dec 1882), Baptism Place: Petrosani, Hunedoara, (Romania) [Petroschen, Hunedoara, (Romania)] [Petrozseny, Hunyad, (Romania)] Father: Henricus Friede, Mother: Rosalia Friede, Affiliation: romano-catolici

Immigration: Frank Friede, his mother, Rose Welsel, and younger brother, Anton Friede, immigrated to the US in 1899.

Rose had a hotel/restaurant called Friede's on Middle Country Road near Lake ave.

1910 Census Middle Country Road, Village of Smithtown,

  • Friede, Frank, head, single, age 27, born Germany, immigrated 1899, proprietor Hotel,
  • Welcel, Roeice (hard to read), mother, age 40, married at age 22, 2 children 2 still living, born Germany, immigrated 1899, Housekeeper, son's hotel
  • Wagner, Margaret, grandmother, age 80, widowed, 1 child 1 still living, born Germany immigrated 1899
  • Fink, Daniel, boarder, age 24, farm hand
  • Hesse, Adolph, border, age 22, born New York, teamster on pupil road
1915: Smithtown, Main Street, Frank Friede 35, Hotel Keeper, Rose Welson 52, Mother, Margaret S Wagner 81, Grandmother, all born "Germany"

Draft Registration World War I: Frank Fride Smithtown Branch, Smthtown, Suffolk, age 37, born October 4, 1880 hotel keeper, self, Rose Welcel, mother, tall, medium build, brown eyes brown hair

1920 Census: Middle Country Road,

  • Friede, Frank, head, age 38, immigrated 1899, or Romania, hotel keeper
  • Friede, Clara,age 35, born New York
  • Welzel, Rose, mother, age 57, born Hungary, immigrated 1899, occupation none
  • Wagner, Margaret, grandmother, age 89, born Germany, immigrated 1899
Passport Application 1921: Frank Friede, naturalized citizen, and wife, Clara, R Friede born Brooklyn, N. Y. June 4, 1885, Frank Friede born in Romania October 4, 1881 to Henry Friede born in Bohemia, now deceased, immigrated from Antwerp, about 1899. Reside 21 years on Long Island, naturalized at River Head, April 18, 1910, Hotel keeper, Smithtown, wants to visit Cuba, 39 years old, 6 feet, brown eyes, black hair, application made at Key West Fla Jan 18, 1921.

1921: From Havanna Cuba Feb 24, 1921 to Key West, Florida, Freide, Frank age 39 and Clara age 35 born Brooklyn June 4, 1885, both US citizens, on the SS Gov Cobb.

1925: Smithtown, Friede, Frank, age 45, born "Germany", cit. 1904 Riverhead, Hotel Keeper, Clara R wife, age 39

1926: NY Marriage index - Frank Friede to Clara R Hotte, 4 Aug 1926, Kings, New York, US, Certificate Number: 11348

1930 Census: address unclear, either Head of the River, or Landing,

  • Friede, Frank, own $25,000, age 47 married at 37, born Germany, immigrated 1899, manager hotel
  • Friede, Clara, born New York, age 42 married at 32
  • Wagner, Harry, clerk, born Germany, age 40, clerk hotel
  • Kolman, William hired man, age 23, born New Jersey, laborer
WWII DR: 1942 Frank Friede Main Street, Smithtown age 60 dob Dec.4, 1881 Romania, height 6 feet, weight 190 pounds brown eyes gray hair

1940: Friede, Clara, age 56, formerly of Smithtown, Long Island, in Queens

2 March 1953 New York Passenger: From St. Thomas via San Juan to New York on the SS Puerto Rico, Friede, Frank, Riverside Inn, Smithtown, age 70, Romanina naturalized 12/4/82 Friede, Thelma, age 47 born Texas


Proprietor of Riverside Inn of Smithtown was 72 Years old.

SMITHTOWN, L. I. May 4, Frank Friede, proprietor of the Riverside In on Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown, a Long Island landmark where notables including Gov. Alfred E Smith and Mayor James J Walker spent week-ends, died this morning at he Southside Hospital, Bay Shore, at the age of 72.
Born in Rumania, Mr. Friede went to Philadelphia* early in life where he worked in hotels and restaurants. He came to Smithtown thirty-six years ago and four years later bought the Riverside Inn.
He was a member of the Patchogue Lodge of Elks, the New York Athletic Club, Long Island Association, and the New York Hotelmen's Association.

*I am not sure he was in Philadelphia. The family was living in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania in 1900, which raises the question "What brought them to Smithtown?

Frank Fiede was buried in St Patrick's Cemetery in Smithtown.

Frank's second wife, Thelma, continued to run the Riverside Inn until she retired due to ill health in 1969.

1957: Thelma Friede remarried in 1957. 12 Sep 1957 Smithtown, New York, USA Certificate Number: 40350 Thelma Friede and Jerome C Burke

Thelma Friede Burke was listed Riverside Inn, Rte 25, Smithtown, in Hotel & Motel Red Book by American Hotel & Motel Association, date unknown.

Clara Friede formerly of Smithtown Long Island died in West Hollywood, Fla., age 89, Sept 30, 1970.

Thelma Knotts Friede Burke, age 81, died on February 21, 1988 in Ft. Myers Fla. She was born in 1906 in Texas to Benjamin and Elizabeth Knotts. She married Frank Friede date unknown, married Jerome C. Burke, 1957. Jerome C. Burke died in 1971.

Friede tombstone: St. Patrick's Cemetery, Smithtown, Long Island

  • Margaret Wagner May 15 1822 - January 7, 1924

  • Anton Friede Sept 17 1883 - November 24 1928

  • Frank Friede Dec 4, 1882 - May 4, 1954

  • Thelma April 12, 1906 - March 1, 1988

  • Rose Welzel Oct 16, 1863 - Sept 19 1943

1924: January 11, 1924 The Tribune, Scranton Pa.
"Mrs. Margaret Wagner, grandmother of Henry Wagner, Mrs. Joseph Walker and Mrs Frank Schmidt of Brooklyn street, Carbondale, died at her home in Smithtown Branch, L. I. at the age of 102."
She was survived by seventeen grandchildren, and fourteen great grand-children. Scranton relatives traveled to Smithtown for the funeral.

(The censuses of 1910, 1915 and 1920 indicate that Margaret Wagner was born closer to 1830.)


"Estate - The will of Frank Friede, prominent hotelman of Smithtown, who died May 4, disposes of an estate valued formally at more than $10,000 in personal and more than $10,000 in real property. Three cousins, Lena Lamb, of St. James, Nancy Anna Hawthorne of Smithtown, and Rose Yuchnick, of Miami Beach, Fla., are each given $500; Margaret Schmitt, cousin, St. James, testator's interest in a parcel of property on Lake Avenue, St. James; Frank W. Kelly, friend, Southern Boulevard, Patchogue, and undivided one-fourth interest in a parcel of unimproved land at Smithtown bounded by the Nissequogue river, Jericho turnpike, Route 25A and the properties of Dr. David Molinoff and the Homesite Estates. The will provides that Mr. Kelly may not sell his one-fourth interest in this property unless he first offers it for sale to Thelma C. Taliaferro, for $7,000, and she refuses the offer. The entire residuary estate is devised to "my dear and beloved Thelma C. Taliaferro," and she and C. Bernard Horner, friend, Smithtown, are named executors. The will was executed May 8, 1952. Schechter & Schechter of Smithtown are settling the estate."

Find a Grave

Thelma Knotts Friede Burke's Death Announcement - New York 1988

Clara and Frank Friede, from passport application photo

William Nehemiah Spurge (1851 - 1936)

Owned the Riverside Inn from circa 1880 to 1908

William Nehemiah Spurge was born in Philadelphia in 1851 to Robert M and Frances H . (Nott) Spurge. In Philadelphia Robert Spurge manufactured umbrellas and parasols. Around 1857 the family moved to Brooklyn where Robert manufactured drums - selling a great many to the Government during the Civil War. Later in his life Robert Spurge ran hotels in Commack, LI and New Rochelle, NY. Robert died in Brooklyn in April 1884.

William assisted his father in the hotel business until 1875 when he moved to Smithtown and purchased the Riverside Inn. In 1876 he married Clara Whitman of Commack. She died of consumption in 1885. In 1888 William Spurge married Annie Marsh of Brooklyn.

Spurge made many improvements on the property and the inn's hospitality was well known and business was steady.

1860: In 1860 Robert Spurge, age 33, "farmer" in Commack, $10,000. Sarah F Spurge 26, William Spurge 9, Fanny Spurge 7, Adla Spurge 5, William Nott 29, farmer, Agnes Nott 25, servant, Ann Pentz 20, servant, Isaac Bunn 23, labourer

1865: In 1865 the family was living in Brooklyn.

Robert S Spurg 35, Sarah F Spurg 31, Adella Spurg 9, Francis Spurg 11, William Spurg 14


Clara Whitman was listed age 18 with her family in Huntington.

1876: Marriage of William Spurge and Calara Whitman - 10 May 1876 Commack, LI, NY

1880 census New Rochelle, West Chester Robert S. Spurge 50, hotel keeper, Ada Spurge 29, wife, Rachael Morris 58, mother-in-law, William Spurge 29, hotel keeper, Clara Spurge 29, daughter-in-law, Adele Spurge 23, daughter, Robert Spurge 11, daughter, Warren Spurge 5, son, Addins Spurge 3/12, son, and two servants.

1885: Death of Clara A. Spurge, Birth Date: 27 Aug 1851, Commack, Suffolk County, New York, Death Date: 25 Jun 1885, Cemetery: Commack Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery, Father: Zebulon Doty Whitman, Mother: Martha Antoinette Whitman, Spouse: William Nehemiah Spurge - Find a grave

1887: August - For sale - to close an estate, 40 miles on Long Island, corner store, with dwelling attached, 1 cottage, 3 acres of land, the store run by late owner for 30 years, sold separately or together. Executor W. N. Spurge Smithtown

Marriage 1888: January 16, Smithtown - William N Spurge of the "River Side" married Annie Marsh of Lake Grove at Westport, Conn.

1900: Smithtown, William Spurge 49, hotel, Annie M Spurge 36 Carrie Bushing 28, cook, Frederick Bushing 32, hostler, Anna Blank 22, servant

1908: William Spurge sold the Riverside in to James D'Orsay Murray.

1908: December - After the sale of the Riverside inn William Surge erected a "handsome residence" near the railroad station in Smithtown. (Brooklyn Union)

1910: Smithtown, William Spurge 58, own income, Annie M Spurge 46

1919 Death: Annie Marsh Spurge, October 29, 1919 wife of William N. Spurge, Smithtown and daughter of the Paul and the late Nellie Marsh. She left $1,100 to an aunt, $100 to two cousins and the residue to her husband.

1920: Main Street, Smithtown, William Spurge age 68, widower, no occupation

1925: Smithtown, William Spurge age 74, retired

1930: William Spurge, age 78, widowed, Old Mill Road, Smithtown

1936: William Spruge, age 85, a member of the Northport Masonic Lodge and retired hotel man died in the Mantha Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson in February 1936. "Up to 15 years ago, when he retired, Mr. Spurge owned the hotel which is now the Riverside Inn."

William Spurge circa 1908

Benjamin Brewster Newton

From the 1920 Friede's menu:
"In 1859 it was sold to Benjamin B. Newton, who conducted it for 17 years as "B. B. Newton's Hotel, except for a short interval when the hotel belonged to William Spurge."
1850: Smithtown Benjamin Newton 52, farmer, Joanna Newton 49, Sandford Newton 27, Albert Newton 25, Benjamin Newton 23, William Newton 21, Mary E Newton 18, Sarah A Newton 16, Deborah Newton 12, George Newton 10, Ann Eliza Newton 8, James Newton 50

1860: Smithtown, Benj B Newton 31, farmer, Ellen F Newton 29, Issabell F Newton 5, George H Newton 1, Ida E Newton 3

1865: Smithtown, Benjamin B Newton 37, hotel keeper, Ellen T Newton 25, Ida Newton 8, Herbert Newton 6, Eliott Newton 3, Julia Newton 0, Deborah Mills 24, servant

1870: Smithtown, Benjamin Newton 42, hotel keeper Ellen Newton 38, Ida E Newton 13, George H Newton 11, Julia A Newton 6, Harry J Newton, Rose Floyd 24, domestic servant, Theodore Floyd 7, Caroline Floyd 2

1875: A large barn on the property of Benjamin B. Newton burned to the ground in August 1875. Five valuable trotting horses were stabled in the barn at the time. Benjamin Newton was severely burned about the head and hands as he attempted to save the horses. Three were saved and two perished in the flames. It was believed that the fire was the result of arson.

1880: Benj. B. Newton 52, hotel keeper, Ellen T. Newton 50, Ida E. Newton 23, Herbert Newton 21, Julia M. Newton 16, Harry J. Newton 10, Minnie A. Newton 8

1900: Julia Newton 35, single, keeps boarders, Benjamin Newton 70, father, Ellen T Newton 69, mother, 7 children 5 living, Phebie Smith 50, boarder, Corrette Horne 1, boarder

1909: October - Death of Benjamin B. Newton born in Commack in 1826. In 1859 he married Ellen Taylor. They had seven children two of whom died in their infancy.


"When he was about twenty years of age he commenced to work for himself, and a little later purchased a farm at St. James, his parents making their home with him. He remained there for ten years, and in 1861 purchased the hotel that is now owned by William Spurge, and which was then known as the Smithtown Hotel. This house he owned and ran for thirteen years, finally selling it to the railroad company when the road was built through that place. On the organization of the Smithtown Driving Park he leased the refectory right for a number of years and was interested in the hotel business until he entered the employ of M. R. Smith & Co., merchants, of Smithtown. (Portrait and Biographical Record of Suffolk County (Long Island) New York)

James D'Orsay Murray (1874-1946)

Several newspapers reported that James D'Orsay Murray bought the Riverside Inn from William Spurge in 1908.

James D'Orsay Murray was born in Orange, New Jersey on January 23, 1874 to James Murray.

In 1905 he testified in court that he lived on Merrick rd. in Merrick, Long Island and was married to Frances Williston Murray on July 3, 1902. Mrs. Murray had become romantically involved with Holmes M. Narwood. Suit for divorce Frances Murray and James D'Orsay Murray. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

He married divorcee and heiress, Ruth Addy circa 1913. He was accused of infidelity and they divorced in 1917.

He sent much of his adult life in Europe especially Italy. He fought in the Spanish-American War and with the British forces in France, Palestine and Egypt during World War I. In 1941 he was a member of the "America First Committee" and was outspokenly pro-Nazi and pro-Fascist.

He died January 22, 1946 in California.

John H O'Brien (18731941)

John H. O'Brien died in Long Beach on February 4, 1941. He was the former New York City Fire Commissioner and Commissioner of Water, Supply, Gas and Electric under NYC Mayor George B. McClellan form 1906 to 1910. He was city Comptroller's office as Deputy Comptroller from 1922 to 1938. He retired in 1938 due to poor health. Born in Dunkirk NY to Michael and Ann Cryan O'Brien he moved to New York City in 1901 where he worked as a reporter for the Sun until 1903 when he became private secretary to George McClellan. He never married. He was survived by his brother, Frank, and sister, Mary Schuler.

Frank Michael O'Brien (1875-1943)

Frank M O'Brien was born in Dunkirk New York March 31, 1875 to Michael O'Brien, born Limerick, Ireland and his wife, Annie Cryan O'Brien.

1905: Frank M O'Brien was appointed secretary to the Mayor in December 1905. At the same time Frank's brother John H. O'Brien was appointed Fire Commissioner. Frank was a former newspaper man from Buffalo New York. John had previously been the mayor's secretary. Multiple appointments were made at the time and it was noted: "None of the new appointees is known as an organization man, nor is there a Tammany Hall leader among the Mayo's selection". (Buffalo Evening News)

1900: Buffalo, New York Annie E Obrien 54, 4 children 4 living, John H Obrien, 28, newspaper (cannot read second word) Frank M Obrien 25, editor, Mary B Obrien 18, at school, Katherine Brecht 24, servant

1907: Frank M O'Brien the private secretary to Mayor McClellan received a salary of $6,000 a year.

1909: April 12, Frank M O'Brien, secretary to Mayor McCellan was arrested for speeding at 110th street and Broadway by a bicycle patrolman - O'Brien was going 24 miles a hour!!! He paid his bail, pleaded not guilty and was ordered to appear in court the next morning.

1910: Articles of incorporation of the Smithtown company of Smithtown were field with the State Department in November. It proposed to conduct "a hotel etc." Capital stock $10,000 divided into $100 shares each. Directors John H. O'Brien of New York City and Frank M O'Brien and James P Kilroy of Smithtown. (Times Union, Brooklyn)

1910: West 101 street, O'Brien, Frank, age 35, single, writer, newspaper, Mary, sister, age 32, single

1910: December - Frank O'Brien, manager of the Riverside Inn, married actress Marion Mousley aka Stanley.

1913: September 10 - Frank O'Brien, former fire commissioner and owner of the Riverside Inn in Smithtown, announced that Big Tim Sullivan reported missing for a week was safe at the inn. O'Brien was an "old-time friend" of Big Tim. The crowd from Tammany went to Smithtown to see Sullivan. (Big Tim was, in fact, dead and had been since the day he went missing.) The Courier News Bridgewater, NJ

1918: WWI DR - Frank Michael O'Brien 176 W. 81st dob March 31, 1875 editorial writer, the Sun, wife, Marion O'Brien - tall - stout build -- blue eyes brown hair

1920: West 81 street, Manhattan Frank M O Brien 44, Editorial Work Morning Sun, Marion O Brien 40, Frank M O Brien 8

1922: Frank M. O'Brien won the 1922 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for an article entitled, "The Unknown Soldier" published in the New York Herald.

1926: Frank Obrien, Arrival Date: 16 Aug 1926, Birth Date: 31 Mar 1875, Last Permanent Address: New York, Other Last Permanent Address: Dunkirk, Age: 51, Gender: Male, Port of Departure: Cherbourg,France, Port of Arrival: New York, New York, USA, Ship Name: Leviathan and wife, Marion age 47

1943: He died at 29 Washington Square after a protracted illness.

September 22

"The death of Frank M. O'Brien, editor of the New York Sun, leaves the profession of journalism in the United States distinctly poorer. City editor of the Buffalo Express at the early age of 21, Mr. O'Brien was an active newspaperman for 43 years, and not far removed from news work during the years he served as secretary of Mayor George B. McClellan of New York, between 1906 and 1910. He had occupied the post of Dana and Mitchell, one of the most distinguished in the Nation, since December, 1926. Despite the anonymity that must shroud the work of an editor or editorial writer, Mr. O'Brien's writings were easily detected by many of the thousands who daily scanned the Sun's pages. Once, to the honor of the profession he adorned, that rule of namelessness was broken, when his unforgettable editorial on "The Unknown Soldier," written in 1921, was singled out for a Pulitzer prize award." Hartford Courant

The brothers- Frank M O'Brien and John H. O'Brien - the Buffalo Times - 30 December 1905

James Patrick Kilroy (1873-19--)

James Patrick Kilroy was born circa 1873.

On October 1, 1907 James P Kilroy resigned as a desk sergeant of the Buffalo police. In 1908 James P Kilroy - Smithtown Riverside Inn - was granted an excise certificate. In January 1908 James P Kilroy "formerly a police headquarters operator" in Buffalo married Margaret Neenan in Syracuse. In February 1909 James P. Kilroy of Smithtown, LI "formerly connected with the Buffalo police headquarters" visited his father Capt. Patrick Kilroy. James P. Kilroy, born Ireland, and his wife, Margaret, were listed in the 1910 census in Smithtown, age 37, manager Hotel on Main Street, Smithtown. He was listed as the Manager of the Riverside Inn in 1911 He was mentioned in the 1913 Big Tim Sullivan story as an old friend of the Tammany leader. In 1915 he was a saloon keeper living in Buffalo, NY with his wife, brother-in-law, and other family members. In January 1919 James P Kilroy, proprietor of a cafe at 17 West Mohawk street, Buffalo was charged with five counts of permitting gambling on his premises and five charges of being a common gambler. He pleaded not guilty and gave $1,000 in bail. He later pleaded guilty and was fined $250. In March 1919 James P Kilroy, age 45, declared his occupation as the saloon and restaurant business when he testified as a witness in a gambling case in Buffalo, New York. He testified he had worked as a manager of a hotel on Long Island for about 6 years and returned to Buffalo in September or October of 1913. He pleaded not guilty to ten indictments charging him with conducting stud poker. In May 1919 James P Kilroy "formerly a desk sergeant, now a keeper of a cafe at the corner of West Genese and Pearl streets" was called as a witness to a raid on an alleged "gamling joint" in Buffalo. In March 1920 James P Kilroy was fined $250 in violation of Section 973 of the Penal Law.)

Henry Wagner (1890 - 1943)

1930: Smithtown, Landing, Frank Friede 47, manager, hotel, Clara Friede 42, Harry Wagner 40, lodger, clerk hotel, born Germany, William Kormann 23

1933: February 21, Hotels, restaurants and speakeasies on Long Island were raided by Federal agents, among those were the Riverside Inn in Smithtown. Henry Wagner age 28, Riverside Inn Smithtown was arrested, pleaded not guilty and held on $1,000 bail

1934: Marriage - Henry Wagner 12 Mar 1934 St. James, New York, USA Spouse: Marie P. Nielsman Certificate Number: 7708 Marie P. Nielsman

1940: Maple ave. Smithtown Branch, Henry Wagner 46, commission Man, restaurant, born germany, Marie Wagner 27

1942: WWII - Henry Wagner Smithtown, born Mar 30, 1890 in Germany, wife, Marie Wagner, Employer, Frank friede 5'1" 165 pounds, hazel eyes, gray hair, hunchback

1943: Henry Wagner, Birth Date: 1890, Death Date: Jan 1943, Saint Patrick's Cemetery Smithtown, Suffolk County, New York

1943: Henry Wagner age 53 long time bookkeeper for Frank Friede died of pneumonia on Christmas Day. He was survived by his wife, Marie and four sisters and four brothers. Buried Hauppaugue Catholic Cemetery. He had lived on Linden Place for many years.

Frank Kelly

1938: Age 45, arrested as a bookie at Frank Friede's. Fined. 30 day suspended sentence.

1940: East, Patchogue Terry st, Giovianni Biggio 81, born Italy, Frank Kelly 46, manager hotel, born New York, Evelyn Kelly 45

1947: Arrested in raid at Friede's.

1954 and 1955: Vacationed in Florida. Manager at Frank Friede's.

Smithtown, A History: Friede's Place

To see images of the home of Percy Land and Meta Petermann Land at 101 North Country Road, Smithtown go to The Home of Meta and Percy Land

To see images of the St James Long Island ( a part of the township os Smithtown) go to St James, Long Island

To see images of the Central Islip, Long Island go to Central Islip, Long Island

To see images of the Smithtown, Long Island go to Smithtown Photos

To see images of the Hauppauge, Long Island go to Hauppauge, Long Island

If you have any suggestions, corrections, information, copies of documents, or photos that you would like to share with this page, please contact me at

Land Introduction
Law Land and Elizabeth Sykes
Percy Land and Meta Petermann Land
Long Island Maps
St James, Long Island Photos
Central Islip, Long Island Photos
Percy Land and Meta Petermann Land's house on North Country Road.

Please feel free to link to this web page.

You may use images on this web page provided that you give proper acknowledgement to this web page and include the same acknowledgments that I have made to the provenance of the image. Thanks,


This page was created in 2004, latest update July 2020