Long Island's Hidden Past: Venice Hotel in Huntington houses basement mystery
The Venice Hotel in Huntington is a piece of Long Island history - with a bit of a mystery in its basement.
The building sprang up in the early 20th century as one of many hotels along Route 110 when the railroad came to town. Now an antique shop, it is the only remaining historical hotel in the area.
Aside from its classic architecture, the hotel holds what some consider an uncomfortable secret in its basement. Murals of an unknown origin grace the walls of its lower level. One depicts a man hanging by his neck from a tree. Another shows a group of devils walking with a pig in tow.
Historians believe African-American chauffeurs, relegated to the basement, drew these while they waited to bring travelers to and from the hotel.
On the lighter side, historians say the hotel has an entrance to what they believe was a speakeasy during the time of prohibition. The secret entrance can still be seen today.