A movement is but a faction without popular support, and there is no popular support without communication. It is of this appreciation that the inaugural post of the Gold Coast Beacon must pay homage to our intellectual predecessors of the Glen Cove Echo, a newspaper that ran its weekly from the late 19th century through 1960.
In 1916, Glen Cove was an underdeveloped community of 10 thousand people as part of the Town of Oyster Bay. Many of the world’s elite industrialists made their home in Glen Cove, but so did many of those at the bottom of the economic ladder, who found an abundance of opportunity in private industry.
Still, there was one force dragging the “capital of the Gold Coast” behind. The community of Glen Cove put much more into the TOBAY coffers than it received in return. Services such as garbage pickup in Glen Cove became bureaucratic struggles, an experience that was mocked by the community newspapers which listed everyday chores that were “not authorized” by the Town.
Yet the destiny of Glen Cove changed irreversibly on February 26, 1916 when the Echo published an editorial suggesting a discussion of a movement towards a city charter. The Echo‘s vision for the city was offered in a special edition in June of that year. The editors imagined Glen Cove’s “double anniversary” in 1968–300 years of settlement in the valley, and what would be its fiftieth birthday as a city (they expected inauguration in 1918, rather than 1917 at the time).
“In former days there were two lakes in the valley which is now the heart of the city,” they (correctly) predicted, referring to the city’s downtown, which was at that time all water. “It is hard to realize that less than fifty years ago parts of our city which are now fully developed were then open fields, the purchasers erecting modern dwellings thereon.”
The editors believed that the chartered city would further its already-rapid growth. “The files of the Echo show a constantly increasing development until at the present time the population of the city numbers over 50 thousand,” the Echo reported of 1968 Glen Cove to its 1916 readers.
Equally championed by the paper and its publisher, the Davis family, was Women’s Suffrage, which became the law of New York State in 1917, the same year of Glen Cove’s inauguration. The Echo‘s editors were forward-looking visionaries.
The Echo was not an undecided, supposedly objective source of news. In fact, it stood mostly for what could be called classical liberal principles, then championed by the Republican Party. Additionally, it served as an “alternative voice to the Glen Cove Gazette, an arm of the starch works,” according to historian Joan Harrison.
Today’s challenges may seem different and more complex, though there are lessons to be learned from our history, human experience and reason. Like our predecessors, we hope to be the catalyst for intellectual discussion, in addition to filling a real void as a source of information in Glen Cove.
So it begins!