The Pool

    By 1961, Mr. Peter J. Papadakos, President of Gyrodyne Company of America, had decided upon the ideal way of luring his Military guests to the Gyrodyne facility, which was then located in the heart of the farm community of Long Island, to see the uniqueness of his company's helicopters. With over 300 acres to build upon, he created a resort facility that was truly unique. Surrounded by tree-lined ponds that had been used for the tilt-float program, but now stocked with bass and equipped with lights and fountains, Mr. Papadakos found the ideal setting, while only being 1/2 mile from the main QH-50 manufacturing plant. 

     First, an Olympic sized pool, seen above and right, was built in 1962 with a subsequent complete glass enclosure for it the following year. Heated by a 1.5 million BTU gas furnace, both the waters of the pool were heated as well as the baseboard radiation system which allowed the Pool area to maintain a minimum temperature of 70 degrees year around for entertaining. This "Pool area" extended from the edges of the pool some 15 feet and where the tile floor ended, rich soil was placed. With this heating capability, Mr. Papadakos' second passion for rare flowers and shrubs took off, as he planted banana, lemon, lime, rubber, palm and other tropical trees. Exotic shrubs such as Bird of Paradise, bougainvillea and pink hibiscus added color while large gardenia's scented the entire area. It didn't take long for the trees and shrubs to grow large in this warm and humid environment.

    Large globe like lanterns gave the pool a "lagoon feel" at night as the pool itself had under-water lighting and it wasn't long before Gyrodyne became known for their "parties"; a private place where Astronauts and celebrities alike visited amongst the military commanders of the time.

    Soon it became apparent, that another structure was needed to be added to assist in the "work" of entertaining and that was the Bar building.

    With images of the QH-50C drone embossed into the ceiling tiles, the bar had everything needed for entertaining: bottle cooler, inside flame broil grill, deep fat fryer, industrial ice maker and an internal exhaust system to remove all the cooking fumes without affecting the air conditioning, and as seen left, the main attraction - an elliptical bar that was 50 feet long x 15 feet wide. 

    The bar building also had several other important features, such as his and hers changing rooms with lockers and an electric sauna. 

    It was not uncommon to hear Greek music being played from the ceiling mounted speakers that were in both pool and Bar. And visitors need not leave the bar area for the pool as an all glass "link" was built that connected the two. As seen at below-right, the Pool building is left, the link is at center and the Bar building is at right. The outside entrance to the Pool building was of red brick walk-way with lighted fountains and sitting places.

    The outside area seen at right was also a place where large parties could be located which were near the ponds.

    Sadly, when the military contracts ended, the money was not there to maintain the pool facility as it was used very infrequently, except for the occasional employee who used to swim during their lunch breaks. By 1984, the pool and bar facility were being rented out for events not-Gyrodyne related. 

    After Mr. Papadakos died in 1992, a lease was signed with a single contractor to takeover the Bar and Pool facility and use it for parties and special events. An additional building was then added for large weddings. Unfortunately, the cost of the liability insurance for the Olympic sized pool caused the contractor to decide to fill in the pool and use the space for dancing and such. The costs of heating the facility also caused the contractor to place thicker materials over the transparent ceiling causing the death of many of the original lemon, lime, palm and banana trees Mr. Papadakos had originally planted. 


Helicopter Historical Foundation
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GHHF is dedicated to the advancement of the education and preservation of the history of the Ships, the Men and the Company that built, operated and flew the U.S. Navy's QH-50 Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter (DASH) System and to the preservation of the history of the U.S. Army's past use of DASH.
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