A History of Babylon, Long Island, New York

Click here for "Vital Stats"

The Village of Babylon is one of the oldest communities in America. Originally part of the Town of Huntington, it was settled in 1653. Few settlers called the area home, as people built their houses on the north shore at Huntington, and farmed the rich soil of the south shore, where Babylon is now located.

The Babylon area had the soil to grow bountiful hay to feed livestock, and during 1657, settlers began to purchase land from the Secatogue Indians. This was the beginning of Babylon Village. When the settlers were not busy harvesting they enjoyed hunting, fishing and clamming the Great South Bay.

In the early days the land was used for farming exclusively.  Shelters were soon built by hay harvesters for use in inclement weather.  It wasn't until 1760 that Nehemiah Heartt built the first permanent dwelling in the village of Huntington South. Finally, in 1803 the name Babylon came about when a local merchant named Nathaniel Conklin opened a saloon called the Red Lion. This so enraged his puritanical Mother that she complained he was turning Huntington South into a new "Babylon!" It stuck.

Following the American Revolution, Huntington South began to attract retail establishment, indeed the entire south shore of Long Island began to boom with seafarers. The Massapequa, Secatogue and the Matinecock Indians signed their holdings over to the newcomers.  On April 21, 1653, a purchase agreement was signed for the entire area of Babylon as we know it today.

There is no record of conflict between the natives and the settlers on Long Island.  The Indians have always been described as respectable and friendly, and the settlers were honest and traded fairly with the natives. Everything was fairly purchased, and from all accounts both parties got along better than they do today.

I personally know Chief Ralph, the local chief of the Turtle people. I did some Burial Ground restoration with him, and I believe that the instinct to remain separate from us is strong. I think that happens to be the one thing that helps along our mutual relationships and harmony.

Babylon is ideally situated on the busy south shore, exactly half way between New York City and the Hamptons. Her excellent harbor has long been a destination for summer tourists. When the L.I. Railroad came to town in 1867, the growing village became both the gateway to the ever-popular Fire Island across the bay, and a favorite stopover on the way to the Hamptons. The "Stop-Over Bar and Grill", which was located less than a block east of the Babylon Rail station, only closed down in the mid 1980s.

To recapture what it was like for the young village after 1867 one needs only take a ride over the three giant Captree and Fire Island bridges, or visit the Bay Shore Ferry terminals any weekend during summer. Once this was established, commercial and residential buildings sprang up almost over night!

The township was voted into existence in 1872, and finally, in 1893, the village incorporated. The new town's borders included the village of Amityville, incorporated in 1894, and the village of Breslau, now called Lindenhurst (incorporated in1923). Within the Township are the hamlets of Copiague, Deer Park, East Farmingdale -(originally named Hardscarable), North Babylon, North Lindenhurst, West Babylon, Wheatley Heights, Wyandanch, and the beach communities of Captree Island, Gilgo Beach, Oak Beach, Oak Island Beach, and West Gilgo Beach. These hamlets and beach communities are now governed by the town; while the three incorporated villages of Babylon, Lindenhurst and Amityville have their own governments, lead by a mayor and a board of trustees. These governments supersede the town's government within their own boundaries.

According to the towns Industrial Development Agency's promotions, "The Heart of it all has it all" portrays Babylon as a microcosm of Long Island. Everything that makes the Island great (and not so great) can be found in Babylon.

Personal Insights

Perhaps it's not exactly the truth, but it is the story as recorded and handed down. As you'll soon learn Babylonians do not dwell in the past. They are sometimes transient, and have torn down more treasured structures than any other town on Long Island. The Red Lion was carried off during the 1970's, the Bergen Point Windmill was ripped down for no apparent reason, Beaver Valley is now a conglomeration of shopping centers.

The home of Francis Garvey (who reconstructed Babylon's oldest dwelling in 1949) was badly burnt (I know, I'm one of the kids who torched it). Although nowhere near ruin, it was demolished, and now a bunch of condos sit on the site. The 'Island' can be found within a few acres of land on the corner of Great East Neck Road and Montauk Highway, a place where once a dense wood laid. The 'Island' rose between two creeks within the wood. In my day everyone enjoyed the follies of our youth there.  The 'Island' is now gone; it was first a failing Edwards Supermarket and then a Stop and Shop. I was recently strolling the paved parking lot, not 10 paces from where my brother Frank became a man, and Ken Lucas, and John Ciapetta, and ...... Prime example of how 'we, the people' allowed our homestead to evaporate.

Then there are the people signing permits to encourage the evaporation. Our Town Fathers are chosen to represent us in the name of fairness and lower taxes.  But no matter how you twist it, taxes were lower before the Island and the Windmill were torn down - someone is being taken for a ride. 

On Wellwood Avenue, where at least 275,000 people a year come to visit Long Island's largest cluster of cemeteries, sits a smelly recycling plant, which has caused sickness and misery to all down-wind of it. During a visit to Town Hall to pay a property tax bill I overheard an architect complaining about how Pete Casserly (our Planning Board's Director) stated that "His Copiague" was not going to become like Queens, NY. "Too late," the architect added, while everyone present shook their heads in agreement. 

It can get all so sticky and upsetting, which is normal for government, right? Politicians are American's favorite punching bag. But there are often just reasons for public angst.  Town board meetings just rattle off the code number for proposals and approve them - never telling the public what the codes stand for!  Sounds like Orwell's "Animal Farm," right?

Then there are the "Mob" stories!  Hate to admit it but folks love to glamorize bad guys. With a Gotti living in Babylon (brother to the notorious Don - and probably a saint in real life), and with a Town Supervisor -(Richard H. Schaffer) -who possessed the environmental foresight to create the very un-American garbage district; rumors of Mob control fly like pancakes across the Bon-Ton diner's breakfast counter.

I don't think anyone believes any of the dirt. Leaders like Rich and Pete Casserly are assets to us.  You can't kick out a guy who would love to keep the country air about Copiague, even if he is forced to sign permits. It's a tough situation when someone who owns property wants to develop it - it is their property after all. Anyone who watched Rich Schaffer grow up wouldn't trust the gossip; Rich was hanging around Town Hall since he was a kid - ever ready to lend a hand to his town's government -AKA: his neighbors. But sterling as these guys may be, and even though Rich was appointed the county's head Democrat in 2000, we just love painting him in a pinstripe suit, sticking a cigar in his mouth and telling tales of Rich hanging out with "Big Frankie" and "Louie the Nose." (Those are made-up names: I wouldn't know a gangster if he walked right up to me and shot me.)

Since I've moved to Florida, I only pay $480 per year compared to $6000, and get more services, cleaner air, less population and Disney up the block.  Politicians know that once they tick you off, you'll leave, and some other sucker will feed the 'pigs'.  But that doesn't mean that it is right. There's a whole lot of God that these people strip-malled, ravaged, and ruined.  If we want to know the price, we only need look at Babylon!


Points of Interest in Babylon:

Babylon Village Historical and Preservation Society
Babylon Village Museum, 117 West Main Street.

Aunt Julia Carll House
100 Main Street. The home of Julia Thompson Carll was built in 1829.
Julia Carll is affectionately called Aunt Julia by the townspeople because of her
many acts of generosity. It is also the home of Elbert Carll, first Supervisor
of the Town of Babylon.

Nathaniel Conklin House
280 Deer Park Avenue. Home of the ingrate son (Nathaniel), whose mom coined the name BABYLON in 1803.

1801 House, Argyle Square
175 West Main Street. Babylon's oldest home, built by Major Timothy
Carll, and restored to its original appearance by Francis Garvey in 1949.


Following is an email sent to me in July 1998............

Just a note from an old Babylonian: the 1801 house was moved from it's original location and rebuilt in the late 60's by a company called Ohlson and Geangrasso (spelled wrong), and was occupied by an accountant named (Burt?) who lived at Paradise Point. He was my father's accountant. I grew up on Smith St. in the Village and went to school with his son and daughter. Haven't lived there in 20 years, but I can still remember some things. (CRS) Check it out.

Tom Brown

Thanks, Tom.

Robert Moses' House

Most residents see the parkways and beaches of Long Island as rather ordinary. However, they were originally thought to be architectural masterpieces designed by Robert Moses in the 1950's. Moses was instrumental in the opening of the Coney Island Aquarium on Coney Island, and by 1960, he retired as Parks Commissioner in order to head the 1964-1965 World's Fair Corporation. He headed the group responsible for the layout of World's Fair, and helped design the area that is now Flushing Meadows. One of Moses' final projects was the construction of the Robert Moses State Park in Babylon, on Fire Island. He designed the bridge that leads to the beach, and oversaw the construction of it. However, he died before the project was completed. Moses lived on the corner of Montauk Highway and Thompson Avenue. It's the first house as you enter into Babylon Village from Argyle Park.

Of course, modern day 'Village Fathers' would rather have an office building there, so they moved Robert's house back one plot into Thompson. At least, they gave it a face-lift.

Town of Babylon Museum

Park Department Headquarters, Phelps Lane, North Babylon.

Dedicated in 1989, the museum features some very interesting photos and old maps.

Monument at Argyle Park

West Main Street... you can't miss it. In honor of Joel Cook, who served in both the Revolution and the war of 1812. He died in Babylonin 1851.

Marconi's Place

Fire Island Avenue. Go south on Fire Island Avenue. At the first light Fire Island Ave takes a left. The Home of Guglielmo Marconi was built in 1890, and is the site of the world's first commercial wireless station.  It is on the corner at the very next traffic light, at Virginia Avenue.

Belmont Park

One of the state's finest. Off Southern Parkway, and Belmont Avenue.


The Oak Beach Inn started out as just a teenage nightspot on Captree / Jones' Beach peninsula, and was run by the brother of a local realty king, Bob Matherson. To kill 2 birds with one stone -(those birds being a slow business and local officials drooling to demolish yet another town jewel), Bob started a bumper sticker campaign that local kids during the 1960s took to like babies to a hoodlum's sugar daddy.

If you were under 20, lived within 50 miles of the OBI, and owned a car, you displayed a bumper sticker that read: "SAVE THE O.B.I." I still can't believe we forked over thousands of dollars to this guy over the last 30 years, and I never even got a date from that joint! I am embarrassed just how 'cocky' Bob grew to be, and how disrespectful of local leaders (although they might have deserved it.) However, while Bob has left town with all our money, he left behind a jewel, and I thank the efforts of my generation for that. Go see Bob, if you think compensation is due. And where is Bobby boy? Well, here's an email I got on March 30, 2000:

Just an update on the O.B.I. from someone who did frequent this establishment during the 60's and early 70's. I met my wife there and I am still married to her (25 years). Sunday afternoons were the best, Lenny, Chuck, and Bill always kept the place hopping. Oh, and you can't forget Rick Conway who was the bartender on Saturday afternoons. He would be eating a peanut butter & jelly sandwich and after you got your drink, it would have peanut butter on it. How could you ever forget the O.B.I.? I grew up in Babylon and in 1978 moved to Florida. I do miss Babylon. Anyway, I received a newspaper clipping from my sister-in-law yesterday and it seems the O.B.I. lives on. After Bobby closed his doors in Nov. 1999, he moved to Key West where last month he opened a new O.B.I. It was a Hooters that went out of business. I am looking forward to a trip to Bobby's new O.B.I. within the next few weeks. It is a fact that up until Oct. of 1999, I have had a "Save the O.B.I." sticker on my car since moving to FL. I hope you will post this as you did with my update on the 1801 house. This is a great page. Keep it up!

Tom Brown

Class of 1966

Babylon High


Of Interest to Locals (and maybe only to locals).


The Smith Estate

Two houses on Little East Neck Road.  One across from the Argyle Fire Hose and the first house just west of the Mobile Gas station (where the owners turned it into a roadside florist {They did that legally???}), one block from the rail over-pass is the original dwelling of the Smith Family. This family raised pigs and horses during the 1800s. Most, if not all of the Twin Oaks area was part of their estate.

Bergen Point

A fine lunch get-away. At the very south end of Great East Neck Road.

If you catch it right, it's also a great lovers lane.

Joe's Place, Captree Island

Named for a ton of boozers from Bay Shore, the ground in question is not exactly the Island or the community itself, it's the point where the Captree Draw Bridge begins its span across the Inlet. Great fishing, good brown-bag lunch spot, and THE place to be during meteorite showers. If you're into watching

demented teens diving to their fate (usually death) from the drawbridge, be there on local prom nights.

Robbie's Range

Places like Beaver Valley and the "wetlands" (which so dominated my youth) are now the "Great" South Bay Shopping Center. These gems are gone forever. Bergen Point was once square miles of wondrous, rough and ready land, but is now reduced to being a tackle shop, bar and grill, and the dock area. The Island is gone. Southard's Pond is inaccessible. Stove Avenue Creek is a trickle and Robert Moses' House will certainly be moved again or demolished. But Robbie's Range will not vanish soon. The Range is a track of land that runs for miles under the high-powered wires, which span from Melville through Wyandanch, Deer Park, Dix Hills and on eastward. Find an entrance off Deer Park Avenue; bring your dirt bikes, horses and picnic gear!

Belmont Park Wood Walk

Most folk enter Belmont Park through the main gate and pay $4.50 for the privilege. Then they have to put up with the crowds. Native Babylonians walk to the park through the park. There are over 12 entrances to do this. The most enjoyable, and the longest, walk is the Wood Walk. Go through the tennis courts on Park Avenue and follow the little trail you see. It will lead you into a fully-fledged corridor over rustic bridges and through a colorful wood. The path runs behind the homes along the Hubbard's Path neighborhood and eventually into the park. The last leg moves past those beautiful colonial homes at the top of Belmont Avenue. A nice walk, indeed! As a kid, I spent long hours in this wood, and though I really don't advise roaming this wood alone nowadays it is still a completely secluded paradise.


Southard's is often mispronounced as Sutter's Pond (especially by me and my crowd). During the 1960s all you had to do was walk to Argyle Park and sniff for the sweet air of Marijuana, follow your nose north of the park, over (or under, if you like) the LIRR to a pond where you'd find every pot smoking kid from all around slurping in the wacky weed.  Sounds a bit sleazy nowadays with all the legends of Love-Ins, revolution and teen identity, but, yes, Virginia was all very much like that - at least around West Babylon, and especially around "Sutter's" Pond. 

We had our own Guru's of the drug culture.  I was myself considered one of the Intelligentsia (so you know that level was lacking). I brought home my cadet uniforms from La Salle Military Academy and cut them up to our own fashion; we were all wearing that style years before it sprung up in NYC and across the fashion mags. My brother Mike and Artie Turco were driving the local shoemakers crazy with their wild "Cuban" heels and pointed toes before Cuba ever had a heel!  (That's a tongue in cheek against Castro, BTW) A twin couple from Babylon - Warren and his brother (whose name I forget) were the epitome of the "Stay tuned out 24/7" crowd, and they really were smashed all the time (amazing how strong youth can be, huh?)

 Then there were the girls who had to lose their virginity as soon as possible, if not sooner.  After which getting to "know" everyone - of both sexes - was an important cultural leg-up. Trust me, it wasn't all a bed of roses.  But it was fun, and it did have its cultural center - at Southard's Pond. 

I got an email from Jim - jdrennan@optonline.net asking if I knew anything about a piece of property in Babylon Village once owned and developed by the KRAFT family in the 1800's. Well, I didn't, but I grew up with the Kraft's kids, Robert and Barbara, who lived on Robert Street, a block north of my Mom's house. Here is Jim's second letter...perhaps you can help??

Oh, I can reply to one question Jim raises: I was born in 1949, and my heydays were the 60s.

Basically, what I know about the property (62 is on the south side of Smith Street between Willow/William St. and Oak Street) is: -

Lawrence Kraft and his wife bought one lot from the Smith's in December 1896, and another in March of 1898. These made up the Southwest corner of Smith and William. In January 1900 he sold the half nearest to William St. to his son, Charles. On a 1902 map an L. Kraft owned a house in the center of the block (at #62), and a C. Kraft owned a house at the corner of Smith and Willow (William?). The property was sold by Estelle Kraft (widow? /daughter?) in 1938.

I hope you don't mind a personal question, but do your "early years" fall in that time period anywhere? I've been told that Lawrence Kraft was in the cement business.

That's about all the information I have at this point, so anything you could add about the house, the family or Smith Street in general would be greatly appreciated.


From: George <gcirruto@bellsouth.net>

 To: <junior@mydrawingboard.com> Sent: Saturday, October 07, 2000 8:54 PM

Subject: Thank you!

 I grew up in Lindenhurst and also lived in Babylon Village (on Totten Place).

 After High School I even worked for the Village of Babylon Highway

 Department. I haven't been there for about 15 years, but reading your page

 made it feel like yesterday. I particularly liked the part about walking to

 Belmont Lake from Park Ave. I spent many a day in those woods fishing in

 Southard's Pond, which is what we called the lake in between Argyle and

 Belmont lakes. I even painted the waterfalls at Argyle Lake. Thank you so

 much for bringing back so many fond memories of my earlier years, which, for

 some time, had escaped me.



 George Cirruto


My Reply

George, Ah! The correct name is Southard's Pond! Thanks for that.  As kids Sutter's Pond caught on, that's how I remember it.  I'll have to adjust that.   I have been meaning to give that page one more re-write before I move to Florida - although that move will take a year or two.  I am so tempted to make the page sound like the forlorn bemoaning of an environmental or animal TV piece, crying about how "our" Long Island is no more. But I really don't want to leave that kind of message to those behind... especially since half my family remains here and all the family's businesses are there. Stop by again some day to see how I wrap it up. The URL might change, and might reside under my main URL of http://www.mydrawingboard.com. So if you don't find it where it was when you return swing over to adstone.net (now MyDrawingBoard) and peek around for it. Chances of me ever removing the page are slim, since very many people do visit and comment about it.   Thank you (my old neighbor), and thank you for allowing me to bring you some memories.

Joe Auricchio



Here's one from Tom's old neighbor!

Hi Joe

 Thank you for the interesting web site. I too grew up in Babylon village and have some fond memories. I no longer live on Long Island but I do think of it often. Coincidently to the person who wrote to you about the 1801 house and the O.B.I., Tom Brown was my neighbor! I lived on Smith St (1969-1983). It's been a while since I was there (10+years). The last time I was there I was dismayed to discover that the old Pilgrim State Hospital had been torn down. I think it was actually called Edgewood Hospital or asylum. It would be interesting to see a photograph of that place. I remember climbing real tall trees in my neighborhood and being amazed that I could see pilgrim state!  There is (was) one tree in particular that I was quite fond of climbing. It was a huge elm or chestnut tree in front of a synagogue on Deer Park Ave. between Ellen Ave and Smith Street. The tree must have been 150 years old at the time. I had heard that the synagogue replaced an old house on that site. I always wondered if that was the original homestead before the land was parceled out to make my neighborhood. My house on Smith Street was built in 1895, and the property bordered that of the synagogue. Anyway this is probably getting a little too detailed talking about specific trees that I used to climb, but the info on your site has triggered some fond memories, and what an incredible tree it was (even for the standards of my current home in the Pacific Northwest).


 Thomas Haughn

BHS Class of 83


My Reply:


With all due and sincere respect to Edward Abbey, the "Big Oak" tree that forces a fork in the middle of Robert Street is as good as the Utah canyons if it's also home.  Like all boys I too was a tree climber, and admired those like my pal Artie Turco who could climb to the fragile, wind swayed top branches - how nutty we were!  I happened past that tree and Synagogue you speak of just this morning.  I'll have to take a photo of it for you next time I'm in town - and have a camera with me. 

Concerning Pilgrim State, Tom, you should have seen the pile of red bricks!  And been here to watch the fight over who would claim them, how'd they'll be used and which ones were worth saving.  Some wanted to dump them along Fire Island to stop Mom Nature from eroding the sand bar (lots of giggles there! Some of us at Hogan's Goat Pub figured that if we propped up the beaches high enough the Jewish Navy would remain permanently at Bay..roflmao still.)  I think, but I'm not sure, that the bricks were sold off eventually. (Now you know why NY has a financial surplus lately, LOL!)  

Your old neighborhood has been taking some face-lifts lately. In fact an entire strip from John's Street to Main, then up to Park Avenue and especially around Sutter's Pond have seen some development that would knock you for a loop. As old-timers we were so used to seeing the same old houses (beauts they are!) and the pockets of wood everywhere. Now our town fathers have stuck modern homes (and these too are beauties) in every nook and crannie they could find. Me thinks the fathers are richer for it, but I also suspect that 100 years from today a 22nd century Tom and Joe will be writing about the grand old houses along Sutter's Pond


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Vital Statistics According to Newsday as of 1999. 

Size: 53 square miles.
Population: 202,780 (LILCO 1996 estimate 205,009).
Census Breakdown: White, 166,490 (82.1 percent); black, 30,080 (14.8 percent); Asian, 2,735 (1.4 percent); American Indian, 554 (0.3 percent); other, 2,921 (1.4 percent). Population of Hispanic origin, 11,418 (5.6 percent).
Median Age: 33.
Median house value: $156,700.
Median family income: $51,026 (adjusted 1995 estimate $63,354).
Year round households: 64,506 (LILCO 1996 estimate 66,417).
Estimated average household size: 3.10 (LILCO 1996 estimate 3.05).
Residents over 25 with bachelor's degree: 15.3 percent.
Vehicles per household: 1.97.
Households with married-couple families: 65 percent.
GOVERNMENT. Supervisor (Democrat) with 4-member board (2 Democrats, 2 Republicans).
Town Hall: 200 E. Sunrise
Hwy., Lindenhurst; 957-3000.
VILLAGES. Amityville, Babylon and Lindenhurst.
TOWN MEETINGS. Board usually meets 1st and 3rd Tuesdays; most meetings 7:30 p.m., some 1 p.m. Zoning Board of Appeals meets Thursdays, 8 p.m. Planning Board meets most Mondays, 7:30 p.m.
KEY OFFICIALS. Supervisor: Richard H. Schaffer, 957-3075. Town Board: Francine V. Brown, 957-3078; Patrick Haugen, 957-3077; Robert Kaufold, 957-3081; Anthony A. Tafuri, 957-3082. Assessor: Aileen Ronayne, 957-3015. Comptroller: Douglas Jacob, 957-3043. Receiver of Taxes: Carol Canning, 957-3004. Department of Public Works: James J. Harrington, 957-3089. Town Attorney: Stephen L. Braslow, 957-3029. Town Clerk: Ellen T. McVeety, 957-3005.
MAJOR DEPARTMENTS. Environmental: Ronald Kluesener, commissioner; 422-7640. Parks & Recreation: Francis X. Bachety, commissioner; 893-2100. Planning & Development: Peter Casserly, commissioner; 957-3102. Human Resources: Myrna Taylor, commissioner; 422-7642. General Services/Purchasing: Janet Kask, commissioner; 957-3025. Public Information Officer: Robert E. Clifford, 957-7487.
OTHER SERVICES. Animal Shelter: 643-9270. Citizens' Advocate: 957-7474. Drug and Alcohol: Amityville, 789-3700. Drug and Alcohol: Town Hall Annex, 422-7676. Family Services: 422-7615. North Lindenhurst Fire/Rescue Dispatcher: 226-1212. Handicapped Services: 893-1050. Planning Board: 957-7417. Police: Suffolk 1st Precinct, 854-8800; Amityville Village Police, 264-0400. Solid Waste Hotline: 422-7670. Senior Community Services: 422-7687. Spangle Drive Senior Center: 422-7610. Tanner Park Senior Center: 842-7773. Wyandanch Senior Center and Nutrition Program: 491-4889. Street Lighting: 957-3177. Youth Bureau: 422-7200. Zoning Board: 957-3011. Department of Human Resources: 422-7642. Town Public Safety Hotline: 422-7600

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