Photo of the Week
FROM THE SCHS LIBRARY ARCHIVES
“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
— John Steinbeck
“Queen City” of Long Island’s South Shore
Long Dock (top), by Hal B. Fullerton, 1898, and Clifton Hotel postcard (bottom), Patchogue. (From the Collections of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library & Archives. Copyright © Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved.)
As we wait for the start of another glorious Long Island summer season, this week’s historic images include views of a long dock and a hotel on the majestic Patchogue waterfront. At the turn of the twentieth century, Patchogue was a major tourist area with many hotels and boarding houses offering 1,600 beds to guests from New York City and beyond. With the arrival of train service in Patchogue in 1869, New Yorkers could escape the hot, crowded city for a relaxing weekend on the cool shores of the Great South Bay located just 56 miles from the city.
The Clifton Hotel, which was located at the foot of Bay Avenue on the Great South Bay, was built in 1882 and expanded in 1892 and 1896, doubling in size to accommodate the area’s booming tourism industry. Surrounding the Clifton were 10 acres of lawns, flower gardens, trees, and fascinating bay views. Guests enjoyed 600 feet of shorefront, a sandy beach, a 500-foot private pier, a 1/3-mile-long boardwalk promenade, and 3,000 square feet of veranda overlooking the bay. There were also a casino, a pool, an indoor bowling alley, 120 bath houses, a sun deck, and an Australian swimming pool! Yachts could be hired out for excursions on the bay or for travel to Fire Island and ocean beaches. Boats could be hired for gunning parties and fishing trips.
It’s no wonder they called Patchogue the “Queen City” of Long Island’s South Shore!
Copyright © 2023 Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved.
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