Book Review: ‘Sag Harbor’ by Tucker Burns Roth Is a Photographic Gem

'Sag Harbor' by Tucker Burns Roth and Arcadia Publishing
Photos courtesy Arcadia Publishing and the Sag Harbor Historical Society

Photography plays a starring role in Sag Harbor Historical Society Trustee Tucker Burns Roth’s book Sag Harbor, released in June of 2018 as part of Arcadia Publishing‘s Images of America Series. All 125 pages of this slim but worthwhile volume are full of historical photos of the iconic whaling village, shared by local residents, the village Historical Society, John Jermain Memorial Library and many others.

The first photo readers see is from 1880: It’s an aerial view from the Methodist church of a dusty looking Main Street with the wharf and bay in the background and a reminder that, though things change, they always stay the same.

Sag Harbor is divided into five chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of the village’s history. A reader can watch the waterfront and the wharf develop; witness the destruction wrought by fire, water and wind; or get a look at local writers, artists and luminaries who have called Sag Harbor home over the past three centuries since its founding in 1707.

This is the perfect book for those of us who like to look into the time periods and places we regret missing. If you ever wondered what the Sag Harbor railroad station looked like, or the inside of the Bulova watchcase factory with men and women hard at work, or the steeple of the Old Whalers’ Church wrecked and fallen into the Old Burial Ground, or you want to recall the Variety Store from the 1950s, or the Paradise restaurant—you get the idea.

Though photographs are the main attraction in Sag Harbor, the supplemental text provides valuable context, illuminating the history of the village from its heyday as a center of the whaling industry, to the present time. Roth’s look back at this village is a must-have on the bookshelves of any amateur East End historian or anyone who owns a home there.

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