History, Local History

When Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig came to Lindenhurst to dine and fish at Barnacle Bill’s.

Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were no strangers to Lindenhurst. Here they are shown signing autograph’s on May 5, 1932 after dining with teammates at the famous Barnacle Bill’s restaurant on Montauk Highway, which opened a year earlier, surrounded by adoring fans. Ruth stands to the right of center, wearing a jaunty light colored cap, with Gehrig to his right. To Gehrig’s right is pitcher Henry “Hank” Johnson.

Below is a 3.5 X 5 paper signed at the time of the above photo. It contains the signatures of Ruth, Gehrig and Johnson, along with pitcher George W. Pipgras and catcher Art Jorgens. A vintage notation in another hand at the bottom notes the place and date: “At Lindenhurst, Barnical (sic) Bill’s, May 5, 1932”.

The top photo below is of Ruth and Gehrig (center) in front of the restaurant on the same day, with
Hank Johnson on the far left, Art Jorgens to his left and George Pipgras on the far right. Several, including Ruth, are holding their fishing poles. Restaurant founder and first owner George H. Maas is 2nd from the right. Below the photo is a poster advertising the famous October 18, 1930 game at the baseball field located at Montauk Highway and 2nd Street, when a barnstorming team headed by Ruth and Gehrig played against Addie Klein’s local Lindenhurst Baseball Club, beating them 10-6.
Below is another photo, perhaps from the same day as above, showing Ruth on the far right and Hall-of-Fame teammate pitcher Lefty Gomez in the center. Restaurant founder and first owner George H. Maas is third from the left, slightly behind Gomez.

Barnacle Bill’s famous restaurant and clam bar opened on Montauk Highway (Merrick Road) in 1931.

The restaurant bar area:

An advertising card from the 1940’s:

Here is the restaurant several decades later:

The dining room in the 1960’s:

A newspaper advertisement from the later years of the restaurant:

The restaurant in its last years, just before closing:

Eventually, the original restaurant building was remodeled:

And reopened as Hurricane Grill and Wings.

Babe Ruth was an avid fisherman who regularly came to Lindenhurst to fish, often with Gehrig and other teammates.

Below is a ca. 1938 view north from the docks, showing the restaurant on the south side of Montauk Highway and the former Linden Brewery across the street to the west, on the upper left of the photo.

Below you can see the expansive system of commercial docks that extended south down to the bay behind the restaurant, which can be seen in the lower right corner.

My next blog installment will cover in detail a much more famous visit by Ruth and Gehrig to Lindenhurst!

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