Photo of the Week
FROM THE SCHS LIBRARY ARCHIVES
“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
– John Steinbeck
by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Head Librarian
Huntington Harbor, Sailboats at Anchor, 1900, 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.) [Ed: to view Fullerton photograph please visit SCHS website.]
Early Huntington was bordered by Cold Spring Harbor to the west, Northport Harbor to the east, what is now known as Old Country Road to the south, and Long Island Sound to the north. From its initial founding in 1653, Huntington grew over the subsequent years to include all of the land presently comprising the modern Towns of Huntington and Babylon. It wasn’t until 1872 that the southern part of the town was formally separated to create Babylon Town.
Because Huntington was populated largely by English settlers, unlike the rest of the New Amsterdam colony, the town voted in 1660 to become part of the Connecticut colony rather than remain under the authority of New Amsterdam. When the British gained control of New Amsterdam in 1664 (renaming it “New York”), Huntington was formally restored to the jurisdiction of New York. Following the Battle of Long Island during the Revolutionary War, British troops used Huntington as their headquarters and remained encamped there until the end of the war.
When President George Washington visited Huntington in 1790, the town had 2,000 residents. Most lived in Huntington hamlet, with farmhouses scattered in the rest of the town. By the early 1800s, the town’s population had grown to over 4,000. The arrival of the Long Island Railroad in 1867 transformed the economy of Huntington from primarily agriculture and shipping (based on its well-protected harbor) to tourism and commuting. The end of World War II brought about an explosive growth of population in Huntington, where farms and resorts gave way to residential homes and businesses.