Our Community

Portrait Of A Small Town – Huntington “In The Beginning”
Alfred V. Sforza, DDS

The Town of Huntington’s history began on April 2, 1653 when three men from Oyster Bay, Richard Houldbrook, Robert Williams, and Daniel Whitehead , came eastward along a trail known as Oyster Bay Path which runs through the middle of Huntington Village and is better known today as Main Street to bargain with the Indians. Main Street was then a marshy section, for the headwaters of Huntington Harbor were further inland than present day. For the price of 6 coats, 6 kettles, 6 hatchets, 6 howes, 6 shirts, 10 knives, 6 fathoms of wampum, 3 muxes, 30 needles, the three men received a tract of land extending from the Sound on the north; to Cold Spring Harbor on the west; to Northport Harbor on the east; to the south boundary of what was later called “Old Country Road.”

The Indian name for the area we know as Huntington Village was Ketewomoke, meaning “where the sea flows.” There are many theories as to why the first European settlers renamed the territory from Ketewomoke to Huntington, but it is generally agreed that they named it in honor of Oliver Cromwell, who was born in Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire, England. Our old Town records show that they did originally spell the name with a “d” and later substituted the “t”.

“The Town Spot”

The Towne Spotte (as it was often spelled in the town records) was for over 100 years the chief locality of the town. (The present day “Village Green” on the intersection of Main Street (25A) and Park Avenue).

On the Town Spot the first eleven families built their homes. They also built a stockade in which they kept the livestock at night and a fort in case of attack. The Town Spot also included a “watch house” where they could keep an eye on the settlement at night. The “watch” was made up of guards to watch both the livestock and the settler’s homes. They were on the lookout for wolves and prowling Indians.

Once settled in the area, they found they no longer had to band together at the Towne Spotte and gradually started to spread out in all directions and built homes where they found the richest soil and the most attractive surroundings. Expanding the town living area involved the expanding of the roadways. Many of these roads still exist only with different names.

Huntington Today

The jurisdiction of Huntington’s town government encompasses approximately one hundred square miles at the north western end of Suffolk County on Long Island Sound and about 37 miles from New York City. It is bounded by Oyster Bay on the west, Smithtown on the east, Babylon on the south, and 51 miles of the Long Island Sound beaches and harbors on the north.

The Town of Huntington includes the communities of Centerport, Cold Spring Harbor, Commack, Dix Hills, East Northport, Eaton’s Neck, Elwood, Fort Salonga (part in Smithtown), Greenlawn, Halesite, Half Hollow Hills, Huntington Station, Huntington Village, Melville, South Huntington, and West Hills. In addition, the town includes four incorporated village which have certain independent governmental powers. Incorporated villages are the smallest bodies of government within the Town. Four such communities are incorporated and each governed by a mayor and a board of trustees: Asharoken– incorporated in 1925; Huntington Bay- incorporated in 1924; Lloyd Harbor – incorporated in 1926; and Northport – the Town’s oldest incorporated village, 1896.

The original occupants of our town are gone. Most of the homes they occupied have also disappeared. Generations have gone by. Their struggle for existence is only a memory now and so far remote from the life hardships of today. It is hard to imagine the intensity of the hardships these settlers had to endure. New generations have taken their place and they are also trying to make improvements to our society.

Many changes have taken place since the time of those first inhabitants. We have gone from candles to gas lamps and from gas fixtures to electricity. Our highways are not cart paths and are well illuminated. We no longer need to hang a lantern from the axle of a wagon to throw light on the road ahead. Our homes are brighter, cleaner, and automatically heated by electric, gas, or oil. No longer are we subject to the blazing heat of summer for many homes have central air conditioning. What should not change is our concept of “we the people,” the value of the family unit, and the concept of people in a community working together in harmony for a better society. We don’t have to cut down trees for firewood or cultivate common fields anymore, but we can still develop a common bond with our neighbors and friends and together try to make Huntington a better place to live, using our history as our foundation.

Comments are closed.