One Montauk resident might say to another, “I’ll meet you at the Circle,” and be understood. They and the U.P.S. delivery man would know that the non-descript address “the Plaza” was in fact the same as the circle of businesses located in the downtown section of their hamlet, the same circle designed by the developer Carl Fisher in the 1920s. So why not gussy up the address with a little history?
The thought occurred to John Keeshan, whose Keeshan Real Estate has kept busy on said circular Plaza since 1975. It seemed a perfect fit. After all, before setting out to turn Montauk into the Miami Beach of the North, Mr. Fisher, a sixth-grade dropout from Indiana, created Miami Beach, pioneered automobile headlights, established the Indianapolis Speedway, and much more.
On June 24, after a year of successful lobbying, Mr. Keeshan joined East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell and the town board members Peter Van Scoyoc and Kathy Burke-Gonzalez for a brief dedication ceremony on the southwest corner of Montauk Highway and the renamed Carl Fisher Plaza.
“I had a book on Carl Fisher,” Mr. Keeshan said, “ ‘The Pacesetter,’ by Jerry M. Fisher [a distant cousin]. I knew about Fisher, of course, but I didn’t know his life story. Did you know he created the Liberty Highway between Manhattan and California? It turned into Route 66. I became engrossed in what he had done. When I finished the book I realized there was nothing in town with his name on it except for the plaque on a rock in front of the Tower.”
Mr. Keeshan posed his idea to residents with historic links to Mr. Fisher including Frank Tuma, whose firm, the Montauk Improvement Company, was heir to Mr. Fisher’s real estate business, and the Prado family, owners of Marshall’s service station and related businesses. Marshall Prado Sr. was Mr. Fisher’s chauffer.
Mr. Keeshan won the endorsement of a good number of residents he had canvassed in Montauk, and he checked with delivery services and the United States Postal Service to make sure the new name would not confuse mail and package handlers.
On May 13, the town board passed a resolution to rename the Plaza, a copy of which Mr. Cantwell presented to Mr. Keeshan last week. “Where’s the frame?” Mr. Keeshan said.
“We’re on an austerity budget,” the supervisor answered.