Photo of the Week

—– May 9, 2020 —–


“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
– John Steinbeck

Long Dock, Patchogue, And Clifton Hotel

by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Head Librarian 


Long Dock, Patchogue, c. 1898, by Hal B. Fullerton. (Image from the Harry T. Tuthill Fullerton Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives. Copyright © Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved.) [To View Fullerton photo, please visit SCHS website.]

As we wonder what summer 2020 on Long Island will be like in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, this week’s historic image from the SCHS library archives features a long dock on the majestic Patchogue waterfront circa 1898. At the turn of the twentieth century, Patchogue was in fact a major tourist area with many hotels and boarding houses offering over 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, located at the foot of Bay Avenue on the Great South Bay, was built in 1882; it was expanded in 1892 and 1896, doubling in size to accommodate the area’s booming tourism industry.


Clifton Hotel, Patchogue.

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!

Be a Witness to History! The Suffolk County Historical Society invites you to be a witness to our living history. Please consider sharing your COVID-19 experiences for our historic archives.

Email your stories to: Be sure to put “COVID-19” in your subject line and to include your location and contact information.

*UPDATED* CLOSURE NOTICE: The Suffolk County Historical Society Museum will remain closed based on the closure order issued by NYS Governor Cuomo in response to the COVID-19 crisis. We are also suspending all upcoming events at this time, and will continue to monitor the situation closely.

The health and safety of our visitors, members, and staff remain the Suffolk County Historical Society’s priority. Every day brings new developments related to the virus, and we understand that uncertainty can be unsettling. Our thoughts are with the entire Suffolk County and Long Island communities and with all who have been impacted by COVID-19.

During our closure, we invite the Long Island community to visit our website for updates and special offerings, including a free subscription to our historic Photo of the Week series and our Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube content:

From all of us at the Suffolk County Historical Society, thank you for your continued support through these uncertain times. Stay tuned, and stay safe!


To View 2014 Photo of the Week pages click here.

To View 2015 Photo of the Week pages click here.

To View 2016 Photo of the Week pages click here. 

To View 2017 Photo of the Week pages click here.

To View 2018 Photo of the Week pages click here.

To View 2019 Photo of the Week pages click here. 

To View 2020 Photo of the Week pages click here.





AAQ Resource: McDonough & Conroy Architects