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Kismet Historical Society Fundraiser

by Cheryl Dunbar Kahlke

The first fundraiser of the Kismet Historical Society was held on Sunday, October 6, 2019 at the Kismet Inn. The board consists of Sam Wood, president; Cheryl Dunbar Kahlke, vice-president; and Larry Cole, treasurer. Membership identification tags for the Kismet Historical Society were purchased for a donation of $30 per person. Inside the Inn were various artifacts from the beginning of Kismet Park in 1925 and other relevant years. Featured “objects” included blown-up photographs of Kismet’s devastation from the Hurricane of 1938. The current Kismet Inn building was the Kismet General Store in 1938 – at the same location. The actual restaurant next door had been carried off its locust pilings and was partially dropped into the marina. Therefore, it had to be demolished.

It is true that Fred Weis, Sr. had made “a community out of nothing.” And it is also true that Kismet Park was essentially gone after its devastation. The family started again, first converting the previous store into a restaurant. Fortunately, the Weis family re-created and re-built a community, this time out of almost nothing. The Inn is still here today, which is where the fundraiser took place.


Kismet residents arrived to support the effort and to have Craig Abruzzo scan their vintage photographs and other ephemera for the new virtual museum which is being “built” and will be on the website. Others brought framed posters and maps of Kismet throughout the years.

Sam Wood arranged for a display of antique automobiles, including fire trucks from Saltaire and Ocean Bay Park. Also displayed were a safe stenciled with “Fire Island Yacht Club” which was organized in 1927. Other memorabilia included a chair from the original Kismet Restaurant circa 1926.


We spoke a bit about Herbert Weis, an older son of founder Frederick Weis, Sr. who built Kismet Park with his brothers and their father. The year 1925 was honored by a virtual check donation of $1,925.00 from the KFDA [Kismet Fire Department Auxiliary]. John Cochrane Jr. presented the Kismet Historical Society with a citation from Town of Islip. Angela Reich, author of a historical novel, Shipwreck of Hopes, donated 25% of her sales to the Kismet Historical Society. Sam Wood says we are “not just finding history, but making it!”