Discontinued Station Stops: The History of the Moriches and the Termination of Railroad Service

Terrell River, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)
Terrell River, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)

Long Island has been termed an America in miniature.  Traveling from Brooklyn Heights to Montauk, an observer can recapitulate the story of the United States.  On the west end is a modern congested urban center, and on the east end is the farms and fishermen of yesteryear.  There are homes of the very poor and homes of the very wealthy.[1]  The greater Moriches area in the Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County, has been a farming, fishing, and duck-farming community for most of its existence as well as a summer resort area for both the upper and middle classes.   Over seventy miles away from Manhattan, the region features bracing air, unceasing cool breezes, and romantic surroundings that make it an ideal suburban getaway to live, work, and play.  Victorian-style homes and breathtaking views of Moriches Bay make it a competitive East End tourist destination to challenge the Hamptons.  The following illustrates the history of the Moriches and chronicles rail service to the communities.  While at one time greater Moriches featured two distinct rail stations, currently there is no longer service to the locality.[2]

Beginnings

At sixteen miles in length, running from Long Island Sound to the Atlantic Ocean, Brookhaven is the largest town in Suffolk County.  On the west it is bounded by Smithtown and Islip, and on the east, by Riverhead and Southampton.  The north shore is hilly whereas the south shore is level and comparatively low, and formerly contained large tracts of salt meadows.[3]  Brookhaven was first settled by Bostonians and other Long Islanders in 1655 at Setauket.  Land was purchased from the Setalcott tribe of Indians and the town was first incorporated by a patent from Governor Nicolls on March 13, 1666.  The deed confirmed title to all lands within the territory bounded on the west by a line running across the island at Stony Brook, and on the east by a line crossing the island at Wading River.  Trustees included Captain John Tucker, Daniel Lane, Richard Woodhull, Henry Pering, and John Jenner.  The Setalcott Sachem, later known by an English name, was John Mayhew, who later moved to the Moriches area.  On November 19, 1675, the new Setalcott Sachem Gie confirmed all former grants and all unsold land within town limits as far south as the middle of the island.[4] [5]

Harts Cove, East Moriches (December 28, 2013)
Harts Cove, East Moriches (December 28, 2013)

The greater Moriches area, as well as the entire southern portion of Brookhaven town, was originally thought purchased from the Patchogue tribe.[6]  However, noted Brookhaven town historian Osborn Shaw suggests that the Indians in the area were Unkechaugs.[7]  Therefore, the entire Moriches area was once inhabited by Unkechaugs and the land was acquired by three different purchases.[8]  The primary patentee of the land was Colonel William “Tangier” Smith.  Smith was born in England in 1655 and arrived in New York in 1686.  He was appointed an associate judge of the New York Supreme Court in 1691 and became chief justice a year later.  He was also commissioned to succeed Colonel Youngs as commander of the Suffolk County militia in 1693.  On the death of the governor in March 1701, and in the absence of lieutenant governor John Nanfan, Smith was head of the New York government.[9]  He got the nickname “Tangier” after serving the King of England in the newly acquired North African country of Tangiers.  Today, St. George’s Manor is the remains of his estate on Smith’s Point in Shirley.  Following the death of Eugenie Smith, the last of the Smith line to live there, the grounds were left to the people of Brookhaven.[10]

The settlement of greater Moriches began as follows.  An Indian named Mertices lived on the bay near the east shore of the Paquatuck River, now Terrell River.  The area acquired his name, which was changed to Moriches.  While the name Moriches properly belongs to this area, early history of the area suggests that it was applied to a very large district.[11]  The earliest reference of the name is an April 4, 1683 deed from John Mayhew, so-called Indian proprietor of several necks of land, who lived on the west bank of the Paquatuck River.[12]  On October 22, 1686, Smith bought territory lying between Mastic River, now Forge River, and Senex Creek.[13]  On May 25, 1691 Smith also purchased from Mayhew what would later be known as the Manor of St. George, which included the land between Senex Creek and the Mill Stream, now called Barnes Mill Pond at Terrell River.  At this time, he set aside one hundred seventy-five acres on the west side of the Forge River at Poosepatuck Creek for the Unkechaugs at the annual rent of two ears of corn.  He was later issued a grant on October 9, 1693 from Governor Fletcher that included “all lands in the bay between the main land and the beach, from a certain gut or inlet called Huntington East-Gut, to a place called Cuptwauge being Southampton west bounds.”  It was later authorized under the title of St. George’s Manor.  However, the eastern claim of this territory was denied by several settlers who insisted to have purchased land from Indians within its bounds.[14]  To secure ownership, Smith received another patent called the Moriches Patentship from Governor Fletcher in 1697 for all lands to the Southampton town line.[15]

Terrell River, Terrell River County Park, Center Moriches (June 2, 2013)
Terrell River, Terrell River County Park, Center Moriches (June 2, 2013)

Religion and the Eighteenth Century

On March 7, 1788, the entire Moriches area became part of Brookhaven town.[16]  Over time, three small hamlets developed.  One was at the apex of the Forge River and the other two at Pine Street and Railroad Avenue leading to Manorville.  They would become present day West Moriches, East Moriches, and Center Moriches, respectively.[17]  Religion, farming, and the construction of mills were a large part of early life.

Early communities mirrored New England democracy and theocracy with the town meeting as the sole method of government.[18]  However, Puritanism was less strict than in other parts of Long Island.[19]  Still, the church and the gospel ministry played a role in the administration of civil affairs.[20]  The first church in the immediate area, “The Meeting House in Brookhaven,” was an extension of the church in Setauket, located in what is now South Haven where the south road, Montauk Highway, crossed Carmans River.  Churchgoers traveled from the Moriches for service.[21]  The first local church in Centre Moriches, “The Union Meeting House,” was erected in 1809 on the northeast corner of Railroad Avenue and Main Street, just west of the present church built in 1839.  Both the Congregational and Presbyterian Church used the building for several years.  By 1849, the Presbyterian Church became the primary tenant.  The building was enlarged twice between the years 1861 and 1886.  An additional Presbyterian chapel was established in East Moriches in 1870 at the corner of Culver Lane and Montauk Highway.  The current chapel was constructed in 1902.[22]

Presbyterian Church of the Moriches, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)
Presbyterian Church of the Moriches, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)
United Methodist Church, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)
United Methodist Church, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)
Episcopal Church, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)
Episcopal Church, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)

The cemetery located south of the Presbyterian Church of the Moriches, the Olde Beachfern Road Cemetery or Old Presbyterian Church Cemetery, holds the remains of five Revolutionary patriots as well as some of the founding fathers of Centre Moriches.  The earliest burial was Charity Havens in 1774 and the last was Abigail Post in 1843.[23]  The Smith family cemetery in East Moriches also holds Revolutionary soldiers.  The local family history begins with Nathaniel Smith, grandson of Richard Bull Smith founder of Smithtown, who owned a large plantation on the east bank of the Terrell River.  Another descendant, Colonel Josiah Smith, led troops from Brookhaven town to the Battle of Long Island at Brooklyn in 1776.  The cemetery, on Paquatuck Avenue a quarter-mile south of Montauk Highway in East Moriches, holds the colonel’s remains in addition to family members and other soldiers.[24]  Colonel Smith’s headstone features the carving of a bodiless head surrounded by wings, common for the time period.[25]

Old Presbyterian Cemetery, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)
Old Presbyterian Cemetery, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)

Another prominent family name was Havens.  Descendants constructed the present day Havens Homestead.  The property was purchased by John Havens II in 1755 from Thomas Conkling, who acquired it from Colonel William Smith.  He later gave the land and the buildings to his son.[26]  The homestead, formerly on the south side of Montauk Highway, moved to its present location west of Kalers Pond in 1971 and features a small historical building constructed in the late eighteenth century.  Additionally, a large three-story connection was built around 1890, featuring a meeting room, museum, and library.[27]  The building is home to the Moriches Bay Historical Society which was founded on December 8, 1965 and granted a charter in 1966.[28]

Another historic structure on Montauk Highway is the Havens-Terry-Ketcham Inn, home to the Ketcham Inn Foundation.  The original building dates from the seventeenth century, with additions added circa 1700 and 1754.  A separate structure was built adjacent to it in 1710 and the last addition was built circa 1790.  During the Revolution, innkeeper Benjamin Havens spied on the British Fort St. George at nearby Mastic.  Later, William Terry and his wife Mary Carman bought the property.  Their descendants also ran the farm and inn.  The inn housed Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who visited William Floyd in nearby Mastic around 1790.  Andrew Ketcham bought the Inn in 1852.  It was in use until it was sold in 1989.  In 1993, a group of local citizens purchased the buildings and grounds after raising $175,000.  Since that time restoration efforts have been made to restore the building to its original condition.[29]

Terry-Ketcham Inn (Center Moriches, December 28, 2013)
Terry-Ketcham Inn (Center Moriches, December 28, 2013)
Havens House, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)
Havens House, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)

Greater Moriches also featured several mills.  Since the movement of farm goods on Long Island was by water, communities were started on the banks of rivers of creeks.  In the Moriches area, the landscape offered protected anchorage and places to load and unload cargo.  As time progressed, streams were dammed to make waterfalls or sluiceways to run machinery, which grinded grain and sawed lumber.[30]  In addition, the damned streams furnished the water power to grind corn and wheat.[31]  The Terrell River saw and grist mill was built by Oliver Smith in 1737.  It was destroyed by the hurricane of 1938.[32]  While it did not feature a mill, the adjacent Kalers Pond was used for skating in the winter and swimming in the summer.[33]  Prior to the man-made product, ice was cut here and then moved to ice houses, stored in saw dust or hay, to be sold in the summer season.[34]  As early as 1832, rolled paper was shipped from the old paper mill at twin ponds on the present day Moriches and Mastic border.  By 1884 the operation was moved to Forge Station to the west and the mill abandoned.[35]  In later years, mill dams became roadways and enlarged to carry automobiles.

East Millpond, (West) Moriches (June 2, 2013)
East Millpond, (West) Moriches (June 2, 2013)

The Gilded Age and the Coming of the Long Island Rail Road

The nineteenth century brought many changes to the Moriches.  Like other areas of Suffolk County, soldiers and their families who returned from exile in Connecticut rebuilt homes and farms.  Those who had remained, were levied a tax since they were unable to contribute their fair share to the war effort.[36]  As the century progressed, transportation and infrastructure improved, the population increased, industry grew, and the area became a playground for the wealthy from New York.  By 1874, greater Moriches was firmly established as East Moriches, Centre Moriches, and West Moriches.[37]

West Cove, East Moriches (December 28, 2013)
West Cove, East Moriches (December 28, 2013)

Road construction in the Moriches started in the eighteenth century.  Between 1703 and 1793, one of the first roads to be cleared and laid out was Main Road through the Moriches, which also went by the names King’s Highway, South Country Road, South Post Road, Merrick Road, Sunrise Highway, and Montauk Highway.  By 1874 the thoroughfare was widened to sixty-six feet.  The first path from East to Centre Moriches ran north of the present road to avoid the Terrell River.  However, on April 2, 1793 the commissioners of Brookhaven town legislated that Oliver Smith’s dam was the passage.  The present pathway was constructed in 1914 with fill pumped from the Terrell River.  One of the earliest north to south road was Railroad Avenue in 1852, earlier known as Old Church Road, or Manor Road.  It was widened in 1881.  Another north to south road, Ocean Avenue, was built in 1859.[38]

By the latter half of the nineteenth century, Long Island’s South Shore blossomed into a resort destination for the affluent of New York City and Brooklyn.  Many large estates defined the waterfront of Centre Moriches.  The largest was the Masury Estate, located between Forge River and Senix Creek.  John W. Masury was a wealthy Brooklyn paint manufacturer and held the patent for the lip closure on paint cans.  He built a summer cottage along the Forge River and adorned the landscape as far as what became Masury Point with formal gardens and swimming pools.  Following his death in 1898, his widow erected an additional summer residence near the mouth of the West Senix.  The homestead featured a bowling alley, billiard room, card room, solarium, and ballroom.  It was used by the Masury family until 1938.[39]  Today the estate is the location of the Holiday Beach Property Owners Association, a residential development comprised of over five hundred and seven homes.  The former estate ballroom serves as its clubhouse.[40]  Other estates in the Moriches included the Dana Estate, Ivanhoe Estate, Leslie Estate, and McAleenan Estate.[41]  East Moriches featured Watchogue House, Hotel Beechview, and Tuthill Point House.[42]

Masury Point, Moriches Bay (January 1, 2014)
Masury Point, Moriches Bay (January 1, 2014)
Areskonk Creek, Center Moriches (January 1, 2014)
Areskonk Creek, Center Moriches (January 1, 2014)

In addition to the estates, the Moriches also featured large hotels.  The three-story Riverside House, located at the end of Bowditch Lane on Senix Creek, accommodated up to sixty people.  It was later destroyed by the 1938 hurricane.  Another hotel was the summer-only Breeze Cottage, located at 77 Union Avenue, held forty vacationers.[43]  Situated at the end of Ocean Avenue on the bay, the Clearview Hotel, built in 1904, housed over one hundred guests and was later damaged by the hurricane.  Built in 1858, the Long Island Hotel located at 386 Main Street is still being run as a bar and restaurant.[44]  Another famous summer getaway, the Brooklyn Hotel located at Bowditch Lane west of Union Avenue, held three hundred visitors and maintained a New York office for booking.[45]  Among notable guests was New York Governor Alfred E. Smith who spent summers at both the Brooklyn and Clearview Hotels.[46]  The Lindenmere Hotel, off Sedgemere Road, was first a private estate belonging to Mrs. Kiely and later became known as the Leslie Estate.  Heavily damaged by the 1938 hurricane, it was rebuilt by Otto and Marie Amende as the Lindenmere Hotel.  It would close in 1972 and become a private residence.  At one time, it belonged to Imelda Marcos of the Philippines who restored it to its original grandeur.[47]

terrel-river-county-park-center-moriches-6-2_1
terrel-river-county-park-center-moriches-6-2_1

Summer resident Dr. William Carr, a Brooklyn dentist, was responsible for the construction of the Senix Building, the Moriches Inn, and the Carr Block.  He also had Central Avenue renamed Bellevue Avenue to honor his medical school in New York.[48]  Carr also donated land in 1889 for the first fire house on Main Street.[49]  Of note, in the early 1920s, local business sponsored a traveling entertainment group, the Chautauqua, which came to the village one week every summer to entertain.  Similar to vaudeville, the performances were held in a large tent.[50]

Modern amenities by the turn of the twentieth century included newspapers, electricity, a radio station, and several life-saving stations.  The first newspaper published was the Moriches Messenger from 1888 to 1890.  It later became the Messenger.  Another paper was the Centre Moriches Record from 1900 to 1937.  The Moriches Tribune was printed from 1937 to 1961 and then combined with the Patchogue Advance.  Electricity extended from the Patchogue Electric Company to Moriches in 1909, with a large steam turbine generator installed in 1912.  The company was acquired by LILCO in 1964.  An early radio station was based at the end of Smith Street.[51]  Since shipwrecks were common in the area, in 1849 Congress allocated money for life-saving stations.  With no manpower to operate them, area residents formed volunteer groups.  The Moriches Life-Saving Station was built in the 1850s.  By 1871, government funding permitted stations to be operated by the United States Life Saving Service (USLSS).  The organization would later become the United States Coast Guard in 1915.  The present station at East Moriches was built between 1940 and 1941.[52]  Among the many wrecks at Moriches was the Savannah, the first ship to use steam to cross the Atlantic, on November 5, 1821.[53]

USCG Lighthouse, East Moriches (December 28, 2013)
USCG Lighthouse, East Moriches (December 28, 2013)

The most important asset to the growth of Moriches was arguably the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR).  Without passenger and freight service from New York City and Brooklyn, the three communities would not have been able to prosper in the Gilded Age.  In January of 1881, Austin Corbin assumed a receivership role of the bankrupt railroad and pledged to extend the Montauk Division beyond Patchogue.  The plan would give south shore residents direct access to Riverhead and Sag Harbor, since it would connect with the existing LIRR trackage at Eastport, called Moriches Station.  There was even a suggestion that the Main Line be abandoned or reduced to a freight line since the proposed extension passed through a fertile and rapidly-growing country whereas the Main Line between Farmingdale and Riverhead traversed wilderness.[54]

By mid-February 1881, railroad officials offered cash for land rights in the Moriches.  Citizens later held a meeting on March 8, 1881 to assist the railroad in obtaining a right-of-way.  By April, Supreme Court Justice Dykman appointed a commission to condemn land that could not otherwise be purchased.  Ultimately, on April 12, 1881, Corbin was granted permission to extend the road fifteen miles beyond Patchogue to a junction with the LIRR at Eastport.  Sub-contractors Kingsley & Co. began work on April 20.  Due to an iron scarcity, Main Line rails from Winfield Junction to Jamaica were utilized for the new road.  By the end of April, construction was underway at Bellport and on May 3 at East Moriches.  At this time, Corbin convened a stockholders’ meeting to finance the work, which was estimated at one-million dollars.  By July, the entire roadbed was completed.[55]  The new route formally opened on Sunday, July 17, as new Montauk Division timetables went into effect. Regular service began on Thursday, October 27.[56]

The LIRR Montauk Division extension from Patchogue to Eastport established a new station in Centre Moriches, referred to in timetables as Moriches Station.[57]  It was the first railroad facility in the greater Moriches area and envisaged to serve residents of the three villages.  A depot building was completed by October of 1881,[58] just east of Railroad Avenue south of the tracks.  The old Moriches Station on the Sag Harbor Branch of the LIRR Main Line was renamed Eastport Station.[59]

Center Moriches Station
Historical Fact
Date
Station opened as Moriches Station July 17, 1881 (author’s analysis)
Regular passenger service began July 27, 1881 (author’s analysis)
Depot building opened October 1881 (author’s analysis)
Renamed Centre Moriches Station Mid-May 1897 (author’s analysis)
Renamed Center Moriches Station February 1943 (author’s analysis)
Station agency closed January 1959 (author’s analysis)
Station agent reassigned February 11, 1959 (author’s analysis)
Depot building razed April 1964
Three-sided, shed-roofed metal passenger shelter erected Early 1964 (author’s analysis)
Metal passenger shelter razed October 1985 (author’s analysis)
Three-sided, gable-roofed cedar wood passenger shelter erected October 1985 (author’s analysis)
Cedar wood passenger shelter dedicated October 26, 1985 (author’s analysis)
Last passenger service March 15, 1998 (author’s analysis)
Station closed March 16, 1998 (author’s analysis)
Cedar wood passenger shelter razed After March 1998 (author’s analysis)
LIRR Center Moriches Station depot, Railroad Avenue grade crossing, view east, circa 1963 (Dave Keller Archive)
LIRR Center Moriches Station depot building, Railroad Avenue grade crossing, view east (Circa 1963: Dave Keller Archive)

Citizen outcry for an East Moriches station began as early as February of 1881.  While the proposed Forge Station in Mastic would service West Moriches, the planned Eastport Station was too distant for residents of East Moriches.[60]  In 1892, the newly-formed Village Improvement Society of East Moriches appealed to the LIRR for a depot.  While unsuccessful, the road did install a side track.[61]  Another attempt was made in 1895 when, on July 10, the State Railroad Commission held a meeting to determine whether or not a station stop was needed in the community.[62]  The commission denied the petition, determining that “as now operated the trains of the company [could not] conveniently increase their stops.”   However, resident perseverance eventually paid off.  The station was finally granted and a new depot building opened in the mid-May of 1897, east of Pine Street on the south side of the tracks.[63]  Henceforth, LIRR timetables identified the stations as Centre Moriches and East Moriches.[64]

East Moriches Station
Historical Fact
Date
Station and depot building opened Mid-May 1897 (author’s analysis)
Depot building destroyed by fire September 19, 1936 (author’s analysis)
Depot building replaced Fall 1936 (author’s analysis)
Last passenger service October 3, 1958 (author’s analysis)
Station closed October 6, 1958
Depot building sold After 1958
LIRR East Moriches Station, first depot building, view southeast (June, 1930: Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Book 7 (photo 160), Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries)
LIRR East Moriches Station, platform and first depot building, view southeast (June, 1930: Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Book 7 (photo 160), Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries)

The 1938 Hurricane and the Closure of East Moriches Station

The twentieth century brought great change to the Moriches.  One of the most significant was the hurricane of 1938.  On September 21, the great storm tore through Long Island and wiped out $2.5-million worth of property.  While no loss of life was reported in the Moriches, the cyclone marked the end of the great resorts.  Many of the estates were essentially destroyed.[65]  For the remainder of the twentieth century, greater Moriches felt the hurricane’s effects.  Additionally, the advent of automobile travel meant an infrastructure change to east end communities and the closure of East Moriches Station.

First, a name change was in store as well as the addition of a library.  In the 1930s, Harry Abramson, former principal of the Centre Moriches School, founded a one-man committee of the Chamber of Commerce to investigate the proper spelling of the community, centre or center.  After review with the Federal Bureau on Names in Washington, Abrahamson determined center was appropriate and the hamlet permanently took on the name Center Moriches.[66]  In 1914, the Center Moriches Village Improvement Society discussed the need for a library.  It finally opened in April of 1921 in a room over the “Truck House,” the old fire house at the corner of Main and Clinton Streets.  In 1923 it moved to the second floor of the Goldsmith Store on Main Street.  Later, the society, now re-named the Moriches Woman’s Club, acquired a building on Lake Avenue for the library in 1928.  It opened on February 14, 1930.  The library moved back to a Main Street building in 1957.  Subsequently, the present location on Main Street opened in 1988.[67]

Following the name change, the Moriches Chamber of Commerce requested the LIRR change the spelling of Centre Moriches on its timetables, tickets, and station depot in February of 1943.  Chamber president, August H. Stoute, Jr, reiterated that center was accepted and used by other organizations, including the post office, school, banks, and telephone company.[68]

On the other-side-of-town, the East Moriches Station depot was destroyed by fire on September 19, 1936.  In light of this, a temporary office was housed in the freight building east of the station.  For the previous two years, there was not a regular stationmaster, as George S. Journeay was transferred to Quogue.[69]  A brick building replaced the former structure within months of the fire.[70]  While service to Centre Moriches between 1903 and 1916 was roughly half-dozen trains per weekday, both eastbound and westbound, East Moriches typically received a bit less.  Weekend service was under five station stops.[71] [72]  By 1942, five trains stopped at both stations weekdays, in both directions.  A flag stop was required for three of the East Moriches trains.  Weekend service in 1942 was three trains for Center Moriches and two for East Moriches, and featured one Sunday parlor car.[73]  Parlor cars, with reserved seats at a premium fare, featured service amenities and became very popular in the twentieth century.

LIRR East Moriches Station depot, view southeast (June 20, 1955: Will V. Faxon, Jr. photo, Dave Keller Archive)
LIRR East Moriches Station second depot building, view southeast (June 20, 1955: Will V. Faxon, Jr. photo, Dave Keller Archive)

No doubt the change in LIRR service was the result of the automobile.  In the mid-1920s, in light of the countless summer attractions along south shore, motor touring on Long Island grew in popularity.[74]  This was aided in 1929 by the new Sunrise (Conduit) Boulevard as an alternate to Merrick Road from Rockville Centre to Amityville.[75]  A 1931 estimate from the Long Island Chamber of Commerce suggested there was a ten percent increase in automobile movement from 1929 to 1930.  Local and state governments were called on to construct new highways and expand existing thoroughfares.  In 1931, work commenced to extend Sunrise Highway through Great River to connect with the recently-widened Montauk Highway between Brookhaven and the Moriches.[76]

Locally, a traffic obelisk was placed at Union Avenue and Main Street, topped with blinking light.  Another was erected at Railroad Avenue and Main Street.[77]  The increase in traffic also required the elimination of grade crossings as accidents involving locomotives and automobiles were all too common in the Moriches.  The East Moriches crossing of Montauk Highway cost two hundred thousand dollars in a 1929 state-funded project.[78]  One of the most-deadliest grade crossings was at Pine Street near the East Moriches Station.  On November 27, 1941, a couple was killed in their car at the unprotected crossing, which simply featured a warning sign.[79]  Finally, on March 27, 1959, the New York State Public Service Commission announced that a new automatic gate was to be installed at the location, with installation completed by March 31, 1960.[80]

LIRR EMD DE30AC number 416 of eastbound train number 8730 at the location of the former LIRR East Moriches Station, Pine Street crossing, view east (December 28, 2013)
LIRR EMD DE30AC number 416 of eastbound train number 8730 at the location of the former LIRR East Moriches Station, Pine Street crossing, view east (December 28, 2013)

In light of its popularity, many residents preferred automobiles over the LIRR.  In fact, the company felt the effects of lower ridership for the remainder of the century and questioned the need for some stations.  In a cost-cutting measure, the Montauk Division’s eastbound express train to the Moriches and Hamptons, The Cannon Ball, was discontinued in the fall of 1949.  Resident dissatisfaction led to the Brookhaven Town Board sending a resolution to the state Public Service Commission.[81]  In response, the Suffolk County legislature and the State Public Service Commission suggested a thorough investigation of the road’s operations.  The commission held that “the proper operation of the [LIRR] [was] essential to the life, progress and prosperity on Long Island.”  Also, a Hampton Bays lawyer suggested that the plan to eliminate the fifty year-old Cannon Ball service was the precursor of a probable attempt to discontinue all east end service.[82]  Following a public hearing on January 12, 1950, the famed express train was reinstated with enhancements and the railroad also contemplated a morning westbound Cannon Ball from Montauk to New York.  The new Cannon Ball was pulled by a diesel train, not steam, which meant it would not have to stop for water.  Eastbound service began January 30, 1950, with a Center Moriches stop at 5:45 p.m.[83]  By 1951, the schedule was tweaked to a 6:00 p.m. station stop at Center Moriches, with preceding stops at Sayville, Patchogue, Bellport, and Mastic.[84]

In another cost-cutting attempt in May of 1952, LIRR trustee William Wyer disclosed in a radio interview that a comprehensive study was underway to determine the profitability of the Montauk Branch.  Wyer commented that if the branch couldn’t sustain itself financially “petitions for abandonment must be [sic] filed and public hearings advertised and held.”  There was even speculation of a takeover of the struggling railroad by the New York State Long Island Transit Authority.  To add credence to the rumors of service cuts and abandonment, the new summer timetable to go into effect on June 23, 1952 eliminated the Cannon Ball stop at Center Moriches.  The announcement drew a sharp letter of protest from both Chamber President Stout and others who criticized the railroad’s suggestion that riders utilize Yaphank Station as a substitute.[85]  One Patchogue Advance editorial blasted the company stating that people had no choice but to select other means of transportation.  It went on to say that abandonment of east end service would have a crippling effect on Long Island.[86]  Once again, public outcry led to reinstatement and victory for the local Chamber of Commerce.  By July, the Cannon Ball was making its regular stop at Center Moriches.[87]

Meanwhile, despite receiving a fresh coat of paint as part of the LIRR’s “Operation Paintbrush” in the spring of 1955,[88] service continued to diminish at East Moriches depot.  In September of 1951, passenger service at Center Moriches was seven weekday trains and half-dozen or less on weekends, eastbound and westbound.  East Moriches saw six weekday trains and only a handful on the weekends.[89]  By 1956, weekday passenger service at East Moriches was five trains or under, both eastbound and westbound, a majority of which were flag stops.  Saturday and Sunday service was down to a minimum.[90]  The projection for the fall of 1958 was more dismal, with weekend service eliminated and daily service down to one flag stop a day in both directions.  It was no surprise that the LIRR petitioned to discontinue East Moriches Station at a public hearing before the state Public Service Commission on June 5, 1958.[91]  In spite of opposition by the Brookhaven town board, the commission approved the discontinuation of passenger service at East Moriches Station on September 11, 1958 based on both  railroad statistics and since the station was less than two miles from Center Moriches.[92]  It was estimated that less than one passenger used East Moriches daily.  Annual savings was estimated at about $2,450.  Freight operations of at least a car load would continue.  The agent who handled East Moriches was also assigned to Center Moriches.[93]  At the time Ronald Chapman was the station agent for both Moriches stations.[94]  A public hearing about the closure was held Friday, October 3 to no avail.  On October 3, 1958,[95] the last westbound train to flag stop at East Moriches was the 5:30 a.m., and the last eastbound flag stop was the 6:56 p.m.[96]  There was no service the following Monday.

LIRR Schedule in Effect September 2, 1958, Time Tables: The last westbound Montauk Branch timetable to mark service to East Moriches Station
LIRR Montauk Division Timetable Effective September 2, 1958: The last westbound Montauk Branch timetable to mark service to East Moriches Station
LIRR Schedule in Effect September 2, 1958, Time Tables: The last eastbound Montauk Branch timetable to mark service to East Moriches Station
LIRR Montauk Division Timetable Effective September 2, 1958: The last eastbound Montauk Branch timetable to mark service to East Moriches Station
Location of the former LIRR East Moriches Station, view east, December 28, 2013
Location of the former LIRR East Moriches Station, view east (December 28, 2013)
Former LIRR East Moriches Station depot building, view west (December 28, 2013)
Former LIRR East Moriches Station depot building, view west (December 28, 2013)

In addition to the closure, the LIRR also proposed elimination of agents at several stations throughout eastern Long Island, one being Center Moriches.  In response, the agent’s union, the Order of Railroad Telegraphers, held a meeting to discuss the planned shutdowns at the Sunrise Restaurant in Center Moriches.[97]  At the October 3 public hearing, residents voiced objections since rumors sparked an outcry from the populace and local business.[98]  Some speculated that it signaled the termination of passenger service at the station but the LIRR assured the community that only a very radical change in conditions would lead to abandonment.[99]  In the end, the Public Service Commission granted permission to the cut the Center Moriches Station agent in December of 1958.  Direct handling of under a carload of freight also ended.  Comparable service was assigned to Yaphank Station.[100]  Sadly, the depot building at Center Moriches was razed in April of 1964 and a three-sided, shed-roofed metal passenger shelter erected.[101]

It was the threat of competition that eventually forced the LIRR to alter East End service.  During a railroad workers’ strike in August of 1960, Long Island Transit Systems, Inc. operated bus service from Riverhead and Manhattan with a total of four buses carrying three hundred passengers daily.  Following the strike, the bus company requested to continue service but the LIRR petitioned the Public Service Commission.  Citing competition, the railroad claimed that if the bus company persisted it would be forced to reduce service and increase fares.  It was at this time that LIRR directors considered operating its own bus subsidiary in Suffolk County to supplement its train service.[102]

On July 30, 1962, the LIRR announced plans to use buses to supplement its twice-a-day rail service between New York and Montauk.  The coordinated operation over an eighty-four mile route along the South Shore was proposed after the successful debut of bus service from Huntington to Greenport to replace east end Main Line service.  On the South Shore, connection from bus to electric train was to be provided at Amityville.[103]

Of course, the company first needed permission from local jurisdictions and, secondly approval from the Public Service Commission.  On May 10, 1963, the commission endorsed the service called “Road ‘N’ Rail Route,” which ran through the Moriches along Montauk Highway from Shirley to the Shinnecock Canal.[104]  Next, four new air-conditioned buses were ordered and plans called for six daily roundtrips.[105]  Finally, buses began serving the Moriches area on June 8, 1963.  At opening ceremonies, LIRR President Thomas Goodfellow said: “I have no doubt that the day will come when we will need and want to double, triple, and even quadruple train service here along the south shore.”[106]  The new service brought LIRR service back to East Moriches.  The passenger bus stop was located at Pine Street and Montauk Highway.  The Center Moriches stop was at Nevins Street and Main Street[107] but later moved to Union Avenue and Main Street.[108]

Despite extended service, the ongoing employee strike threats gave the road a bad commuter grade throughout the 1960s and 1970s.  In fact, one day in August of 1968 the company, claiming that it was plagued by a lack of electric cars in good operating order, cancelled over fifty trains.  The railroad, now owned and operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), attributed the shortage to an alleged slowdown by union carmen who inspected and repaired them.  The unions countered that the LIRR canceled trains for publicity.  In essence, the MTA was attempting to improve efficiency and replace aging equipment.  However, the hard-nosed corporate attitude created conflicts with union workers.[109]

In the end, lack of operating trains equated to crowded conditions and agitated commuters.  Ridership declined with every service plight, strike, or fare increase.  Between 1964 and 1973, yearly passenger statistics fell from over seventy-seven million to seventy million.  Despite a population increase in Central Suffolk and the gas shortage caused by the OPEC crisis, travelers preferred automobiles over the struggling railroad.[110]  By 1975, six eastbound weekday trains stopped at Center Moriches and five westbound.  In addition, five buses made eastbound stops at both Moriches stops while four stopped westbound.  Train service on the weekends was down to two station stops at Center Moriches both ways with no bus service at both stations.  The lack of weekend service to the growing communities challenged tourist potential.  In light of rising gas prices,  the company would have to reinvent its east end operations to provide vacationers an alternate means of transportation.[111]

LIRR crossing, East Millpond, (West) Moriches (June 2, 2013)
LIRR crossing, East Millpond, (West) Moriches (June 2, 2013)

The End of the Twentieth Century and Termination of Center Moriches Station

In the late twentieth century, the Moriches was revitalized as a middle-class suburb and tourist destination.  Following World War II, the large estates were subdivided to meet demand for homes as an influx of permanent residents moved in.  To protect the waterfront, the Moriches Inlet was secured for boating.[112]  As the population quickly increased, efficient public transportation was needed.  The formation of the Hampton Jitney express bus service challenged the LIRR’s domination and a restructuring of East End operations became a priority.  While Center Moriches Station eventually closed, Montauk Branch service improved at the end of the twentieth century, with modern rolling stock and premium service.

In the early 1980s, Center Moriches received federal funds that transformed the community to a competitive East End destination.  The program was administered under the Brookhaven Community Development Agency and financed by a block grant designed to help neighborhoods suffering in the wake of the mid-twentieth century suburban sprawl in Suffolk County.  In total, Center Moriches received approximately $2-million to restore the locale to a turn-of-the-twentieth-century style village.  In addition to utility improvements, other renovations included the repaving of sidewalks to traditional brick and concrete patterns, and the installation of gaslights on Main Street.[113]

Main Street, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)
Main Street, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)

The upgrades proved to be a success.  In total, the population of all three Moriches nearly doubled between 1970 and 1989, the fastest in Brookhaven town.[114]  As early as the summer of 1975, merchants hoped to attract national chain motels through publication of advertising pamphlets showing the area’s potential.[115]  They also set up storefronts with wood facades and hand-carved signs to conform to traditional style.  As the 1980s progressed, a handful of modern condominiums were built in East Moriches.[116]  Gone was the Peking duck farms in the Moriches, with much of the land reused for private residence.  In 1986, construction was underway at the Waterways at Bay Pointe where over a hundred condominiums were planned at the Forge River shore site where a duck farm was once located.[117]  The Peking duck was introduced to Long Island in the early twentieth century.  Business thrived, but after the 1938 hurricane laws were enacted to eliminate duck pollutants in Moriches Bay.  In the 1960s there were more than sixty farms between the Moriches and the Great Peconic Bay.  By 2008, only one remained in the Moriches, the Jurgielewicz farm.[118]

Montauk Highway, East Moriches (December 28, 2013)
Montauk Highway, East Moriches (December 28, 2013)

Residents also wanted to maintain the tranquility.  When Medi-Corps Developers, Inc. planned to build fifty homes in 1986, public objection killed a rezoning change that was to allow for multi-family housing.  The town board officially denied the plan in June of 1987.[119] [120]

One of the key factors in the growth of greater Moriches as a boating destination was stabilization of the Moriches Inlet.  Since European exploration, inlets existed from the ocean to the bay.  The present Moriches Inlet occurred during a storm on March 7, 1931.  Fortunately, it flushed out pollutants from the duck farms and brought fish back to the bay.[121]  However, erosion sealed it by 1951 resulting in pollution and the end of a $1,000,000 shellfish industry.  Two years later, a project was approved by that state, county, and Brookhaven town to reopen the channel.  Nevertheless the inlet needed to be widened and deepened to secure the oyster industry.  Then-Parks Commissioner Robert Moses opposed the effort and in 1957 called for the abandonment of the channel.  His focus was on the Shinnecock Inlet and wanted to secure the Moriches for a highway.[122]  He planned to extend Ocean Parkway through Moriches Inlet and beyond.  His vision was met with strict opposition from wealthy Fire Islanders and environmentalists who wanted to save the dunes.  Fortunately, a bill introduced in 1964 by Suffolk County statesman Otis Pike created the Fire Island National Seashore, which preserved the entire area from further development.[123]  Finally, in the late 1980s the inlet was secured when work commenced on September 8, 1987 to lay out new jetties and dredge a ten-foot deep channel.[124]

With population on the rise and tourists attracted to the beaches, boating, yachting, yacht clubs, and waterfront dining that the Moriches offered, improved means of public transportation was necessary.  In the age of high gas prices and environmental awareness, the LIRR had the opportunity to gain back its ridership.  Competition provided the railroad another incentive to improve service.  In March of 1974, the private company Tide Transportation applied for permission to run an express bus from Montauk to a Queens subway station.  Another bus, named the Hampton Jitney was to run from Southampton to Amagansett, complete with bicycle rack.  The MTA opposed the plan since it threatened their existing rail and bus service.[125]  Nonetheless, in January of 1976 New York State approved the Tide Transportation plan and awarded a temporary permit.[126]

The LIRR reacted quickly.  New railroad timetables in effect May 23, 1976 expanded train service to the Hamptons and Moriches.  First, the “problem-prone bus service” on the South Shore was eliminated.  The LIRR conceded that the bus service faced many problems and couldn’t cope with an overly large quantity of passengers.  Second, express trains were instituted.[127]  For Center Moriches Station, one additional weekday train was added, both eastbound and westbound.  Weekend service remained at two station stops both ways.[128]  However, within a year there was an additional eastbound weekend train.[129]

Third, and most important, the LIRR revamped its premeum service.  Since 1957 the introduction of a LIRR special services department hoped to resurrect east end parlor car service and revitalize bar car service.  By 1968, Center Moriches Station was an evening stop on both the all-year weekday eastbound Cannon Balland the summer-only weekday eastbound East Ender, both featured a combination of parlor and coach cars.  Additionally, the weekday morning westbound Cannon Ball, and the summer-only Sunday and holiday afternoon westbound Ebb Tide, made station stops at Center Moriches.[130]

To rehabilitate its fleet, in 1977 the LIRR retired older parlor cars and rebuilt eleven electric multi-unit coaches into parlor cars to operate on the railroad’s diesel push-and-pull fleet.  In 1989 one of the eleven parlor cars was given its own diesel generator to draw power from the third rail.  Also in 1989, LIRR rebuilt another coach as a parlor car with a diesel generator.  Dubbed the Sunrise Fleet, parlor car service was a feature on select trains serving Center Moriches and the East End.  Identified by a broad red stripe along the windows, the cars featured at-seat food and beverage service, and reserved seating at a premium price.  The 1978 parlor car schedule featured a Center Moriches stop on the mostly express-to-Montauk Cannon Ball, eastbound on Thursdays and Friday all-year at 6:19 p.m., and on the mostly express-to-Hunterspoint Avenue Station Cannon Ball, westbound on Mondays at 7:14 a.m.[131]

In the 1970s and 1980s, the LIRR received federal assistance to finance other improvements.  In December of 1976, the State Department of Transportation transferred $11.3 million in highway and trust funds for public transportation.  The railroad utilized the money for new signal systems and track rehabilitation.[132]  In 1981, a LIRR capital improvement plan, costing more than half a billion dollars, addressed some serious maintenance and capacity issues.  By November of that year, Center Moriches service was at a peak, with nine weekday eastbound and eight weekday westbound trains.  Weekend service improved to three eastbound and four westbound.[133]  The MTA rebuilt the station’s platform in 1985 and the Town of Brookhaven applied $65,000 of community development funds to construct an asphalt parking lot. The former metal shelter was replaced by a three-sided, gable-roofed cedar wood structure built by Chamber of Commerce volunteers from building materials donated by Chapman Lumber. It was dedicated on Saturday, October 26, 1985. Additionally, the Moriches Rotary Club provided landscaping services, including the planting of shrubs and bushes donated by Werner Sommer, a club member and local nurseryman.[134]

However, the 1990s spelled the end for LIRR service in the Moriches.  Service decreased to six daily weekday trains, in both directions.[135]  The announcement of a planned closure of the station was first issued in February of 1996.  Discontinuation would cut operating costs system-wide and prepare for the arrival of new double-decker cars to replace aged diesel coaches.  Since the new coaches did not have stairs to low-level platforms, high-level platforms needed to be constructed at stations that did not have them.  At a total cost of $42-million, the railroad claimed it couldn’t afford the upwards of $2-million to install platforms individually at little-used stations such as Center Moriches.  Susan McGowan, spokesman for the LIRR, stated that “some of the stations have only a handful of daily riders …and to upgrade the platforms at all thirteen [stations] to accommodate the new diesel fleet would not be fiscally responsible.”[136]

Center Moriches was designated as little-used station.  The railroad estimated that total daily ridership was twenty persons.[137]  An MTA public hearing in Suffolk was held on January 14, 1997 for residents and politicians to voice objections.  Suffolk County statesman Fred Towl said that Brookhaven town had forty percent of the county’s growth and the elimination of Center Moriches made little sense.[138]  Brookhaven town supervisor Felix Grucci threatened a suit against the MTA since four of the planned closures were within the town’s borders.[139]  While objections helped some stations, Center Moriches met its fate.  The railroad prepared posters at Center Moriches Station in February of 1998 to suggest travel options, such as Mastic-Shirley or Speonk stations.[140]  The official date of closure was March 16, 1998.  Therefore the last westbound coach to open its doors at Center Moriches was on Sunday March 15, 1998 at 2:06 p.m., and the last eastbound was scheduled at 9:03 p.m.[141]

LIRR Center Moriches Station and shelter, view east, circa December 1985 (Dave Keller Photo and Archive)
LIRR Center Moriches Station, platform and shelter, view east (Circa December 1985: Dave Keller Photo and Archive)
LIRR March 16 Station Closings Notice: The announcement provided customers with an alternate transportation guide
LIRR March 16 Station Closings Notice:
The announcement provided customers with an alternate transportation guide
LIRR Montauk Branch Timetable Effective November 17, 1997: The last timetable to mark service to Center Moriches Station
LIRR Montauk Branch Timetable Effective November 17, 1997: The last timetable to mark service to Center Moriches Station
Location of the former LIRR Center Moriches Station, Railroad Avenue grade crossing, view east (June 2, 2013)
Location of the former LIRR Center Moriches Station, Railroad Avenue grade crossing, view east (June 2, 2013)
Location of the former LIRR Center Moriches Station shelter and platform, view west (June 2, 2013)
Location of the former LIRR Center Moriches Station shelter and platform, view west (June 2, 2013)

Conclusion

In the twenty-first century, the Moriches remains an East End suburban utopia.  The Chamber of Commerce of the Moriches sponsors several community events throughout the year, such as parades and fairs.  The downtown area features boutiques, dining, and parks.[142]  Today, the LIRR benefits the adjoining communities.  Dual-mode diesel service allows for a one-seat ride into New York without a transfer.  The enduring Cannon Ball express train, while no longer features parlor cars, departs from Penn Station rather than Long Island City.  In 2013, the road carried 83.4 million riders, a two percent overall increase from the previous year.  The Montauk Branch recorded an almost three percent increase from 2012.[143]  Sadly, the water off greater Moriches was the sight of the July 17, 1996 disaster of Trans World Airlines Flight 800.  The aircraft experienced an in-flight breakup and then crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near East Moriches.[144]  There are two memorials to the catastrophe in the Moriches.  One is at Kalers Pond.  The other is at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.  On October 24, 1996, a 500-pound, six-foot granite obelisk, with an airplane figure etched into the top, was unveiled at the cemetery.[145]

 

Moriches Bay Memorial Garden, Kalers Pond Park, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)
Moriches Bay Memorial Garden, Kalers Pond Park, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Center Moriches (December 28, 2013)

 

Next Page: Port Jefferson: The Rise of an Incorporated Village

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[1] R.L. Duffus, “An America in Miniature — Long Island,” New York Times (1923-Current file), May 31, 1936, http://www.proquest.com.

[2] “Lively Day at Centre Moriches,” New York Times (1923-Current file), June 30, 1895, http://www.proquest.com.

[3] Henry Isham Hazelton, The Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, Long Island, New York, 1609-1924 (New York: Lewis Historical, 1925), 809.

[4] Richard M. Bayles, Historicaland Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County with a Historical Outline of Long Island (Port Washington, NY: Ira J. Friedman Inc., 1962), 224-225.

[5] Van R. Field, “Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area (Excerpts),” Center Moriches Library, accessed on January 26, 2014, http://www.centermoricheslibrary.org/illushis.htm.

[6] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 226.

[7] Field, “Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area (Excerpts).”

[8] Mrs. James B.M. Bullock, Let’s Take a Walk Down Main Street, Center Moriches (Center Moriches, NY: Moriches Bay Historical Society, 1969).

[9] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 228-229.

[10] Van Field, “Early Moriches in the 17th and 18th Centuries,” Long Island Genealogy, accessed on January 26, 2014, http://longislandgenealogy.com/MorichesArea.htm.

[11] Field, “Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area (Excerpts).”

[12] 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), 144.

[13] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk,226.

[14] Ibid., 226-227.

[15] Field, “Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area (Excerpts).”

[16] Ibid.

[17] Field, “Early Moriches in the 17th and 18th Centuries.”

[18] Field, “Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area (Excerpts).”

[19] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 233.

[20] Ibid, 227.

[21] Field, “Early Moriches in the 17th and 18th Centuries.”

[22] Van Field, “Early Churches on Long Island,” Long Island Genealogy, accessed on January 26, 2014, http://www.longislandgenealogy.com/EarlyChurch.html.

[23] “Olde Beachfern Cemetery,” Find A Grave.com, accessed on January 26, 2014, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&CRid=2390749.

[24] Field, “Early Moriches in the 17th and 18th Centuries.”

[25] Members of the Catherine D. Afterman Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society of East Moriches School, Strolling Through old East Moriches: A Look at 19th century Main Street (East Moriches, N.Y.: the Society, 1983), 9.

[26] Van Field and Mary Field, The Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area (Center Moriches, New York: Van and Mary Field, 1990), 125.

[27] Members of the Catherine D. Afterman Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society of East Moriches School, Strolling Through old East Moriches, 1.

[28] August Stout, Jr., Pictorial History of the Moriches (Center Moriches, NY: Central Press, [1964].

[29] “The Havens-Terry-Ketcham Inn,” Long Island Genealogy, accessed on January 26, 2014, http://longislandgenealogy.com/inn/inn.html.

[30] Field, Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area, 13.

[31] Field, “Early Moriches in the 17th and 18th Centuries.”

[32] Field, Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area, 13-17.

[33] Bullock, Let’s Take a Walk Down Main Street.

[34] Stout, Pictorial History of the Moriches.

[35] Field, Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area, 13.

[36] Field, “Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area (Excerpts).”

[37] Thomas R. Bayles, Brookhaven Villages of 1874 (Brookhaven, NY: Brookhaven Town Bicentennial Commission, 1976).

[38] Field, Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area, 17.

[39] Ibid., 197.

[40] “Welcome,” Holiday Beach Property Owners Association, accessed on January 26, 2014,  http://hbpoa.com.

[41] Field, Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area, 208-211.

[42] Ibid., 167.

[43] Ibid., 169.

[44] Ibid., 172-173.

[45] Ibid., 178-179.

[46] “A Past of Elegant Hotels,” Moriches Bay Tide, April 15, 1982.

[47] Field, Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area, 181.

[48] Ibid., 129.

[49] Stout, Pictorial History of the Moriches.

[50] Field, Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area, 127.

[51] Ibid., 24-25.

[52] Ibid., 28.

[53] Ibid., 30.

[54] Vincent F. Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 6, The Golden Age 1881-1900 (Garden City, NY: Seyfried, 1984), 44.

[55] Ibid., 45-46.

[56] “Gossip on the Rail,” South Side Signal (Babylon), July 16, 1881, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com; “Over the New Road,” The Corrector (Sag Harbor), July 30, 1881, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[57] Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Box 13, Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries, Long Island Rail Road Time Tables, Schedule in Effect June 27, 1895, by Long Island Rail Road (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1895), Montauk Branch.

[58] “Gossip on the Rail,” South Side Signal (Babylon), December 10, 1881, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com; “At the New Stations,” The Corrector (Sag Harbor), October 22, 1881, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com

[59] Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 6, 271.

[60] “East, West & Centre Moriches,” South Side Signal (Babylon), February 19, 1881, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[61] “A Long Island Improvement Society,” South Side Signal (Babylon), November 7, 1896, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[62] “News of the Railroads: Various Matters before the State Commissioners.” New York Times (1923-Current file), July 9, 1895, http://www.proquest.com.

[63] “Brookhaven Town Record: East Moriches,” South Side Signal (Babylon), April 3, 1897, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[64] Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Box 13, Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries, Long Island Rail Road Time Tables, Schedule in Effect June 23, 1898, by Long Island Rail Road (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1898), Montauk Branch.

[65] Field, Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area, 271-272.

[66] Long Island Forum, April, 1964, 86.

[67] Field, “Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area (Excerpts).”

[68] Stout, Pictorial History of the Moriches.

[69] “Scrapbook of Clara Harriet (Young) Terry of East Moriches, New York,” Long Island Genealogy, accessed on March 22, 2014, http://longislandgenealogy.com/Scrapbook/Scrapbook.pdf.

[70] “East Moriches is Community with Vitality, Good Prospects: Leaders Hope Village Will Become Grain and Fuel Oil Port as well as Commercial Fishing Center,” Patchogue Advance, August 1, 1946, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[71] Long Island Railroad Company, Long Island Railroad Company Time Table No. 26, For the Government and Information of Employees Only, In Effect 12.01 A.M., Wednesday, May 27th, 1903 (New York: Long Island Railroad Company, 1903), Montauk Branch.

[72] Long Island Railroad, Effective October 17th, 1916, Corrected to Dec. 6th, 1916, Long Island Railroad Schedule of Trains (New York: Long Island Railroad, 1916), Montauk Branch.

[73] 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.

[74] “Motor Touring on Long Island: Better Traffic Conditions This Season,” New York Times (1923-Current file), May 8, 1927, http://www.proquest.com.

[75] “Suggests Jaunt on Long Island: Run to Montauk Point before Summer,” New York Times (1923-Current file), May 12, 1929, http://www.proquest.com.

[76] “Long Island Readies for Growing Traffic: Hupp’s Free-Wheeling Six,” New York Times (1923-Current file), January 4, 1931, http://www.proquest.com.

[77] Field, Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area, 135.

[78] “Plans Elimination of 299 Crossings: Public Service Commission Lists,” New York Times (1923-Current file), November 28, 1929, http://www.proquest.com.

[79] “Couple Killed by Train: Long Island Express Strikes Their Auto at East Moriches,” New York Times (1923-Current file), November 28, 1941, http://www.proquest.com.

[80] “Automatic Devices Due at 7 L.I. Grades,” New York Times (1923-Current file), March 27, 1959, http://www.proquest.com.

[81] “Town’s Help Sought By LIRR’s Critics,” Patchogue Advance, December 15, 1949, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[82] “County Okays LIRR Probe, Asks Service Improvement,” Patchogue Advance, December 22, 1949, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[83] “Cannonball Resumes Run; Commuter Plaints Stilled,” Patchogue Advance, February 2, 1950, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[84] 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.

[85] “Cannonball Stop Eliminated Here on Summer Run: LIRR Express Won’t Halt Short of Westhampton; No Other Past Speonk,” Patchogue Advance, May 22, 1952,  http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[86] “Abandonment is Wrong Answer,” Patchogue Advance, October 30, 1952, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[87] “C. Moriches is Stop for Cannonball Now,” Patchogue Advance, July 3, 1952, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[88] “LIRR Stations Get Paint Brush in Area,” Patchogue Advance, June 9, 1955, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[89] Long Island Rail Road, Schedule in Effect September 9, 1951, Montauk Branch.

[90] 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.

[91] “Move to Cut LIRR Service Hit by Town,” Patchogue Advance, May 22, 1958, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[92] “3 L.I.R.R Stops Dropped,” New York Times (1923-Current file), September 12, 1958, http://www.proquest.com.

[93] “LIRR Set to Stop Brookhaven, EM and Eastport Service,” Patchogue Advance, September 18, 1958, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[94] “Busier Times Recalled by 3 Little Stations,” Patchogue Advance, September 25, 1958, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[95] “Long Island Rail Road: Alphabetical Station Listing and History,” Trains are Fun, accessed July 16, 2013, http://www.trainsarefun.com/lirrphotos/LIRR%20Station%20History.htm.

[96] 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.

[97] “LIRR Set to Stop Brookhaven, EM and Eastport Service.”

[98] “Hearing on LIRR Service Plans Set,” Patchogue Advance, September 25, 1958, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[99] “Ctr. Moriches is Here to Stay, Says the LIRR,” Patchogue Advance, October 9, 1958,  http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[100] “LIRR Gets OK to Cut Agents at 15 Stations,” Patchogue Advance, December 18, 1958, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[101] “Dist. 32 Bd. Members Lash Their Dissenters,” Patchogue Advance, April 30, 1964, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com; “Mastic Remaining Survivor of Bay Area’s RR Stations,” Patchogue Advance, April 9, 1964, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[102] “Riverhead Buses Fought by L.I.R.R.: Competition Would Force it to Cut,” New York Times (1923-Current file), August 18, 1960, http://www.proquest.com.

[103] “South Shore Buses Proposed by L.I.R.R.,” New York Times (1923-Current file), July 31, 1962, http://www.proquest.com.

[104] Byron Porterfield, “L.I. South Shore To Get Bus Line: Railroad to Start 6 Trips a Day,” New York Times (1923-Current file), May 11, 1963, http://www.proquest.com.

[105] “Ask South Shore Road ‘n’ Rail Rt.,” Patchogue Advance, December 27, 1962, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[106] “New Rail-Bus Route on L.I. South Shore Begins Runs Today,” New York Times (1923-Current file), June 8, 1963, http://www.proquest.com.

[107] Long Island Rail Road, The Long Island Rail Road, Special Instructions, Timetable No. 6, Effective 12.01 A.M. Monday, May 25, 1970 (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1970).

[108] The Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 19, 1975, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1975).

[109] Damon Stetson, “Dashing Dan Slows to Trot, Today He is Likely to Crawl,” New York Times (1923-Current file), August 13, 1968, http://www.proquest.com.

[110] George Vecsey, “To L.I.R.R. Faithful, 2-Hour Ride from Speonk is a Way of Life,” New York Times (1923-Current file), February 1, 1974, http://www.proquest.com.

[111] Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 19, 1975, Eastern Long Island.

[112] “Annie Oakley, Imelda Marcos a Part of Moriches History,” Newsday, September 12, 2012.

[113] Judi Culbertson, “A Touch of the 1900’s for Center Moriches,” New York Times (1923-Current file), June 28, 1981, http://www.proquest.com.

[114] “Population Survey: Bay Area’s Growth is Fastest in Town,” Moriches Bay Tide 29, no. 3 (June 15, 1989): 7.

[115] “Touting Center Moriches,” Newsday, July 1, 1975.

[116] Rick Brand, “Living in: Center Moriches, a Floating and Fishing Community,” Newsday, July 2, 1983.

[117] Richard D. Lyons, “An Aquatic Image,” New York Times (1923-Current file), January 19, 1986, http://www.proquest.com.

[118] Donna Deedy, “L.I. Duck Farms Struggle with Water Regulation: State Requires Costly Improvements,” New York Times (1923-Current file), February 25, 2008, http://www.proquest.com.

[119] Mitchell Freedman,  “Moriches Residents Balk at Rezoning Town: Planning Board Wants Homes, not Industry, Located near Downtown,” Newsday,December 18, 1986.

[120] Mark Herrmann, “Town Kills Rezonings After Outcry Residents Laud Action; Developer Vows a Fight,” Newsday,June 4, 1987.

[121] Field, Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area, 35-36.

[122] Tom Morris, “Moses Would Abandon Moriches Inlet,” Newsday, December 20, 1955.

[123] Robert Fresco, “Robert Moses: His Legacy What He Wrought,” Newsday,December 4, 1988.

[124] Mark Herrmann, “‘OH! I Love that Sight’,” Newsday, September 8, 1987.

[125] “Montauk Bus Plan is Stalled,” New York Times (1923-Current file), May 5, 1974, http://www.proquest.com.

[126] “State Gives Hampton Jitney Go-Ahead,” New York Times (1923-Current file), January 25, 1976, http://www.proquest.com.

[127] Edward C. Burks, “L.I.R.R to Shift Runs for Summer: Service to Hamptons will be Expanded–‘Problem’ Bus Schedule to End,” New York Times (1923-Current file), May 23, 1976, http://www.proquest.com.

[128] The Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 24, 1976, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1976).

[129] 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).

[130] MTA The Long Island Rail Road Company, Long Island Rail Road Timetable No. 4, effective 12:01 AM, Monday, November 25, 1968 (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1968), Montauk Branch.

[131] “Long Island Rail Road Rebuilt Lightweight Parlor Cars ‘The Sunrise Fleet,’” accessed on January 26, 2014, http://www.dominionrailvoyages.com/jhd/lirr/page5.html.

[132] Harold Faber, “L.I. Gets $11.3 Million for Transit,” New York Times (1923-Current file), December 29, 1976, http://www.proquest.com.

[133] Glenn R. Bucek, “Getting the L.I.R.R. on a New Track,” New York Times (1923-Current file), September 20, 1981, http://www.proquest.com; The Long Island Rail Road, Effective November 14, 1981, Montauk Branch, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1981).

[134] Mark Herrmann, “Inside Brookhaven: Center Moriches Dedicates New LIRR Station,” Newsday (Suffolk Edition), October 31, 1985, http://www.proquest.com.

[135] Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 27, 1993, Montauk Branch Timetable, Long Island Rail Road (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1993).

[136] John T. McQuiston, “Annoyance at L.I.R.R. Plan to Shut Stations,” New York Times (1923-Current file), February 24, 1996, http://www.proquest.com.

[137] Somini Sengupta, “End of the Line for L.I.R.R.’s 10 Loneliest Stops,” New York Times (1857-Current file), Mar 15, 1998, http://www.proquest.com.

[138] Sidney C. Schaer and Tom Demoretcky, “Reprieve for Glen Street Station,” Newsday, January 15, 1997.

[139] Jordan Rau, “Around the Island the Town/ Town May Sue on LIRR Closings,” Newsday, January 16, 1997.

[140] Mitchell Freedman, “LIRR Scaling Back / 10 Little-Used Stations to Close in March,” Newsday, February 24, 1998.

[141] Long Island Rail Road, Effective November 17, 1997, Montauk Branch Timetable, Long Island Rail Road (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1997).

[142] “Home,” Chamber of Commerce of the Moriches, accessed February 2, 2014. http://www.moricheschamber.org.

[143] “MTA LIRR Ridership Increased by 2 Percent in 2013,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority, accessed February 2, 2014, http://new.mta.info/news/2014/01/27/mta-lirr-ridership-increased-2-percent-2013.

[144] “Air Craft Accident Report,” National Transportation Safety Board, accessed February 2, 2014, http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2000/AAR0003.pdf.

[145] “Mount Pleasant Cemetery,” Long Island Genealogy, accessed on February 2, 2014, http://longislandgenealogy.com/MtPleasant/intro.html.

 

Next Page: Port Jefferson: The Rise of an Incorporated Village

5 thoughts on “Discontinued Station Stops: The History of the Moriches and the Termination of Railroad Service

  1. You have mentioned and pictured three area churchs, Presbeterian, Methodist, and Episcopal, but no mention or picture of the catholic Church. Seems oddly ommitted.

    1. My apologies for any offense. In my research, there seemed to have been more written about the other three so I focused on them. Most of my concentration is the railroad so I may have overlooked mentioning the Catholic Church. Thanks for the comment, they are always appreciated. Also, one of my upcoming new pages is about Manorville and there will be several pictures of the Our Lady of the Island sanctuary.

  2. Went to CMHS and swam & Ice-skated On Mill Pond by7 the Summer Camp! We were given Lifeguard training in the summer by the Red Cross.

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