South Bay Avenue
Islip, NY 11751
Directions: Take Rte 111 South to end. Turn right on Montauk Hwy. At next light turn left on South Bay Avenue. Entrance is on right side before Islip Town Beach.
From the late 1880’s until the early part of the 20th century, the 70-acre Scully Sanctuary was part of Windholme Farm, a nearly 300-acre “gentleman’s farm” that also included the 200-acre Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge on the east side of South Bay Avenue. Windholme was owned by Samuel and Natalie Peters. Mr. Peters was a coal broker and banker from the City who spent much of the summer fishing and boating on the Great South Bay with his family.
The Peters gave their property (which was eventually divided by South Bay Avenue) to their two children, Harry and Lousine. Harry took title to the 200 acres to the east of South Bay Avenue; Lousine the 70 acres to the west.
The house at Scully (which was named Wereholme) was built for Lousine Peters and her husband, Harold Weekes, in 1917. It was inspired by a French château and designed by world-renown architect Grovsner Atterbury. Atterbuy is famous for designing Forest Hill Gardens and part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Lousine Peters passed her property to daughter Hathaway, her only child. Hathaway, who was known as “Happy,” was married several times, finally taking the surname Scully. In the late 1960’s Mrs. Scully, having no heirs of her own, committed to donating her property to the National Audubon Society. She said it was her “wish that the property be used as a wildlife sanctuary and nature center.”
Meanwhile, Happy’s first cousin, Natalie Peters Webster, who inherited her father’s 200-acre property across the street, also having no heirs, decided to gift her property to the federal government for the creation of the Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge. Natalie’s husband, Charles Webster, would later found the Seatuck Environmental Association to conduct education and research on the property.
Audubon took title to the “Scully Sanctuary” in the early 1980s upon Hathaway Scully’s death. Audubon used the facility as the home for its Living Oceans Campaign. The staff of 8 to 10 worked on national and international marine policy.
In June 2004, SuffolkCounty purchased the 70-acre property from Audubon. Later that year, the County designated the site as the future home of it’s “Greenways Educational and Interpretive Nature Center.”