Port Jefferson: The Rise of an Incorporated Village

Village of Port Jefferson (May 11, 2008)
Village of Port Jefferson (May 11, 2008)

Located at the bottom of what was once a deep valley in Suffolk County, New York, Port Jefferson served as a strategic industrial locale in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.  Currently it is a quaint, incorporated village recognized for its specialty shops, scenic waterfront, and ferry service to Bridgeport, Connecticut.  The growth from a tiny hamlet to an industrial area, and to an incorporated village that exemplifies suburbia, spans the better part of two centuries.  The following sketches the growth of Greater Port Jefferson from an uninhabited meadow to the ideal twenty-first century modern provincial community.

History of Port Jefferson and Neighboring Communities

The narrative of Port Jefferson begins with the arrival of English settlers in what is now the town of Brookhaven.  The area was inhabited by two Algonkian-speaking Native Americans, the Setaukets, or Setalcotts, and the Unkechaugs.  In fact, the current boundaries of the town coincide almost exactly with the Indian tribal lands.  Most of present-day Port Jefferson was a portion of the original tract of land purchased from the Setauket tribe in 1665.  Six land agents representing the interests of twenty-two Puritan men and their families from eastern Long Island and New England received eight square miles that stretched from Stony Brook to Port Jefferson in exchange for tools, wampum, lead, powder, and “one pair of children’s stockings.”[1]  Named after the Indian tribe, a portion of the new territory included present-day Setauket, which was chosen as the first settlement.  The area to the east, current Port Jefferson, was a marshland known as Drowned Meadow, which flooded with every high tide and deemed unfit for habitation.  As Long Island became a part of the Colony of New York in 1666, Governor Richard Nicholl granted a patent that both fixed the name of Brookhaven and allowed for additional land purchases.  By 1667, the area of what is now Belle Terre on Mount Misery Neck was purchased from the Setaukets and local inhabitants established a tavern.[2]  Other areas that encompass Greater Port Jefferson that will be discussed are Brick Hill and Cumsewogue, or Port Jefferson Station.

Drowned Meadow was situated on the southern edge of what is now Port Jefferson Harbor, between Dyer’s Neck, also known as Poquott, and Mount Misery Neck.  The northern side of the harbor leads to Long Island Sound.[3]  The Indian name for Drowned Meadow was Souwassett, meaning “at the place of small pines.”[4]  On the other hand, Poquott to the northwest denotes “clear land,” and “open country.”[5]  William Simpson was the first recorded property owner in the meadow.  In 1661, the Brookhaven magistrates gave Simpson ten acres of land on the condition that he kept a boat available for town use since the meadow served as a marine landing.  However, by 1664 Simpson’s land was reverted back to town ownership and further development in the meadow was twenty years distant.[6]

Port Jefferson Harbor, Belle Terre (May 11, 2008)
Port Jefferson Harbor, Belle Terre (May 11, 2008)

The next settlement was on Mount Misery.  In 1663, a man named John Scott made a dubious claim to the land from Port Jefferson to Wading River.  In truth, Scott never approached the Indians to purchase land.  He was implicated and returned to England in 1665.  By this time the Indians granted the same land to the town of Brookhaven but not before Scott had already constructed two houses on Mount Misery Neck.  One of these was purchased at public auction by Daniel Lane in 1665 and the other was confiscated by the town and subsequently turned into a tavern.  By 1679, Mount Misery was divided into fifty acre lots.  Legend states that in 1665 Reverend Nathaniel Brewster arrived on the neck and after ascending to the top of the eastern bluffs exclaimed “Oh! What a mountain of misery!” thus giving the area its name.  However, former town historian Osborn Shaw discovered that records gave mention to Mount Misery three years prior to the Reverend’s arrival.[7]  By 1729 a man named Selah Strong owned land on Mount Misery and by the middle of the nineteenth century all land on the neck was his estate, Oakwood.[8]

Development of Drowned Meadow began in 1681.  In that year an Irish shoemaker named John Roe built a new home and moved in the following year.  For twelve years prior he lived in Setauket and carried on his business, which originated in Maspeth, Queens.  After an invitation by town magistrates, he became the town shoemaker.  After Roe, Henry Brooks was contracted as the town blacksmith and granted land in the meadow.  He remained only a few months and was later replaced by John Thompson in July of 1672.  Noticing the increased habitation of the area, the town made road improvements at the beginning of the eighteenth century.  John Roe Lane is the first recorded public trail and apparently ran from East Setauket to the meadow.[9]

Commercial interest in the waterfront location began in 1773.  In that year, residents Benjamin Floyd and Richard Woodhull, Jr. petitioned the town to construct a wharf.  Ship building became the harbor’s greatest success for the next century and more.  The first recorded shipbuilder was John Willse.  Born an orphan in Fort Lee, New Jersey, Willse began work at the Jacob Van Brunt farm on Poquott at the age of fourteen.  To advance his ship construction business, he purchased a tract of land on the Oakwood estate in 1797 and by 1809, with help of the town as the leasing authority, Willse erected a dock that extended from his property into the harbor.[10]  At the time, there were only five houses within the meadow. However, by 1812 the number of houses increased to nineteen and the hamlet was recognized as a postal station.[11]

Anchorage Road, Port Jefferson Harbor, Belle Terre (May 11, 2008)
Anchorage Road, Port Jefferson Harbor, Belle Terre (May 11, 2008)

More ship business in Drowned Meadow followed.  One builder was named Richard Mather, who was both an apprentice to Willse and would later marry his daughter.[12]  Another builder named William L. Jones, who hailed from Comsewogue, was  responsible for dramatic changes in Drowned Meadow.  Born in 1792, he began his career as an assistant to Titus Mather in the old Willse shipyard.  By 1826, he achieved the rank of Captain, and built his own yard.  At that time, a stream ran from the southern hillsides of Cumsewogue down to the meadow.  It followed a course adjacent to present Main Street.  Comprehending the drawback of both the stream and the marshlands that it fed into, between 1827 and 1834 Jones cut a channel to the harbor west of the streambed to divert its course.  Consequently, a drawbridge that led to Setauket was constructed over the new channel.  At high tide, vessels could be floated into the harbor via the channel.  In another example of his genius, Jones petitioned the town to build a five hundred foot wharf into the harbor to improve his ship business.  His forward-looking approach also led to landfill use and allowed for expansion of the central business district.[13]

As the community blossomed in the 1830s, the present name Port Jefferson was adopted.  There are two theories behind the switch.  Observing the growth of Drowned Meadow, an 1835 editorial in the political newspaper Jeffersonian encouraged the idea of building a breakwater to hinder the shifting of sand into the channel.  In appreciation, the community elected to rename the area in the paper’s honor.  The other theory is the influence of shipbuilder Elisha Bayles.  He pressed for the name shift in recognition of his hero Thomas Jefferson.  However, it is also possible that Bayles employed the editorial’s appeal to convince residents.  Nevertheless, residents voted to adopt the name Port Jefferson on March 7, 1836.[14]

In addition to shipbuilding, Port Jefferson enjoyed other developments in the mid-nineteenth century.  The first house of worship, a Methodist Episcopal church, was established in 1836.[15]  In the center of the hamlet at Hotel Square stood the Port Jefferson Hotel and the Townsend House.  A part of the latter was once occupied by John Roe.  The community also boasted two newspapers.  The Independent Press, a seven column weekly newspaper, was relocated from Stony Brook to Port Jefferson in July of 1868.  The Long Island Leader, a nine column weekly paper, commenced on April 12, 1873.[16]  The Cedar Hill Cemetery Association was formed on March 30, 1859 and thirteen acres were purchased on one of the highest hills south of Port Jefferson.  The first burial was that of Mary B. Hulse who died on March, 27 1859.[17]  Over forty men who served in the Civil War are buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery.[18]  Other important enterprises included the steam moulding and planning mill of the Suwassett Steam Flouring Mills and the horse carriage factory of E. Tuthill which started in 1855.[19]

Progress in adjacent areas advanced as well.  “Brick Kiln,” or “Brick Hill,” a forty-one acre track of waste land named after an inexhaustible mine of clay,[20] was purchased in 1868 by developer Charles T. Corwin of Brooklyn.  In 1874, the famous circus producer Phineas Taylor (P.T.) Barnum bought the land intent on erecting homes.  Barnum appointed Independent Press-founder Harvey Markham to oversee the project.  Although initial sales were sluggish the community developed into what was once calledPort Jefferson’s “first suburb.”[21]  Another area neighboring Port Jefferson on the high level plain about a mile south of the hamlet was Cumsewogue.  The name probably referred to a road or trail, and can be translated as “a walking place.”[22]  The community was also called Echo, the name given to it by a wealthy landowner who once owned a race horse by that name.[23]  Originally a farming district it developed into Port Jefferson Station, named after the railroad depot located within its boundaries.  Mittyville was a local name given to a small settlement immediately south of Port Jefferson.  It took its name from an eccentric old lady who was one of its first inhabitants.[24]

LIRR Port Jefferson Station depot building, view east (May 25, 2013)
LIRR Port Jefferson Station depot building, view east (May 25, 2013)

The growth of adjoining communities and shipbuilding allowed other business to flourish as well, such as tinsmiths, chandlers, blacksmiths and other craftsmen.  With increase in harbor traffic, the community resolved to both increase the depth of the channel from the mouth of the harbor to the docks, and extend the breakwater on each side of the harbor’s entrance.  The passage of the Congressional Rivers and Harbors Act of 1871 allocated money for improvement.[25]  The amount of $30,000 was allotted to the harbor.  The upgrade was not only designed to benefit shipbuilding but also improve steamboat service to New York.[26]  Steam ferry operation commenced between Port Jefferson and Bridgeport in 1872, making two round trips daily.  Eleven years later, the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company was established by twenty-seven stockholders to link Long Island agriculture with industrial New England.  P.T. Barnum, a resident of Bridgeport, was responsible for its inception and elected as the first president.[27]

Port Jefferson Ferry and Terminal (May 25, 2013)
Port Jefferson Ferry and Terminal (May 25, 2013)

By 1855 the hamlet held ten to twelve operational shipyards.  A total of 327 vessels were built in Port Jefferson from the earliest records through 1884.  The number is roughly forty percent of Suffolk County’s boats.  The population grew from 300 in 1843 to almost two thousand by the 1870s.  For nearly forty years shipbuilding was the dominant business in the hamlet.  However, towards the end of the nineteenth century the glory days of the family-operated industry came to an end.  Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) freight and passenger service and the eclipse of the American commercial sailing vessel led to the abandonment of some ship business.[28]  In its heyday, shipyards employed as many as 200 men.  One of the largest vessels ever built, the seven hundred ton Nomad, was launched in 1872 from the James M. Bayles & Son shipyard.[29]

In light of its waterside location, Port Jefferson Harbor became a resort destination at the turn of the twentieth century.  With the ferry as a tourist promoter, seasonal boarding houses and local hotels were often filled to capacity.[30]  In addition, real estate speculators such as Charles F. Wingate sold lots to wealthy New York City residents who wished for a suburban waterfront getaway.  By 1906, the firm called Loper Brothers secured contracts to construct $30,000 summer cottages.[31]

Similar to the Bayard Cutting and Vanderbilt estates along the Great South Bay in the town of Islip, Belle Terre converted into an exclusive community for the wealthy.  Developer Dean Alvord of New York City purchased Belle Terre from the Port Jefferson Company, which acquired the former Oakwood estate in the 1890s, for over $650,000.  Utilizing the suggestion of early developers, Alvord kept the name Belle Terre and set out to promote the land with assistance from LIRR President Ralph Peters.  In fact, a road was built from the LIRR Port Jefferson Station to the community.  In addition, a wharf was constructed at the end of present day Anchorage Road, as well as a gate house, a large clubhouse, and golf course.  Also, the Belle Terre Club boasted an English inn, tennis courts, a croquet ground, and a bowling green.[32]

Old Dock, Anchorage Road, Belle Terre (May 11, 2008)
Old Dock, Anchorage Road, Belle Terre (May 11, 2008)

Development as a Harbor Village

During the First World War, one shipyard was still very active, building several vessels for war effort.  Although the industry was coming to an end, the harbor maintained its viability as a trading center and residents called Port Jefferson the “hub of the world’s largest trading center” in 1924.  It was regarded as the ideal port for big transatlantic steamships in the ocean trade since it was equidistant between New York City and Montauk, from west to east, and between Bridgeport and Patchogue, from north to south.  Several manufacturers began to call the harbor home.  The sand and gravel industry developed and shipped material daily to New York City.  Since the water held certain properties deemed ideal for lace production, Port Jefferson mills supplied lace for New York City customers.[33]  During Prohibition, Port Jefferson was a bootleg location.  On one occasion $30,000 in illegal liquor was loaded at the harbor.  Port Jefferson also became a location for shipping oil, with barges a staple on the waterfront.[34]

McAllister County Park, Belle Terre (May 11, 2008)
McAllister County Park, Belle Terre (May 11, 2008)

The harbor locale was also no longer the vacation getaway for the wealthy.  While Belle Terre maintained its elite status, transportation on Long Island improved to enable Port Jefferson to be considered a suburb to New York City by mid-twentieth century.  Houses formerly owned by merchants and captains were now purchased by families who commuted to New York City daily.[35]

The construction of a Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO) power station on the west side of Port Jefferson Harbor in the 1940s altered the future of the community.  Opponents viewed the plant as a threat to the tranquility and scenic beauty of the natural harbor setting.  They also feared a reduction in property values.  The continued growth of industry convinced residents there was a lack of community control.  While the LILCO station could provide a steady source of income, citizens wanted control of tax revenues.  The solution was the incorporation of the hamlet into a village.  The concept promised stability and control of growth in both the village and harbor area.[36]

The lack of parking was one of the first issues discussed to spearhead incorporation.  Local merchants felt that limited facilities stunted business growth.  At a meeting in August of 1961, they suggested the creation of a Port Jefferson Parking District.  Soon after, the Port Jefferson Property Owners Association (PJPOA) was organized to preserve the historic image of the hamlet, in particular the harbor area which was thought “the primary consideration in any new development.”  By the spring of 1962 the PJPOA tried to convince the Brookhaven Town Board that a reclamation of seaside property and the upgrade of the sewer treatment plant was vital to the growth of Port Jefferson.  The board’s decision to take a neutral stance on the issue prompted residents of the hamlet to “seek incorporation as a means of more effectively controlling land use on the harbor and controlling the fate of the village.”  In December of 1962, the question was put to a referendum.  Residents voted by a two-to-one margin and Port Jefferson officially became an incorporated village on April 12, 1963.[37]

With an elected government now planning the future of the village, the Comprehensive Development Plan for the Village of Port Jefferson was established in 1965 and two new parking areas were built.  A Georgian-style village hall building was constructed on West Broadway in 1967 on the site of the former Loper Brothers store.  Also in that year, the Port Jefferson Historical Society was created.[38]

The village has continually tried to stifle industrial growth of the harbor with strict zoning ordinances and turn attention to the development of a quaint suburb town with a business center of small shops.[39]  By the end of the 1970s, Main Street was a “thriving row of boutiques and specialty shops that [rivaled] the Hamptons.”  The nearby construction of a SUNY campus at Stony Brook gave the community a solid, affluent middle class.  However, since it was still a harbor port that imported half the fuel that reached Nassau and Suffolk Counties, a battle was waged between the future use of the harbor.  Northville Industries wanted to continue fuel imports while officials wanted the harbor to be used exclusively for pleasure boats and recreation.  Although the LILCO plant paid for more than sixty percent of the municipal and school budgets and gave Port Jefferson the lowest tax rate of any municipality in the suburban metropolitan area, residents feared it attracted future industry.  In addition, the village wanted to drive out the New York Trap Rock Company’s gravel unloading operations through legislation to make the land area into nonconforming use.  At the end of the twentieth century, the village of Port Jefferson was able to battle and drive out the industrial presence.  Utilization of planning and zoning powers created the ideal harbor village.[40]

Long Island Rail Road

The LIRR played an important role in the early development of Port Jefferson.  After all, before rail service, land communication was by means of stagecoach from the LIRR Waverly Station on the Main Line, ten miles distant.[41]  The arrival of the iron horse was a relief it sped travel and made other areas of Long Island and New York City accessible.  The LIRR allowed Port Jefferson to grow in the Industrial Age.  In turn, the progress of the community from small hamlet to harbor village influenced LIRR service over the last century.  The rise in population and the development of Port Jefferson as a seaside village necessitated improved rail service and better infrastructure for Long Island.

The finalization of the LIRR Northport Branch in April of 1868 set in motion the extension of railroad facilities to Port Jefferson.   Both Smithtown and Port Jefferson desired a direct link to New York and Brooklyn.  As the chief shipbuilding port on Long Island, east of Brooklyn, the decision to expand service to Port Jefferson seemed inevitable.[42]  In Smithtown, a committee of men urged LIRR president Oliver Charlick to continue the rails eastward and hired railroad surveyor James I. Shipman to lay out the eighteen-mile route from Kings Park to Port Jefferson.  Initially, Charlick offered to underwrite $120,000 of the construction cost of the road if residents subscribed bonds for the remaining $80,000.  He also decided that the best option was to organize an independent company.  The citizens agreed and the company was established as the Smithtown & Port Jefferson Railroad Company on June 3, 1870.  It was to operate for ninety-nine years with an initial capital of $200,000, divided into shares of $25 each, or the estimate of the total cost of the road.  In the end, the LIRR agreed to finance the road most of the road while residents consented to provide the remaining $100,000.[43]  The contract was awarded to Webster Snyder of Jamaica and signed in early July of 1871.  With a tentative completion date of April 30, 1872, the road was to include two iron bridges, one crossing Smithtown River, and one over the road near Smithtown River.  A lot in Cumsewogue on the property of Mr. C.L. Bayles was settled as the terminal depot.[44]

Following a dispute as to where the new road should connect with the LIRR at Northport, groundbreaking for the Smithtown & Port Jefferson Railroad Company began in early May of 1872.[45]  As the road neared Port Jefferson, there was discussion to expand the road to Riverhead.  However, the idea was quickly dismissed since it would have competed with the LIRR Main Line service.  Grading of the eighteen-mile road was completed at the end of June, and the rails were laid in August and September.  On November 18, the last rail was spiked at Port Jefferson terminal.  Passenger service began on January 13, 1873, with the first train departing at 6:00 a.m.  From its connection at Northport Junction to its terminus, the Smithtown & Port Jefferson Railroad was 18.98 miles long.  The combined new road and LIRR Northport Branch made station stops at Syosset, Woodbury, Huntington, Centreport, Northport, St. Johnland, Smithtown, St. James, Stony Brook, Setauket, and Port Jefferson.  Port Jefferson station stop was calculated as fifty-eight miles from Long Island City.[46]

The first depot building and freight house, located on the west side of Main Street, opened in January of 1873.  The depot building burned down on February 1, 1874 but the freight house remained.  A second depot was built in June of 1875.  Financed by the owners of Belle Terre, the present depot was built on land donated by the Port Jefferson Company.  The 1875 depot remained as a yard shack until 1963.[47]  Ground-breaking for the current depot was on March 12, 1903.[48]  Designed by Stanford White, the architecture featured fluted columns that matched the columns of the Belle Terre Pergolas.[49]  It opened on Saturday July 25, 1903.[50]

Port Jefferson Station
Historical Fact
Station and depot building opened January 13, 1873
Depot building destroyed by fire February 1, 1874
Depot building replaced June 1875
Depot building replaced 1903
Depot building opened July 25, 1903
Station platform relocated to temporary location April 25, 1988
Station platform reopened October 31, 1988
High-level concrete platform and ramp constructed (with two flat-roofed, metal-framed Plexiglas passenger shelters) December 1988 – Late spring 1989 (author’s analysis)
ADA station enhancements completed Spring 1993 (author’s analysis)
Pedestrian overpass completed Late 1998 – January 1999 (author’s analysis)
Temporary depot building opened December 1999
Depot building renovated December 1999 – Early July 2001 (author’s analysis)
Platform renovated (with two large, saltbox-roofed passenger waiting area shelter and information center replacements made of steel and enamel painted red-brick, mint, and light beige) Fall 2000 (author’s analysis)
Temporary depot building closed July 10, 2001 (author’s analysis)
Depot building reopened July 10, 2001 (author’s analysis)
LIRR Port Jefferson Station depot building, view east (May 25, 2013)
LIRR Port Jefferson Station depot building, view east (May 25, 2013)
Pot belly stove, LIRR Port Jefferson Station depot building, May 25, 2013
Pot belly stove, LIRR Port Jefferson Station depot building, May 25, 2013

Port Jefferson became a transit hub in 1872, with the Smithtown & Port Jefferson Railroad completed and the ferry to Bridgeport in service.  On September 23, 1892, ownership of the railroad was transferred to a new subsidiary, Long Island Railroad Company North Shore Branch.  Following the closure of the Wading River Branch in 1938, which extended from Port Jefferson to Wading River, the road became permanently referred to as the Port Jefferson Branch.[51]

Twentieth Century Long Island Rail Road Service Improvements

By 1942, steam-hauled passenger service to the non-electrified rails at Port Jefferson Station was roughly a dozen trains daily, both eastbound and westbound.  Sunday service was under ten.  Since steam was not permitted at the underground New York Pennsylvania Station because of carbon monoxide emitted by the engines, passenger trains terminated or originated at Jamaica.  However, one morning train from Port Jefferson Station terminated at Long Island City Station.[52]  Diesel engines later replaced steam on the LIRR.  A diesel-electric locomotive is powered by an internal combustion-engine that powers a generator.  Electricity from the generator is used to turn electric motors mounted on the axels.[53]

To avoid passengers changing trains at Jamaica, some LIRR service to New York was provided by a locomotive change to electric.  In 1942, this included three westbound and three eastbound Port Jefferson Branch rush-hour trains.[54]  However, beginning June 24, 1951, the LIRR eliminated the locomotive switch on select rush-hour trains.  In attempt to aid the bankrupt railroad, all Port Jefferson passenger trains terminated or originated at Jamaica, Hunterspoint Avenue, or Long Island City.[55]  A September 9, 1951 timetable indicates that three eastbound and two westbound rush-hour trains originated or terminated at Long Island City while one westbound rush-hour train, called the Partridge, terminated at Hunterspoint Avenue.  Moreover, an eastbound rush-hour train that originated at Jamaica was also termed the Partridge.  The remainder of Port Jefferson Branch service originated or terminated at Jamaica.[56]

Another effort to help the railroad was an announcement in May of 1952 by Trustee William Wyer that sought to abandon service on three outlying branches in eastern Suffolk.  One branch was the Port Jefferson, from Smithtown to Port Jefferson Station.  Such a proposal required permission of Federal Court followed by an Interstate Commerce Commission inquiry to make the final decision.  The action never materialized but occurred at a period in Port Jefferson’s history prior to incorporation.  Finalization of the idea would have been detrimental to the growth of Port Jefferson in the latter twentieth century.  Without the LIRR, the community could not be considered a commuter suburb.[57]

Service remained steady throughout the 1950s and 1960s.  Roughly twelve to fourteen weekday trains serviced Port Jefferson Station, both eastbound and westbound.  A few less serviced the community on the weekends.  Although Port Jefferson Station service remained constant, additional trains were added along the Branch that terminated or originated at Northport Station in 1955.[58]

All trains to or from Port Jefferson Station originated or terminated at Jamaica, while a few weekday rush-hour at Long Island City or Hunterspoint Avenue.  However, by 1961 Long Island City was no longer an origination or destination station.  Hunterspoint Avenue became standard to Port Jefferson rush-hour service with five westbound and eastbound trains using the station as a terminus or origin.[59]

LIRR GP38-2 number 273 heads train number 658 through Hicksville Station, circa April 1996
LIRR GP38-2 number 273 heads train number 658 through Hicksville Station (Circa April 1996)

Improvements along the branch developed after 1960.  The first sign of progress was the February 1960 announcement that the LIRR would install a $500,000 traffic control system.  All eleven stations showed gains in commuter usage, with the largest increase between Syosset and Northport.  After all, the population of both the town of Huntington and Smithtown doubled from 1950 to 1960.  In 1959, the branch carried 7,111 daily customers, compared with 4,084 in 1953.  The new Centralized Traffic Control would increase the speed and flexibility of operation and permit added service.  Engineers envisioned that the new system would be equivalent to a second track installation from Syosset to Port Jefferson.  Completion of the new system to Smithtown was set for November of 1960 and would permit the control of traffic from a central control panel at Hicksville.[60]

Following the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) annexation in 1966, LIRR Port Jefferson Branch service and equipment expanded.  The first sign of change came in June of 1967 when the Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded a $22.6 million grant esigned to cut LIRR travel time in half.   MTA chairman Dr. William J. Ronan stated that the money would be used to increase the third-rail electrical power on 104 miles of already-electrified track as well as extend electric service from Mineola, through Hicksville, to Huntington.  Another phase of the plan was to purchase new passenger cars capable of speeds up to 100 miles-an-hour and to construct high-level platforms to accommodate them.[61]

The program took years to complete and impacted Port Jefferson Station service.  In 1971 daily diesel service from Port Jefferson to Jamaica was roughly fourteen trains, both eastbound and westbound.  Ten weekday rush-hour trains originated or terminated at Hunterspoint Avenue.[62]  By 1975, weekday service increased to twenty-one eastbound and nineteen westbound trains, with hourly service available late morning and early afternoon.  In view of the extension of electric service, passengers transferred from diesel to an electric car at Huntington, rather than Jamaica, on most non-rush-hour trains.  However, rush-hour service to or from Port Jefferson primarily originated or terminated at Hunterspoint Avenue or Jamaica.[63]

While service improved, Port Jefferson Station still required a transfer for service into Penn Station.  As early as 1973, New York State Governor Nelson Rockefeller proposed a $3.5 billion transportation bond that included electrification of the entire Port Jefferson Branch as well as the acquisition of gas-turbine cars.[64]  Electrification was also suggested by the Tri-State Regional Planning Commission in October of 1975.  However, serious discussion of the plan was a few years away due to lack of funds.[65]  While a $250 million rail improvement bond issue was authorized by voters in 1974, it remained unused because the state’s credit was not good enough to market bonds at favorable interest rates.[66]

During the intervening time, the LIRR added twenty-two new General Motors diesel engines at the start of 1976.  Testing of eight gas-turbine cars, capable of operation on electrified and non-electrified tracks, was instituted as the forerunner of an entirely new service.[67]  Although the new purchases benefited Port Jefferson Station customers, service reduced slightly by 1978, with six trains removed from the timetable.[68]  One particular reduction came as a welcome to Port Jefferson Station customers.  On March 8, 1979 the steam-heated passenger coach made its last run on the 4:34 p.m. Hunterspoint Avenue to Port Jefferson train.  Steam-heated trains were often an uncomfortable nuisance.  Sporting a sign that read “We’re Letting Off Steam,” the diesel-hauled contingent retired the coaches, which were built for the Boston & Maine Railroad in 1935.[69]

Even though its freight operations no longer turned a profit, high gasoline prices and increased traffic on Long Island led to a rise in rail ridership.  From 1979 to 1980, ridership rose 4.5 percent.  In fact, 80,841,000 rode the LIRR in 1980, the largest number since 1950.  Although freight service was longer available to Port Jefferson Station by mid-1982, the entire line was the fastest growing branch in terms of ridership, with a forty percent increase since 1973.  In 1981, the MTA proposed a plan to electrify tracks from Huntington to Northport by 1986, with the rest of the branch to follow.[70]  The idea was further boosted when the MTA unveiled a $7.9 billion five-year capital improvement fund that included electrification between Huntington and Northport as well as Hicksville to Ronkonkoma.[71]  With Port Jefferson Branch rush-hour ridership totals at 25,700 in May of 1984, up from 25,000 the previous May, the idea seemed forthright.[72]

However, in November of 1985, electrification on the Port Jefferson Branch was postponed indefinitely.[73]  With the cost of electrification at $320 million, an alternate plan was proposed to develop special engines at a cost of an estimated $3 million each that would have both diesel and electric power.  Diesel power would be used from Port Jefferson to Huntington then third-rail would take over.  It was hoped that by 1989 these hybrids would eliminate the need for transfers to or from Port Jefferson and New York.  One envisioned drawback was that the dual-powered locomotives would not be able to accelerate as quickly as the electric train.  Another problem was to find a suitable manufacturer.  Debate over the plan ensued.  New York State Senator Norman J. Levy, who was on the MTA Capital Review Board, said that it was “an acceptable compromise” and that “the people who ride the line would have just about all the positive aspects of electrification with [the] proposal.”  Opponents on the other hand claimed that it didn’t meet the need for improved service.[74]

In the end, the dual-mode locomotive plan came to fruition.  A pilot program was designed whereby double-decker, or bi-level cars would be tested on one rush-hour train on the Port Jefferson Branch by the end of 1990.  The Long Island Committee of the MTA recommended the purchase of ten Japanese-built Mitsui and Company coaches for a two-year trial period, after which the bi-level cars would replace all 166 cars of the diesel fleet.  The new coach would hold fifty-seven percent more passengers and cost twenty percent less to maintain.  The interior would feature three separate levels but have the same seat configuration as the present 1950s-era coaches, an aisle dividing groups of two and three seats across.  Since they were a foot taller than the regular coach the new design would not fit in the Brooklyn tunnel to Flatbush Avenue but would fit in the East River tunnel to Penn Station.  Incidentally, this was not the first double-decker coach for the LIRR.  It operated bi-level cars from 1939 to 1972.[75]

In order to accommodate the new rolling stock, four-foot-high concrete platforms needed to replace low-level platforms at grade.  They provided for a more comfortable and safer boarding and exiting of train cars.  Rather than climbing steps, passengers would walk directly onto a train from the raised platform.  Additionally, the new platforms would be accessible to those in wheelchairs.  Before a platform was installed at Port Jefferson, track work was necessary south of the depot building.  Originally, the station platform was to be out of service effective Monday, April 18, 1988 while work was done on the east side of Main Street and a temporary platform constructed on the west side would be in service until the job was completed.  However, this was delayed to April 25 after an agreement was reached between the railroad and the village board of trustees.  To provide safety for those commuters who parked their cars and bought tickets at the depot building on the east side, the MTA agreed to pay Port Jefferson village code enforcement officers to control pedestrian traffic at the crossing.  Upon completion of track work, the old platform was back in service on Monday, October 31.  Construction of one concrete ten-car-length high-level platform with two passenger shelters, north of the tracks adjacent to the depot building, began in December 1988 and was expected to be concluded in late spring of 1989.  Work moved east to west, with sections of the platform closed as crews labored westward.[76]

LIRR Port Jefferson Station high-level platform and LIRR Train Number 653, view east (November 27, 2015)
LIRR Port Jefferson Station high-level platform and train number 653, view east (November 27, 2015)

The ten new bi-level cars began service from Port Jefferson Station at 5:30 a.m. on August 19, 1991.  However, there were many issues and roadblocks in store for the engines.  First, the dual-mode locomotives were not ready for service.  The manufacturer of the new engines, ABB Traction, fell behind schedule.  However, the company agreed to pay $9,000 in damages per day past its deadline and finance a rental diesel locomotive through November.  Since the rental was single-mode diesel the second issue was the train would terminate at Hunterspoint Avenue rather than Penn Station, with a return trip at 4:51 p.m.  It was hoped that by the spring of 1992 the ten new coaches could be tested with the first of three dual-mode engines, which were a modified FL-9 at a cost of $800,000 to haul the $22.7 million contingent of cars.  A third issue was that a $1.4 million project to eliminate a number of protrusions within the East River tunnels was incomplete. Therefore, the unveiling of the entire $21.6 million worth of new electric-diesel engines was postponed.[77] [78]

The LIRR budget further delayed progress.  A month after the debut of the bi-level cars, the LIRR scrapped the purchase of additional coaches from its five-year capital plan, citing project delays and lack of both state and federal funding.  Despite the setback, LIRR president Charles Hoppe expected to eventually expand the use of the new cars and claimed the road would be in better shape to request funds at the end of 1992.[79]

However, a mid-December 1992 nor’easter damaged cars and locomotives as they sat in a test yard at Shea Stadium.  Four bi-level coaches experienced flood damage to their wheel housings and all three prototype locomotives suffered wrecked motors and frayed electrical systems.  The setback pushed a new proposed January 11, 1993 start date of direct service indefinitely.[80]

In the meantime, the LIRR was faced with a July 26, 1993 deadline to comply with a federal law mandating that commuter railroads must be accessible for the disabled.  Although the Port Jefferson platform was already raised to four-feet in 1989, other enhancements to the station were deemed necessary since it was considered essential to the system.  A contract was awarded in late March of 1993 to DeSanto Construction Corporation of Amityville and work was performed.[81]

Finally on Monday August 22, 1994, the pilot program was initiated and direct service was available from Port Jefferson Station to Penn Station.  New York State Governor Mario Cuomo and the State Legislature were able to finance the MTA’s $9.6 billion capital plan and some of the funds fed into the test program.[82]  Accordingly, the three dual-mode locomotives, built around the shell of former FL-9 locomotives, were ready to haul the new bi-level cars.  If successful, the LIRR would order more engines and cars.  It was hoped to end the infamous “change at Jamaica” by decade’s end, something that to this day has not happened.  However, if the testing failed commuters and legislators might have opted for a return to the planned expansion of electrified service, which was available on the Main Line to Ronkonkoma in 1988.[83] [84] In any event, dual-mode service was available on one morning westbound train from Port Jefferson Station to Penn Station at 5:44 a.m., and one evening eastbound from New York to Port Jefferson at 4:49 p.m.  Other peak service included three morning trains that terminated at Hunterspoint Avenue and two at Long Island City.  Afternoon and evening peak comprised of three trains that originated at Hunterspoint Avenue and one at Long Island City.  The remainder of peak service utilized Huntington as an origin or destination.  Off-peak service to or from Port Jefferson Station originated or terminated at either Jamaica, Hicksville, or Huntington, with the exception of the weekday 3:24 p.m. from Long Island City.[85]

Prototype Kawasaki coaches on train number 660 passes through New Hyde Park Station, circa February 1996
Prototype Kawasaki coaches on train number 660 passes through New Hyde Park Station (Circa February 1996)
LIRR FL-9AC number 300 hauls train number 660 through New Hyde Park Station, circa February 1996
LIRR FL-9AC number 300 hauls train number 660 through New Hyde Park Station (Circa February 1996)

In light of the pilot program’s success, on March 10, 1995 the MTA agreed to order additional bi-level cars and new diesel-electric locomotives for the LIRR.[86]  The total order for rolling stock was $250.2 million.  Mitsui & Co./Kawasaki Heavy Industries was awarded the contract for 114 bi-level coaches, at a cost of $179.5 million.  The car bodies were fabricated in Japan and shipped to the United States by ACS Associates, Inc., Valley Stream, with final assembly at Kawasaki’s Yonkers plant.  Thirty-five percent of the contract work would be performed by New York State-based companies such as Telephonic in Huntington for the onboard communications and Lin Industries in Westbury for the interior components.  The cars featured roomier two-by-two seating, wide aisles, fold-down armrests between seats, and onboard public cellular telephones.  The contract included an option for an additional forty-eight cars.  For $70.7-million, the Electro Motive Division (EMD) of General Motors provided A.C.-traction diesel-electric locomotives.  Dubbed DE30AC, the new locomotives were of a new design than ABB Traction’s rebuilt FL-9.  Siemens Transportation supplied A.C. traction technology and its subsidiary, Germany’s Siemens Fahrzeug Technik (formerly Krupp), assisted with the new monocoque carbody design.  Equipped with microprocessor control, electronic fuel injection, and integrated cab electronics, the locomotives featured aerodynamic carbody styling.  They were assembled in collaboration with Milwaukee’s Super Steel Products Corporation.  However, the 3,000-hp units of the initial contract were all single-mode engines.  Future orders were planned to include as many as fifteen dual-mode locomotives.[87]

Beginning in 1997, the LIRR planned to seek customer input on the design of the bi-level cars.  In 1992, the same process was used to draw opinions of the first prototype.  At that time, the LIRR selected 150 commuters and employees to rate the interior features and amenities.  A quarter-size mockup featuring conceptual designs was constructed at the Hillside Maintenance Complex.  Participants were also asked to select color schemes and materials for floors, walls, and seats.  The 1992 experiment led to the two-by-two seating, the elimination of tables, and the seating capacity change to 139 on cars with restrooms and 145 for cars without.  Customers also selected a blue and green vinyl seat fabric, a gray and black floor, and gray seatbacks and walls.  The program started under LIRR president Chuck Hoppe.  The 1997 project was coordinated by his successor Tom Prendergast.  Six prototypes were sent from Kobe, Japan and the LIRR planned to revisit fifty customers who participated in the original evaluations.[88]

The lack of dependency on the new dual-mode locomotives was a major customer complaint.  Railroad officials admitted that the rebuilt FL-9 crammed too much equipment into a fifty-foot length.  The new revised EMD engine was seventy-five feet in length.  However, it was 25,000 pounds over the planned limit of 285,000 and raised concerns about excess wear on bridges.  To reduce weight, engineers trimmed over 10,000 pounds, utilized lighter carbon steel, and shrunk the fuel tank.  By 1997, twenty-three diesel-electric and twenty-three dual-mode diesel-electric locomotives were being built in upstate Scotia.[89]

LIRR EMD DE30AC number 400, Smithtown Station, view west (July 21, 2013)
LIRR EMD DE30AC number 400, Smithtown Station, view west (July 21, 2013)

While the new equipment was being built, the LIRR planned a Main Line track rehabilitation project in the summer of 1997 that disrupted normal service for Port Jefferson Station customers.  From May 19 through September 21 the railroad worked to install some 30,000 concrete ties and other necessary maintenance on a stretch of track between Jamaica and Long Island City.  Hunterspoint Avenue Station was temporarily closed and Long Island City Station was used as a terminus.[90]  Therefore, four peak trains to Port Jefferson originated at Long Island City as well as the 3:32 p.m.  In addition, five peak trains terminated at Long Island City.  The remainder utilized Huntington Station.[91]

On Wednesday October 21, 1998, train number 603 from Port Jefferson Station to Huntington at 4:55 AM marked the first service of the new diesel fleet.  Regular dual-mode service was scheduled to begin in March of 1999.[92]  The new rolling stock was not without issue.  First, less than a week after introduction, two trains were pulled from service, but returned two days later, because of a problem with the computerized brakes on the locomotives.[93]  Second, after months of complaints about shrill and excessively loud horns, the railroad modified the horns on all forty-six diesel engines to reduce noise.[94]  Third, in the year 2000, repairs needed to be made on three locomotives that were damaged from fire due to electrical problems.[95]

LIRR Port Jefferson Station high-level platform and Cab Control Car 5017, view east (May 25, 2013)
LIRR Port Jefferson Station high-level platform and Cab Control Car 5017, view east (May 25, 2013)

The growth of the village of Port Jefferson Station, and the adjoining communities on the Port Jefferson Branch to the west, necessitated the improvement of rail service.  Subsequent to the replacement of the older diesel fleet in the last days of the twentieth century, daily service to Port Jefferson Station included nineteen eastbound trains and eighteen westbound.  Four of these trains were direct to or from New York.  Weekend service was fourteen trains both eastbound and westbound.[96]

In 2013, the number of trains that provide Port Jefferson residents a one-seat ride to Penn Station is the same, which is a surprise since the phrase “change at Jamaica” was hoped to pass into history.  Hunterspoint Avenue or Long Island City is the preferred terminus or origin for most peak trains.  Although in 2013 there are now twenty-one trains daily to Port Jefferson, and nineteen that leave the community.  With the future capacity for LIRR access to Grand Central Terminal, Port Jefferson Station will no doubt play a role in any service or equipment improvements for the railroad since the locale is a major commuter hub in the town of Brookhaven.[97]

Village of Belle Terre (May 11, 2008)
Village of Belle Terre (May 11, 2008)


Between 1960 and 1964 the village of Port Jefferson grew from 3,000 residents to 4,050.[98]  Today it boasts a population of 8,140 in an area that is roughly three square miles.[99]  Presently, the old LILCO, now Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), power plant is still a fixture in Port Jefferson but dormant.  However, its days may be numbered since the company may move operations to Yaphank or repower the plant.[100]

The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company provides roughly ten to twelve ferries daily and is the community’s most recognizable asset.[101]  It is newsworthy to note that during the famous hurricane of 1938 the ferryboat Park City which left Port Jefferson for Bridgeport at 2:00 p.m., an hour before the storm struck, was marooned in Long Island Sound and was picked up by a Coast Guard cutter the following day.  Warning of the storm only arrived at the East Moriches Coast Guard station an hour prior.  The ferry was anchored in the Sound when it took on water in its engine room, and passengers and crew utilized hand pumps to keep the boat afloat.[102]

The communities of Belle Terre and Port Jefferson Station have grown into twenty-first century suburbs.  The Incorporated Village of Belle Terre, still very much for the wealthy, contains a population of approximately 832.[103]  As early as 1975, residents of Port Jefferson Station wanted to come up with a new name for the hamlet so as not to be confused with the village to the north.[104]  The “station versus village” attitude is prevalent on Long Island and residents want to avoid a name that implies proximity to a railroad depot.[105]  However, the name remains.

At the turn of the twenty-first century the LIRR Port Jefferson Station received a $5.1 million renovation of the platform, vehicular parking area, and depot building, as well as the installation of a new storage and maintenance yard in late August of 2000, complete with nine tracks, east of the station.  Initial work at the station began in late 1998 with the installation of a pedestrian overpass from the south parking lot to the platform, completed in January 1999.  Platform rehabilitation in the fall of 2000 included new handrails and the replacement of the existing passenger shelters with two large, saltbox-roofed passenger waiting area shelter and information centers.  On the south side of the tracks, the parking area received 137 new spaces and another 290 were refurbished, with work completed in October of 2000.  In July of 2001 construction of a new north parking lot was completed.  In total, 579 parking spaces were refinished and 260 were added.  Lastly, the depot building was renovated to its original design as conceived in 1903 by Belle Terre’s Dean Alvord.  Work began in December of 1999 and included a new terrazzo floor, new walls with oak finish, new ceiling, new HVAC system, new lighting, and a pot-bellied stove donated by former Branch Manager Dave Morrison.  The exterior also received a new roof, new doors, new windows, and new masonry.  It reopened on July 10, 2001.  During renovation, a temporary trailer was set up in the parking lot as a ticket office.  A formal unveiling ceremony was held on Friday, July 27.  On hand were LIRR President Ken Bauer and State Senator Kenneth LaValle who was responsible for procuring $3.7 million of project funding.[106]


Next page: The Forgotten Spur: The Chronicle of the Long Island Rail Road Wading River Extension and the Adjoining Communities


[1] “Brookhaven Town History,” Town of Brookhaven, accessed October 13, 2013, http://www.brookhaven.org/History/BrookhavenTownHistory.aspx.

[2] Gordon Welles and William Proios, Port Jefferson: Story of a Village (Port Jefferson, N.Y.: Historical Society of Greater Port Jefferson, 1978), 3.

[3] Richard M. Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, with a Historical Outline of Long Island (Port Washington, NY: I. J. Friedman, 1962), 242.

[4] 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), 246.

[5] Ibid, 195.

[6] Welles and Proios, Story of a Village, 4.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid, 6.

[9] Ibid, 5-6.

[10] Ibid, 7-8.

[11] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 244.

[12] Welles and Proios, Story of a Village, 8.

[13] Ibid, 10.

[14] Ibid, 11.

[15] 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), 814.

[16] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 248.

[17] Port Jefferson Historical Society, “Who We Are,” Cedar Hill Cemetery, accessed October 13, 2013, http://cedarhillcemeterypj.com/about_us.

[18] Kenneth Brady, “Decoration Day at Cedar Hill Cemetery – Port Jefferson’s Civil War Dead,” The Village of Port Jefferson, accessed October 13, 2013, http://www.portjeff.com/2011/05/decoration-day-at-cedar-hill-cemetery-port-jeffersons-civil-war-dead.

[19] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 246.

[20] Ibid., 249.

[21] Kenneth Brady, “Port Jefferson’s First Suburb: P. T. Barnum and the Development of Brick Hill,” The Village of Port Jefferson, accessed October 13, 2013, http://www.portjeff.com/2011/04/port-jeffersons-first-suburb.

[22] Indian Place-names on Long Island, 54.

[23]  “Long Island Town Has ‘Identity Crisis’,” New York Times (1923-Current file), July 12, 1975, http://www.proquest.com.

[24] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 249.

[25] Welles and Proios, Story of a Village, 19.

[26] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 244.

[27] “History,” Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company, accessed October 13, 2013, http://www.88844ferry.com/AboutUs/History.aspx.

[28] Welles and Proios, Story of a Village, 13-14.

[29] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 244.

[30] Welles and Proios, Story of a Village, 33.

[31] Ibid., 36.

[32] Ibid., 36-37.

[33] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 815.

[34] Ari L. Goldman, “Metropolitan Baedeker: Port Jefferson, L.I.,” New York Times (1923-Current file), May 27, 1977, http://www.proquest.com.

[35] Welles and Proios, Story of a Village, 62.

[36] Ibid., 70.

[37] Ibid., 71.

[38] Ibid., 72.

[39] Goldman, “Metropolitan Baedeker.”

[40] William Tucker, “Port Jefferson Facing the Consequences of…Success,” New York Times (1923-Current file), June 12, 1977, http://www.proquest.com.

[41] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 244.

[42] Vincent F. Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 3, Age of Expansion (Garden City, NY: Seyfried, 1984), 50.

[43] Ibid., 51-52.

[44] Ibid., 54.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Ibid., 56-59.

[47] Ibid., 198.

[48] “Island News Notes,” Suffolk County News (Sayville), March 13, 1903, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[49] “Port Jefferson Station Building,” exhibit display at Port Jefferson Station (Port Jefferson, NY).

[50] “Island News Notes,” County News (Sayville), July 31, 1903, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[51] Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 3, 60-61.

[52] 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), Port Jefferson Branch.

[53] Roger J. Rudick, “L.I.R.R. Lags on Dual-Mode Locomotives,” Newsday, June 6, 1993, http://www.proquest.com.

[54] Long Island Rail Road Time Tables… September 20, 1942, Port Jefferson Branch, Port Jefferson Branch.

[55] “Port Jefferson, Oyster Bay, Montauk Lines on L.I. Rail Road Losing 11 through Trains,” New York Times (1923-Current file), June 13, 1951, http://www.proquest.com.

[56] Long Island Rail Road, Long Island Rail Road Time Tables, schedule in effect September 9, 1951 (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1951), Port Jefferson Branch.

[57] “Long Island Rail Road May Seek To End Service on Three Branches,” New York Times (1923-Current file), May 23, 1952, http://www.proquest.com.

[58] “Long Island to Run Sixty More Trains,” New York Times (1923-Current file), May 4, 1955, http://www.proquest.com.

[59] Long Island Rail Road, Long Island Rail Road Time Tables, schedule in effect September 11, 1961 (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1961), Port Jefferson Branch.

[60] Roy R. Silver, “L.I.R.R. to Install Remote Controls: Port Jefferson Line Signals and Switches will be Run from a Control Station,” New York Times (1923-Current file), February 11, 1960, http://www.proquest.com.

[61] “James F. Clarity, “L.I.R.R. Gets Grant of $226-Million: Federal Funds to be Used,” New York Times (1923-Current file), June 14, 1967, http://www.proquest.com.

[62] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Smithtown-St. James Timetable effective July 12, 1971, (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1971).

[63] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Port Jefferson Branch Timetable effective May 19, 1975, (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1975).

[64] “Main Transit-Road Plans,” New York Times (1923-Current file), Jul 27, 1973, http://www.proquest.com.

[65] Edward C. Burks, “L.I.R.R. Improvements Urged,” New York Times (1923-Current file), Oct 5, 1975, http://www.proquest.com.

[66] Edward C. Burks, “Change at Jamaica: A Turbine-Powered Train.” New York Times (1923-Current file), June 20, 1976, http://www.proquest.com.

[67] Edward C. Burks, “LIRR Trains, Nice but Late: L.I.R.R.: More Comfortable Delays No Change at Jamaica,” New York Times (1923-Current file); March 21, 1976, http://www.proquest.com.

[68] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Long Island Rail Road Timetable No. 5 Appendix A General Notices, effective May 22, 1978 (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1978), Port Jefferson Branch.

[69] Roy R. Silver, “To Relief of Passengers, L.I.R.R. Retires Steam-Heated Cars that Date from 30’s,” New York Times (1923-Current file), March 9, 1979, http://www.proquest.com.

[70] John T. McQuiston, “L.I.R.R. Keeps Adding Commuters,” New York Times (1923-Current file), July 26, 1981, http://www.proquest.com; Marie Cocco, “LIRR Updates Freight Car Repairs,” Newsday (1940-1988), May 6, 1982, http://www.proquest.com.

[72] John T. McQuiston, “L.I.R.R. Shifts Trains to Meet Rush-Hour Rise,” New York Times (1923-Current file), August 5, 1984, http://www.proquest.com.

[73] John T. McQuiston, “Pulling the Plug on Electrification: Pulling the Plug on L.I.R.R. Electrification,” New York Times (1923-Current file), November 24, 1985, http://www.proquest.com.

[74] John T. McQuiston, “L.I.R.R. Electrification: New Delays, New Plans: New Electrification Delays,” New York Times (1923-Current file), February 23, 1986, http://www.proquest.com.

[75] Eric Schmitt, “L.I.R.R. May Add Double-Decker Coaches: L.I.R.R. Plans to Test Double-Decker Coaches,” New York Times (1923-Current file), September 21, 1988, http://www.proquest.com.

[76] Susan McGinn, “Work on LIRR Continuing; Commuters to Test New Trains,” Port Jefferson Record, December 17, 1988; Susan McGinn, “LIRR Completes Some Station Improvements,” Port Jefferson Record, November 10, 1988; “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.; Catherine Schmoller, “Trustees Reduce Manpower at LIRR Crossing,” Port Jefferson Record, August 4, 1988.

[77] Maureen Fan and Adam Z. Horvath, “A Double-Decker Debut for LIRR,” Newsday, Aug 13 1991, http://www.proquest.com.

[78] Pat Wiedenkeller, “Seeing Double, yet Some See Red: LIRR Introduces its New, Larger Coaches,” Newsday, September 8 1991, http://www.proquest.com.

[79] Adam Z. Horvath, “LIRR Derails Plans for More 2-Decker Cars,” Newsday, Sep 12 1991, http://www.proquest.com.

[80] Maureen Fan, “Another Delay for LIRR Plan,” Newsday, December 24 1992, http://www.proquest.com.

[81] Phillip Lutz, “L.I.R.R. Remodels 18 Stops for Disabled,” New York Times (1923-Current file), June 27, 1993, http://www.proquest.com.

[82] “Fare Enough, but Keep Going Albany must Invest in the MTA,” Newsday, March 29 1993, http://www.proquest.com.

[83] “At Last, LIRR Makes a Real Change at Jamaica,” Newsday, August 24 1994, http://www.proquest.com.

[84] Rudick, “L.I.R.R. Lags on Dual-Mode Locomotives.”

[85] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Port Jefferson Branch Timetable effective November 14, 1994 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1994).

[86] “New LIRR Trains Ok’d,” Newsday, March 11, 1995, http://www.proquest.com.

[87] “For Long Island Rail Road, a New Diesel Fleet,” Railway Age 196, no. 4 (April 1995): 28, http://www.proquest.com.

[88] William C. Vantuono, “Riders Help Write the Specs,” Railway Age 197, no. 4 (April 1996): 61, http://www.proquest.com.

[89] Bruce Lambert, “The 4:49 to Port Jefferson: A Sporadic Promise of Modernity,” New York Times (1923-Current file), May 31, 1997, http://www.proquest.com.

[90] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Main Line Track Rehabilitation May 19th-September 21st (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1997).

[91] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Port Jefferson Branch Timetable effective May 19, 1997 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1997).

[92] Steven Kreytak, “A Smooth, Quiet Ride: LIRR Unveils New Fleet,” Newsday, October 22 1998, http://www.proquest.com.

[93] Sylvia Adcock, “Double-Decker Trains Return,” Newsday, October 30 1998, http://www.proquest.com.

[94] John Rather, “L.I.R.R. to Modify Horn Levels on Diesels,” New York Times (1923-Current file), November 21 1999, http://www.proquest.com.

[95] Sidney C. Schaer, “Fire Fears for LIRR Engines / Electrical Trouble Blamed Third Time,” Newsday, October 25 2000, http://www.proquest.com.

[96] MTA Long Island Rail Road, MTA Long Island Rail Road Timetable No. 1 effective 12:01 AM, Monday June 18, 2001 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2001), Port Jefferson Branch.

[97] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Port Jefferson Branch Timetable effective September 3-November 10, 2013 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2013).

[98] Welles and Proios, Story of a Village, 71.

[99] “Demographic Information,” The Village of Port Jefferson, accessed on October 18, 2013, http://www.portjeff.com/village-information/demographic-information.

[100] “Port Jeff Plant Still in Limbo after Recent LIPA Decision,” Port Jefferson Patch, accessed on October 18, 2013, http://portjefferson.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/port-jeff-plant-still-in-limbo-after-recent-lipa-decision.

[101] “Sailing Schedule,” Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company, accessed on October 18, 2013, http://www.88844ferry.com/SailingSchedule.aspx.

[102] “Big Storm of 1938 Recalled on L. I.: Hurricane Struck Sept. 20,” New York Times (1923-Current file), September 21, 1958, http://www.proquest.com.

[103] “The Village,” The Incorporated Village of Belle Terre, accessed on October 18, 2013, http://villageofbelleterre.com.

[104] “Long Island Town Has ‘Identity Crisis’.”

[105] Christopher R. Vagts, “Reflections on Suffolk History,” New York Times (1923-Current file), December 26, 1976, http://www.proquest.com.

[106] John Valenti, “Pop Goes the Diesel: Yard Noise Makes People Rail,” Newsday, August 6, 2000, http://www.proquest.com; Steven Kreytak, “Station Renovations Aim for Accessibility, Renewal,” Newsday, February 14, 1999, http://www.proquest.com; Pat and Rob Sisler, “Port Jefferson Railroad Station Undergoes a Renewal,” Times Beacon Record, May 25, 2000; Sam M. Schneider, “PJ Railroad Station Refurbishing Continues,” Times Beacon Record, November 16, 2000; Sam M. Schneider, “Railroad Station Gets a Facelift,” The Port-Times Record, July 19, 2001; Kathleen O’Sullivan, “Railroad Station Unveiled,” The Port-Times Record, August 2, 2001.

Next page: The Forgotten Spur: The Chronicle of the Long Island Rail Road Wading River Extension and the Adjoining Communities


2 thoughts on “Port Jefferson: The Rise of an Incorporated Village

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