“Port Jefferson Blues”: The Smithtown Commuter Saga

Whisper the Bull, Smithtown (June 9, 2016)
Whisper the Bull, Head of the River Park (June 9, 2016)

Located on the North Shore of Long Island, the town of Smithtown encompasses approximately fifty-five square miles, with ten incorporated villages and hamlets.  An ideal suburb to both live and visit, Smithtown boasts a tranquil and historic setting dating to the seventeenth century.  It is bounded on the east by Brookhaven, on the south by Islip, on the west by Huntington, and on the north by Smithtown Bay, an inlet of Long Island Sound.  Nissequogue River divides the town in two, rising on the southern border and, following an indirect course, emptying into Smithtown Bay.  The primary means of public transportation to and from New York is the Long Island Rail Road’s (LIRR) Port Jefferson Branch.  Often the subject of commuter criticism, the right-of-way through the town is non-electrified and passengers are typically required to change trains for access to Pennsylvania (Penn) Station in New York.  The following is a history of the town of Smithtown with a particular focus on the hamlet of the same name and the communities along Smithtown Bay.  It also chronicles service improvements to Smithtown Station and the Port Jefferson Branch.[1]

Richard “Bull” Smith and the Revolution

Prior to European settlement, the area on the east side of the Nissequogue River was inhabited by several hundred members of the Nesequake Indians.  The first land deed between the Europeans and Indians was recorded in 1650 by speculators from Connecticut who signed an agreement with Nasseconseke, sachem of the Nesequakes, to exchange land for trade goods.  However, the deed was never recorded and therefore not held accountable.[2]

Smithtown Town Hall (July 22, 2016)
Smithtown Town Hall (July 22, 2016)

The story of modern-day Smithtown begins with Lion Gardiner of Gardiner’s Island.  The land lying east of the Nissequogue, as far as Stony Brook Harbor, was given to Gardiner in a deed from Wyandanch, Grand Sachem of Long Island, on July 14, 1659.  It was done in consideration of a favor Gardiner had done, rescuing Wyandanch’s only daughter from captivity among the Narragansett Indians.  In 1662 the Nesequake Indians confirmed the transaction.  At its border on Stony Brook Harbor, first called Three Sisters Harbor, the Nissequogue tract ran southward to a border with the Seatalcott Indians and the fresh-water pond known as Raconkamuck.  From there, it went southwest to the head of the river, and along it to Smithtown Bay.  In 1663 Gardiner sold the tract to his friend Richard “Bull” Smith.[3]

Smithtown Bay, Sunken Meadow State Park (June 25, 2012)
Smithtown Bay, Sunken Meadow State Park (June 25, 2012)

Richard “Bull” Smith settled in Southampton in about 1643 but was later banished and relocated to Setauket.  According to legend, Smith was in the habit of using a large bull as a horse substitute and was popularly designated as the “bull-rider.”  One day in 1665 while herding cattle to the Manhattan market, Smith met an Indian chief whom he wished to buy a tract of land lying on the west side of the Nissequogue.  The chief did not want to sell but remarked that Smith could keep all land in which he could travel around in one day riding on the back his bull.  Later, Smith mounted a trained bull and began his journey on the longest day of the year, June 21.  In the end, Smith laid claim to the area he had covered on the bull “between sun and sun.”  In fact, the valley between Smithtown and Huntington, where Smith purportedly rested and took lunch at noon, was given the name Bread and Cheese Hollow.  Another version of the nickname Bull is that the arms of the Yorkshire Smythes bore six fleurs de Los and a demi-bull salient as a crest.  When Smith signed an important document, usually as Smyth, he attested it with his seal on which the bull was graven.[4]

Regardless, and with respect to legend, the town of Smithfield was created when Bull confirmed his ownership in a patent from Governor Richard Nicholls on March 3, 1665, meeting the legal requirement that the land be settled with ten families.  Indeed, he and his wife had nine children.  Later, Bull purchased an additional tract on the west side of the Nissequogue from the Nesequakes and a patent from the governor was obtained on March 25, 1667.  Bull spent a dozen years in English and Dutch courts defending his patents after a lengthy and bitter controversy with the town of Huntington.  Differences were finally resolved resulting in the present boundary after a patent was issued by Governor Andros on March 25, 1677.  The patent also renewed township powers and applied the name Smithtown for the first time.  The boundary line with Brookhaven was also a matter of controversy but settled by compromise on March 7, 1725.[5]

Nissequogue River tributary, Caleb Smith State Park (September 1, 2014)
Nissequogue River tributary, Caleb Smith State Park (September 1, 2014)

At the onset of the American Revolution, the town of Smithtown had a population of 555 whites and 161 blacks.  On the whole, the community was patriotic to the cause with only fifteen Loyalists.  A company was sent to Colonel Josiah Smith’s regiment, which took an active part in the Battle of Long Island and in Washington’s campaigns in Westchester and New Jersey.  Some residents were very dedicated to the principles of the revolution.  Wealthy Caleb Smith, a fourth-generation descendant of Bull, refused to take an oath of allegiance to King George III and was whipped and shot by the Redcoats.[6]

One minor skirmish occurred in what is now Fort Salonga.    During the war, the British built Fort Slongo, a minor redoubt on a hilltop near Smithtown Bay, after taking control of the island in 1776.  Slongo, according to most authorities, was probably Dutch.  Although one source says it was named after a British officer and another claims the Indians called the area Slongo.  While the British prepared a fleet in New York to relieve the trapped command of General Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown, General Washington, wishing to keep British troops in New York, arranged an attack on the fort as a diversion.  On October 3, 1781, one-hundred Patriot troops from Connecticut crossed the Sound in whaleboats, captured twenty Redcoats, and burned the fort.  In the end, the British fleet never left New York in time to save Cornwallis.[7]

Early Communities

Beginning in the late seventeenth century, a series of mills and several landings for trading were constructed along the Nissequogue River.  The river also became a key site for shipbuilding.  Among the vessels built in the nineteenth century was the thirty-five foot oyster sloop Nellie A. Ryle, constructed in 1818 by Slope & Scudder.  It was later put on display at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut.  Larger ships included the 129-foot brig Tanner, launched in 1855.  Commercial use of the river ended after the LIRR arrived in 1872.[8]

At the head of the Nissequogue tide water, a scattered settlement sprang up on both banks, near the river’s mouth about four miles inland.  Initially known as Head of the River, it was later simply called Smithtown to differentiate it from Smithtown Branch a mile to the east.  It later became the geographical center of town where Main Street (NY-25) was constructed over the river.  By the late nineteenth century, the community became the seat of the Smithtown post office with a population of 200.  It had two stores, a hotel, a gristmill, a shingle mill, and a woolen mill, as well as other trade shops.  The mills were located on what were artificial ponds created by the damming of two smaller streams.  One stream became the outlet for Willow Pond, so named because it was surrounded by willow trees.[9]  The other was the outlet for Stump Pond, in the neighborhood called New Mills, formerly Blydenburgh’s Mills.[10]

Willow Pond, Caleb Smith State Park (September 1, 2014)
Willow Pond, Caleb Smith State Park (September 1, 2014)
Stump Pond, Blydenburgh Park (June 9, 2016)
Stump Pond, Blydenburgh Park (June 9, 2016)

Nissequogue is the oldest community and was in Smith’s original purchase.  The word translates as clay or muddy country.  Nissequogue is located on a neck of the same name and was known for its good soil.  In lieu, there were about twenty-two scattered houses by the late nineteenth century.  The northeast point of Nissequogue Neck, near the entrance to Stony Brook Harbor, was called by the Indians Rassapeague.  It was the royal seat and principal headquarters of the Nesequake Indians.[11]

Settlement of the Fort Salonga area began in 1695 when, three years after he died, Bull’s wife, Sarah Smith, deeded to her son Daniel 100 acres at Bread and Cheese Hollow, also known as Fresh Pond.  There were clay deposits in the area which are believed to be have been used by the Indians for making pottery.  In 1684, the Long Island Brick Co. was established and for more than 200 years bricks from the area were shipped all over Long Island and New England.[12]

New Mill Pond, Blydenburgh Park (June 9, 2016)
New Mill Pond, Blydenburgh Park (June 9, 2016)

By the late nineteenth century, Fresh Pond was a hamlet on the border with Huntington near a pond the Indians once called Unshemamuck, which translates as a fishing place for eels.[13]  The Indians called the entire area Cowamok, which translates as pine tree place.[14]  Another small community at this time was Middleville, a neighborhood of twenty farmhouses located near Smithtown Bay about two miles east of Huntington.  It was so named because it was located on the middle of the town line.[15]  The whole area was renamed Fort Salonga when the post office was established at the turn of the twentieth century.  By 1998, Fort Salonga had a population of about 9,460.[16]

In the nineteenth century, and well into the twentieth, the principal village in the town was called Smithtown Branch, or simply The Branch.  It is in the eastern part of town where the northeast branch of the Nissequogue River crosses Hauppauge Road (NY-111).  The Branch was settled around 1700 by Joseph Blydenburgh, who married Deborah Smith, granddaughter of Bull.   By 1750 it was the center of town.  Following the 1872 arrival of the railroad, The Branch had a population of 300 and featured a post office, two hotels, a general store, two churches, and a public school.  Commercial development was on Main Street between The Branch and the area known as Head of the River to form downtown Smithtown.  In 1998 it had a population of 1,600.[17]

As residents debated the need for municipal services after the First World War, residents voted to incorporate the community as Village of the Branch in 1927.  It ensured control of land use and services.  To protect historic sites, officials created an historic district in the 1960s which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  One building within the district was originally constructed in 1690 by Amos Dickinson and later named Epenetus Smith Tavern.  Epenetus Smith II was a fifth-generation descendant of Bull who, around 1830, found a black boy named Garnet in New York City.  He took him as his ward and sent him to college where he became a Presbyterian minister, the Reverend Hervey Highland Garnet.  Garnet later became an abolitionist and urged Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.  Lincoln, in turn, chose Garnet as the orator for the cerebration of the proclamation’s first anniversary in 1864.  He became the first black man to address the House of Representatives.[18]

Epenetus Smith Tavern (June 9, 2016)
Epenetus Smith Tavern (June 9, 2016)

In 1972 the Epenetus Smith Tavern was threatened with demolition but the Smithtown Branch Preservation Association saved it.  After purchasing the tavern for $1, the association moved it to its present location on Middle Country Road (NY-25).[19]

Arrival of the Railroad

As completed in 1844, the LIRR’s Main Line was south of Smithtown.  The closest station was Ronkonkoma.  Interest in a direct rail link to carry agricultural products, as well as passengers to New York and Brooklyn  prompted Smithtown leaders to establish the Smithtown-Port Jefferson Railroad in 1870, which was later incorporated into the LIRR as the Port Jefferson Branch.  The new road was built eastward to Port Jefferson from a point called Northport Junction in East Northport where another branch from Hicksville was constructed in two stages.  The first was built from Hicksville to Syosset in 1854 by the Hicksville & Cold Spring Branch Railroad, a start-up line established for the purposes of construction but later leased to the LIRR and eventually sold to it in 1863.  The second extended to Northport village in April 1868.[20]

The final route of the Smithtown-Port Jefferson Railroad was approved by the LIRR in the first week of October 1871 and groundbreaking began in May 1872.  In light of the hilly terrain, a large crew was needed for the formidable grading work.  By the end of January 1872 grading was completed from East Northport to Smithtown and the entire eighteen-mile route was completed by the end of June 1872.  By November 1 all bridges were all in place and eleven miles of track was laid.  Regular passenger service began Monday, January 13, 1873.[21]

Smithtown Station
Historical Fact
Date
Station and depot building constructed November – December 1872
Station and depot building opened January 13, 1873
Depot building closed November 6, 1936
Depot building erected Late 1936 – Early 1937
Depot building opened February 18, 1937
High-level concrete south platform and ramp constructed (with a flat-roofed, metal-framed Plexiglas passenger shelter) Late 1985 – Early 1986
High-level concrete north platform and ramp constructed (with a flat-roofed, metal-framed Plexiglas passenger shelter and pedestrian overpass to south platform) May – December 1986
Station agency closed November 20, 1996
ADA station enhancements completed March 20, 1997
Depot building renovated Spring – Early Summer 2015
Depot building reopened July 13, 2015

As constructed the new road passed through the heart of Smithtown.  In Head of the River it first crossed Main Street and Nissequogue River, and the adjoining flats, in a southeasterly direction over a bridge built of wood and iron by Kellogg Bridge Co. of Buffalo.  The bridge was 490-feet long and thirty-five to forty-five feet high.  From there the right-of-way turned eastward, crossing over Blydenburgh Road (current Brooksite Drive) and then veered northeasterly, re-crossing Main Street where Smithtown Station was set up.  A few miles east of the station the right-of-way crossed over North Country Road (NY-25A).[22]

Smithtown Station included a main track and a passing siding capable of holding thirty-seven cars.  Located north of the main track, the siding ran from just east of Blydenburgh Road to just west of the Landing Avenue crossing.  An express high-level freight platform and a short low-level passenger platform were built on the west side of Main Street south of the main track.  A longer low-level passenger platform was constructed on the east side of Main Street south of the main track.  South of the platform, just west of the crossing, was the depot building.  It was erected by Charles Hallett in November and December of 1872.  Of Victorian design, it sported an open gable roof with decorative eaves.  Within two years the tank and windmill built at the station were taken down and re-erected west of the former site.  A few team tracks were later added around the station area for local businesses, as well as an express house and freight house just east of the depot building.[23]

Former LIRR Smithtown Station depot building, view northwest, Lawrence Avenue, Smithtown (July 22, 2016)
Former LIRR Smithtown Station depot building, view northwest, Lawrence Avenue, Smithtown (July 22, 2016)
Former LIRR Smithtown Station depot building, view east, Lawrence Avenue, Smithtown (July 22, 2016)
Former LIRR Smithtown Station depot building, view east, Lawrence Avenue, Smithtown (July 22, 2016)

During the next thirty years safety and traffic improvements were made along the right-of-way.  First, the grade crossing at Blydenburgh Road was eliminated with a bridge built over the track in 1894.  Second, the bridge over Main Street and the Nissequogue River was replaced during the spring and summer of 1902.  Constructed by American Bridge Company at a cost of about $200,000, the new trestle and viaduct included two steel spans seventy-five feet long and several shorter ones.  It allowed the railroad to shorten running times and use heavier locomotives which were too heavy for the old bridge.[24]

LIRR Main Street trestle, view west (June 9, 2016)
LIRR Main Street trestle, view west (June 9, 2016)
LIRR Nissequogue River viaduct and Main Street trestle, view south (June 9, 2016)
LIRR Nissequogue River viaduct and Main Street trestle, view south (June 9, 2016)
Nissequogue River and LIRR Port Jefferson Branch trestle, Paul T. Given Park, view northwest (June 9, 2016)
Nissequogue River and LIRR Port Jefferson Branch trestle, Paul T. Given Park, view northwest (June 9, 2016)

By 1905, there were eight trains each way that stopped at Smithtown Station, with a few extra on Saturdays only.  On the Monday through Saturday timetable, two of the morning westbound trains (7:33 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.) had premium service in a railroad parlor car.  Eastbound parlor service arrived at the station at 5:48 p.m. and 6:17 p.m.  On Sundays, four to five trains were available.  Two of these sported parlor cars, eastbound at 10:38 a.m. and westbound at 6:33 p.m.[25]

New Communities in Smithtown

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries new communities were established in Smithtown.  Two miles north of Head of the River on the river’s west side, the hamlet named The Landing was settled in the 1830s.  By the time the railroad arrived there were a dozen houses.[26]

Sunken Meadow Creek, Sunken Meadow State Park (June 25, 2012)
Sunken Meadow Creek, Sunken Meadow State Park (June 25, 2012)

Like its Nissequogue neighbor, Head of the Harbor on Stony Brook Neck was part of Bull’s original tract and later dealt to his Adam who constructed the first house on the east side of Three Sisters Harbor, later called Stony Brook Harbor.  While settlement dates to the late eighteenth century, the community progressed slowly.  After the arrival of the LIRR, both Head of the Harbor and Nissequogue residents were appalled at the growth of its southern neighbor, Saint James.  To maintain a historical character, Head of the Harbor became an incorporated village in 1928 and passed zoning ordinances.[27]

The area on the west side of the Nissequogue, south of The Landing, was formerly occupied by the Smith family until three entrepreneurs built a dock in 1793 on land owned by Aaron Smith.  Schooners soon carried cordwood to New York and New England from what became known as Aaron’s Landing.  However, by 1900 the railroad killed off most river commerce and the dock and neighboring beach was mainly utilized for recreation.  Furthermore, in 1918 commercial use of the river ended when state officials banned shell fishing because of pollution from the psychiatric hospital in Kings Park.  Four years later, the publisher of the Italian-language newspaper Il Progresso purchased 194 acres in the area of Aaron’s Landing.  To boost paper circulation the company offered small lots at the price of $50 to anyone taking a subscription.  Soon after, many Italian-Americans built cottages and the newspaper publisher built a clubhouse for residents as a community center.  The new community took the name San Remo after a town in Italy.[28]

A “Regular He-Man Town”: Early Twentieth Century Rail Improvements

Under the auspices of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the LIRR instituted upgrades in and around Smithtown.  In 1926 the Blydenburgh Road bridge was rebuilt with girders from the former BMT LIRR track connection at Chestnut Street and Atlantic Avenue.  Later in the decade the grade crossing at North Country Road (NY-25A) was eliminated with a railroad bridge erected over the roadway.  The section of the state highway connected Smithtown hamlet and St. James.[29]

Three public hearings on the Smithtown-St. James highway crossing were held by the State Public Service Commission (PSC).  While there were no objections to the railroad’s proposal at the first two, a third hearing was set up because the PSC wanted to hear from property owners who were not at the first two hearings and may have been unaware that the railroad wished to close the Fifty-Acre Road crossing, located 200-feet west of the state highway crossing.  The road was one of only two roads to Nissequogue and the railroad contended that the part of Fifty-Acre Road in question was unnecessary.  Traffic could be diverted instead to the state highway that connected with a road to Nissequogue just to the east which then reconnected with Fifty-Acre Road north of the tracks.[30]

The final hearing on the matter was held on March 9, 1927.  While no decision was made, no serious objections were heard.  Two proposals were presented.  The railroad’s plan called for an under grade right-of-way for the highway from both sides of the existing highway, costing $97,000.  The Smithtown Highway Department proposal included an underpass as well as the straightening of some road curves which required some property acquisitions.  Total cost was $101,000.[31]

LIRR North Country Road trestle, view west (July 22, 2016)
LIRR North Country Road trestle, view west (July 22, 2016)

In the end, both concepts were instituted.  By the spring of 1929, construction of the underpass was underway and a detour set up for automobiles to travel north onto Fifty Acres Road to Edgewood Avenue and back to the state road.  By October 1, 1929 the crossing was completed at a cost of $101,000.[32]

LIRR North Country Road trestle, view east (July 22, 2016)
LIRR North Country Road trestle, view east (July 22, 2016)

The final major project in the first half of the twentieth century was the elimination of the Main Street grade crossing.  The undertaking also included construction of a new station platform and depot building.  The plan was first discussed in 1926 but strongly opposed.  Grade crossing elimination efforts were diverted to the Smithtown-St. James crossing, considered more dangerous.  The matter was readdressed at a hearing in early 1929 but, once again, bitterly opposed.  Local residents objected to a bridge over the railroad.  They recommended depressing the tracks about seven feet and raising the right-of-way an equal distance.  On the other hand, the railroad insisted that the crossing was one of the safest on the line.  At just steps away from the station, it had a good safety record since trains from either direction traveled at a rate of only six to eight miles-per-hour.[33]

Only the State Highway Department wanted the work done, contending that the crossing needed to be eliminated since the state was spending thousands of dollars to widen NY-25 to improve traffic.  In the end, opposition was overruled and the grade crossing eliminated.  Town supervisors Benjamin D. Blackman and John N. Brennan worked with railroad officials to expedite construction.  Out of eleven bids, the PSC approved the amount of $168,859 from Tully & DiNapoli, Inc.  The LIRR then awarded the necessary contract.  Funding came from the Works Progress Administration and work commenced in the fall of 1936.  The old depot building and platform were closed on November 6, 1936 and a temporary station put in place along a temporary main track laid south of the crossing.  The old building was sold to Theodore Bunce who moved it to Lawrence Street in early 1937 where it remains today as a private residence.[34]

As completed, Main Street was slightly depressed under grade-level and a two-track trestle constructed over it for the Port Jefferson Branch right-of-way.  Alongside the south side of the main track, a low-level station platform was constructed eastward from the trestle, resting atop at first a concrete retaining wall and then gradually onto grade.  A metal railing for passenger safety was installed the full length of the platform, from the staircase entrance on the west end just east of the trestle, to the east end.  To the north of the track was the passing siding which started just west of the trestle and ended just west of Landing Avenue.  The new, dual-purpose passenger and freight depot building was constructed about midway alongside the platform south of the main track between late 1936 and early 1937.  Lawrence Grant White designed the clapboard, combination express and passenger structure which featured a bay window and a hipped roof with long eaves.  The eastern half was designed to handle freight while the western half had a waiting room and ticket agency.  The Smithtown Garden Club assisted in landscaping the area around the station.[35]

LIRR Smithtown Station depot building, view east (January 2, 2016)
LIRR Smithtown Station depot building, view east (January 2, 2016)

The building and platform were put in service on February 18, 1937.  Two days later, on Saturday, February 20, a dedication ceremony was held at the station at 3:00 p.m. with music was performed by the Smithtown Fire Department.  Speeches were given by Supervisor Brennan, Smithtown Chamber of Commerce President Dr. Guy H. Turrell, and Mr. Gates and Mr. Cairns, engineers for the project.  Station agent Gus Corrigan also spoke at the event, encouraging residents to ship freight and travel by the LIRR.  Refreshments were provided at the nearby Smithtown Hotel following the ceremony.[36]

LIRR Smithtown Station, former low-level main platform and trestle over Main Street underpass, view west (January 2, 2016)
LIRR Smithtown Station, former low-level main platform and trestle over Main Street underpass, view west (January 2, 2016)

Finished a month ahead of schedule, total grade crossing work was completed at the end of April 1937 and the underpass was put in service on May 1.  A celebration sponsored by the Lions Club was held on Tuesday, May 4 on the westerly side of the underpass where Supervisor Brennan cut tape to signal the new road opening.  Thereafter, cars parked along Edgewood Avenue paraded ceremoniously through the underpass.  In an article published a few days later, the Smithtown Messenger proclaimed that Smithtown was now a “regular He-Man Town” fit to live in.[37]

Smithtown Today

By 1998 Smithtown had a population of 114,180.  Much of the growth can be attributed to the LIRR.  Without the freight and passenger carrier, shipping and traveling to and from New York and Brooklyn by stagecoach or boat would have been a time-consuming endeavor.  Rail service provided frequent access to the inner city and made Smithtown an ideal suburban location.  It also stimulated a “back-to-nature movement that attracted tourists and sportsmen.”  An example of this was the Brooklyn Gun Club.  The group was organized in 1872 to purchase undeveloped land near the head of the Nissequogue and the house of Caleb Smith I, which dates to the early 1750s, to create a 600-acre hunting and fishing retreat.  It was renamed the Wyandanch Club in 1893 in honor of the famous sachem before becoming the centerpiece of Caleb Smith State Park in 1963.  The building currently houses the Caleb Smith State Park Preserve Nature Museum.[38]

Wyandanch Clubhouse, Caleb Smith State Park (September 1, 2014)
Wyandanch Clubhouse, Caleb Smith State Park (September 1, 2014)

Another state park within Smithtown is Sunken Meadow, so named because the land was swampy and gave the appearance of a meadow that had sunk.  The land was first acquired by the state in the 1920s.  More land was added in 1952 after the acquisition of St. Johnland.  Occupying 400 acres on the bay, St. Johnland was a charitable institution under management of the Episcopal Church.  The church the land, a former farm, in 1865 for $14,000.  They cared and educated cripple and destitute children, trained boys and girls for duties in life, and housed disabled men.  Today, Sunken Meadow State Park features a boardwalk and glacier-formed bluffs as well as a twenty-seven-hole golf course.  It is accessible by the seven-mile long Sunken Meadow Parkway which opened to traffic on April 1, 1957 from the intersection of the Northern and Sagtikos State Parkways.  Total construction of the road was estimated at $11,000,000. [39]

Sunken Meadow State Park (June 25, 2012)
Sunken Meadow State Park (June 25, 2012)
Sunken Meadow Creek, Sunken Meadow State Park (June 25, 2012)
Sunken Meadow Creek, Sunken Meadow State Park (June 25, 2012)

Both parks were created in an era of rapid change as many new homes were built.  In fact, the town’s population grew fifty-seven percent from 1960 to 1964.  The sudden growth convinced elected officials to hire T.T. McCrosky to review the area and formulate a plan to maintain Smithtown’s quaintness.  In his proposal to preserve green space and parkland, McCrosky cited the endless rows of houses in Queens and Nassau in the postwar years.  He argued that only Smithtown residents and officials would be able to avoid the same situation.  In the end, the town adopted many of his recommendations in its 1961 master plan.[40]

One historic site is informally known as “the Homestead.”  It is a white house at 205 Middle Country Road built in the 1760s and formerly owned by the Blydenburgh and Smith families.  It later became part of the Smithtown Historical Society’s collection.  Other buildings maintained by the society include the Epenetus Smith Tavern and the Caleb Smith House.  The later was built in two stages and completed in 1819.  It currently serves as the society’s exhibition hall.[41]

Blydenburgh County Park also houses historic buildings.  At the headwaters of the Nissequogue River, the 627-acre park features many hiking trails along Stump and New Mill Ponds.  The Blydenburgh Historic District is located on the north side of the park and includes the 1798 New Mill, the 1802 Miller’s House, the circa 1860 Farm Cottage, outbuildings and the circa 1820 Blydenburgh Farmhouse.  All structures were part of a milling center established in 1798 by members of the Smith and Blydenburgh families.[42]

Miller's House, Blydenburgh Park (June 9, 2016)
Miller’s House, Blydenburgh Park (June 9, 2016)
Blydenburgh Farmhouse, Blydenburgh Park (June 9, 2016)
Blydenburgh Farmhouse, Blydenburgh Park (June 9, 2016)

Another historic site is the Statue of Whisper the Bull.  It was created by Charles Cary Ramsey in 1939 as a tribute to “Bull” Smith and unveiled on May 10, 1941 at Head of the River Park.  The driving force behind the memorial were two of Smith’s descendants: brothers Lawrence Smith Butler and Charles Stewart Butler.[43]

Another noteworthy park is Long Beach, located on a scenic peninsula that faces Smithtown Bay.  It became a town-run park and beach in 1907 and today contains a marina and boat ramp as well as facilities for swimming and fishing.  It was first recognized by a 1747 town act that prevented livestock from trampling over the sandy land.[44]

The “Port Jefferson Blues”

Commuter disenchantment on the Port Jefferson Branch dates to the early postwar years when by government order the railroad reduced steam service because of a national coal shortage.  While riders were unhappy with ten withdrawn trains, they became bitter when the railroad failed to replace them when the order was lifted.  Railroad officials and attorneys cited the company’s poor financial condition as a reason for not reinstating the trains.  They also argued that the cut trains were not heavily used and represented a loss to the line.[45]

In response, frustrated riders staged a performance of the “Port Jefferson Blues” before the PSC on April 27, 1950.  It was a melodrama based on a series of alleged harrowing experiences with a supporting cast of 2,000.  As a Stony Brook singing teacher sang lead, a chorus uttered a list of inconveniences.  They included riders who drove to other branches for better service and claims that fares increased eighty percent since the war ended.  Smithtown officials were in attendance and the town passed a resolution asking the PSC to order the restoration of cut trains.[46]

The situation got worse before it got better.  On related manner to save money, rather than replace electric locomotives used to haul coaches from non-electrified territory to and from Penn Station and Jamaica, the LIRR forced riders to change to electric trains at Jamaica.  The cost-cutting measure began on Sunday, June 12, 1951 and affected three morning westbound rush-hour Port Jefferson Branch trains and two late afternoon eastbound.[47]

In the new set up, some steam-hauled trains during rush-hour were diverted to originate or terminate in Long Island City, nine miles west of Jamaica.  It gave commuters a chance to catch subway service to the east side of Manhattan at either Hunterspoint Point Avenue or Long Island City Station.  Train number 621 which stopped in Smithtown at 7:45 a.m. and formerly ran to New York after a locomotive change now ran to Long Island City, making station stops at both Hunterspoint Point Avenue or Long Island City Stations.  In the afternoon, number 652 was redirected to originate from Long Island City and arrived in Smithtown at 6:42 p.m.  Another train, number 650, was diverted from Jamaica to Long Island City, arriving in Smithtown at 6:22 p.m.  All other service to Smithtown originated or terminated at Jamaica Station.[48]

The practice of terminating and originating non-electrified branch trains at Long Island City caught on, especially after diesel began to replace steam.  In 1955, in addition to train number 621, there were two other morning trains that terminated in Long Island City: number 609, which stopped in Smithtown at 6:01 a.m., and number 613, which stopped at 6:20 a.m.  For the return home, one additional train was added to the schedule: number 658, which arrived in Smithtown at 7:33 p.m.[49]

LIRR Smithtown Station waiting room (December 21, 2014)
LIRR Smithtown Station waiting room (December 21, 2014)

Gradually, the need for better service and schedule enhancements was warranted since the branch showed one of the largest ridership gains in the mid-to-late 1950s as Smithtown expanded from a population of 20,993 in 1950 to 43,828 in 1959.  While the line carried only 4,084 passengers daily in 1953, it carried 7,111 in 1959.  Station modifications were implemented first.  Another low-level platform was built between the main track and passing siding in 1953, approximately the same length as the existing platform.  A passenger crossing was also constructed from near the depot building over the main track to allow riders to board, exit, and wait for trains positioned on the passing siding.  The setup allowed a few select trains from either direction to meet at the station, one on the passing siding and one on the main track.  For example, on Sundays, eastbound train number 4612 and westbound number 629 arrived in Smithtown at 12:13 p.m.  Additionally, the south platform was extended eastward in April of 1958 and the depot building was repainted in colors selected by Smithtown residents in 1960.  By this time, all team tracks were eliminated near the station area as freight by rail fell to the trucking industry.[50]

In light of station improvements, the LIRR utilized Smithtown as a terminus.  In the fall of 1956, eastbound weekday train number 666 from Jamaica was extended from its former terminus at Northport to Smithtown, arriving at 10:45 p.m.  It returned to Jamaica as number 649, leaving Smithtown at 11:13 p.m.  Within two years other trains were rerouted including some on weekends.  On weekdays, number 612 arrived at 11:40 a.m. and number 633 left at 1:46 p.m.  On Saturdays, eastbound numbers 4612 & 4628 terminated at 9:23 a.m. and 12:10 p.m., respectively.  Additionally, westbound numbers 4629 & 4641 departed at 10:40 a.m. and 2:25 p.m., respectively.[51]

Next, infrastructure improvements were made.  At a PSC hearing on December 20, 1955, Smithtown school and town officials petitioned the LIRR to modernize what was termed the “completely inadequate” Blydenburgh Road bridge.  Town Attorney Bernard Meyer commented that the eleven-foot wide bridge was too narrow and antiquated in light of the town’s expansion.  School District Attorney Walter R. Kiernan added that school buses no longer used it because it was inadequate.  The hearing was adjourned until the following April to permit an engineering study.  The structure was finally replaced with a wider steel bridge in June of 1958.[52]

LIRR Smithtown Station waiting room, restrooms and former ticket window (December 21, 2014)
LIRR Smithtown Station waiting room, restrooms and former ticket window (December 21, 2014)

To increase speed and flexibility of operation and permit more trains, a traffic control system was installed in the fall of 1960.  The centralized system permitted traffic control of more than twenty-two miles of the thirty-two mile branch from a central control panel in Hicksville rather than from individual switch towers.  The first of its kind for the LIRR, the $500,000 installation gave the equivalent of another track, which would have cost $1 million.[53]

By the fall of 1961, there were fifteen trains a day in each direction at Smithtown Station.  With the increase in trains more parking spaces were needed.  It was determined that by 1970 all lots would be full.  In early 1968, the town sought a leasing agreement with the railroad to expand commuter parking facilities.  It called for the railroad to buy land near the station and then lease it to the town on a long-term basis since officials felt the railroad had a direct obligation to participate in the expansion of parking.[54]

Rail Service in the MTA Years

Although improvements were made in the final quarter of the twentieth century to better commuting from Smithtown Station, electrification and double-tracking of the branch east of Huntington Station was overlooked as rail funds were used to enhance other branches.  Indeed, some improvements were made to better the flow of traffic on the single-track right-of-way but electrified rail was the ideal choice for the busy branch.  It can be argued that the line was passed over owing to its 1950s melodramatic namesake, the “Port Jefferson Blues.”.

In the mid-1960s New York State purchased the LIRR from its parent company, the Pennsylvania Railroad, and launched a modernization program.  The Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority was created by the state to oversee the railroad and provide funds for major projects, such as the completion of electric rail to Hicksville and Huntington.  The agency later evolved into the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which not only oversaw the LIRR but also governed the New York City subway system and local bridges and tunnels.  Indeed, state funds allowed the LIRR to modernize the western half of the island’s rail system and improve service in non-electrified territory on the East End.

Following rail electrification to Huntington a commuter zone structure was set up for fare collection and scheduling.  Designed to provide express service for New York commuters, some rush-hour trains were scheduled to stop only in certain zones and bypass Jamaica Station on their way to and from western terminals.  In the new arrangement, Smithtown Station was designated as zone ten and, during rush-hour, some trains ran local to and from Port Jefferson and either Greenlawn or Huntington.  From there, trains ran express to and from Jamaica or Hunterspoint Avenue.  Riders changed at either Jamaica or Huntington for electric service to and from New York or Brooklyn.   During off-hours, almost all trains ran to and from Huntington Station where electric connections were made.[55]

The new schedule went into effect June 26, 1972.  Initially, Smithtown Station was no longer used as a terminus for Port Jefferson Branch trains.  However, one morning and one evening westbound train to Huntington Station was later scheduled to originate in Smithtown.  Also, rush-hour Hunterspoint Avenue service was upgraded to five trains in both directions.[56]

To better train speed and improve safety on the Port Jefferson Branch, centralized traffic control was completed to Port Jefferson and gates were added at some crossings.  The installation of traffic control in the late-1970s between Smithtown and Port Jefferson allowed trains, formerly restricted to travel only one-way, to travel in each direction and wait along a siding for a passing train.  To prevent unnecessary fatalities as a result of trains striking automobiles, gates were put up at the Landing Avenue and River Road crossings.  Work began in the fall of 1974 and was completed the following March.[57]

With station and service enhancements, more scheduling changes were instituted.  First, beginning in 1976, Smithtown Station was used as the definitive location for Port Jefferson Branch trains to pass each other.  Typically, a westbound train arrived for a station stop on the siding and waited for an eastbound train scheduled to make a station stop four minutes later on the main track.  The practice was used for most weekend service and some midday weekday service.  Secondly, train number 656 was added to the Hunterspoint Avenue eastbound timetable effective September 12, 1977, departing at 3:40 p.m. and stopping in Smithtown at 5:03 p.m.  Thirdly, a new train was added to the Hunterspoint westbound schedule effective December 15, 1979.  For the first time, express service was available when train number 609 from Smithtown was rerouted to run non-stop from Syosset to Hunterspoint Avenue.  The new service left Smithtown at 7:00 a.m. and terminated at 8:31 a.m.  By the end of the 1980s, number 609 was rerouted to start its run in Port Jefferson.[58]

It seemed for a time in the 1970s and 1980s that the line east of Huntington was to be electrified.  In 1983, Senator Alfonse D’Amato and House Representative Robert Mrazek were able to get $25 million in federal funds, $8 million of which was scheduled for electrification to Northport.  They also pledged to attain the $65 million necessary to have the entire line electrified by 1987.  However, the railroad focused on Main Line electrification to Ronkonkoma.  In late-1985 LIRR President Bruce C. McIver persuaded the MTA to defer electrification on the branch until there was enough to cover costs for the entire branch.[59]

Although electrification was postponed indefinitely, $6 million was already set aside for design work and high-level platforms. The latter was needed because electric cars did not have steps allowing passengers to board and disembark from low-level platforms like their diesel-hauled counterparts.  It improved safety and sped travel since less time was needed at each station since car doors were level with the high-level platform.  Although no target date for Smithtown electrification was ever set, construction of a twelve-car high-level platform commenced in late 1985 and completed in early 1986.  Replacing the existing platform on the south side of the main track, it begins just east of the west end staircase to Main Street and runs eastward past the depot building.  It features a flat-roofed, metal-framed Plexiglas passenger shelter several yards east of the depot building.[60]

LIRR Smithtown Station, former low-level main platform and staircase to high-level south platform, view west (January 2, 2016)
LIRR Smithtown Station, former low-level main platform and staircase to high-level south platform, view west (January 2, 2016)

In light of Smithtown’s importance as a location where trains passed each other on the single track line, another high-level platform was constructed on the north side of the passing siding and an eighteen-foot high pedestrian overpass was built to allow free and safe flowing passenger traffic from both sides of the tracks.  In preparation for construction, railroad workers also relocated the passing siding switch and two signals to a point just east of the station and extended the siding over 400-feet, where now it became the north track.  Long Island Lighting Company worked with the railroad and restrung many power lines along the tracks.[61]

LIRR Smithtown Station and Cab Control Car 5005 on north platform, view east (July 21, 2013)
LIRR Smithtown Station and Cab Control Car 5005 on north platform, view east (July 21, 2013)

To accommodate the switch, signal, and track extension work, off-peak service between Kings Park and Port Jefferson was suspended from Monday, April 14 to Tuesday, April 22, and again from Monday, April 28 to Wednesday, April 30.  In lieu of inclement weather, this was extended to Friday, May 2.  Bus service between stations was provided during disruption.  As completed, the new north track begins west of the station below the Brooksite Drive bridge at the switch called Post 1, formerly known as Hare, and ends just west of Landing Avenue at the switch called Post 2, formerly known as Post.  Post was named after retired signal department engineer Howell Post.  In early August, construction of a new sidewalk and pedestrian crossing was completed on the west side of the Landing Avenue grade crossing.[62]

LIRR Post 1 signal, view west from atop the Brooksite Drive bridge (June 9, 2016)
LIRR Post 1 signal, view west from atop the Brooksite Drive bridge (June 9, 2016)
LIRR Post 1 switch and Cab Control Car 5011 of westbound train number 623, view east from atop the Brooksite Drive bridge (June 9, 2016)
LIRR Post 1 switch and Cab Control Car 5011 of westbound train number 623, view east from atop the Brooksite Drive bridge (June 9, 2016)
LIRR Post 2 switch and signal, Smithtown (June 9, 2016)
LIRR Post 2 switch and signal, Smithtown (June 9, 2016)

With the new track and Post 2 in place, work commenced on the north platform and overpass.  It was built directly across from the south platform and includes a flat-roofed, metal-framed Plexiglas passenger shelter on the eastern half of the platform.  The pedestrian overpass was built just east of the south platform passenger shelter, about mid-way, and connected with the north platform.  The entire station upgrade was completed in December 1986.[63]

LIRR Smithtown Station high-level platforms, view west from atop pedestrian overpass (January 2, 2016)
LIRR Smithtown Station high-level platforms, view west from atop pedestrian overpass (January 2, 2016)

As a substitute to provide commuters a one-seat ride to New York, the LIRR sought a prototype locomotive.  First announced in early 1986, the dual-mode engine could run on both non-electrified and electrified track, and eliminate the need for Port Jefferson Branch customers to change trains.  After a feasibility study conducted in 1988 by the MTA, the railroad announced a plan to purchase a new diesel fleet with engines that would provide the benefits of electrification without the high cost of such a project.  A demonstration period was planned whereby three locomotives would be rebuilt, at an estimated $16 million, and tested on the Port Jefferson Branch.   The engines would haul ten bi-level cars from Japan costing about $2.2 million each.  The coaches would have fifty percent more seating, providing 187 seats as compared with 119 on existing diesel coaches.  If judged successful, a new fleet would be purchased and replace the railroad’s 166 diesel coaches, providing 11,000 more seats to the 20,000 existing, and serve the Main Line east of Greenport, and the Montauk and Oyster Bay Branches as well.[64]

LIRR Smithtown Station, Cab Control Car 5005 on north platform and Cab Control Car 5010 on south platform, view east (July 21, 2013)
LIRR Smithtown Station, Cab Control Car 5005 on north platform and Cab Control Car 5010 on south platform, view east (July 21, 2013)

Testing on the Port Jefferson Branch was to begin in February 1991, but a myriad of problems delayed progress.  The first train to run between Port Jefferson and Penn Station was on Monday, August 22.  Using the dual-mode locomotive, it set out under diesel power from Port Jefferson and shifted to electric power from the third rail just west of Jamaica.  The engines, which cost $5 million each, were designed to stop and accelerate more quickly than conventional diesels to shorten time getting in and out of stations and simulate their electric counterpart.  Bypassing the necessary change at Jamaica, the test train provided Smithtown commuters one of the most important service improvements in the railroad’s history.[65]

Commuter reaction was positive except for comfort of the bi-level cars.  Initial criticism was lack of headroom and snug seats.  The coaches featured two seats on one side and three across, with the total split evenly across the top and bottom.  In response, the railroad reconfigured the cars to feature two seats across on both sides.[66]

After a successful demonstration period, the $412 million diesel fleet of both dual-mode and single-mode diesel locomotives was purchased and first unveiled on October 21, 1998.  Together with 134 new bi-level coaches, the forty-six engines were slowly brought into the system and went on to replace the former diesel fleet.  Full dual-mode service on the Port Jefferson Branch went into service on March 20, 2000.  Initially, the new fleet was described in the press as putting an end to the change at Jamaica.  Surprisingly, the schedule of dual-mode service to New York remains the same.  There are only two roundtrips to and from Port Jefferson and Penn Station during rush-hour.  The remainder of service, either during peak or off-peak hours, requires a change to or from electric service.[67]

Regardless, Smithtown Station remains a primary stop on the Port Jefferson Branch, especially where trains pass each other.  The practice was moved to Kings Park Station in the early 1990s but switches back to Smithtown in the late-2000s.  Today, there are six times on weekdays that trains pass each other at the station.  On weekends, there are twelve.  In anticipation of ridership growth in response to the new fleet, the LIRR sought to improve and expand parking around the station in 1998.  The south side lots were repaved and reconfigured.  Additionally, repairs were made to the retaining wall at the south side of the station, near the entrance off Redwood Lane.  Plans were also implemented to improve access to the little-used 400-space lot on the north side of the station, near Fairview Avenue.[68]

Changes to the Depot Building

Over the last thirty years there have been changes made to, and in the area surrounding, the Smithtown depot building.  The most noticeable is the absence of a ticket agency.  In 1996 the railroad, hoping to save $2.1 million in its yearly operation budget, replaced ticket agents with ticket vending machines.  Smithtown was considered a low-volume station, along with eighteen others that, that had agents removed.[69]

LIRR ticket vending machines date to the early postwar years.  In August 1949 the Automaticket first debuted at Penn Station.  It sold one way tickets, with values up to $1.82, for use between Penn Station and fifty most frequently-requested destinations, including Smithtown.  The first, modern device was installed at Smithtown Station in July 1996 at which time both Nassau and Suffolk Counties took the MTA to federal court, citing that the action discriminated against visually handicapped riders.  Regardless, the railroad was allowed to proceed.  The Smithtown agency was closed November 20, 1996.  The last agent was Mike Taibbi whose role was passenger ticket seller.  Due to huge operating deficits, freight service at Smithtown was discontinued in 1982.[70]

Initially, the plan called for the waiting room and restrooms to be open from 4:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. seven days a week.  It was changed to weekdays only between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.  The last time the agency was opened on weekends was in the 1970s.  Weekend hours were instituted beginning May 16, 1976 to accommodate travelers who wished to purchase tickets in a leisurely manner.  However, in response to a state audit in the summer of 1980, an MTA committee suggested closing the office on weekends because business was too little to justify seven-day service.[71]

Despite the removal of the agency several enhancements have been made to the depot building.  One of the more obvious is the addition of the “Nissequogue Passages” mural.  Through funds made available by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Arts for Transit-Creative Stations Program in 1989, Stony Brook artist Robert Carioscia was invited by the Smithtown Arts Council to do a mural on the building’s north side wall.  The artwork was placed on a seventy-by-two and one-half foot frieze panel running the length of the building.  The theme is the fish and the Nissequogue River with a strong focus on rainbow and brook trout because of their bright colors.  The mural was unveiled at the end of October 1998 by railroad officials and the Smithtown Arts Council.[72]

"Nissequogue Passages" mural, north side of the LIRR Smithtown Station depot building (July 22, 2016)
“Nissequogue Passages” mural, north side of the LIRR Smithtown Station depot building (July 22, 2016)

A not so obvious improvement was instituted by town officials following the installation of a $290,000 generator on the east side of the Landing Avenue crossing in late 1990.  Officials felt that the small generator building needed to be consistent in appearance with other historic buildings in the area and asked the LIRR to change its plans for the building’s metal siding.  The railroad conceded and changed the exterior to masonry in the town’s choice of colors and planted evergreens around the structure.[73]

A fairly new building improvement, which required the temporary removal of the mural, was the renovation of the interior with a modern waiting room and a Smithtown bull set on the tile floor.  Work also included larger bathrooms designed for the disabled as mandated by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.  While the station was not considered in a list of eighteen stations essential to the system in 1993, it had formerly received ADA compliancy in timetables effective March 10, 1997.  The four-month restoration project started with the gutting of the interior down to the dirt, followed by a rebuilding of the floor back up with radiant heat under the tiles.  The former ticket window was removed to make room for larger bathrooms.  The waiting room was finished with oak wainscoting, crown molding, oversized casing and oversized base molding as well as all news doors and windows.  The exterior siding on the south side was also replaced.  Work was performed in the spring and early summer of 2015 by the Building & Bridges Department of the LIRR’s Engineering Department and the building was reopened to the public on Monday, July 13.[74]

LIRR Smithtown Station depot building, view northeast (July 22, 2016)
LIRR Smithtown Station depot building, view northeast (July 22, 2016)
LIRR Smithtown Station waiting room and restrooms (July 22, 2016)
LIRR Smithtown Station waiting room and restrooms (July 22, 2016)
LIRR Smithtown Station waiting room (July 22, 2016)
LIRR Smithtown Station waiting room (July 22, 2016)

Next page: “O Babylon, Beautiful Babylon, City down by the Sea”: Evolution of Babylon and its Railroad Station


[1] Bradley Harris, Kiernan Lannon and Joshua Ruff, Then & Now: Smithtown (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2011), IX; Richard M. Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, with a Historical Outline of Long Island (Port Washington, NY: I. J. Friedman, 1962), 183.

[2] Bill Bleyer, “Smith’s Saga, Minus the Bull,” in Home Town Long Island: the History of Every Community on Long Island in Stories and Photographs (Melville, NY: Newsday, 1999), 130-134.

[3] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 183-184; Benjamin F. Thompson, A History of Smithtown 1663-1845, edited by Rufus B. Langhans (Smithtown, NY: Smithtown Library, 1959), 6.

[4] Bill Bleyer, “Smith’s Saga, Minus the Bull,” 130; Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 183-184; 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), 806-807.

[5] Bill Bleyer, “Smith’s Saga, Minus the Bull,” 130; Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 184; Hazelton, The Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 805.

[6] Hazelton, The Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 806; Bleyer, “Smith’s Saga, Minus the Bull,” 130.

[7] Thompson, A History of Smithtown 1663-1845, 8; Staff of Long Island, Home Town Long Island: the History of Every Community on Long Island in Stories and Photographs (Melville, NY: Newsday, 1999), 130-133; Langhans, Place Names in the Town of Smithtown, 8; Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 186.

[8] Langhans, Place Names in the Town of Smithtown, 16; Bleyer, “Smith’s Saga, Minus the Bull,” 130.

[9] Langhans, Place Names in the Town of Smithtown, 11; Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 191-192.

[10] Langhans, Place Names in the Town of Smithtown, 17; Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 191-192.

[11] Langhans, Place Names in the Town of Smithtown, 18; Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 192-193; Thompson, A History of Smithtown 1663-1845, 10.

[12] Staff of Long Island, Home Town Long Island, 130-133.

[13] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 186; Langhans, Place Names in the Town of Smithtown, 25.

[14] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 186; Langhans, Place Names in the Town of Smithtown, 7.

[15] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 186; Langhans, Place Names in the Town of Smithtown, 17.

[16] Staff of Long Island, Home Town Long Island, 130-133.

[17] Thompson, A History of Smithtown 1663-1845, 10; Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 193; Staff of Long Island, Home Town Long Island, 134.

[18] Staff of Long Island, Home Town Long Island, 134; Bleyer, “Smith’s Saga, Minus the Bull,” 130; Harris, Lannon and Ruff, Then & Now: Smithtown, 11-14.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Bleyer, “Smith’s Saga, Minus the Bull,” 130; Hazelton, The Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 392-393.

[21] Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 3, 54-58.

[22] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 192; Box 6, Book 24, Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries; Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 3, 59.

[23] Box 6, Book 24, Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection; Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 3, 197; Ron Ziel and Richard Wettereau, Victorian Railroad Stations of Long Island (Bridgehampton, NY: Sunrise Special Ltd., 1988), 107.

[24] Box 6, Book 24, Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection; “Replacing Old Bridges,” Long-Islander (Huntington), May 9, 1902, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org.

[25] Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Box 13, Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries, Wading River Branch Trains, Effective September 20, 1905, by Long Island Rail Road (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1905).

[26] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 192.

[27] Staff of Long Island, Home Town Long Island, 134.

[28] Ibid., 134.

[29] Box 6, Book 24, Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection.

[30] “Two Public Service Hearings in Smithtown,” Long-Islander (Huntington), February 4, 1927, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org.

[31] “Public Service Com. at Smithtown,” Long-Islander (Huntington), March 11, 1927, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org.

[32] “Detours on L.I. Roads Reported,” Patchogue Advance, May 14, 1929, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org; “Many Rail Crossings on Long Island Passed Out in 1929,” East Hampton Star, October 18, 1929, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org.

[33] “Don’t Want Elimination Smithtown R.R. Crossing,” Long-Islander (Huntington), February 1, 1929, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org.

[34] Ibid.; “The Smithtown Underpass a Glowing Triumph,” Smithtown Messenger, May 7, 1937; “P.S.C. O.K.’s $168,859 Bid for Smithtown Grade Crossing Elimination,” Mid-Island Mail (Medford), September 16, 1936, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org; Harris, Lannon and Ruff, Then & Now: Smithtown, 61; Box 6, Book 24, Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection; Harris, Lannon and Ruff, Then & Now: Smithtown, 61; “Long Island Rail Road: Alphabetical Station Listing and History,” Trains Are Fun, accessed February 22, 2016, http://www.trainsarefun.com/lirrphotos/LIRR%20Station%20History.htm.

[35] Box 6, Book 24, Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection; Harris, Lannon and Ruff, Then & Now: Smithtown, 61; Ziel and Wettereau, Victorian Railroad Stations of Long Island, 107; “Smithtown,” Long-Islander (Huntington), January 29, 1937, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org.

[36] “Long Island Rail Road: Alphabetical Station Listing and History”; “Celebrating Opening of the New Smithtown Station,” Smithtown Messenger, February 19, 1937; “Opening of New Smithtown Station Celebrated by Townspeople and Railroad Officials,” Smithtown Messenger, February 26, 1937.

[37] “Long Island R.R. Grade Crossing Elimination at Smithtown Finished,” Suffolk County News (Sayville), April 30, 1937, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org; “The Underpass Opening in Smithtown,” Smithtown Messenger, April 30, 1937; “The Smithtown Underpass a Glowing Triumph,” Smithtown Messenger, May 7, 1937.

[38] Bleyer, “Smith’s Saga, Minus the Bull,” 130; Harris, Lannon and Ruff, Then & Now: Smithtown, 69.

[39] Langhans, Place Names in the Town of Smithtown, 24-25; Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 186-187; Harris, Lannon and Ruff, Then & Now: Smithtown, 28; “Sunken Meadow State Park (Governor Alfred E. Smith),” New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, accessed on July 23, 2016, http://nysparks.com/parks/37/details.aspx; “Add Tract to N. Shore State Park,” Newsday (1940-1988), January 7, 1952, http://www.proquest.com; “State Gets Bids on Sunken Meadow Spur,” Newsday (1940-1988), July 14, 1952, http://www.proquest.com; “Sunken Meadow Park,” Patchogue Advance, August 2, 1929, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org.

[40] Harris, Lannon and Ruff, Then & Now: Smithtown, IX-X.

[41] Ibid., 13; “Caleb Smith House,” Smithtown Historical Society, accessed on July 23, 2016, http://smithtownhistorical.org/about/caleb-smith-house.

[42] “Blydenburgh Farm and New Mill Historic District,” Suffolk County Government, accessed on July 23, 2016, http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/Parks/HistoricServices/BlydenburghFarmandNewMill.aspx; “Blydenburgh County Park,” Suffolk County Government, accessed on July 23, 2016, http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/departments/parks/parks/blydenburghcountypark.aspx.

[43] Ibid., 59.

[44] Ibid., 30.

[45] Sheldon Binn, “’Port Jeff Blues’ Staged for PSC,” Newsday (1940-1988), April 28, 1950, http://www.proquest.com.

[46] Ibid.

[47] “Walk a Little Bit, Sit Less: LIRR to Riders,” Newsday (1940-1988), June 12, 1951, http://www.proquest.com.

[48] Ibid.; 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), Port Jefferson Branch.

[49] Long Island Rail Road, Schedule in Effect October 3, 1955, Long Island Rail Road, William H. Draper, Jr., Trustee, Time Tables (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1955), Port Jefferson Branch.

[50] Long Island Rail Road, Schedule in Effect September 9, 1951, Long Island Rail Road, Port Jefferson Branch; Roy R. Silver, “LIRR to Install Remote Controls,” New York Times (1923-Current file), February 11, 1960, http://www.proquest.com; Box 6, Book 24, Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection; “LIRR to Paint Depots to Riders’ Orders,” Newsday (1940-1988), April 28, 1960, http://www.proquest.com.

[51] Long Island Rail Road, Schedule in Effect September 10, 1956, Long Island Rail Road, Time Tables (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1956), Port Jefferson Branch; Long Island Rail Road, Schedule in Effect September 2, 1958, Long Island Rail Road, Time Tables (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1958), Port Jefferson Branch.

[52] “Ask LIRR Modernize ’19th Century’ Bridge,” Newsday (1940-1988), December 20, 1955, http://www.proquest.com; Box 6, Book 24, Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection.

[53] Silver, “LIRR to Install Remote Controls”.

[54] “Smithtown Seeks Rental Pact with MTA to add LIRR Parking,” Newsday (1940-1988), May 24, 1968, http://www.proquest.com; Long Island Rail Road, Schedule in Effect September 11, 1961, Long Island Rail Road, Time Tables (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1961), Port Jefferson Branch.

[55] “Zone Fares for L.I.R.R. as Approved by the M.T.A.,” New York Times (1923-Current file), January 22, 1972, http://www.proquest.com.

[56] Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 20, 1974, Port Jefferson Branch, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1974); Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Box 14, Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries, Long Island Rail Road Timetables Effective October 30, 1972, by Long Island Rail Road  (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1972), Port Jefferson Branch; Metropolitan Long Island Rail Road Company, New York, Brooklyn, Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, Ronkonkoma Timetable, Schedule in effect October 5, 1971 (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1971).

[57] LIRR Upgrading is Included in the New Commuter Rail Plan,” Newsday (1940-1988), December 29, 1975, http://www.proquest.com; Steve Cocheo, “MTA Gets $168 Million for Upgrading,” Newsday (1940-1988), August 8, 1978, ; “Gates Now Mark Local LIRR Crossings,” Smithtown Messenger, March 20, 1975.

[58] Long Island Rail Road, Effective September 12, 1977, Port Jefferson Branch, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1976); Long Island Rail Road, Effective September 20, 1976, Port Jefferson Branch, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1976); Long Island Rail Road, Effective December 15, 1979, Port Jefferson Branch, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1979).

[59] Ron Beller, “Electric Rail to Pt. Jefferson Sought by ‘87,” Newsday (1940-1988), August 10, 1983, http://www.proquest.com; Bleyer, “MTA Defers Electrification,” Newsday (1940-1988), December 21, 1985, http://www.proquest.com.

[60] Ibid.; Gary Wojtas, “LIRR Postpones Electrified Tracks,” Smithtown Messenger, January 2, 1986.

[61] Gary Wojtas, “Railroad Upgrading is Underway,” Smithtown Messenger, February 20, 1986; Gary Wojtas, “Station Improvements,” Smithtown Messenger, April 10, 1986; Gary Wojtas, “Rail Improvement Disrupt Service,” Smithtown Messenger, April 17, 1986; Gregory Shutta, “Port Jefferson Service Suspended,” Newsday (Combined edition), April 15, 1986, http://www.proquest.com.

[62] Shutta, “Port Jefferson Service Suspended”; Gary Wojtas, “Train Repair Schedule,” Smithtown Messenger, May 1, 1986; Railroad Video Productions, Long Island Rail Road: Cab Ride Penn Station to Port Jefferson (Leola, PA: Railroad Video Productions, 1994); “A New Sidewalk and Pedestrian Crossing,” Smithtown Messenger, August 14, 1986; “Block Names,” NYCTransitForums, accessed on August 15, 2016, http://www.nyctransitforums.com/forums/topic/42056-block-names.

[63] Gary Wojtas, “Raised Platforms for St. James,” Smithtown Messenger, August 21, 1986; “MTA Workers at the Smithtown Railroad Station Proceed,” Smithtown Messenger, November 20, 1986; Gary Wojtas, “LIRR Walkout Strands Many,” Smithtown Messenger, January 22, 1987.

[64] Wojtas, “Railroad Upgrading is Underway”; Mia Kaczinski, “Bi-Level Trains Don’t Thrill LIRR Passengers,” The Village Times (Stony Brook), September 29, 1988; Mia Kaczinski, “PJ Planners Support Need for Additional Parking at LIRR,” The Village Times (Stony Brook), December 1, 1988.

[65] “At Last, LIRR Makes a Real Change at Jamaica,” Newsday (Combined edition), August 24, 1994, http://www.proquest.com; Andrea Rubin, “LIRR Commuters Call New Trains the Good, the Bad and the Snuggly,” Port Times Record, August 25, 1994.

[66] “LIRR Commuters Call New Trains the Good, the Bad and the Snuggly.”

[67] Steven Kretak, “A Smooth, Quiet Ride: LIRR Unveils New Fleet,” Newsday (Combined edition), October 22, 1998, http://www.proquest.com; Hugo Kugiya, “A First for LIRR Speonk-to-Penn on a Dual-mode Train,” Newsday (Combined edition), November 16, 1999, http://www.proquest.com; Long Island Rail Road, Port Jefferson Branch Timetable effective March 20, 2000 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2000); “At Last, LIRR Makes a Real Change at Jamaica.”

[68] Long Island Rail Road, Port Jefferson Branch Timetable effective September 11, 1995 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1995); Long Island Rail Road, Port Jefferson Branch Timetable effective November 10 – December 15, 2008 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2008); Long Island Rail Road, Port Jefferson Branch Timetable effective May 23 – September 5, 2016 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2016); “LIRR Moves Forward with Parking Lot Plan,” Smithtown News, February 19, 1998.

[69] Carol Paquette, “LIRR Moving to Drop 32 More Ticket Windows,” New York Times (1923-Current file), January 14, 1996, http://www.proquest.com.

[70] Ibid.; “Bet Machine Sires LIRR Automaticket,” Newsday (1940-1988), August 22, 1949, http://www.proquest.com; Marie Cocco, “LIRR Updates Freight Car Repairs,” Newsday (1940-1988), May 6, 1982, http://www.proquest.com; Carol Corry, “In Smithtown / End of the Line for Ticket Agents,” Newsday (Combined edition), March 24, 1996, http://www.proquest.com; Phil Mintz, “LIRR Machines Replace Vendors,” Newsday (Combined edition), November 7, 1996, http://www.proquest.com.

[71] Paquette, “LIRR Moving to Drop 32 More Ticket Windows,”; Pete Bowles and Jane Snider, “LIRR Upgrading is Included in the New Commuter Rail Plan,” Newsday (1940-1988), April 9, 1976, http://www.proquest.com; Tom Morris, “LIRR to Cut Back on Ticket Windows,” Newsday (1940-1988), June 6, 1980, http://www.proquest.com.

[72] “Around Town: Rail Station’s Cool Images,” Newsday (Combined edition), July 2, 1989, http://www.proquest.com; “Town Beat: Politician Poll Puts Students to the Test,” Newsday (Combined edition), October 29, 1989, http://www.proquest.com.

[73] Jim Puzzanghera and Maureen O’Neill, “Building that Aims to Please, Newsday, August 12, 1990.

[74] “Depot Redo: Old Smithtown Train Station Renovated for Waiting Room,” Smithtown News, July 30, 2015; “Renovated LIRR Smithtown Station Waiting Room,” Flickr, accessed on July 16, 2016, https://www.flickr.com/photos/mtaphotos/19557514276; Phillip Lutz, “LIRR Remodels 18 Stops for the Disabled,” New York Times (1923-Current file), June 27, 1993, http://www.proquest.com; Long Island Rail Road, Port Jefferson Branch Timetable effective March 10, 1997 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1997).

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