Photo of the Week
FROM THE SCHS LIBRARY ARCHIVES
“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
– John Steinbeck
Street Intersection, Babylon
by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Head Librarian
Main Street & Fire Island Avenue, Babylon. (Image from the Postcard Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives. Copyright © Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved.)
Babylon was originally known as Huntington South when it was part of the Town of Huntington. Farmers would travel from Huntington to the Great South Bay area to harvest salt hay for bedding and feed for their livestock. It was a journey at the time, so the farmers would stay a period of time before returning home. Travelers would also stop at Huntington South on their three-day trip to Southampton from New York City, creating the need for stores and services. Flounder, bluefish, and shellfish were abundant in the bay, providing income and sustenance for the settlers. Fresh streams from the north provided power for mills that produced grain, lumber, and paper. By 1800, Huntington South had become a hub of activity.
Nathaniel Conklin foresaw the area as a thriving town. He built a home for his mother on the northeast corner of Main Street and Deer Park Avenue in 1803. Legend has it that Nathaniel’s mother was unhappy with her home across from a tavern and compared the town with the biblical Babylon. The house now stands on the northwest side of Deer Park Avenue where it was moved in 1871, with a cornerstone that reads “New Babylon, This House Built by Nat Conklin, 1803.” When the railroad arrived in 1867, Huntington South became a thriving resort area. A trolley ran from the depot to the steamship dock where ferries sailed to the Fire Island beaches. At one time there were eleven hotels in the village.
The area called Huntington South became the Town of Babylon with its own governing board in 1872. Soon after, in 1893, the Village of Babylon was incorporated.
The objects we use to get through an ordinary day have changed tremendously over time, so much so that many everyday items once used at work or at home by your grandparents (or great-grandparents) are now virtually unrecognizable. This exhibit will showcase a selection of the more mysterious, interesting, and challenging objects from our collection to baffle, befuddle, and bemuse. Can you guess what they are? Bring your cellphone for an interactive experience!
What the #*!! Is THAT? will be in our Weathervane Gallery beginning Friday, March 12, 2021. Exhibit curated by Richard Doctorow.
The Suffolk County Historical Society Museum is open to the public for a safe, socially-distanced family outing with 15-minute intervals between parties. Exhibits provide a safe, “touchless” experience for adults and children alike. Masks are required of all museum visitors over age 2.
AAQ / Resource