- Wyandanch, New York
official_name = Wyandanch, New York
settlement_type = CDP
mapsize = 250px
map_caption = U.S. Census Map
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Suffolk
area_total_km2 = 11.3
area_land_km2 = 11.3
area_water_km2 = 0.0
area_total_sq_mi = 4.4
area_land_sq_mi = 4.4
area_water_sq_mi = 0.0
population_as_of = 2000
population_total = 10546
population_density_km2 = 930.8
population_density_sq_mi = 2410.8
timezone = Eastern (EST)
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
elevation_m = 17
elevation_ft = 56
latd = 40 |latm = 44 |lats = 50 |latNS = N
longd = 73 |longm = 22 |longs = 6 |longEW = W
Wyandanch is a hamlet (and
census-designated place) in Suffolk County, New York, United States. The population was 10,546 at the 2000 census.
Wyandanch and Deer Park evolved out of what was originally known as lower Half Hollows, in the Town of Huntington. Half Hollows was first settled by Jacob Conklin after he purchased land from the Massapequa Indians in 1706. The Native Americans hunted in Wyandanch, and discovered the valuable clay beds in Wheatley Heights but there is no evidence of major Indian settlements in Wyandanch. Some believe they thought the poor soils of the fire prone pitch pine and scrub oak land "jinxed." The Native Americans lived along the rich, fish and shell fish laden waters, on the shores of the Great South Bay. Conklin's "Pirate House," (1710) was the first house built in what became the Town of Babylon. (Babylon separated from the Town of Huntington on March 13, 1872 and the town line was located one mile (1.6 km) north of the LIRR track). It was situated on the southern slope of the Half Way Hollow Hills terminal moraine (formed by the melting waters of the last glacier-the Wisconsn Glacier- about 12,000 years ago) in what is now Wheatley Heights. Platt Conklin ran the "valuable" family farm during the American Revolution. The historic Conklin homestead was destroyed by fire on December 17, 1918 after being inhabited for 208 years. The area became known as West Deer Park about a decade after the Long Island Railroad's track to Greenport reached Deer Park in 1842. The original English settlers-the Conklins, the Bartletts, the Seamans, the Browns and the Whitsons-lived on productive farms in Half Hollows north of Colonial Springs Road and the Old Country Road-Seaman's Road, (now Main Avenue). This section of West Deer Park was more elevated, safer, less fire prone, broad leaf forest land. The Conklin family cemetery and the famous Colonial Spring-flowing out of the heavily wooded hillside- can be seen on the grounds of the USDAN Center for the Performing and Creative Arts-Henry Kaufmann Camp Grounds in Wheatley Heights. One can look out and view the distant blinking Fire Island Light from the top of the moraine in Wheatley Heights across from the Wheatley Heights Post Office. Colonial Spring water was bottled in small blue embossed "West Deer Park" bottles by the Colonial Springs Mineral Company between 1845 and 1854. The bottlers claimed it had special medicinal properties. Millions of building bricks were baked at the Walker & Conklin and W.H. and F.A. Bartlett brickyards on the north side of Colonial Springs Road after 1850 using the unique Cretaceous clay and fine sand found in the area. The bricks were shipped out by rail using a LIRR spur which ran along North 23rd Street-sometimes called "Bartlett's turnout." In October 1888, Henry H. Palmer's Wyandance Brick and Terra Cotta Corp. (capitalized at $200,000) was organized on the site of the abandoned Walker and Conklin brickyard to produce solid and hollow building bricks. In 1875, the best "hard" Wyandance bricks were selling for $7 per 1,000 delivered.
West Deer Park/Wyandance: 1875-1903
One might wonder why the Deer Park (established about 1853 by Charles Wilson) and West Deer Park railroad stations were located only a mile and a quarter apart? The Long Island Rail Road built the rustic wooden two story 18' x 35' West Deer Park railroad station at the corner of Straight Path and Long Island Avenue in May 1875 at the request of General James J. Casey, a brother-in-law of President Ulysses S. Grant. The 1875 West Deer Park station (demolished in 1958) was identical to the lovely LIRR station in St James. The restored St. James station is now the second oldest (and perhaps the most attractive) LIRR station on Long Island. Casey purchased the convert|1100|acre|km2|sing=on Nathaniel Conklin estate in January 1874 and wanted a rail depot nearer his hillside estate. On August 23, 1875 the West Deer Park Post Office was established within the LIRR railroad station. The first West Deer Park postmaster was LIRR station agent, Charles W. Conklin, a wheelwright and local farmer. President Grant toured Casey's "farm" in West Deer Park in late August 1874 after the famous Civil War hero enjoyed dinner in the renowned Watson House on Fire Island Avenue in Babylon village. The original 3,900 filed real estate lots in West Deer Park/Wyandanch were located near the railroad station and were mapped and sold in the 1872 land boom as "North Breslau" or Schleierville by Charles Schleier, the realtor who developed Breslau, later called Lindenhurst. About 500 lots were sold in the 1870s at prices ranging from $15 to $25 per lot. In the early 1890s, the fire-prone property south of the Long Island Rail Road and west of Straight Path in Wyandanch was mapped and sold as 25' x 100' "City lots" in Wyandanch Spring Park by Frederick W. Dunton and George E. Hagerman's New York and Brooklyn Suburban Investment Corporation. In April 1903, the convert|1343|acre|km2|sing=on Conklin/Casey estate and historic cemetery was sold to Bishop Charles Edward McDonnell of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn. Mc Donnell was the second bishop of the Brooklyn Diocese. Eventually, the Mc Donnell property became the Catholic Youth Organization's CYO Camp in Wyandanch. In the late 19th Century the LIRR operated a round wooden water tank on the west side of Straight Path at Long Island Avenue. The tank stored gravity fed spring water in a mile-long two-inch iron pipe from the Colonial Spring into the LIRR's coal-burning steam engines. West Deer Park was the only LIRR "watering station" on the Main Line between Mineola and the Manor in Brookhaven. The West Deer Park post office was named Wyandance-one of many spellings of the Montaukett sachem's name- from December 20, 1888 until the spring of 1893, when the brickworks was destroyed by a forest fire. The LIRR station at West Deer Park was named Wyandance from December 1888 until June 1892-when it reverted to West Deer Park. On February 11, 1903, the LIRR permanently changed the West Deer Park station name to Wyandanch (another variation of Montaukett's name) to avoid confusion among passengers departing at the West Deer Park and Deer Park stations. On March 8, 1907, the Wyandanch post office was moved from the LIRR depot to Anthony F. Kirchner's General Store and Hotel on Merritt Avenue diagonally across from the LIRR station. Families such as the Watkins, Stacks, Browns and Andersons lived on the north side of the railroad near the depot and the general store/post office. Before 1900, almost no one lived in Wyandanch south of the LIRR tracks and west of Straight Path because the pitch pine and scrub oak forest there was frequently swept by destructive forest fires-many of which were ignited by sparks and burning embers blown out of the LIRR's coal and wood burning steam engines. The pitch pines, scrub oak, the occasional Black Jack Oak, the huckleberry, dwarf blueberry, bearberry bushes, ferns and lovely low-growing, Pink Ladyslipper wildflowers, thrived on the coarse, nutrient-poor, very acidic, droughty soils in the outwash plain in lower Wyandanch. Ironically, fire speeds the release of the seeds in the pitch pine cones. This vegetation was called Pine Barrens by early settlers in the colonial period since these soils were considered unproductive for either subsistence or commercial farming.
Early Roads and Vanderbilt's Parkway and "Castle" Estate
The main roads in West Deer Park in the horse and carriage era were: Little East Neck Road, Straight Path, Belmont Road (now Mount Avenue), Colonial Springs Road and the Old Country Road-Kings Highway (Main Avenue from South 28th Street to Straight Path). A section of William K. Vanderbilt's Long Island Motor Parkway toll road (1908)- introducing the automobile era to the area- ran through Wyandanch with concrete overpass bridges crossing Little East Neck Road and Colonial Springs Road (across from the Wheatley Heights Post Office) until the parkway was dug up in the late 1950s for the Westwood Village housing estate in Wheatley Heights. Vanderbilt's "Castle" estate and mansion in Wheatley Heights- with its famous "Black Tower"- between Burr's Lane and Bagatelle Road is now the campus of the Sisters of Good Shepard's Madonna Heights School. Dr. Herman Baruch, financier Bernard Baruch's brother, later improved the Vanderbilt estate and named it "Bagatelle." Herman Baruch also developed the renowned Bagatelle Nursery-where the Koster Blue spruce tree was developed by Peter M. Koster, a resident of Wyandanch, who died in 1944. The large and varied upscale nursery stock of the Bagetelle Nursery was shipped in and out by rail from a siding just west of the Wyandanch railroad station. Thus, working class Wyandanch was sandwiched in between the wealthy estates of plutocrats such as the Belmonts, the Corbins and the Guggenhiems in North Babylon and the Vanderbilts and the Baruchs in Wheatley Heights. What is now known as Wheatley Heights was mapped out as real estate sub-divisions of Wyandanch (including Wheatley Heights Estates, and Harlem Park) by Bellerose developer, William Geiger, (as in Geiger Lake park and pool) in 1913 following the development of the Long Island Motor Parkway. The filed lot sub-divisions south of the LIRR and east of Straight Path was known as the Colonial Springs Development Corp property. These lots ran from Straight Path to the Carll's River. Peaches, poultry and cucumbers were the most productive West Deer Park farm products. Numerous individuals were killed in accidents involving crashes with Long Island Rail Road trains-especially the "Cannonball" express trains from Greenport- at the unguarded grade-level rail crossings at Straight Path, 18th Street and Little East Neck Road in Wyandanch. In 1934 the Public Service Commission (PSC) ordered the LIRR to provide crossing guards at the 18th Street and Straight Path crossings during school hours on school days so the school children living north of the LIRR could walk safely to the 1913 school house at 20th Street The oldest home in Wyandanch today is the Henry Amherst Brown home "Tranquillity"(ca 1865) on the north side of Main Avenue at Linden Street. Henry A. Brown, a Justice of the Peace, lived in Wyandanch for 77 years and was the only Wyandanch resident ever to serve as supevisor of the Town of Babylon, 1912-13, after the death of supervisor Edward Daily.
Origins of the Wyandanch Schools
Wyandanch south of Main Avenue was part of the Deer Park School District # 7 until the Wyandanch Union Free District #9 separated from the Deer Park district in 1923. The Deer Park school district built a two-story wood frame elementary school in Wyandanch in 1913 at Straight Path and South 20th Street following protests by Wyandanch residents that traveling back and forth to the Deer Park school was too difficult and time consuming. The enlightened members of the Deer Park School Board also desired to fulfill the progressive impulse to bring education "within reach of all." There is some evidence that Deer Park operated a school in the Wyandanch Athletic Club at Straight Path and Grand Boulevard and in a home in Sheet Nine before 1913- taught by the legendary Deer Park educator, May Brennan Moore. The children of families living north of Main Avenue-Colonial Springs Road attended classes in the Half Hollow District # 8 school house on Straight Path just north of the Babylon Town line.
German-Americans Dominate Wyandanch: 1900-1950
Between 1900 and 1940 the dominant ethnic group in Wyandanch were German-Americans and Austrian-Americans with families such as the: Hasslachers, Griems, Becks, Vogels, Laegans, Luthers, Roelafs, Krauses, Nyholms, Schnieders and Prussners living in the community. The earliest homes south of the LIRR track were built by German and Austrian-American families such as the Donner and N. Austin families on Upper Belmont Road in the 1880s and by the Prohaska, Heisman, Wilson, Moore and Avolin families on the east side of Straight Path between 1901 and 1915.The historic pre-1900 Herman Donner house-the first house built in Wyandanch south of the LIRR,(which was located on the east side of Mount Avenue) was recently demolished to make way for three new homes. About a hundred German and Austrian-American families lived in Sheet Nine of the City of Breslau in what is now the Pinelawn Industrial Park section between Otis Street and Wellwood Avenue (originally East Neck Road) and between Grunthal (now Edison Avenue) and Grunwedel Avenue (now Patton Avenue) as early as the 1880s. Many members of these families-such as the Neumanns, Arfstens, Mitzlaffs, and the Langs- were skilled workers, gardeners, stable workers and servants on the nearby convert|1000|acre|km2|sing=on August Belmont estate and horse breeding establishment at Belmont Lake in North Babylon. After World War II, the German named streets in Sheet Nine were changed: Bulow Street became Alder Street; Shubarth Street became Bell Street; Pottsdam Street became Cabot Street; Friedrich Wilhelm Street became Dale Street; Nuchtern Street became Eads Street and Badike Street became Field Street. The streets east of Badike Street were Avenues A to K. Avenue K became Peary Street; Avenue J became Otis Street; Avenue I became Nancy Street; Avenue H became Mahan Street; Avenue G became Lamar Street; Avenue F became Kean Street; Avenue E became Jersey Street and Avenue A became Gleam Street. Avenues B to D were obliterated by the subsequent development of the Town of Babylon Incinerator, land fill, sandpit and ash dump. Many German and Austrian Americans lived in the hilly and sylvan Carinthia Heights section west of Conklin Street, which was developed after the construction of the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway. Brosl Hasslacher built the Chateau Lodge (later the popular Chateau Restaurant) off Conklin Street in Wyandanch in 1940. Some residents, and at least one historian, has claimed that there were Bund marches and rallies at the Chateau Lodge in Wyandanch before the US entered World War II. This may be true but no hard documentary evidence has so far been found to verify these assertions or other assertions that Nazis in Wyandanch were "rounded up by the FBI" soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The fears of Nazi supporters in Suffolk sabotaging the Republic/Ranger aircraft factories in East Farmingdale was one of the reasons Route 24/Conklin Street was closed to the public in January 1941 by the Suffolk County Highway Department. 1940-1 was a time of great tension in the US over World War II in Europe and Asia. As late as 1960, ridiculous stories were still told in Wyandanch about a German American hand made candy maker who lived on Long Island Avenue and S. 30th Street, (the Krauses) and who had the family business name painted in large white letters on the red roof of their home/ business. The preposterous assertion was that the roof sign "was to direct German bombers to New York City." The German and Austrian Americans in Wyandanch during World War II served in our nations armed forces, and worked productively in area defense factories, just as readily as the hamlet's Irish-Americans, Italian Americans or African-Americans.
Irish-American Pine Barren Pioneers
Beginning in the 1920s and extending into the 1930s, intrepid settlers began building small homes in the dangerous pine barrens bounded by Straight Path, Long Island Avenue and Little East Neck Road. John Douglas Sr. and John Douglas, Jr. built the first house in the dangerous Wyandanch pine barrens in 1923 west of Straight Path at the southeast corner of South 29th Street and Jamaica Avenue after cutting a "road" into their property from Long Island Avenue. Soon after, George Wood, an African American veteran of World War I, and his German war bride built a house on S. 29th Street just south of the Douglas home. Irish-American families such as the McGintys, the Mc Glincheys, James J. Wall, the Mc Gunniness', the McMenimens, the Hardings and the Bonners joined Douglas and Wood and literally built their own modest bungalows on property they had purchased in the 1920s land bubble in Wyandanch Spring Park or in Harry Levey's Home Acres between Brooklyn Avenue and Grunwedel Avenue- now Patton Avenue. The Douglas' built their home with lumber purchased from Charles Watkins Lumber Yard on Long Island Avenue between Straight Path and 18th Street. The newcomers wanted to escape from the crowded economically depressed conditions of the city and enjoy the fresh pine air, privacy and lower costs of rural Wyandanch, yet be within an hour of Manhattan by railroad. The most prominent Irish-American families in Wyandanch, the Mc McMahans,the Harrigans, the O'Briens and the Donahues lived closer to the "village." Catherine "Kitty" Mc Mahan was postmaster in Wyandanch for many years.
Pioneering African-Americans in Wyandanch
On the south side of the triangle, pioneering African-American families such as the Davidsons, Cumberbachs, Farias, Browns, Youngs, and Hesters also began building their own homes-to fulfill the African-American dream of having their own land, farms and homes- on property in the Upper Little Farms section south of Grunwedel Avenue (now Patton Avenue) they purchased in the 1920s, originally from Herman E. Hagedorn, a Rockland County realtor who had had a falling out with Harry Levey, and later from Ignatius Davidson, a pioneering Black businessman in Suffolk County. Ignatius Davidson and Mortimer Cumberbach opened their pathfinding C and D Cement Block Corp. on Booker Avenue at Straight Path on December 6, 1928. Other, African-American families such as the Greens, the Gordons, the Colemans and the Matthews' bought sizable plots of land and built their own individual homes in the "Little Farms" section of West Babylon between Little East Neck Road and Straight Path in the late 1920s well before the Southern State Parkway reached Wyandanch in 1941. Elizabeth "Betty" Green Mountain, who lived on Gordon Avenue and Little East Neck Road, pioneered African-Americans studying at the State Institute of Applied Agriculture- now SUNY Farmingdale- when she was the first African American to graduate from the school (1940). There would not be another African-American graduate at SUNY- Farmingdale for at least twenty-five years. When August Belmont II died in 1925, his widow, philanthropist Eleanor Robson Belmont, a leading lady of the American theatre and a grand dame of the Metropolitan Opera, donated a sturdy building on the Belmont estate - the only surviving part of the original Belmont mansion (1865)- as a Community Clubhouse for the African-Americans in Wyandanch. The building still exists and is located at the "Five Corners," at the intersection of Little East Neck Road and Straight Path.
The Origins of the Wyandanch Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
With the increased home building south of Long Island Avenue, and the need for fire protection throughout Wyandanch, Edwin Mason and John Prohaska organized the Wyandanch Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. in 1925 to protect the lives and property of community residents from the all-too-present danger of ferocious fires. The Wyandanch Fire Department was incorporated by the Town of Babylon on May 18, 1928. The original two-truck, wood-frame, stucco-covered firehouse was built in 1929 on land on the west side of Straight Path between South 17th and 18th Streets, which was donated by realtor, Harry Levey. Many of the larger forest fires in spring and summerwere extinguished with the help of Army troops stationed at Republic Aviation, or tented for summer maneuvers, on farmland on the east side of Wellwood Avenue north of the US National Cemetery, or by Long Island Lighting Company and New York Telephone Company workmen. Fire wells were drilled throughout the community in 1951 to help the fire fighters replenish the fire truck tanks in major blazes.
Electricity and Telephone Service Comes to Wyandanch
The Long Island Lighting Company provided the first electric service to Wyandanch in December 1928 meaning that homeowners in the community could replace oil or kerosene lamps with electric lights. Electricity also meant families could replace hand-powered pitcher water pumps with electrically-driven water pumps. Wood and coal burning stoves could be replaced with oil-fired furnaces. Each homeowner had to drill their own water well or have one drilled. The "points" at the bottom of the wells clogged every eight to ten years due to the very "hard" water, and had to be laboriously or expensively replaced. Homeowners had to pay to have electric and telephone lines strung to their homes. This meant paying for the utility poles as well. Telephone service with the Midland 3 exchange became commonplace in Wyandanch in the 1940s. Property owners who wished to build homes in Wyandanch often had to pay to have the "roads" opened to their property. Many of these unpaved roads became muddy bogs with the spring rains since the Town of Babylon refused to accept responsibility for paving and maintaining what it called "paper streets" in "cheap lot" sub-divisions. LILCO placed a natural gas pipeline along Long Island Avenue in Wyandanch as early as the 1920s.In 1937 bus service was instituted between Wyandanch and Lindenhurst.
Pioneering Italian-Americans in Wyandanch
In the 1920's, 1930's and 1940's Italian-American families such as the Mazzas, the Tafuris, the Barillas, the Ardizones, the Messinas, the Cioffis, the Russos, the Taglieris, the Sommeses, the Frangipanis, and the Guidos moved into Wyandanch. In the 1930s and 1940's most businesses in Wyandanch were owned and operated by intrepid German-American or Italian-American entrepreneurs.
The Origins of the Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Roman Catholic Church in Wyandanch
The Italian-Americans, the Irish-Americans and the German-American Catholics tired of taking buses on Sundays to attend masses in St. Kilian's Roman Catholic Church in Farmingdale in the early 1930s and asked the Most Right Rev. Bishop Thomas E. Molloy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn to establish a parish and church in Wyandanch. The first Catholic Mass was celebrated in Wyandanch in June 1932 in Harry Levey's real estate building (formerly the Wyandanch Athletic Club) on Long Island Avenue and Grand Boulevard by Father Ernest Fries of the Benedictine Fathers in Farmingdale. Only 29 of the 57 original parshioners were year round residents. This underscored the fact that in the 1920s and 1930's many of the houses in Wyandanch were "summer bungalows" and usually occupied only on week-ends in bthe warmer months. In November 1934, newly appointed Father Steven A. Cuddeback celebrated the Catholic Mass in the Community Hall Restaurant on Straight Path at Belmont Road. Within two years, the dynamic Father Cuddeback organized the planning and fund-raising which resulted in the opening of the Little Mission Chapel of the Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Roman Catholic parish in Wyandanch at Levey Boulevard and Straight Path on June 28, 1936 on land purchased from Harry Levey. An adjacent Parish Hall was erected in 1941 and a north wing and rectory was added to the church in 1952. The Franciscan Novitiate moved from Smithtown to the Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Roman Catholic parish in Wyandanch in 1949. The novitiate, a residence for nuns and monks in training, was located on an estate on the east side of Straight Path near Deer Park Avenue, is what is now known as Half Hollow Hills.
The Origins of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Wyandanch
In June 1937, Protestants in Wyandanch of German, Austrian and Scandinavian ancestry opened the Trinty Evangelical Lutheran Church on South 20th Street and Jamaica Avenue on property donated by Mrs. Clara Olsen with the Rev. Frederick E. Pruess serving as pastor. Lutherans in Wyandanch had held services in the Wyandanch Republican Hall on Merritt Avenue since 1932 where the Wyandanch-Wheatley Heights Ambulance building now stands.
Wyandanch Gets a Modern Grade School
On November 17, 1937 the modern one story red-brick $120,000 Wyandanch Elementary School opened for classes on Straight Path across the street from the Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Roman Catholic Church and along side the Town of Babylon Highway Department sand pit and debris dump. $54,000 of the school's construction cost was provided by Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal Public Works Authority (PWA). The school had seven classrooms and 280 pupils as well as an auditorium which sat 400 people. The principal was Jesse K. Chichester, Jr. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration (WPA) financed the laying of sidewalks on the east side of Straight Path so school children could walk safely to school. In February 1937 private bus service was established between Wyandanch and Lindenhust. The route started at the Wyandanch LIRR station ran along Straight Path to Little East Neck Road and then along Hertzl Boulevard to Straight Path. The bus then followed Route 109 to Wellwood Avenue and down Wellwood to the Lindenhurst railroad station and on to the Lindenhurst dock. The 1913 Wyandanch School was purchased by the Wyandanch Post 2912 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and used as its post headquarters.
Wyandanch Gets Its First Polling Place in 1932
The first polling place in Wyandanch was established in the Wyandanch Fire House for the 1932 presidential election. Before 1932, Wyandanch residents voted in Deer Park. Previous to the Great Depression, Wyandanch trended Republican politically but the community was solidly Democratic after 1932 with FDR defeating Alf Landon there in 1936 by a 318-200 vote. Law and order was maintained in Wyandanch by Troop L of the New York State Police, which had their headquarters at Belmont Lake State Park in North Babylon. The State troopers had a Pistol Range on a hillside in what is now Wheatley Heights.
Businesses in Wyandanch in the 1920's and 1930's
The Conservative (propane) Gas Company was established with its on rail siding on N. 18th Street in Wyandanch in 1929. Many Wyandanch residents used propane for cooking and baking in the 1930s and 1940's. There were stores and businesses in Wyandanch such as: Anthony Tafuri's Liquor Store, Joseph Bulin's Eagle Meat Market, Michael Ryan's Grocery, Tom Ardizone's Italian-American Grocery, Emil Moeller's Grocery, John Barilla's Lumber Yard on Merritt Avenue and Charles Watkins Lumber Yard on Long Island Avenue. On March 4, 1933, the Nostrand family took over the Watkins Lumber yard and successfully ran the business until the mid-1960's. Wyandanch residents, however, shopped primarily in Farmingdale, Lindenhurst and Bay Shore villages and to a lesser extent in Babylon, Amityville or Huntington. Most shopping was done on Friday night or Saturday. Shopping malls did not exist before the late 1950s. Some rode the LIRR to shop in Jamaica or on 34th Street in Manhattan near Penn Station (Macy's especially.) The larger purchases were delivered by United Parcel. William Werner operated a woodworking business on Straight Path at S. 17th and Garden City Avenue. Residents went to hospitals in Huntington and Bay Shore, and visited doctors and dentists in Farmingdale, Lindenhurst, Amityville or Huntington. Other than the churches, the Wyandanch Bar and Grill (across from the railroad station), the Community Hall (at Straight Path and Mount Avenue) and the VFW Hall at S. 20th Street and Straight Path were spirited social centers for whites-especially after Prohibition ended- and the Wyandanch Colored Community Club (as it was known in the 1930s) at the Five Corners was the main social center for African-Americans in Wyandanch.
1941: Conklin Street is Closed and the Southern State Parkway Opens
1941 was a historic year for transportation in Wyandanch. On January 6, 1941 the main highway from Wyandanch to "The City," Route 24-Hempstead Turnpike was blocked at the rapidly expanding Republic Aviation factory at Broad Hollow Road (Route 110) and Conklin Street in East Farmingdale on January 6, 1941 by the Suffolk County Highway Department, severing auto and truck traffic into Wyandanch via Long Island Avenue and limiting economic development along Long Island Avenue in Wyandanch. Before and after the U.S. entered World War II, the Town of Babylon repeatedly tried, but failed, (including instituting legal actions) to pressure the U.S. Government to re-open Conklin Street. Long Island Avenue remains one of the least improved major roads in the Town of Babylon today. Most of it still is a two-lane road, which is mostly uncurbed and has few sidewalks, although it is heavily traveled-especially by trucks. Conklin Street at Republic would not be reopened until 1965 (when the Town of Babylon convinced the new owners-Fairchild Republic to re-open Conklin Street to the public) and the bothersome Conklijn Street"dogleg" near New Highway would not be straightened until the late 1990s. Later in 1941, however, Robert Moses' ultra-modern Southern State Parkway was opened to Straight Path (Exit 36) in West Babylon. The opening of the Southern State Parkway made the African-American community in Little Farms section in southern Wyandanch less isolated and more accessible to future settlers. African Americans in Wyandanch had much social interaction with the older, more established, North Amityville African-American community (dating to at least the 1820s) - mainly attending church services and social events there. White and black youngsters went to school together in the Wyandanch Grade School, but otherwise lived in mostly separate social spheres.
Airplane Industry in Farmingdale-Bethpage Ends the Depression in Wyandanch
The massive expansion of Republic Aviation, Grumman, Ranger Engine and Liberty in Farmingdale-Bethpage before the U.S. entered World War II, and during the war, provided greatly expanded job opportunities for Wyandanch residents. The testing of airplanes by Grumman 1932-37 and by Seversky-Republic 1935- and by the U.S. Army Air Corps lead to several spectacular airplane crashes in Wyandanch. The most famous was the collision of two Curtiss P-40 fighters over Wyandanch on February 6, 1941, which killed an army pilot. One fighter plane crashed on Main Avenue, the other came to earth on Long Island Avenue near Little East Neck Road. On July 20,1943, W.J. Forrest, Brosel Hasslacher, Harry Roalef and Mrs. J. B. Smith saved a badly burned Army fighter pilot whose plane had crashed west of Conklin Street and south of the Motor Parkway. They suffered burns and lacerations as they used axes to cut the injured pilot out of his downed and flaming plane. Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1941 Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) order and the wartime labor needs of the airplane factories opened job opportunities for African-Americans and women in Wyandanch-West Babylon. Other Wyandanch residents worked in Pilgrim State or Central Islip State Hospitals, at the American Field of Honor, the U.S. National Cemetery in Pinelawn, which opened in 1938, or at the other cemeteries in Pinelawn: St. Charles, New Montefiore, Wellwood, Beth Moses, Mount Ararat Cemetery or Pinelawn Memorial Park. Most, however, worked in skilled laboring trades, such as: plumbers, carpenters, painters, electricians, masons, roofers or mechanics. Most women did not work for wages outside the home but were preoccupied with traditional child rearing and homemaking.
Recreational Opportunities in Wyandanch
The Town of Babylon opened Wyandanch Park between Mount Avenue and the Carll's River in 1917 and established a baseball diamond there in 1937. For recreation, there was swimming in Wyandanch Lake in the summer and skating in winter. Hunting in the hills and picnics and baseball games in Wyandanch Park and Belmont Lake State Park were popular. Baseball was the game in Wyandanch before 1955 and there were other baseball fields behind the Wyandanch Elementary School, just west of Geiger Lake Park and alongside the VFW Hall on S. 20th Street. The Police Athletic League (PAL) of the Town of Babylon Police Department and the Wyandanch-Wheatley Heights Little League ran baseball leagues for youngsters in Wyandanch in the 1950s and 1960's. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in Wyandanch hiked and camped and cooked out overnight in the hills in Wyandanch during the summer months. Bay and surf fishing in the Great South Bay and on the barrier beaches were also popular. In the 1950s Wyandanch residents were allowed to fish off the Babylon Village dock. Most residents reached the Fire Island State Park by taking the ferry from Babylon village dock. Others drove to Jones Beach State Park via the Southern State Parkway and the Wantagh Parkway. The population of Wyandanch increased during the Great Depression of the 1930s as people left the more expensive "City" and lived without rent and with low property taxes in Wyandanch.
World War II
Wyandanch was a very small community in 1941, yet 201 men and women from Wyandanch served in the U.S. armed forces during World War II. Three, William M. Farley, Edward H. Green and Mary Isanzaniro, died serving their country during the war. At least one Wyandanch resident, Pfc. Leif Jahnsen, was taken as a prisoner of war by the Germans on December 16, 1944. The job boom at the nearby aviation factories in Farmingdale-Bethpage (Republic, Ranger, Liberty and Grumman) -accessible by train- for those who could not drive due to wartime rationing of gasoline and tires- lifted Wyandanch out of the Depression and attracted defense workers to the community who wanted to live inexpensively and have short commutes to their jobs.
Wyandanch Population Grows in the 1940's
In the 1930s and 1940's, other pioneering families such as: the Zotters, the Cookes, the Robertsons, the Dannemeyers, the Mingins, the Burgans, the Krauses, the Prokopiaks, the Lords, the Gregorys, the Collins' the Martins, the Carlsons, the Conns, the Wards, the Leas , the Zirks and the Spadys joined the Irish-American pioneers in the dangerous pine barrens in Wyandanch Springs Park west of Straight Path and S. 18th Street. Other families in Wyandanch in the 1930s were: the Lyons, the Frieds, the Goetzs, the Heckmans and the Ryders. After World War II the population of Wyandanch grew slowly but steadily on a house by house basis because most of the community had been divided into small lots by realtors in the 1870s, 1890's and 1920's and large plots of land were difficult to assemble for large sub-divisions. The increased school population necessitated adding lower grade classrooms (Grades 1-5) and a gymnasium to the Wyandanch Elementary School. The new facilities were opened in September 1949. As World War II ended, Town of Babylon officials failed to have Conklin Street at Republic Aviation re-opened the general public. The US Navy had built an airplane engine factory in the Conklin Street roadbed for Ranger Engine, a subsidiary of Fairchild in 1942. Babylon's request that the US Government pay for a by-pass around Republic-Ranger was rejected by Washington. Aso, the Town of Babylon's efforts in late 1945 after the end of World War II to have the US reopen Conklin Street to the public were also rejected the the federal government.
Origins of the Town of Babylon Incinerator in Sheet Nine
In May 1945, Babylon Town officials first looked at a 20 acre site in the middle of Sheet Nine in Wyandanch between Grunthal (Edison) and Grunwedel (Patton) Avenues as a possible location for the town incinerator and ash dump Babylon was contemplating after Lindenhurst residents rejected the future Babylon incinerator being located at Sunrise Highway and the LIRR crossing in North Lindenhurst. Just before the town wide referendum on the incinerator in November 1945, residents in Sheet Nine and in Wyandanch fruitlessly objected to the proposed incinerator claiming it would attract rats, generate smoke and odors, and depreciate property values. They were assured by Babylon officials that the "modern" facility would be odorless, that the ash would be trucked away and no outdoor dumping or burning of garbage would be allowed. The incinerator was appproved by voters in November 1945. In April 1946, Babylon awarded a $103,000 contract to the Nichols Engineering and Research Corp. of New York to build the two-story incinerator. The Babylon Town incinerator, described as the "most modern and complete in the State of New York," had "two giant 45-ton furnaces and a mechanical blower." All other dumping grounds in Babylon Town were to be closed when the incinerator started burning. The incinerator began operation in June 1946. With the closing of the town dumps, 147 tons of refuse was dropped off at the incinerator in its first two weeks of operation. Workers toiled late into the night to burn the trash. Incinerator ashes were used to fill in the Town of Babylon Highway Department sand pit on Straight Path next to the Wyandanch Grade School.
Town of Babylon Develops Geiger Lake for Swimming
In July 1945, the Town of Babylon accepted a deed from the owners of 40-acre Geiger Lake property (Wheatley Heights Estate, Inc.) located between Long Island Avenue and Grand Boulevard on the border between Wyandanch and Deer Park . The Babylon Town Board voted $3,500 to improve the "small lake," install a culvert, and develop it as a wooded, protected lake beach town park and picnic area. Previously, youngsters in Wyandanch had to pay 15 cents for a bus ride to Lindenhurst and then walk two or three miles (5 km) to Babylon's Venetian Shores Beach park, or take their chances swimming in the shallow, marshy, reedy, unprotected "lake." The Babylon Leader described the Geiger Lake area as "a marvelously wild and undeveloped section of the township." In 1946, Babylon cut the brush around the lake, dredged and cleared it, and rehabilated "a sturdy log cabin" at the lake into concession and comfort stations. The Geiger Lake Town Beach and picnic grove was opened to the public on July 21, 1946. Pristine beach sand from Oak Beach was trucked to Wyandanch to furnish " a sandy bottom and a suitable beach for sun bathers" in Wyandanch. Every inch of beach was jammed on opening day. In the summer of 1947, Babylon roped off a safety area in the lake for children, hired two life guards and provided a life raft and buoys for extra security. At least 20,000 bathers used Geiger Lake in the summer of 1947.
Wyandanch Residents Struggle to Have the Town of Babylon Assume Responsibility for "Paper Streets."
In the spring of 1946, Wyandanch and West Babylon residents were pressuring the Town of Babylon to assume responsibility for paving and maintaining the miles of "private" roads in the unincorporated sections of Babylon Town. Homeowners claimed the streets were muddy and frequently impassable when the Spring thaws and heavy rain set in. They said their children could not get to school and that doctors visits, fire protection and food deliveries were frequently impossible in the wet months. The streets east of Straight Path and south of Long Island Avenue in the high water table area closest to the Carll's River were most impacted. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Dr. Leon Schultz and Dr. Patrick Salatto established pioneering medical offices in Wyandanch. In the mid-1940s residents in isolated Wyandanch had milk and dairy products delivered by the Evans Dairy, bread and cakes by the Dugan Bakers, and eggs and chickens by Rudy Hoegner, who raised chickens on N. 22nd Street. Cars often had to be pulled out of the muddy bogs in the numerous unimproved roads by Town Highway Department machinery. Babylon replied that existing law would not allow the town to spend money on the umimproved roads and said residents would have to pay for their own improvements. In July 1946, the Wyandanch Taxpayers Association filed a lawsuit in Supreme Court in Riverhead to force the Town of Babylon to take responsibility for improvements to "many poorly constructed development roads." The six streets which assistance were called for were: S. 29th Street, Jamaica Avenue, Lake Drive, Bedford Street, Irving Avenue and State Street. Later, 10 additional streets and roads in Wyandanch were added to the petition. In September 1946, State Supreme Court Justice Meyer Steinbrink in Riverhead dismissed the Wyandanch residents request that Babylon assume responsibity for maintenance of unimproved roads in Wyandanch. The court decision occurred after Wyandanch residents rejected a proposal by the Town of Babylon to create special assessment districts in the unincorporated areas of Babylon where residents would pay the costs of road improvements in their communities over a ten or twenty year period. In October, the Wyandanch residents decided to appeal the Supreme Court decision to the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn. In January 1947, George Stephan, the Highway Superintendent for the Town of Babylon, began to solve this serious problem when he asked the Town Board to take over four streets in Wyandanch after he had the roads graded and tarred. Supervisor Donald E. Muncy and the Town Board refused to approve Stephen's recommendation. Residents demanded that their roads be graded with "crowns" in the middle so water could run off. In August 1947, the Wyandanch Civic Association agreed to drop legal action on the matter and work with the town on a plan to float long term bonds to cover the costs of repairing the privately owned roads and putting the roads in shape that would legally permit Babylon to assume responsibility for the streets. Even after this settlement, many paper streets in Wyandanch remained uncut and unimproved, or were mere paths until well into the 1950s, particularly in the Triangle section. Mrs. William Fried, a Spruce Street resident, and the author of the "Wyandanch News" column in the Babylon Leader, spearheaded the campign to pressure the Town of Babylon Town into upgrading roads in unincorporated Wyandanch.
Business Expands in Wyandanch
In 1946, Andrew and Jack King of 24th Street and Long Island Avenue sought permission from the Town of Babylon to establish their King's Hardware business. The Kings would later sell the store and the name and the second King's Hardware was established on South 19th Street and Long Island Avenue . Attorney Stephen A. Voit opened a law office on Straight Path in Wyandanch in 1950.Harold S. Isham operated a successful insurance businesses on the southeast corner of Straight Path and Long Island Avenue. Ross's Shoe Store was located on the east side of Straight Path near S. 18th Street. Mason's Ice Cream Parlor stood where the Hasgill Funeral Home stands today on the east side of Straight Path near S. 20th Street. Ignatius Davidson sought permission from the Town of Babylon for a re-zoning to allow him to erect a modern C & D cement block factory at Booker Avenue and Straight Path where he and Mortimer Cumberbach had been making concrete blocks since 1928. The new factory opened in 1947. Industrialization started in Wyandanch in October 1947 when the James F. Walsh Paper Corp. purchased 54 acres east of Straight Path and along the LIRR from the Anderson and Watkins families for a paper mill. The mill was expected to employ 500 workers and make plastic impregnated paper. Watkins and Geiger owned all the property from Straight Path to the Carll's River and from Acorn Street to Nichols Road. The Caruso family operated a 14 acre Blueberry Farm in the rich acidic soils on the Wyandanch side of the Carll's River behind the Wyancanch Park.
Memorial Day Parade Begins in Wyandanch
The tradition of Wyandanch holding a Memorial Day Celebration with a parade and festive ceremonies to commemorate the veterans of America's wars was started with a parade from railroad station to the Martin A. Kessler V.F.W. Post 2912 at S. 20th Street and Straight Path on May 30, 1947. A set of colors were presented at the end of the parade in front of the VFW Hall (the ex 1913-1937 Wyandanch Grade School) and ice cream and soda was served to the children of the community.
Dr. Herman Baruch: Wyandanch's Most Prestigious Resident
In October 1949, Dr. Herman Baruch, the former Ambassador to the Netherlands and former director of the Texas Gulf Sulpher Company, was married to Anne Maria Baroness MacKay at Bagatelle, Dr. Baruch's country home on Burr's Lane in Wyandanch. The bride was the daughter of Dirk Rynhard Johan Baron MacKay of The Hague, the Netherlands. After Dr. Baruch died in 1953, the lovely Bagatelle estate with its many signature azelea and Rhododendron plantings and its numerous specimen trees, was sold to the Catholic Sisters of the Good Shepherd, which developed it into the Madonna Heights School complex. The Bagatelle Nursery was sold and sub-divided into expensive large-lot, upscale homes. about the time the Long Island Expressway reached Half Hollow Hills in the late 1960s.
Fairchild Guided Missiles Establishes a Factory in Wyandanch
In March 1951 the Fairchild Guided Missiles Division broke ground for a $1,750,000, one-story, convert|155000|sqft|m2|sing=on factory on the east side of Straight Path north of the LIRR. Highly skilled workers at the Fairchild Guided Missiles factory in Wyandanch built the Lark anti-aircraft missile for the US armed forces. With the prospects of 1,000 workers at Fairchild Guided Missiles, crossing the railroad each working day, civic leaders in Wyandanch pressured the Public Service Commission in 1951 to have the LIRR install flashing lights and safety gates at the dangerous rail crossings at 18th Street and at Straight Path. Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. later occupied the Fairchild factory until 1977. The lights and safety gates were installed at Straight Path and 18th Street LIRR crossings in 1952 at a cost of $35,000. The distinctive Fairchild and Grumman water tank dominated the Wyandanch skyline for over three decades.
Wyandanch Women Fight Strip Sand Miners With Baby Carriages
During the suburban building boom of the 1950s demand was great for high quality sand and gravel for the production of concrete. Thus, strip sand miners began digging into the hillsides of the Wheatley Heights terminal moraine to easily mine fine sand and stone with heavy earthmoving equipment. Constant streams of heavy trucks roared along 18th Street and Straight Path endangering residents-especially the children as they sped to the concrete makers. Ugly scars were left on the previously forested hillsides and problems with erosion and local flooding were exacerabated. Led by the forceful Hermann Griem of the Wheatley Heights Civic Association, mothers in Wyandanch organized baby carriage brigades and blocked the sand trucks trying to enter and leave the sand mines in an effort to have the Town of Babylon abolish above ground strip sand mining in the hills. Entire hills were removed by the strip miners before these practices were brought under control. The miners never restored the scarred hillsides. The Herman Griem Town of Babylon Park in Wheatley Heights was developed on what had been one of the largest strip sand mine operations in Wyandanch until fierce pressure from the Wheatley Heights Civic Association forced its closing in the mid-1950s. Before the Griem Park was developed, the Town of Babylon sponsored very popular Soap Box Derby races for youngsters there in the mid and late 1950s. Newspaper reports in the 19th century indicate that there was a Native American burial ground in the hills in Wyandanch, dating from before the 300-year old Conklin family Cemetery, yet sadly there is no evidence of remains of this historic burial site today. It may be that the site was destroyed by the strip miners in the early 1950s.
The Origins of Carver Park and the Transformation of Wyandanch
Also in March 1951, Taca Homes offered expandable four-room Cape Cod style homes for sale on a "non-racial" basis at the Carver Park development at Straight Path and Booker Avenue in Wyandanch. This property was one of the very few large enough for a major housing development. The homes with basement, hot-water heat and tile baths sold for $7,290 and were eligible for Federal Housing Administration loan insurance. By June 1952 builder Henry Taca was erecting 183 homes in the second section of Carver Park. In fact, these homes were purchased almost exclusively by African-Americans looking to participate in the American Dream of a suburban home. The original development map had been filed in the Suffolk County Clerk's Office in Riverhead on February 6, 1950. The building of the Carver Park, and then the Lincoln Park housing development on Parkway Boulevard between Straight Path and Mount Avenue in 1956, with over 400 homes, triggered the rapid transformation of Wyandanch from a mostly white community in 1952 to a mostly African-American community in 1960. Many of the whites who lived south of the LIRR moved away and lower middle class African-American families bought individually custom built homes in Wyandanch Springs Park and in the "Tree streets" area east of Straight Path. Upwardly mobile African-American families such as the Boxhills, Mayers, Wilsons, Edwards, Levis, Williams, Hazelwoods, Hicks, Megginsons, Colemans, Bachelors, Punters, Smiths, Jarmonds and Taylors established homes in the Triangle area of Wyandanch in the late 1940s and 1950's. Many of these families- both middle class and working class- purchased homes in Wyandanch because they were denied opportunities to move into other fast developing white housing tracts on Long Island-such as Levittown- due to exclusionist real estate practices: steering, redlining, etc. With the racial transformation of Wyandanch, residents in sections such as, Wheatley Heights north of Main Avenue in the Half Hollow Hills School District-both white and black- began to disassociate themselves from Wyandanch. This was also true of the upper middle class African-American section of the North Babylon School District above the Southern State Parkway,-Belmont Park Estates- which evolved in the 1950s.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School Opens
The Wyandanch School Board opened the $1,155,000 26-classroom Mount Avenue Elementary School in September 1956 to make room for the increased school enrollment. In 1957, The school board named the school the Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School in honor of Dr. King's civil rights leadership in Montgomery, Alabama. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School in Wyandanch was perhaps the first to be so named on Long Island. In 1955, the Town of Babylon sold the 10 acre former Town Highway Department sand pit and refuse dump to the Wyandanch School District for $20,000. The property was situated on the south side of the Wyandanch Grade School and the Mount Avenue School and was developed with athletic fields. Where Wyandanch had 386 students and 34 teachers in Grades 1-8 in 1950-1, there were 1002 students and 34 teachers in 1957-8. 152 students were being bussed to West Babylon High School and parochial high schools in 1957. In 1954, developer Max Staller built a shopping center with a Blue Jay Supermarket, a Security National Bank office, a tavern, a luncheonette and a dry cleaning establishment on the north side of the LIRR at Straight Path and Acorn Street. In 1955, Wyandanch voters rejected a State Education Department proposal to consolidate Wyandanch into the North Babylon and Deer Park school districts. In the late 1950s. "North Wyandanch" above the LIRR track was still predominantly white and the stores on Merritt Avenue and Straight Path were mostly white owned. Dr. Mallie Taylor, dentist Dr. Henry Dunbar and pharmacist George Greenlee were Arican-Americans who established professional medical offices and Greenlee's Drug Store on Straight Path in the 1950s and serviced black and white patients and customers. In 1956-7 the Babylon Town Highway Department enlarged Geiger Lake on the Wyandanch side to allow additional swimmers.
Wyandanch Gets a New Post Office
In 1956 the new red-brick U.S. Post Office was put into service on the east side of Straight Path at Commonwealth Boulevard as part of a strip of stores which had been built between Commonwealth Boulevard and Irving Avenue. Thomas A. Brown, who earned a Purple Heart in combat in World War II, was postmaster, having been appointed in 1951, when the Post Office was located in a store on the east side of Straight Path between Harold Isham's Insurance office and Tafuri's Liquor Store. Before the mid-1950s residents had to pick up mail at the post office either from mail boxes or from general delivery. Postmaster Thomas A. Brown instituted house to house mail delivery to mail boxes in Wyandanch in the mid-1960s.
Wyandanch's Historic 1875 LIRR Station is Demolished
In June 1958, the LIRR demolished the 1875 Wyandanch railroad station and replaced it with a non-descript concrete block depot on Long Island Avenue about convert|500|ft|m west of the 1875 station. The New York Times reported that the Wyandanch railroad station "had been used as the setting for several Western motion pictures in the pre-Hollywood era." The ugly 1958 LIRR depot was in turn demolished in 1986 when the MTA electrified the Main Line from Hicksville to Ronkonkoma and a new modernistic, unmanned, LIRR station was built on the site of the original 1875 station.
The Wyandanch Board of Education Plans a Junior-Senior High School
In August 1958, the Wyandanch Board of Education led by board president Charles Moeller (who owned a grocery on Straight Path at Mount Avenue) began planning the development of a Junior-Senior High School for Wyandanch, which was scheduled to open in September 1961. The School District obtained ten acres between South 32nd Street and Little East Neck Road and between Garden City Avenue and Brooklyn Avenue by condemnation for the high school and its athletic fields. Previously, graduates of the Wyandanch Grade School had attended high school in Lindenhurst, Amityville, West Babylon and Hauppauge.
Wyandanch Gets Direct Distance Dialing
New York Telephone officials announced that as of July 11, 1960 Wyandanch residents with MIdland 3 telephone numbers and Deer Park residents with MOhawk 7 numbers would be able to direct dial station-to-station calls to any of 56 million telephones throughout the United States. The new improved service was made possible by modern dial switching equipment which had been installed in the New York Telephone's new dial center on West Second Street in Deer Park.
Lunn Laminates Moves to Wyandanch
Lunn Laminates, Inc., one of the largest custom molders of fibreglass reinforced plastic products, and a major producerof fiberglass boats to the U.S. Navy, moved into the convert|90000|sqft|m2|abbr=on. former Kollsman Instruments Corp. factory building on the north side of Acorn Street, east of Straight Path in Wyandanch in the spring of 1962. Lunn employed 180 workers and moved to Wyandanch from Huntington. Lunn also built submarine fairwaters and mast fairings for the Navy and convert|16|ft|m|sing=on and convert|30|ft|m|sing=on lifeboats for the U.S. Coast Guard.
Fairchild Stratos Leaves Wyandanch and Grumman Aircraft Moves In
In 1963 the Fairchild Stratos Corporation moved its Electronics Systems Division and its 200 engineering, production and administrative employees from Wyandanch to a facility in Bay Shore specifically designed for electronic operations. Fairchild Stratos worked on reconnaissance equipment for aircraft, airframes, meteorological ground stations and radar. The Fairchild factory, on the east side of Straight Path north of the LIRR, was built in 1951 by the Fairchild Guided Missiles Corp. Fairchild announced that its Wyandanch factory would be leased to the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation. Grumman built aircraft frames for "some of the world's advanced aircraft" at its Plant 27-in the former Fairchild factory- from 1963 until September 1977, when Grumman ceased operations in Wyandanch. Grumman's 250 highly skilled employees custon built plexiglass and fibreglass forward, mid and tail sections and nacelles for the Grumman E2A Hawkeye, EA-6B Prowler, A-6A Intruder, S-2E Tracker, A-6E Intruder and EC-2 Hawkeye in the Wyandanch factory. After 1966, Grumman's entire plastics production effort was centralized in Wyandanch. This included manufacturing plexiglass aircraft canopies, windshields and windows. When the Plant 27 in Wyandanch was closed in late 1977, the work was transferred to Grumman plants in Bethpage, Great River and Milledgeville, Georgia.
The Milton L. Olive Elementary School Opens Honoring an American Hero
In October 1966 the $1.3 million, 29-room, Milton L. Olive Elemetary School was opened at Garden City Avenue and South 37th Street with 870 pupils. The school was named for Milton L. Olive, a 19-year old Private First Class in the US. Army from Chicago, who gave his life in Vietnam on October 22, 1965 to save four of his comrades. James Ellison, an African-American realtor in Wyandanch and a veteran of the US Army, suggested that the Board of Education name the new school in honor of Pfc. Olive because Private Olive "had given his life to save fellow soldiers, without worrying about their race, creed or color." 70% of the students in the Wyandanch School District were African-American in 1966.
Verne Dyson, The Deer Park and Wyandanch Story, 1957 (Deer Park Public Library); Roy Douglas, "Pine Barren Pioneers," Long Island Forum, October, November, December, 1982 (West Islip Public Library); Richard Koubeck, Wyandanch: A Political Profile of a Black Suburb, Institute for Community Studies, Queens College, 1971 (Wyandanch Public Library).
Rakimb. 1968-considered by many to be the greatest rapper of all time- was born and raised in Wyandanch. Rakim and Eric B. became famous for their historic hip hop albums "Paid In Full" and "Follow the Leader," and their single "Eric B. For President," among other pioneering hip hop hits.
Wyandanch also was home to Dave Fredericks, who starred in basketball, football and track at West Babylon High School 1956-60, and who held the Suffolk County High School record for the most points in a single basketball game (61) for decades, and George Cooper, a star running back for the Wyandanch Warriors and later the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Wyandanch is located at coor dms|40|44|50|N|73|22|6|W|city (40.747098, -73.368275)GR|1.
According to the
United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11.3 [.. [km²] ), all land.
Formerly known as Half Way Hollow Hills, West Deer Park, (1875) and Wyandance, (1888) the area of scrub oak and pitch pine on the outwash plain south of the southern slope of Half Hollow terminal moraine was named Wyandanch by the LIRR and the US Post Office in 1903 to honor the sachem of the Montaukett Native American tribe, who deeded much of Suffolk to the English. Historic Wyandanch was bounded by the Huntington Town line on the north, the Carll's River on the east, the Southern State Parkway (1941) on the south and Wellwood Avenue and Little East Neck Road on the west. Topographically, Wyandanch's nutrient-poor loam and sandy soils are part of the outwash plain which was formed as the last glacier melted about 20,000 years ago. The plain slopes gently towards Belmont Lake State Park from the Half Way Hollow Hills terminal moraine (the edge of the debris left when the glacier melted)and from Little East Neck Road. The lower elevation in Wyandanch extends east diagionally from North 22nd Street and presents drainage problems in the area from South 23rd Street to the Carll's Creek where the water table is very close to the surface. Unfortunately, Wyandanch does not have sewers. In the mid and late 20th Century, the Wheatley Heights area (Half Hollow Hills School District) developed as a separate community but is still served by the Wyandanch Fire Department, Inc. Much of the Pinelawn Industrial Park is now thought of as West Babylon or East Farmingdale although a significant portion of this area is included in the Wyandanch School District.
Wyandanch also boasts one of the most successful high school basketball programs in New York State. The Warriors are a consistently competitive force throughout Long Island and upstate New York.
As of the
censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 10,546 people, 2,525 households, and 2,113 families residing in the CDP. The population densitywas 2,410.8 per square mile (931.8/km²). There were 2,776 housing units at an average density of 634.6/sq mi (245.3/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 3.9% White, 77.7% African American, 0.01% Native American, 0.01% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 6.26% from other races, and 4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.35% of the population.
There were 2,525 households out of which 46.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.7% were married couples living together, 35.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16% were non-families. 11.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.14 and the average family size was 4.25.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 35.6% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, and 6.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 89 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $40,664, and the median income for a family was $41,857. Males had a median income of $29,344 versus $26,831 for females. The
per capita incomefor the CDP was $13,153. About 13.4% of families and 16.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.8% of those under age 18 and 19.5% of those age 65 or over.
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