Bellport, Brookhaven, and Yaphank: Rail Service to Central Brookhaven Town

LIRR Montauk Branch right-of-way at Old Stump Road Crossing, view east (May 21, 2016)
LIRR Montauk Branch right-of-way at Old Stump Road Crossing, view east (May 21, 2016)

Arguably the most important event affecting the growth of Suffolk County was the extension of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to Greenport in July of 1844.  In its original design, the Long Island was part of a rail and ferry route to Boston.  The principle engineer of the Brooklyn & Jamaica Railroad, which was formed in 1832 and was later leased to the LIRR, assured prospective investors of the scheme’s feasibility.  Three route choices were considered.  One was on the North Shore running approximately parallel to present New York State Route 25-A.  Another was further south parallel to present New York State Route 25 (NY-25).  The chosen route was still further south and traversed the most flat and barren area of the island.  Initially, there were only supposed to be two stops in route at Farmingdale and Manorville to take on fuel (wood) and water.  However, more stations were added.  The first in the town of Brookhaven were at Waverly (modern-day Holtsville), Medford, Bellport, Yaphank, and Manorville.  They would be instrumental in the growth of the town especially after the railroad’s role changed to intra-island carrier.  The following is a history of the communities in mid-Brookhaven town and a chronicle of rail service to Bellport village and the hamlets of Brookhaven and Yaphank.[1]

Beginnings

The town of Brookhaven was settled at Setauket in 1655.  The land on which Yaphank, North Bellport, Bellport village, and Brookhaven hamlet are situated was purchased from the native Unkechogue Indians on June 10, 1664.  Yaphank is an Indian word for a small tributary or creek which flows into the Carman’s River, previously called Connecticut River, some four miles south of Yaphank’s center.  In the June 10 deed, the land was described as bounded “on the Easte with a river called Yamphanke.”  The word can be translated as “the bank of a river.”[2]  The neck of land that Bellport village is situated on was called by the Indians Accombamack, or Occombomock.  The name signifies “over against the fishing-place” which meant that the neck was probably near a place where Indians had a fishing weir.[3]

Of the four communities, Brookhaven hamlet was the first settled, in 1681.  It is bordered on the south by Bellport Bay and to the east by the Carman’s River where salt meadows formerly skirted the shores leading to the bay.   The community was originally known as Fire Place for the fires lit along the western edge of the river to safely guide whaling ships.  In 1871 a group of residents decided that the name needed to be changed and selected Brookhaven after the township.  The eastern part of the community along Carman’s River was sometimes called The Neck.  A dock was constructed on The Neck at a point which bore the Indian name Squassucks.  Squassucks means pot maker and was derived from a local Indian named Wesquassuck.[4]

Beaverdam Creek, Brookhaven (May 21, 2016)
Beaverdam Creek, Brookhaven (May 21, 2016)

By 1875, Brookhaven contained two churches, two district schools, two stores, and a population of 140.  Stagecoaches provided service to the South Side Railroad which terminated at Patchogue several miles to the west.  The South Side linked the area to New York and Brooklyn beginning in 1868.[5]

Adjoining Brookhaven on the west is Bellport.  The community began in the early 1800’s and was a modest outpost of farmers and seafaring folk until the arrival of two sea captains, the Bell brothers, Thomas and John.  Enticed by the opportunity of the young seaport, the brothers had built a shipyard and a dock into the bay by 1829.  They also laid out cross streets and main thoroughfares.  In fact, most of the homes that still line Bellport Lane were built by sea captains.  A school academy was established and also used as a place of worship.  When a Post Office was set up in 1834 the brothers wanted to name their community Bellville.  However, that name was already taken by an upstate village so they settled on Bell Port which was later joined into one word.[6]

Bellport Lane, Bellport, view north (May 21, 2016)
Bellport Lane, Bellport, view north (May 21, 2016)

By 1875, Bellport’s population was 450 and the community had three stores.  Vessels of considerable size used the local wharf.  Like Brookhaven, stagecoaches ran to Patchogue and connected with the South Side Railroad.[7]

Bellport Lane, Bellport, view north to South Country Road (May 21, 2016)
Bellport Lane, Bellport, view north to South Country Road (May 21, 2016)

To the north of Bellport and Brookhaven is Yaphank, the approximate geographical center of Long Island.  First settled in 1726, Yaphank is currently bordered on the east by the William Floyd Parkway and the Carman’s River, on the west by Medford, and on the north by Gordon Heights and Middle Island.  The current hamlet’s origin begins with John Horman who built two mills on the Carman’s River in the mid-eighteenth century, inspiring the name Millville.  One mill was at modern-day Upper Lake and the other at Lower Lake, also known as Lilly Lake.[8]

Upper Lake, Yaphank (September 6, 2015)
Upper Lake, Yaphank (September 6, 2015)

Yaphank was the first community in the immediate area to receive direct rail service and the arrival of the LIRR transformed the sleepy mill town into a bustling commercial center.  The first station stop was called Fire Place or Carman’s River and service began June 26, 1844.  It was located at the temporary end of track just west of the Carman’s River.[9]

Fire Place/Carman’s River Station
Historical Fact
Date
Station opened June 26, 1844 (timetable)
Station closed June 14, 1845 (timetable)

After the Main Line was extended to Greenport a permanent station called Milleville was set up at the Yaphank Avenue crossing and the Fire Place/Carman’s River stop was abandoned.  Milleville first appeared in timetables on June 14, 1845.[10]

Yaphank Station
Historical Fact
Date
Station opened as Milleville Station June 14, 1845 (timetable)
Renamed Yaphank Station 1846
Depot building opened (relocated from a tenant house) December 1873
Depot building erected July 1875
Station agency closed January 1959
Station agent reassigned February 11, 1959 (author’s analysis)
Depot building razed Fall 1962 (author’s analysis)
Three-sided, shed-roofed metal passenger shelter erected Sometime between 1962 & 1964 (author’s analysis)
Three-sided, shed-roofed metal passenger shelter razed Early 1980s (author’s analysis)
Flat-roofed, metal-framed Plexiglas passenger shelter erected Early 1980s (author’s analysis)
Flat-roofed, metal-framed Plexiglas passenger shelter razed Fall 1997 (author’s analysis)
High-level concrete platform and ramp constructed (with a large, saltbox-roofed passenger waiting area shelter and information center made of steel and enamel painted red-brick, mint, and light beige) Fall 1997 (author’s analysis)

When the first Post Office opened in 1846, residents planned to use the name Millville.  However, there were thirteen other communities by that name in New York state.  Yaphank was substituted.  The railroad station name was also changed.[11]

Lower (Lilly) Lake, Yaphank (September 6, 2015)
Lower (Lilly) Lake, Yaphank (September 6, 2015)

By 1875 Yaphank had a population of 300.  Earlier, in the 1850s, three churches were built in addition to an octogan-shaped schoolhouse which was encouraged by William J. Weeks, an early LIRR president and prominent Yaphank citizen.  Another former building was the County Alms House located on a 175-acre farm near the railroad station.  The farm was purchased in 1870 for $12,700 and the three-story Alms House and several barns were built.[12]

Suffolk County Children's Home Memorial, Yaphank (September 6, 2015)
Suffolk County Children’s Home Memorial, Yaphank (September 6, 2015)

By this time, stagecoaches provided service from Yaphank Station to Moriches, seven miles southeast, and Middle Island, five miles northwest.  The LIRR utilized the Yaphank Hotel for station facilities until December 1873 when one of the line’s tenant houses was set up as a ticket office and waiting room just east of the grade crossing.  The building was short-lived.  In July 1875, Charles Hallett of Riverhead completed a new depot building in its place.  Located north of the track and east of Yaphank Avenue, the new building was a simple wooden box-type structure with a gable roof that had decorative ornamentation and curlicued brackets.  Its west side had a canopy which extended from the gable roof and was supported by two posts.  The south side adjacent to the track had a large bay window.  Additionally, a new cedar platform was added to the station as well as a freight house just east of the depot building.[13]

LIRR Yaphank Station, platform and depot building, view northeast (September 20, 1958: Dave Keller Archive)
LIRR Yaphank Station, platform and depot building, view northeast (September 20, 1958: Dave Keller Archive)

To serve the village of Bellport, the LIRR set up a station two and a half miles west of Yaphank Station at the intersection of Bellport Road and the track.  Known as Bellport Station, it became an important point of railroad communication for the village of Bellport four miles south as stagecoach service to the village was provided.  The stop opened sometime between 1844 and 1852 south of the track and east of the crossing.  Located in what is now part of Yaphank, at the time the area was a level plain covered with forest and scrub-growth with about six houses.  Bellport Station was last listed in timetables in October 1876.[14]

Bellport Station
Main Line
Historical Fact
Date
Station opened Sometime between 1844 and 1852
Station closed October 1876 (timetable)
Reopened as Bartlett’s Station May 5, 1880
Station closed Sometime after November 1884 (author’s analysis)
Location of the former LIRR Bellport Station on the Main Line, view southeast (May 21, 2016)
Location of the former LIRR Bellport Station on the Main Line, view southeast (May 21, 2016)

Railroad Service Begins in Bellport and Brookhaven

Like many seaside communities on Long Island, Bellport became a popular summer getaway in the Gilded Age, attracting great statesmen, financiers, actors, writers, journalists, and artists.  Hotels and rooming houses included The Wyandotte, The Homestead, The Bay House, and The Goldwaithe.  Most were on or near Bellport Bay.[15]

Naturally, direct access to Bellport was preferred over the stagecoach route through Bellport Station.  In the late 1870s the South Side Railroad was incorporated into the LIRR as one centralized system.  A subsidiary called the Brooklyn & Montauk Railroad was created to extend rails from Patchogue to Eastport to connect with the LIRR’s Sag Harbor Branch.  The subsidiary was later consolidated into the Long Island as the Montauk Branch.[16]

The new Montauk Branch right-of-way traversed what at the time was mostly farmland in what is now called North Bellport.  A station was established just west of Bellport (Station) Road on the south side of the track.  A depot building was built in the summer of 1882.  The wooden structure had a gable roof with extensions on three sides supported by several posts that created a veranda to shelter passengers.  [17]

Bellport Station
Montauk Branch
Historical Fact
Date
Station and depot building opened Summer 1882
Station agency closed January 1959
Station agent reassigned February 11, 1959 (author’s analysis)
Depot building razed May 1964
Three-sided, shed-roofed metal passenger shelter erected Early 1964 (author’s analysis)
Three-sided, shed-roofed metal passenger shelter razed Early 1980s (author’s analysis)
Flat-roofed, metal-framed Plexiglas passenger shelter erected Early 1980s (author’s analysis)
Flat-roofed, metal-framed Plexiglas passenger shelter razed Fall 1997 (author’s analysis)
High-level concrete platform and ramp constructed (with a large, saltbox-roofed passenger waiting area shelter and information center made of steel and enamel painted red-brick, mint, and light beige) Fall 1997 (author’s analysis)
LIRR Bellport Station, platform and depot building, view southeast (1963: Emery Photo, Dave Keller Archive)
LIRR Bellport Station, platform and depot building, view southeast (1963: Emery Photo, Dave Keller Archive)

A station was also later established in Brookhaven hamlet at what was then called Railroad Avenue, now Bridge Place, just east of where the right-of-way crossed over South Country Road via a trestle.  In April of 1884, work was underway to construct a depot building and cedar platform on the north side of the track just west of the present Old Stump Road crossing.  The wooden structure had a gable roof featuring a trefoil design.  It also had a canopy which extended on the building’s west and east sides supported by several posts.  A freight house was also constructed on the southeast corner of the crossing and the right-of-way.[18]

Brookhaven Station
Historical Fact
Date
Station and depot building constructed April 1884
Station and depot building opened Sometime after April 1884 (author’s analysis)
Station agency closed 1932
Depot building remodeled 1944
Last passenger service August 29, 1958 (author’s analysis)
Station closed October 6, 1958
Depot sold and relocated After October 6, 1958
LIRR Brookhaven Station, platform and depot building and the Old Stump Road crossing, view west (Circa 1950s: Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Book 7 (photo 131), Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries)
LIRR Brookhaven Station, platform and depot building and the Old Stump Road crossing, view west (Circa 1950s: Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Book 7 (photo 131), Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries)

Prior to construction of the station in North Bellport, the former Bellport Station on the Main Line was reopened as Bartlett’s Station on May 5, 1880.  It was named in honor of a New York lawyer, William O. Bartlett, who owned a farm near Yaphank.  Although it was slated to be abandoned as early as April 1882, it continued to serve as late as November 1884.[19]

Yaphank in the World War Years

Yaphank has a rich and interesting World War-era history.  More than 30,000 men passed through Yaphank headed for boot camp at nearby Camp Upton during the First World War.  One of these men was songwriter Irving Berlin who wrote the musical comedy “Yip Yip Yaphank” which later had a brief run on Broadway.  The camp was located on a tract of about ten thousand acres east of William Floyd Parkway, extending from Middle Country Road to Montauk Highway.  Present Brookhaven National Laboratory is housed on the former site.[20]

The first World War I soldiers arrived on September 10, 1917.  A LIRR stop was set up just east of Yaphank Station at milepost sixty)two where a passing siding was installed north of the track.  To facilitate operations, the railroad constructed a branch and a new terminal in 1918 over a mile to the northwest of the right-of-way.  It was accessible via a wye from the Main Line at Camp Upton Junction.  A hip-roofed freight house was also built complete with a high-level platform.  After the war ended Camp Upton was converted to a debarkation camp as men returned from the war to be discharged.  It was closed in 1921 and the buildings were sold.[21]

The railroad station was closed in April 1922 and the railroad freight house moved to Northport Station.  The passing siding was used by the railroad from 1918 to 1928 when some of it was removed at the western leg of the wye.  The remaining portion of the siding was used until 1938.[22]

Camp Upton was later reactivated for World War II soldiers.  New switches at Camp Upton Junction were installed in 1941 and the former railroad station was used until 1946.  Brookhaven National Laboratory was established on the former grounds of Camp Upton in 1947.  The western leg of wye remained in service until April 21, 1968.[23]

Yaphank also has a Nazi past.  The story begins with the German-American Settlement League which opened a camp on Upper Lake in 1935.  Originally known as the Friends of New Germany Picnic Grounds, the two-acre campground was renamed Camp Siegfried when the league was co-opted by Fritz Kuhn and other Adolf Hitler supporters who organized rallies and speeches.  The name Siegfried was an echo of the medieval Teutonic warrior-legend.  At the time the German-American Bund was the voice of Nazism in the United States and the outgrowth of the Free Society of Teutonia, organized in 1924.  Later it was called the Friends of the Hitler Movement and the Friends of New Germany.  Finally, it was the Bund.[24]

By the summer of 1937, pro-Nazi sentiment inspired renaming local streets after members of the Third Reich such as Hitler, Goering, and Goebbels.  In fact, the LIRR’s Camp Siegfried Special train brought members to Yaphank where new arrivals dressed in Nazi garb were invited to march along the streets from the station to the camp.[25]

However, camp officials were later indicted in Suffolk court on charges that the camp was part of the Bund.  In response, the outings ended and the campground returned to its bucolic beginnings.  The camp’s restaurant and inn lost its liquor license in 1939 and the fields were deserted after the German invasion of Poland.[26]

Rail Service after World War II

Like other areas of Brookhaven town, Bellport, Brookhaven hamlet, and Yaphank had a postwar suburban boom.  In fact, Suffolk County’s population grew from 276,129 to 586,651 between 1950 and 1959.  Although the great Bellport hotels closed as a result of the Great Depression, new year-round homes were built in the decades after World War II.  Both Bellport and Brookhaven hamlet transformed into modern-day suburbs.  Since it was incorporated as a village in 1910, Bellport was able to enact zoning ordinances to protect the rural quality.  North Bellport also came into its own when Pace Developers built about 300 small homes in the mid-1950s between Montauk and Sunrise Highways for mostly moderate-income people.[27]

Bellport Village Hall (May 21, 2016)
Bellport Village Hall (May 21, 2016)

Yaphank also grew in the postwar years.  In fact, a realtor named Sydney M. Siegel of Kew Gardens conceived of a mammoth project for a Suffolk City.  The idea called for a fully-integrated industrial community on a 2,000-acre triangular-shaped site bounded on the north by Brookhaven National Laboratory, on the south by the LIRR, and on the west by Yaphank.  When first announced in 1954, Siegel expected the construction of the Long Island Expressway (LIE) to pass along the southern boundary of the property.  However, the state changed the expressway’s route to pass through the proposed city.  Land was needed for construction and the city idea was abandoned.[28]

Population growth necessitated better roads since the automobile was the preferred method of travel.  As a result the Yaphank Avenue grade crossing was widened in 1949.  Safety at crossings was also a concern since many were unprotected.  On March 14, 1954, four people in a car were killed by a train at the Station Road crossing just east of Bellport Station.  Shortly after, some Bellport seventh grade students started a petition requesting an electronic device be installed.  Their actions paid off and a public hearing was held in New York.  In response, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) ordered the LIRR to install flashing lights.  Work was completed by December 1955.[29]

While most residents preferred driving automobiles over riding trains, a few felt that the railroad should provide better service.  On September 18, 1947, four representatives of a railroad commuter group testified at a PSC hearing that the Main Line east of Ronkonkoma didn’t provide adequate train service to Yaphank.  They called for both an additional late evening and early morning train.[30]

However, drop in ridership and revenue didn’t provide for pre-World War levels of operation.  Consequently, service declined.  In 1947 there were four trains daily in each direction at Yaphank Station.  By the fall of 1951, the number dropped to three as one roundtrip rush-hour train was dropped.  No longer did the daily Peconic Bay Express (train number 212 from New York) run express from Jamaica to Yaphank in one-hour and four minutes on its way to Greenport.  The late morning westbound rush-hour train from Greenport to New York, with a station stop in Yaphank at 9:02 a.m., was also eliminated.  Passengers were further inconvenienced because direct service to New York was no longer provided.  All trains ran to and from Jamaica where connections were made for electric service to Pennsylvania (Penn) Station.[31]

Some residents and local officials protested the drop in service after two additional Main Line trains were cut as of November 15, 1951.  In a move to both appease Main Line customers and bring aboard new ones, the railroad tested a single-car train as an economic means to provide better service.  Manufactured by the Budd Company and powered by two modified diesel engines, the car made five round trips daily to and from Riverhead and Ronkonkoma, Hicksville, or Mineola.  Service began in 1955 and included a station stop in Yaphank on all trips.  The much-ballyhooed service ended in failure and was dropped from timetables the following year.[32]

On the Montauk Branch, while service remained steady for Bellport customers at roughly half-dozen trains daily in both directions, service at Brookhaven Station reduced.  In fact, the station agency closed in 1932.  Up to the fall of 1956, there were three rush-hour trains in both directions as well as weekend and off-hour service.  However, the following year westbound service was reduced to a 5:47 a.m. flag stop on weekday train number 31 to Jamaica.  The remaining eastbound service was a 6:37 p.m. flag stop on weekday train number 38 to Speonk.[33]

Agency Closures and the Discontinuation of Brookhaven Station

The year 1958 brought great change for railroad service in Suffolk County.  First, passenger service at Brookhaven Station was discontinued.  The railroad first petitioned the closure in the spring.  Although the request was unanimously opposed by the Brookhaven town board, it was brought up before the PSC.  At a public hearing, railroad officials argued that a recent two-week study reported no one got on or off the roundtrip train which served the station.  On the other hand, local officials and residents claimed rail service was necessary for the economic well-being of the community.  The PSC made its decision in mid-September and authorized the discontinuation of passenger service.  By this time, railroad timetables effective September 2 listed Brookhaven as a station with no times.  A final hearing was held on October 3 but the ruling was upheld and the station stop was eliminated on October 6, 1958. The handling of carload freight continued at Brookhaven, with Bellport retaining jurisdiction over shipments.  The depot building was sold within a year and relocated to a private location.  It had been remodeled in 1944, stripped of its decorations and canopy, leaving only a small covering over the bay window and doorway. The freight house was also later purchased and moved to the old Lefkowicz Duck farm on Old Stump Road sometime in the early 1970s.[34]

Location of the former LIRR Brookhaven Station depot building and platform, view west (May 21, 2016)
Location of the former LIRR Brookhaven Station depot building and platform, view west (May 21, 2016)
Location of the former LIRR Brookhaven Station, Old Stump Road Crossing, view east (May 21, 2016)
Location of the former LIRR Brookhaven Station, Old Stump Road Crossing, view east (May 21, 2016)

The second change in LIRR service was announced on August 12.  In an attempt to economize, the railroad planned to streamline operations in Suffolk.  While there would be no reduction in passenger or freight service, agents and clerks at fifteen stations would be eliminated and a full-time district manager installed in Riverhead.  Both Yaphank and Bellport agencies were cited to be closed.  The railroad argued that passenger traffic had almost completely disappeared on eastern Long Island and there was no hope for its revival.  Since there was still considerable carload freight movement, it planned to make an effort to increase inbounds shipments and revive outbound.[35]

The proposal was discussed at the aforementioned October 3 hearing and the PSC made its decision in mid-December.  With regards to Bellport and Yaphank, the commission authorized elimination of agency service.  The discontinuation of carload freight at Bellport was also authorized and assigned to the Patchogue station agent.  Yaphank’s freight, which was restricted to less-than-carload, was also permitted to be cut.[36]

As part of the agreement, station depot buildings were to be retained “in good condition” pending PSC action on any subsequent proposal the railroad made as to their ultimate disposition.  Unfortunately, they were not maintained.  Some were even vandalized.  One railroad spokesman said that the buildings were an eyesore and a disgrace both to the community and the railroad.  He added that they were no longer usable, with no market for them to be sold.  In the end, the buildings were razed and smaller metal structures took their place.  The new three-sided passenger shelters on concrete foundations were deemed more presentable and less costly to maintain.  Also, the cost of demolition and the building of the metal units was less expensive than the maintenance of the old structures.  Yaphank’s depot building was demolished in 1962 and a shelter was erected in its place toward the east end of the low-level platform.[37]

With more daily trains, Bellport’s depot building was busier and utilized by about thirty people when clerk James Sands was on duty.  However, it had a history of poor maintenance for several years.  After opening the Bellport Casino in 1956 on the east side of Station Road, Mr. & Mrs. Willis Morgan claimed that riders were using their facilities since the station’s toilet, a wooden outhouse some 300-feet away, couldn’t be seen from the depot, nor was there a sign directing people to it.  The couple started a petition for the railroad to provide more elaborate restrooms.  Ultimately, a quiet compromise was reached.  The outhouse was painted cream and green.  Its vaults were vented and its door springs were fixed.  The railroad also installed better signage.  Nevertheless, the depot building was razed in May 1964 and a shelter erected a few months earlier in the center of the platform took its place.[38]

LIRR Bus Service and Reduction of Service to Yaphank Station

Both rush-hour and non-rush-hour Yaphank rail service remained constant into the early-1960s.  Some commuter trains even featured a bar car.  However, by decade’s end, rail service was limited to midday hours.  The story of how this happened begins with the advent of LIRR buses as an economic alternative to rail service.  On January 17, 1962 the PSC authorized the railroad to operate a bus route between Greenport and Huntington Station as part of a rail-bus combination to connect new communities on the North Shore with train service.  Since buses ran on NY-25 they did not directly serve Yaphank.[39]

Bellport Bay, view south (May 21, 2016)
Bellport Bay, view south (May 21, 2016)

As part of the measure the PSC also authorized the railroad to discontinue one of two daily eastbound trains to Greenport and one of two westbound trains out of Greenport.  The trains were replaced by six roundtrip bus routes daily.  The discontinuation of westbound train number 205 to Jamaica eliminated the 7:00 a.m. Yaphank station stop.  Likewise, its counterpart, train number 214 to Greenport, no longer made a 6:33 p.m. evening stop.  The last runs for both trains were Friday, March 2, 1962.  Rush-hour service was now limited to westbound number 229 to Jamaica, which originated in Yaphank at 5:19 a.m., and eastbound number 272 from Jamaica, which terminated in Yaphank at 7:12 p.m.  Yaphank weekday off-hour service was now limited to the midday roundtrip to and from Greenport (numbers 204 & 211) which provided an eastbound stop at 10:34 a.m. and a westbound at 4:16 p.m.  The PSC also authorized the discontinuation of one of two weekend roundtrip trains to Greenport.  Final runs were made on Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4.[40]

In light of its success on the North Shore, the LIRR asked for and received authorization from the PSC to run buses on the South Shore.  Service to and from Montauk and Amityville on the ninety-one mile route began Saturday, June 8, 1963.  Train service to Bellport was not affected and remained relatively constant since buses ran along Montauk and Sunrise Highways.[41]

After the start of bus service, it seemed for a time that Yaphank Station would become one of seven major rail centers on Long Island.  The proposal was first put forth in 1963 by the State Office of Transportation.  A formal concept was unveiled the following year by Suffolk Planning Director Lee Koppelman.  Ronkonkoma was selected as a location for a pilot “park-and-ride” project.  The “park-and-ride” concept called for large parking areas built at centrally-located rail facilities along with improved roads and bus service in an attempt to get commuters to travel by rail.  The idea was greeted warmly by town, county, and LIRR officials.  If Ronkonkoma proved successful, similar sites such as Yaphank would follow.[42]

After the state takeover over of the LIRR in 1966, the rail center idea was further augmented to include faster train service as the LIRR wanted to halve travel time by 1969 and double the commuting range in the 1970s.  With the run from Yaphank to New York to be under an hour, the railroad wanted to double its commuter base to a half-million.  Improvements were designed not only to induce those who solely used cars to abandon them for the railroad but also to retain existing train riders.  Since the right-of-way to Yaphank was not electrified, high-speed travel would be provided by what Metropolitan Commuter Transportation (MCTA) chairman Dr. William J. Ronan called the “two-headed monster,” or the dual-powered train.  The monster was to revolutionize Long Island’s transportation since it utilized both gas-turbine and electric power rather than only diesel fuel.  Gas turbines would drastically reduce travel time because of the car’s quick acceleration and high cruising speeds.  More importantly, it eliminated the need to change trains to reach New York.[43]

Governor Nelson Rockefeller asked the State Legislature to authorize a statewide referendum on a $2.5 billion bond issue for the November 1967 ballot.  The largest in the state’s history, it was designed to meet future highway, rail and general aviation needs including many Long Island projects.  One of the projects funded by the referendum that came to fruition was completion of the Long Island Expressway from Holbrook to Riverhead in the early 1970s.  For Yaphank residents this meant a major interstate just north of the LIRR Main Line right-of-way.  A contract was awarded in December 1966 for 4.9 more miles of roadway, bringing the expressway to just east of the William Floyd Parkway in 1969.  By the summer of 1967, work was underway on the expressway viaducts over both Horseblock Road in Medford and Sills Road in Yaphank.  As part of the project, bridges were constructed over the Main Line tracks eliminating the grade crossing at both thoroughfares.[44]

State money did indeed make its way to the LIRR and funded electrification to both Hicksville and Huntington.  Although transportation centers were eventually built at Huntington and Ronkonkoma, Yaphank remained a small, little-used station.  In fact, the roundtrip rush-hour commuter train was cut from timetables by 1967 leaving only midday and weekend service.[45]

The development of commuter zones in the early 1970s designated both Yaphank and Bellport Stations as zone twelve.  Although a new scheduling system was instituted to work in tandem with the zone structure, Yaphank was restricted to a single roundtrip train daily.  On weekdays this included an eastbound stop at 10:37 a.m. (train number 202) and a westbound stop at 3:59 p.m. (number 211).  No westbound and eastbound service was provided for a typical work day in New York.  On the other hand, Bellport Station had three morning rush-hour trains and four in the evening.  There were also two off-hour trains in each direction and three on weekends.[46]

Return of Yaphank Rush-Hour Service and Other Station Improvements

In the late twentieth century, train service to Bellport and Yaphank improved.  First, the railroad, now under auspices of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) rerouted LIRR North Shore buses in the summer of 1975 to make four stops in central Suffolk along the Long Island Expressway.  One of the stops was at exit sixty-eight (William Floyd Parkway) on Yaphank’s border with the neighboring community of Ridge.  MTA Chairman David L. Yunich called the move an innovative attempt to make public transportation more accessible to the rapidly growing area of Suffolk County as the state authority hoped to add riders and take cars off the heavily-burdened expressway.  At the time, only twenty-five persons used the early morning bus service, boarding at Greenport or Riverhead, which was now redirected to Babylon rather than Huntington for train connections.  In all, there were two evening eastbound buses and one morning westbound at the new stop during rush-hour.  While no weekend service was provided, there were midday and late evening bus runs.[47]

LIRR Eastern Long Island Timetable Effective September 20, 1976: New bus service along the Long Island Expressway exits is clearly advertised
LIRR Eastern Long Island Timetable Effective September 20, 1976: New bus service along the Long Island Expressway exits is clearly advertised

The experiment however, was short-lived.  In timetables effective March 28, 1977, the bus stop at exit sixty-eight was eliminated.  The second improvement, still available today, was the return of rush-hour train service at Yaphank Station after a ten-year suspension.  The aim was to reduce parking congestion at Ronkonkoma Station by enabling commuters living further east to board closer to home.  As an experiment, the new measure also temporarily placed Yaphank in fare zone eleven instead of twelve from May 16 through July 31, 1977.  The action corresponded to lower fares, reducing the $86.10 monthly fee to $81.80.[48]

The new service began May 23, 1977.  The schedule was as follows.  The origination of two westbound morning trains, the 5:40 a.m. (number 211 to Jamaica) and 6:29 a.m. (number 213 to Hunterspoint Avenue) was moved eastward from Ronkonkoma to Yaphank.  Two eastbound evening trains which terminated at Ronkonkoma were extended to Yaphank for arrivals at 7:08 p.m. (number 220 from Hunterspoint Avenue) and 8:57 p.m. (number 222 from Hicksville).[49]

Initially, the schedule changes were to be in effect from May 23 to July 31 as an experiment.  While Yaphank was set back to zone twelve after the time period, the schedule remained.  There was one minor change.  The origination of train number 222 was moved to Hunterspoint Avenue in the fall of 1977.[50]

LIRR Ronkonkoma Branch Timetable Effective September 12, 1977: New Yaphank service is clearly advertised
LIRR Ronkonkoma Branch Timetable Effective September 12, 1977: New Yaphank service is clearly advertised

For a short-time in the summer and fall of 1977, the LIRR also provided special bus connections to Parr Meadows Race Track.  Located northwest of expressway exit sixty-eight, Parr Meadows was a five-eights-mile quarter horse track that first opened on May 19, 1977.  In fact, prior to the start of commuter service on May 23 a special press train traveled to Yaphank where riders took a short bus ride to the track for a buffet reception.  However, the track never made it through the first season as financial issues forced owner Ronald Parr to close it.  It was demolished over a decade later.[51]

Other improvements to Yaphank Station included grade crossing elimination.  Suffolk County spent $2.45 million to build a four-lane bridge over the right-of-way at Yaphank Avenue, eliminating the grade crossing, as part of a $4 million widening project for the road from the expressway to Sunrise Highway.  Construction began in October 1977 and was completed in late-1979.  Of note, not too soon after the bridge was built, an eastbound train carrying fifteen passengers derailed west of the station near the bridge.  At least one passenger was slightly injured in the April 20, 1980 accident that left the head locomotive leaning down the embankment.  The front wheels of the fourth car also left the tracks but the fifth car and power unit remained on the tracks.  A similar derailment occurred near the Old Stump Road crossing in Brookhaven on December 3, 1963.  However, two persons were hospitalized and eighteen received minor injuries.  A broken piece of rail was to blame as one car fell on its side.[52]

LIRR Yaphank Station, current signage with former low-level platform and Yaphank Avenue viaduct in background, view southwest (July 5, 2005)
LIRR Yaphank Station, current signage with former low-level platform and Yaphank Avenue viaduct in background, view southwest (July 5, 2005)
LIRR Yaphank Station, former low-level platform and Yaphank Avenue viaduct, view west (July 5, 2005)
LIRR Yaphank Station, former low-level platform and Yaphank Avenue viaduct, view west (July 5, 2005)

Over at Bellport Station, the Bellport Avenue crossing received gates as an added measure of protection.  The work was financed by the State Department and was performed in the early-1970s.[53]

Another improvement was the introduction of a commuter fare for intra-island customers and the rerouting of some Main Line trains to make additional stops.  The change was influenced by Ronald Fields who no longer wanted to drive thirty-four-miles from his home in Ridge to his job at the Bendix, Corp. warehouse on Route 110 in Farmingdale.  Seeing that no train took him directly from Yaphank to Farmingdale he petitioned the LIRR to schedule a new train route.  Fields began his campaign in early-1980, putting petitions in local stores in Ridge and Yaphank.  He was encouraged by local leaders who called for intra-island mass transit since 1965 when the Route 110 corridor was targeted as a major transportation hub.  The new modified route began July 1, 1981 with monthly commuter tickets ranging from $30 to $62.50.[54]

By this time the two rush-hour westbound trains departed Yaphank at 5:40 a.m. (number 211) and 6:22 a.m. (number 213).  Also, there were a total of three eastbound trains, arriving in Yaphank at 6:02 p.m. (number 220), 7:08 p.m. (number 222), and 7:40 p.m. (number 204), respectively.  The first was a new addition that left Hunterspoint Avenue at 4:08 p.m.  Between 1983 and 1984, the second morning train was renumbered 209 and the three evening trains were renumbered 216, 218, and 220, respectively.  On weekends a second roundtrip was added.[55]

The most visible improvement was a new diesel fleet and renovation of both Bellport and Yaphank Stations in the 1990s. The fleet was a compromise to electrification beyond Ronkonkoma on the Main Line and beyond Babylon on the Montauk Branch, which was considered an exceedingly costly and time-consuming task.  The new train coaches replaced cars dating back to the 1950s and offered extra-wide two-across seating.  To provide commuters in non-electrified territory the convenience of not having to change trains for service to Manhattan, some of the new diesel locomotives were now equipped with dual-mode engines allowing them to run on either diesel fuel or electricity.[56]

LIRR South Country Road trestle and EMD DE30AC number 401, view northwest (May 21, 2016)
LIRR South Country Road trestle and EMD DE30AC number 401, view northwest (May 21, 2016)

Since the new coaches did not have stairs to reach existing low-level platforms, four-foot-high replacements were needed.  However, the railroad considered construction too costly and unwarranted for little-used stations and proposed in a February 1996 announcement that they be closed.  While Yaphank Station was scheduled to be renovated, Bellport was on a list of thirteen stations cited for closure since it averaged only twenty-one riders a day.  A final decision was expected to be made in early 1997 after a public hearing was held January 14.[57]

In response to the announcement, Brookhaven town officials called on the railroad to reevaluate the proposal for the betterment of North Bellport.  In the mid-to-late twentieth century, it was beset by blight, crime, and unemployment.  Defense plant layoffs, “blockbusting” attempts by real estate operators, and the placement of welfare families set the community on a downward spiral in the 1970s.  In the 1990s the state declared part of North Bellport an economic development zone, eligible for tax abatement.  Gradually the neighborhood began to change and a railroad station was considered key for additional progress.[58]

LIRR Bellport Station parking lot entrance sign (May 21, 2016)
LIRR Bellport Station parking lot entrance sign (May 21, 2016)

First, the Suffolk Planning Commission argued that the closure would hurt efforts to redevelop the community.  In a statement, Planning Commissioner Stephen Jones said it would “put a crimp” into county and Brookhaven town efforts to rehabilitate the North Bellport area, which was targeted as an economic development zone and a location for new affordable housing.  Concurrently, Brookhaven Supervisor Felix Grucci threatened to sue the MTA.  He said closure undermined government efforts to improve impoverished neighborhoods. He also added that the move was a discriminatory act against the business community in the area and that the plan unfairly hurt poor neighborhoods.[59]

LIRR Bellport Station, high-level platform and ramp, view northwest (May 21, 2016)
LIRR Bellport Station, high-level platform and ramp, view northwest (May 21, 2016)

Residents also chimed in and let their voice be heard.  Commuter Bernard Seubert said he gave up using the station and drove Patchogue Station instead, and called on the railroad to improve service.  He also pointed out that commuting from Patchogue was $20 cheaper since it was in commuter zone eleven rather than twelve.[60]

LIRR Bellport Station, high-level platform and passenger shelter, view west (May 21, 2016)
LIRR Bellport Station, high-level platform and passenger shelter, view west (May 21, 2016)

Another resident, community activist Miles Boone, spearheaded efforts to salvage the station back in 1995 believing that the railroad would install a new high-level platform for the new cars and not abandon the community.  As president of the not-for profit Bellport Foundation, Boone raised approximately $15,000 in materials and equipment to rebuild the station and parking lot which for years was a dumping ground.  Over forty tons of debris were removed from the site, which was one of two stations the LIRR exclusively owned.  Boone suggested that if the railroad was unwilling to pay for the new platform, money could be obtained from an economic development grant for public works.  He also estimated a 128-foot, one-and-a-half car platform could be constructed at well under the railroad’s $260,000 figure if local contractors were used.[61]

LIRR Bellport Station, high-level platform, view east (May 21, 2016)
LIRR Bellport Station, high-level platform, view east (May 21, 2016)

In the end, Bellport remained open because of persuasive arguments made by residents and local leaders.  In mid-March 1997 the railroad announced it would foot the bill for the new platform.  Existing low-level platforms and shelters at both Yaphank and Bellport Stations were removed and four-foot concrete platforms were erected in their place.  By this time each station had flat-roofed, metal-framed Plexiglas passenger shelters that were installed on the low-level platform in the early 1980s to replace the 1960s metal shelters.  Once construction work was finished at both stations by late 1998, each new platform was one-and-a-half cars in length, complete with a ramp for the physically-challenged and large, saltbox-roofed passenger waiting area shelter and information center.[62]

LIRR Yaphank Station, high-level platform and ramp, view southeast (September 6, 2015)
LIRR Yaphank Station, high-level platform and ramp, view southeast (September 6, 2015)
LIRR Yaphank Station, high-level platform passenger shelter, view east (July 5, 2005)
LIRR Yaphank Station, high-level platform passenger shelter, view east (July 5, 2005)

Today, Bellport remains a station stop on the Montauk Branch with somewhat limited service compared to neighboring stations in Patchogue and Mastic-Shirley.  In 2012, the average daily weekday westbound ridership was twenty-nine customers and the average Saturday/Sunday westbound ridership was seventy-five.  In 2016, after years of talk, the Greater Bellport Coalition was looking to change the commuter fare from zone twelve to eleven.  According to coalition chairman John Rogers, commuting from the Bellport station is about a $6 difference than that of Patchogue Station.  Currently, the coalition is seeking support from the village of Bellport.[63]

Service to Yaphank is also limited.  Since the Main Line was electrified to Ronkonkoma as of January 18, 1988, there is one westbound rush-hour train that stops at the station (number 201) and two in the evening (number 252 & 256).  All train service, both rush-hour and off-hours, operates to and from Ronkonkoma and, despite the dual-mode locomotives, there is no direct service to either Jamaica or Penn Station.  Over the years there has been discussion of building a second track to Yaphank.  The last was in 2013 as part of a Twenty-Year Capital Needs Assessment program.  It calls for $106 billion in infrastructure projects across the MTA’s agencies through 2034.[64]

Modern-Day Yaphank and Bellport

Modern-day Yaphank remains a quiet suburb.  However, there was a time in the late twentieth century when it appeared that this would change.  In 1989, developer Wilbur Breslin unveiled plans for a massive commercial and residential real estate project.  It consisted of twenty-one separate land parcels bounded by Middle Country Road on the north, the Long Island Expressway on the south, Yaphank-Middle Island Road on the west, and Brookhaven Lab on the east.  In addition to homes, it also included a cultural center, a library, a concert hall, a playhouse, an art gallery, a sculpture garden, a movie theater, a bowling alley, and office towers as tall as ten to twelve stories.  Areas would be linked by a monorail originating from a new LIRR station. Luckily, the project never came to fruition.[65]

Swezey-Avey House, Yaphank (September 6, 2015)
Swezey-Avey House, Yaphank (September 6, 2015)

Over the years however, more county buildings have been built south of the expressway at the former County Alms House and farm.  In fact, in 1973 there was a plan to move all county administrative functions to Yaphank.  Riverhead and Happaugue county buildings were planned to be used primarily for courts and related agencies.  While the plan never came to complete fruition, many offices are housed on the county property and the old farm continues to operate today.  To aid drivers from the west, an exit ramp was built off the eastbound expressway lanes to provide access to Yaphank Avenue (exit sixty-seven).  Formerly, eastbound drivers needed to get off at exit sixty-six, a mile west of Yaphank Avenue.  Originally operated by the county, the county farm was later taken over by the Cooperative Extension Association of Suffolk County.  At one time the farm used labor from the nearby minimum security prison.[66]

Robert Hewlett Hawkins House, Yaphank (September 6, 2015)
Robert Hewlett Hawkins House, Yaphank (September 6, 2015)

To preserve local history, the Yaphank Historical Society was formed.  Its roots date back to a survey of old homes along Main Street, done by Kathleen Cummings and sponsored by the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities in 1972.  It was a first step in filing a Yaphank Historic District on the New York State Register for Historic Places.  After the district was placed on the state register, Eugene Dooley invited all of the owners of the historic structures listed on the State Register to a meeting in July of 1974 at the Swezey Avey House on the Upper Lake to discuss the possibility of forming an historical society.  It was decided that a committee be formed and a constitution and bylaws be set up.[67]

South Country Road, Bellport, view east (May 21, 2016)
South Country Road, Bellport, view east (May 21, 2016)

One of the buildings operated by the society is the Robert Hewlett Hawkins House.  Its namesake, born in 1817, was a seventh generation descendent of Robert and Mary Hawkins who arrived in Massachusetts from England in 1635.  Robert Hewlett Hawkins worked for a prominent mercantile firm in New York City and had a successful business career.  He constructed his Victorian home on Yaphank Avenue in 1850.  Since that time, the house and adjacent property has had fifteen individual parties in ownership and two parcels of property severed from the original tract.  In 1974, the house was scheduled to be demolished, but with the formation of the Yaphank Historical Society, it was saved and restored.[68]

Bellport Historical Society (May 21, 2016)
Bellport Historical Society (May 21, 2016)

Bellport also has a historical society, the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society, founded in 1958.  With help from the society, on July 4, 1980 over eighty houses in Bellport village were added to the National Register of Historic Places.  In 2001 the village established a Historic Preservation Commission which has since designated four historic districts within the village.  One historic home is the Post-Crowell House, a Federal-style home built in 1833 by master ship-builder Hiram Post at a cost of $800.  Other historic structures include the Ralph Brown Building, the 1850 Gazebo, and the Barn Museum.[69]

Next page: “Port Jefferson Blues”: The Smithtown Commuter Saga


[1] Long Island: A History of Two Great Counties, Nassau and Suffolk, edited by Paul Bailey (New York, NY: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Inc., 1949), 296; Bernie Bookbinder, “The LIRR’s Early Dreams of Glory,” Newsday (1940-1987), February 5, 1984, http://www.proquest.com.

[2] Richard M. Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County with a Historical Outline of Long Island (Port Washington, NY: Ira J. Friedman Inc., 1962), 256; “Buildings and Grounds,” Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society, accessed on April 16, 2016, http://www.bbhsmuseum.com/buildings-grounds.html; William Wallace Tooker, The Indian Place-names on Long Island and Islands adjacent with their Probable Significations (Port Washington, N.Y.: I.J. Friedman, 1962), 295.

[3] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 272; Tooker, The Indian Place-names on Long Island, 4-5.

[4] “Buildings and Grounds”; Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 273; Tooker, The Indian Place-names on Long Island, 249; Staff of Long Island, Our Story, Home Town Long Island, 73; “The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, Part One: South Side R.R. of L.I.,” Trains are Fun, accessed March 16, 2016, http://www.trainsarefun.com/lirr/southsiderailroad/SouthSideRailroad.htm#chapter.

[5] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 273.

[6] “Buildings and Grounds”; Staff of Long Island, Our Story, Home Town Long Island, 74.

[7] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 272-273.

[8] Yaphank Historical Society, Entering the Yaphank Historical District, Yaphank Historic Marker (Yaphank, NY); “Historic Yaphank, Where the Past Greets the Present,” Yaphank Historical Society, accessed on April 17, 2016, http://www.yaphankhistorical.org.; Staff of Long Island, Our Story, Home Town Long Island, 92; Yaphank Historical Society, Lily Lake, Yaphank Historic Marker (Yaphank, NY).

[9] Staff of Long Island, Our Story, Home Town Long Island, 92; “Long Island Rail Road: Alphabetical Station Listing and History,” Trains Are Fun, accessed February 22, 2016, http://www.trainsarefun.com/lirrphotos/lirrstationshistory.htm.

[10] “Long Island Rail Road: Alphabetical Station Listing and History.”

[11] Staff of Long Island, Our Story, Home Town Long Island, 92; “Long Island Rail Road: Alphabetical Station Listing and History.”

[12] Staff of Long Island, Our Story, Home Town Long Island, 92; Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County,  256-257.

[13] Vincent F. Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 3, Age of Expansion (Garden City, NY: Seyfried, 1984), 192; Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 261; Ron Ziel and Richard Wettereau, Victorian Railroad Stations of Long Island (Bridgehampton, NY: Sunrise Special Ltd., 1988), 26.

[14] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 261; “Long Island Rail Road: Alphabetical Station Listing and History”; Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 3, 191.

[15] Staff of Long Island, Our Story, Home Town Long Island, 74.

[16] “The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, Part One: South Side R.R. of L.I.”

[17] Vincent F. Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 6, The Golden Age 1881-1900 (Garden City, NY: Seyfried, 1984), 271; Ziel and Wettereau, Victorian Railroad Stations of Long Island, 50-51; Staff of Long Island, Our Story, Home Town Long Island, 81.

[18] Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 6, 271; Ziel and Wettereau, Victorian Railroad Stations of Long Island, 58; “Deer Park,” South Side Signal (Signal), April 5, 1884, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/titles/places/new_york/suffolk; “History Volume,” Brookhaven-South Haven Blog, accessed on April 16, 2016, http://brookhavensouthhaven.org/History/HistoricSitesImages.aspx?InventoryCode=Br02.1-S.

[19] Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 6, 263; Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 3, 191; “Long Island Items,” Corrector (Sag Harbor), April 15, 1882, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/titles/places/new_york/suffolk; “Missing People,” South Side Signal (Babylon), October 3, 1885, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/titles/places/new_york/suffolk.

[20] Staff of Long Island, Our Story, Home Town Long Island, 92; “Our History,” Brookhaven National Laboratory, accessed on April 23, 2016, https://www.bnl.gov/about/history.

[21] Thomas R. Bayles, The Early Years in Middle Island, Coram, Yaphank & Ridge ([Middle Island, N.Y.] : Longwood Public Library, [1989], 15; Ron Ziel, The Long Island Rail Road in Early Photographs (New York : Dover Publications, Inc., [1990]), 64-65; Box 5, Book 15, Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries;

[22] Ibid.; “Long Island Rail Road: Alphabetical Station Listing and History.”

[23] Ibid.; “Long Island Rail Road: Alphabetical Station Listing and History.”

[24] Ibid., 92; David Behrens, “When the Nazis Camped nearby,” Newsday (1940-1987), December  13, 1983, http://www.proquest.com.

[25] Staff of Long Island, Our Story, Home Town Long Island, 92; Behrens, “When the Nazis Camped nearby.”

[26] Staff of Long Island, Our Story, Home Town Long Island, 92; Behrens, “When the Nazis Camped nearby.”

[27] Staff of Long Island, Our Story, Home Town Long Island, 74; John Rather, “If You’re Thinking of Living in: Bellport,” New York Times (1854 – Current file), April 9, 2000, http://www.proquest.com; Long Island Railroad, “Long Island Commuters,” Long Island Railroad Information Bulletin 8, no.1 (January – February 1931): 8; Staff of Long Island, Our Story, Home Town Long Island, 81.

[28] “Start on Suffolk City Stalled by Expressway: Developer,” Patchogue Advance, July 28, 1955, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/titles/places/new_york/suffolk.

[29] “Flashing Lights Will Guard Station Road LIRR Crossing,” Patchogue Advance, February 17, 1955, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/titles/places/new_york/suffolk; “Via the Grapevine,” Suffolk County News (Sayville), December 24, 1948, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/titles/places/new_york/suffolk.

[30] “Say Eastern Train Service ‘Inadequate’,” Newsday (1947-1985), September 19, 1947, http://www.proquest.com.

[31] Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Box 14, Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries, Effective January 27, 1947, Long Island Rail Road Time Table, Main Line, Bethpage, Ronkonkoma, Riverhead, Greenport and Intermediate Stations, by Long Island Rail Road (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1947); Long Island Rail Road, Schedule in Effect September 9, 1951, Long Island Rail Road, William H. Draper, Jr., Trustee, Time Tables (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1951), Montauk Branch.

[32] “LIRR Saved $ by Nixing Trains, PSC Told,” Newsday (1940-1987), February 28, 1952, http://www.proquest.com; “LIRR’s New Self-Propelled Car Unveiled: ‘It May Be the Answer,” Newsday (1940-1986), November 20, 1954, http://www.proquest.com; “Joe: It Seems They Got This Trolley…,” Newsday (1940-1986), March 30, 1955, http://www.proquest.com; Long Island Rail Road, Schedule in Effect October 3, 1955, Long Island Rail Road, Time Tables (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1955), Main Line; “LIRR Plans One-Two Punch to Lure More Riders,” Newsday (1940-1986), September 7, 1955, http://www.proquest.com; “No Riders so RR Will Drop ‘Test’ Diesels,” Newsday (1940-1986), April 17, 1956, http://www.proquest.com.

[33] Long Island Rail Road, Long Island Rail Road Time Tables, Schedule in effect 2:00 AM September 20, 1942 (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1942), Montauk Branch; Long Island Rail Road, Schedule in effect September 10, 1956, Long Island Rail Road Time Tables (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1956), Montauk Branch; Long Island Rail Road, Schedule in effect September 9, 1957, Long Island Rail Road Time Tables (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1957), Montauk Branch.

[34] “Move to Cut LIRR Hit by Town,” Patchogue Advance, May 22, 1958, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/titles/places/new_york/suffolk; Walt Brevig, “Trainman, Spare My Ride, Long LIer Begs,” Newsday (1940-1986), June 6, 1958, http://www.proquest.com; “LIRR Gets Ok to Cut Agents at 15 Stations,” Patchogue Advance, December 18, 1958, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/titles/places/new_york/suffolk; “History Volume”; “LIRR Set to Stop Brookhaven, EM, Eastport Service,” Patchogue Advance, September 18, 1958, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/titles/places/new_york/suffolk; Long Island Rail Road, Schedule in Effect September 2, 1958, Long Island Rail Road, Time Tables (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1958), Montauk Branch; Ziel and Wettereau, Victorian Railroad Stations of Long Island, 58; “History Volume.”

[35] “LIRR Unveils Major Streamlining Program,” Patchogue Advance, August 14, 1958, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/titles/places/new_york/suffolk; “LIRR Gets Ok to Cut Agents at 15 Stations.”

[36] “Hearings on LIRR Service Plans Set,” Patchogue Advance, September 25, 1958, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/titles/places/new_york/suffolk; “LIRR Gets Ok to Cut Agents at 15 Stations.”

[37] Ibid.; “Long Island Rail Road: Alphabetical Station Listing and History”; “5 Old LIRR Stations to Go,” Newsday (1940-1987), October 8, 1963, http://www.proquest.com.

[38] “Long Island Rail Road: Alphabetical Station Listing and History”; “LIRR in ‘Quiet Compromise’ on Bellport Station,” Patchogue Advance, November 29, 1956, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/titles/places/new_york/suffolk.

[39] “6 New Bar Cars Roll Today,” Newsday (1940-1987), January 15, 1962, http://www.proquest.com; “LIRR Buses Get OK; Runs Begin Feb. 19,” Newsday (1940-1986), January 18, 1962, http://www.proquest.com.

[40] Ibid.; Long Island Rail Road, Schedule in effect September 10, 1956, Long Island Rail Road Time Tables (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1956), Main Line; Long Island Rail Road, Schedule in effect September 10, 1961, Long Island Rail Road Time Tables (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1961), Main Line; Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Box 14, Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries, Effective February 19, 1962, Long Island Rail Road, Time Tables, by Long Island Rail Road (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1962).

[41] “Approve LIRR Plan for S. Shore Buses,” Newsday (1940-1987), May 10, 1963, http://www.proquest.com; “Road ‘n’ Rail Inaugurated,” Long Island Advance, June 13, 1963, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/titles/places/new_york/suffolk.

[42] Art Bergmann, “Propose Ronkonkoma as Pilot Car-Rail Hub,” Newsday (1940-1987), June 4, 1964, http://www.proquest.com.

[43] Bernie Bookbinder, “LIRR: A Changing Line, Commuting as far as Riverhead,” Newsday (1940-1987), December 14, 1966, http://www.proquest.com.

[44] Dick Zander, “Gov Seeks Transportation Bonds,” Newsday (1940-1987), January 30, 1967, http://www.proquest.com; “L.I. Expressway Crosses B’haven as it Meets Aug. 1969, Deadline,” Long Island Advance, October 19, 1967, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/titles/places/new_york/suffolk.

[45] Ibid.; Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Box 18, Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries, Long Island Rail Road Employee Timetables, Effective September 13, 1965, by Long Island Rail Road (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1965), Main Line; Long Island Rail Road, Long Island Rail Road Timetable No. 1, in effect 12:01 AM, Sunday, May 22, 1966 (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1966), Main Line; Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Box 18, Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries, Long Island Rail Road Employee Timetables, Effective May 22, 1967, by Long Island Rail Road (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1967), Main Line.

[46] “Zone Fares for L.I.R.R. as Approved by the M.T.A.,” New York Times (1857-Current file), January 22, 1972, http://www.proquest.com; MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective October 7, 1974, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1974).

[47] Tom Morris, “MTA Buses to Make Stops on the LIE,” Newsday (1940-1987), July 22, 1975, http://www.proquest.com; The Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 24, 1976, Revised July 5, 1976, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1976).

[48] The Long Island Rail Road, Effective September 20, 1976, Revised March 28, 1977, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1977).

[49] Joseph M. Treen and Tony Schaeffer, “LIRR to Extend Four Suffolk Lines,” Newsday (1940-1987), April 14, 1977, http://www.proquest.com; The Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 23, 1977, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1977).

[50] Treen and Schaeffer, “LIRR to Extend Four Suffolk Lines”; The Long Island Rail Road, Effective September 12, 1977, Ronkonkoma Branch, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1977).

[51] “LIRR to Make Changes in Weekday Schedule,” Newsday (1940-1987), July 11, 1977, http://www.proquest.com; “Parr Meadows, Yaphank, New York,” Horse Racing Tracks, accessed April 24, 2016, http://www.horseracing-tracks.com/tracks/ny/homePm.html; “LIRR Service to Parr Meadows Racetrack,” LIRR History, accessed on May 8, 2016, http://www.lirrhistory.com/par.htm.

[52] Christopher M. Cook, “Bridge for Little-Used Streets Stirs more Heat than Traffic,” Newsday (1940-1987), September 11, 1978, http://www.proquest.com; “Twenty Injured in LIRR Derailment,” Long Island Advance (Patchogue), December 5, 1963, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/titles/places/new_york/suffolk; Maureen O. Neal, “LIRR Train Jumps Track in Yaphank,” Newsday (1940-1987), April 21, 1980, http://www.proquest.com.

[53] “Train-Bus Plan.”

[54] Ricardo Guthrie and Mitchell Freedman, “A Rider Prompts New LIRR Route,” Newsday (1940-1987), July 27, 1981, http://www.proquest.com;

[55] The Long Island Rail Road, Effective July 1, 1981, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1981); The Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 16, 1983, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1983); The Long Island Rail Road, Effective January 23, 1984, Ronkonkoma Branch, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1984).

[56] “LI’s Future May Ride the LIRR,” Newsday (Combined Editions), January 23, 1994, http://www.proquest.com.

[57] Irving Long, “LIRR Mulling Shutdowns,” Newsday (Combined Editions), February 17, 1996, http://www.proquest.com; Rick Brand, “Planners Urge LIRR to Save 2 Stations,” Newsday (Combined Editions), January 9, 1997, http://www.proquest.com; Frank S. Costanza, “You Don’t Build it, They Won’t Come,” The Advance (Patchogue), January 16, 1997.

[58] Jordan Rau, “Town May Sue on LIRR Closings,” Newsday (Combined Editions), January 16, 1997, http://www.proquest.com.

[59] Ibid.; Sidney C. Schaer, “Station Closings to Keep LIRR Upgrades on Track,” Newsday (Combined Editions), January 12, 1997, http://www.proquest.com; Rau, “Town May Sue on LIRR Closings.”

[60] Brand, “Planners Urge LIRR to Save 2 Stations”; Schaer, “Station Closings to Keep LIRR Upgrades on Track”; Rau, “Town May Sue on LIRR Closings.”

[61] Brand, “Planners Urge LIRR to Save 2 Stations”; Schaer, “Station Closings to Keep LIRR Upgrades on Track”; Rau, “Town May Sue on LIRR Closings”; Frank S. Costanza, “A Last Stop for Bellport Station?” The Advance (Patchogue), January 23, 1997.

[62] Mitchell Freedman, “LIRR Scaling Back / 10 Little-used stations to Close in March,” Newsday (Combined Editions), February 24, 1998, http://www.proquest.com; Railroad Video Productions, Long Island Rail Road: Greenport to Jamaica Part One (Leola, PA: Railroad Video Productions, 1994); Railroad Video Productions, Long Island Rail Road: Main Line to Speonk (Leola, PA: Railroad Video Productions, 1995); Frank S. Costanza, “Two Brookhaven LIRR Stations Spared, The Advance (Patchogue), March 27, 1997.

[63] Nicole Allegrezza, “Questioning the Bellport Train Fare Zone,” The Long Island Advance, accessed on April 16, 2016, https://www.longislandadvance.net/1127/Questioning-the-Bellport-train-fare-zone; MTA Long Island Rail Road, Montauk Branch Timetable effective March 7 – May 22, 2016 (New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2016).

[64] Bill Bleyer, “Shaving Minutes from Rush Hour: LIRR Expands Electric Service on Main Line,” Newsday (Combined editions), January 17, 1988, http://www.proquest.com; MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective January 18, 1988, Ronkonkoma Branch, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1988); MTA Long Island Rail Road, Ronkonkoma Branch Timetable effective March 7 – May 22, 2016 (New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2016); Alfonso A. Castillo, “Plan for LIRR: More Trains, Tracks,” Newsday, October 3, 2013.

[65] Charles V. Zehren, “A Really Big Show Breslin Proposes Massive Brookhaven Development,” Newsday (Combined Editions), March 18, 1989, http://www.proquest.com.

[66] Bob Keeler, “Draft of Plan for Yaphank Center is Unveiled,” Newsday (Combined Editions), July 30, 1973, http://www.proquest.com; George DeWan, “And on this Farm: They Grow Food while They Educate Visitors and Jail Inmates,” Newsday (Combined Editions), July 6, 1981, http://www.proquest.com.

[67] “A History of the Yaphank Historical Society,” Yaphank Historical Society, accessed on April 17, 2016, http://www.yaphankhistorical.org.

[68] “Robert Hewlett Hawkins and His House,” Yaphank Historical Society, accessed on April 17, 2016, http://www.yaphankhistorical.org.

[69] “Buildings and Grounds,” Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society, accessed on April 16, 2016, http://www.bbhsmuseum.com/buildings-grounds.html.

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