Just a few hundred feet east of Kismet lies the Incorporated Village of Saltaire. Geographically, Saltaire has several distinctions: it sits on the widest portion of Fire Island; it is second in size only to the Fire Island Pines, seven miles to the east; it has in Clam Pond Cove, the only natural protected harbor on the island. Saltaire is a “family community”, remaining today exactly what its promoters intended it to be more than 75 years ago.
Development of Saltaire began in 1910. (the name derives not from the briny mists but rather from an English town on the River Aire named for Lord Salt) In less than two years a large, thriving community had arisen, with enormous two and three story “cottages.”
Early on, Saltaire’s residents were determined to keep out commercial interests and preserve as much open space as possible. After incorporation as a self-governing village in 1917 strict laws governing non-residential use of property were passed. It was through such foresight that Saltaire has been able to maintain its attraction to families and remain virtually free of day-trippers.
Saltaire was severely damaged in the 1938 hurricane; three tidal waves destroyed nearly every building of the island’s midpoint and caused extensive destruction up to the bay; an entire walk of houses along the ocean simply disappeared. Reconstruction began with federal aid the following year, but it was not until after the was that the task was completed, including the planting of pine trees and dune grass to help stabilize the area’s shifting sands.