Bethpage Purchase - Bethpage and Hardscrabble: Modern Farmingdale

Bethpage and Hardscrabble: Modern Farmingdale

The original Bethpage Friends Meeting House, on Quaker Meeting House Road, Farmingdale, built in 1741, was the first house of worship constructed in the Bethpage Purchase area. The present structure, built in 1890, is the third meeting house at this site, the previous two having been destroyed by fire. It is nearly surrounded by Farmingdale's oldest cemetery.

In the 1830s, anticipating construction of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), land developer Ambrose George purchased a large tract of land in the eastern part of the Bethpage Purchase lands, between the community then known as Bethpage and a large area in Suffolk County called Hardscrabble. He built a general store just east of the Bethpage community, and named his property Farmingdale. When the LIRR started service to the area in October 1841, it used the name Farmingdale for its latest stop, here, on the line it was building to Greenport. Stagecoaches took people from the Farmingdale station to Islip, Babylon, Patchogue, Oyster Bay South, and West Neck (Huntington area). By December 1841, construction was completed to the next stop on the LIRR, a temporary stop called Babylon Station, and later to a permanent station called Deer Park, reducing some, but not all, stagecoach traffic from Farmingdale.

In March 1842, Ambrose George donated some of his land for the construction of the first Methodist meeting house in Farmingdale. Until that time, the only other place of worship was the Quaker Meeting House northwest of the Farmingdale LIRR station. A post office opened July 31, 1845, using the name Farmingdale. The name Hardscrabble continued to appear on maps for the area further east in Suffolk County, in the vicinity of present-day Wyandanch. In 1912, the New York State School of Agriculture on Long Island opened in East Farmingdale.

In 1912, Benjamin Franklin Yoakum, a wealthy railroad executive, acquired 1,368 acres (5.5 km2) of land along the northern edge of Farmingdale extending into what is now Old Bethpage. Yoakum hired Devereux Emmet to design and build an 18 hole golf course on the land, which opened for play in 1923, and which Yoakum leased to the private Lenox Hills Country Club. When Yoakum died in 1929, there was conflict over usage of the leased lands. The Yoakum heirs eventually sold the property to the State of New York, and Bethpage State Park opened there to the public in 1932, with more golf courses soon being constructed.

Read more about this topic:  Bethpage Purchase

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