Travel, Circa 1877

Footnotes to Long Island History

Travel, Circa 1877

July 7, 1955


Thomas R. Bayles


          The following descriptions are form the booklet published in 1877 by the Long Island Rail Road, “Where to go on Long Island.” 

          Fire Island.  On alighting from the train at Babylon station we find horse cars waiting, and after a drive of one mile we reach the steamboat, plying between Babylon and Fire Island, a distance of nine miles.  During the past few years Fire Island has become one of the most frequented and popular of the summer resorts on Long Island.  In addition to the attraction of superb surf bathing, we have invigorating breezes fresh form the ocean, possessing peculiar healing qualities for hay fever, asthma, chills, etc.  Physicians frequently recommend this change of air to sufferers from these complaints.  The Surf hotel offers accommodation to about 600 guests.  Terms $12 to $25 per week.

          Bay Shore.  Beautifully situated on the old country turnpike, between the Southern railroad and the Great South bay, four-and-a-quarter miles east of Babylon.  Many families seek a summer home here on account of its salubrious air, the inhabitants claiming it to be free from malaria and mosquitos.  The principal hotel is the Dominy House.  Terms from $6 to $12 per week.

          Islip.  One of the most beautiful and healthy villages of which the south shore can boast.  No more lovely site can be selected for building country homes, or permanent residences, which are already numerous.

                                      Fish Industry

          The canning of fish has been carried on extensively here during the last few years, and the establishment of Mr. Doxsee is capable of preserving large quantities of fish, as well as thousands of bushels of clams, tomatoes and corn.

          South Side club.  Beautifully situated on the side of a mill stream that is plentifully supplied with trout.  Here the wealth of New York diverts itself, the neighborhood abounding in every conceivable kind of game.  The club house, under the management of Obadiah Snedicor, is open for the reception of its members only, all the year round.

          Oakdale.  The next stopping place is interesting on account of St. John’s Episcopal church, which was built ten years before the Revolution, and is still in an excellent state of preservation.  A few private families are prepared to take boarders during the summer months.  Col. William H. Ludlow has a fine residence in the neighborhood.

          Sayville.  A thriving village situated near the bay, located on a portion of the Great Nicoll patent derived from the Crown of Great Britain in 1683, formerly the property of the celebrated William Nicoll, who was 14 years speaker of the assembly.  The patent formerly comprised about 60,000 acres, which was divided within the past 90 years.  The hotels are the Foster House, the Bayview and the Oakland House, all having good accommodations.  Shipbuilding and bay fishing constitute the chief support of the place.

          Bayport.  A pleasant little place which, until within the past few years, was considered a part of Blue Point.  Numerous families spend the summer here at the different boarding houses.  There is one Methodist church.

          Blue Point.  The principal oyster fisheries in the Great South Bay are situated here, and the “Blue Point” oysters rank with the best.

                                      Rail Terminus

          Patchogue.  Here we are at the present terminus of the Southern railroad.  To gain a comprehensive view of the surrounding scenery, the visitor should go to the top of Roe’s hotel, situated in the center of the village, or ascend the cupola of the West End hotel.  A more favorable spot for summer vacation could scarcely be selected.  Within easy distance of the bay, stages run constantly for the accommodation of guest who prefer salt water bathing, sailing and fishing, to the more retired pleasures of the lakes, two of which are in the immediate vicinity, with boats for rowing, trout fishing, picnic parties, etc.  Roe’s hotel has accommodations for about 70 guests, and the West End hotel for about the same number.  Terms are $10 to $12 per week.  Several families are prepared to take boarders.

          A very profitable source of industry is the oyster business, giving employment to nearly 400 men, and the annual proceeds of the business, with other fisheries, amounts to more than a quarter million dollars.  The “Union Twine” and “Swan River mills” are occupied in the manufacture of carpet warp and twine, also give employment to many people.  The “Advance,” Thomas Heatley, editor, is published here.

          The traveler may proceed from here by stage line to Bellport, which occupies one of the most advantageous positions on the south shore, and being accessible only by stage, renders it a favorite resort for those who wish to make it a permanent summer residence.  There are many excellent boarding houses, and several private families take boarders.

          There are numerous private residences with tastefully, well along the Old Turnpike road are delightful.  The bathing and fish arranged gardens, and the drives are the most enjoyable, and are the favorite recreations among the visitors to this charming resort.

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