Friday, August 10, 2018

Camp Upton

Camp Upton was built in 1917 as an induction and training facility for new soldiers who were to fight in World War I. The camp was named after Major General Emory Upton, a Union general in the Civil War. Construction began in the summer of 1917. When the first men arrived on September 10th, two-thirds of the camp had yet to be completed. The new soldiers were put side by side with the laborers to help complete the camp. On December 20th, the camp was officially declared complete, and turned over to Camp Commander Major General J. Franklin Bell.

In October, General Bell put into action a sixteen-week training program, which included almost every aspect of infantry combat. French and British officers were brought to the U.S. and instructed the men in tank, trench and gas warfare. The draftees trained in the use of hand grenades and machine guns, and professional boxers taught the men hand-to-hand combat.

From these raw recruits came the nucleus of the 77th Division. Officially formed before the first draftee arrived in camp, the 77th was to gain recognition for its valor at the Argonne Forest in August of 1918.

With the war's end in November of 1918, Upton's use was limited. The camp served as a demobilization site for returning veterans, but the Army soon decided that Camp Upton was of no further use, and it was deactivated.

In 1944, Camp Upton was used as a hospital to treat wounded veterans of the war.  It also served as a Prisoner of War Camp, when in May of 1945, 500 German prisoners were sent to Camp Upton.

In 1947, the camp was replaced by Brookhaven National Laboratory, to conduct scientific research. The lab remains in operation to this day as a multi-program national laboratory operated by Brookhaven Science Associates for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).  It currently staffs 3,000 scientists, engineers, technicians and support staff as well as over 4,000 guest researchers annually.


“Camp Upton.” BNL Blood Drives: 56 Facts,

Genealogy, Long Island. “CampUpton.” History of Hempstead Village,

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Frank Buck’s Jungle Camp/Massapequa Zoo and Kiddie Park

Frank Buck was a household name on Long Island from the 1920s through the 1940s. He was a renowned animal hunter and collector of exotic animals for circuses. He also starred in a few movies. At the World’s Fair in Chicago, he set up an exhibit of the animals he had collected in his travels. When the fair closed, he moved the entire camp to Long Island.

Frank Buck’s Jungle Camp was forty acres and housed lions, elephants, tigers, monkeys, reptiles, and other wild animals. Many of the animals came from the collection of Charles W. Beall. One of the main attraction was Monkey Mountain, a seventy-five foot tall exhibit at the center of the property.

The Camp contained multiple buildings on the property including a three-story Tudor Style building--the Frank Buck Hotel--as well as other restaurants and stores. Above all, Buck’s Jungle Camp housed hundreds of exotic animals including lions, tigers, elephants, monkeys, and reptiles, among others. The Camp’s animals became an important feature of the community and live animals like elephants were brought to galas and society events in nearby towns to help boost publicity and ticket sales. In addition to functioning as a zoo and amusement center, the Camp served as a holding center for exotic animals coming into New York from Buck’s expeditions before being sent to other zoos and circuses. The Camp was a hit with the press and often was written about in newspapers such as the New York Times, which discussed all different types of topics, such as new arrivals and animal births in the compound.

In 1943, the camp was not able to sustain itself anymore and the animals were shipped to public and private zoos across the country. In the 1950s, the Grimaldi family bought the remaining property and renamed it Sunrise Kiddie Land and Animal Farm. It was renamed the Massapequa Zoo and Kiddie Park a year later. This six-acre zoo had kiddie rides and animals. Local residents can recall that the Massapequa Drive In was located adjacent to the zoo from 1950 until 1968; before the zoo closed, visitors to the Drive-In purchased their tickets near Monkey Mountain and monkeys could be seen from car windows.

The zoo remained open until 1965 when the property was sold to a developer to make additional parking space for a shopping center.  The Westfield Sunrise Mall now occupies this site.


Berman, Marisa L. Historic Amusement Parks of Long Island. The History Press, 2015.

Pallone, Jillian. “Frank Buck: Bring ‘Em Back Alive.”

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Sagamore Hill

When Theodore Roosevelt had finished college and was beginning to start a family, he thought that the best possible place to settle with his wife and to raise children would be Oyster Bay. He purchased farmland in Cove Neck, a peninsula just east of Oyster Bay village and envisioned building a large, sturdy, modern home. He hired New York City architects Lamb and Rich to design such a house, and construction based on their Queen Anne-style sketches began in 1884.

Plans for the house were nearly halted due to the sudden death of Roosevelt's young wife Alice in February 1884. She had died just two days after giving birth to a daughter who was named Alice after her. Family members convinced Roosevelt that despite the tragedy of his wife's death, he would still need a proper home for his baby daughter, and he soon decided to go ahead with the house construction.

In 1886 Roosevelt became re-acquainted with Edith Kermit Carow, a friend of his sister's whom he had known since he was six. It took them very little time to resume an earlier relationship and to become engaged. After they were married, Roosevelt and his second wife Edith took up full-time residency at Sagamore Hill in 1887. The couple would raise a total of six children in the house and, over the next 30 years, they would experience some of the most memorable and cherished moments of their lives there.

The most significant events took place at Sagamore Hill during the seven summers it served as Theodore Roosevelt's Summer White House, from 1902 until 1908. During that time, Roosevelt used his home to host luminaries from around the country and around the world.

Theodore Roosevelt died at Sagamore Hill on January 6, 1919 when he was sixty years old. Ted Roosevelt, eldest son of the president, hoped eventually to take over the house and to raise his family in it. However his mother Edith wanted to remain in the old house, and she gave Ted a few acres of land on which to build a new one (eventually known as Old Orchard house). Despite extensive travels in her later years, Edith always came back to the old house at Sagamore Hill. She died there in September 1948 at the age of eighty-seven.

Named after the Indian chief Sagamore Mohannis, Sagamore Hill stands atop Cove Neck on 95 acres of forest, tidal salt marsh, and bay beach; land which was purchased in 1880 for $10,000 down and a 20-year, $20,000 mortgage. The house itself is a sprawling 23 room, two-floored, Victorian styled building, with a massive 30 x 40 grand room known as the North Room where Roosevelt kept his trophies, books, paintings, sculptures, library, and dozens of priceless artifacts given to him by foreign dignitaries.

The first floor contains the large center hall, library, dining room, kitchen, and drawing room. The house is surrounded by a spacious raised porch shaded by an unmistakable green awning. The second floor contains the bedrooms, nursery, guest rooms, and a turn of the century water closet with a uniquely large porcelain tub.

After Edith Roosevelt passed away in 1948, the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association acquired the home in 1950 and undertook a significant restoration, adding a porch, which the National Park Service recently removed. In 2015, hundreds of specialists restored and refurbished the interior while ensuring the exterior was reinforced and ready to stand for decades. From repairing the roof, gutters and woodwork and installing a new LED lighting system to replacing all 98 windows and reapplying period-specific wallpaper, the project brought the home up to date, while making sure that guests only see what Theodore Roosevelt saw. Since acquiring the home in 1963, this project was the Park Service's first true deep dive into the largest presidential home it oversees, which gave those working there a greater appreciation of the Oyster Bay mansion's unique character.


“History & Culture.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior,

“Sagamore Hill - Home of Theodore Roosevelt - Roosevelt Almanac.” The Man in the Arena - April 23, 1910 - Theodore Roosevelt Speeches- Roosevelt Almanac, 1 Mar. 2010,

Sisson, Patrick. “Magnificent $10M Restoration of Teddy Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill Home Exemplifies Peak Taxidermy.” Curbed, Curbed, 14 July 2015,

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Nunley's Amusement Park - Baldwin

William Nunley chose the spot for his kiddie park in Baldwin due to its accessibility by public transport. It was located across from a Long Island Railroad stop. The site was originally home to the restaurant the Dutch Mill and a carousel pavilion. In 1947, additional rides were added and it became a true amusement park. This small park featured rides geared for young children.

The first roller coaster was designed by the Pinto brothers until the mid-1950’s. It was then replaced with a new coaster designed by B. A. Schiff & Associates. A miniature golf course was added to the park in 1961.  The most iconic element of Nunley’s Amusement part was the beloved 1912 Stein and Goldstein carousel. Nunley’s Carousel was created in 1912 by the Stein and Goldstein Artistic Carousell Co. of Brooklyn New York. The carousel was installed on the Brooklyn waterfront in Canarsie’s Golden City Park where it was known as “Murphy’s” carousel and operated for 26 years. In  the Spring of 1940, it reopened as Nunley's Carousel

The most memorable feature of the carousel was the rung grab, Children could reach out and snatch a rung. If they got a brass ring, they won a free ride. The carousel remained in Baldwin until the park closed in 1995. It was originally scheduled to go up for auction, but Nassau County purchased the carousel so it could remain in the community. It remained in storage from 1995-2007. A local nine-year olf girl began a fundraising program called “Pennies for Ponies” to raise the necessary funds to restore the carousel. It was moved to its current location in Museum Row in Garden City in 2009.


Berman, Marisa L. Historic Amusement Parks of Long Island. The History Press, 2015

“Historic Nunley's Carousel on Museum Row.” Cradle of Aviation Museum,

Friday, June 8, 2018

Republic Airport

Republic Airport was developed by Sherman Fairchild as the Fairchild Flying Field in East Farmingdale in late 1927 as his airplane and airplane engine factories and 10-acre flying field on Motor Avenue in South Farmingdale were inadequate to support the mass assembly line production he desired for his FC-2, Model 21, Model 41 and Model 71 airplanes. Fairchild's Faircam Realty, Inc. purchased property on the south side of Route 24-Conklin Street and had the Fairchild Flying Field's original layout plan prepared on November 3, 1927. Airplane manufacturing in Farmingdale originated with Lawrence Sperry in the village of Farmingdale in 1917 and continued in South Farmingdale from 1921 until his tragic death in December 1923.

During World War II, 1-19 was Republic's longest runway- stretching almost to Route 109. Conklin Street at Republic was closed to the public in January 1941 by the Suffolk County Highway Department to permit the construction of the massive Republic industrial complex.  In 1942, Republic Aviation built a 900' "dogleg" around the factory after Ranger Engine had built in the Conklin Street roadbed. The "dogleg" allowed workers in carpools driving east access to the Southern State Parkway via New Highway. Conklin Street was re-opened to the public in 1965 when Republic was taken over by Fairchild Hiller. The cumbersome "dogleg" was ended in the late 1990's when the Republic factory complex was razed and Conklin Street was straightened.

In 1965, Fairchild Hiller Corporation acquired Republic Airport and sold it to Farmingdale Corporation. In December 1966, the airport became a general aviation airport. By March 1967, the airport was of interest to the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority as a means of meeting demands of aviation on Long Island. Recognizing the airport as an asset, Metropolitan Transportation Authority two years later acquired the airport at the cost of $25 Million.

The MTA installed an instrument landing system (ILS) on runway 14-32, built the Republic Airport Terminal building cooperated with the Federal Aviation Administration, which built the new 100' high control tower, convinced the US Government to transfer 94 acres to the airport in 1971, and purchased the 77-acre Lambert property on the north side of Route 109 and the Breslau Gardens property between New Highway and Route 109 in 1972. 

After complaints that the MTA was not contributing taxes to local governments and questions about MTA deficits at Republic, ownership of the airport was transferred to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) by the New York State Legislature in April 1983.

Companies that have existed at the Airport:

The Fulton Truck Company was the earliest manufacturer at the airport
Years Active: 1916-1925

Sherman Fairchild chose the new location for his company after surveying the site by air.
Years Active: 1925 -1931

Sherman Fairchild started his engine company
Years Active: 1928 -1955

Leroy Grumman moved from Valley Stream To Farmingdale 
Years Active (at the airport): 1932-1937

Alexander De Seversky founded a new aircraft company
Years Active 1935-1939

Seversky was dismissed from the company and the board of directors re-named it Republic Aviation
Years Active 1939-1965

Fairchild-Hiller Corporation
Years Active 1965-1972

Fairchild Republic Corporation
Years Active 1972-1987


“New – LI Republic airports.” Google Sites.

Republic Airport - Long Island's Executive Airport – History.

Friday, June 1, 2018

South Oaks Hospital

On March 1, 1881, a group of men met to discuss plans to form The Long Island Home Hotel for Nervous Invalids. Among the original founders were David S. S. Sammis, Adolphus G. Bailey, Townsend Cox, William Blake, Stephen R. Williams, Prince H. Foster, and Daniel J. Runyon. On April 12, 1881, these Trustees met at the Grand Union Hotel in New York City and agreed to purchase 14 acres of land in Amityville.

The first patient was admitted on January 26, 1882. In 1894, physician-in-charge Dr.  O. J. Wilsey’s emphasis on keeping up with the times resulted in the construction of a separate cottage built to accommodate seven patients. The Villa was opened in 1895 and was later renamed Sammis Cottage. This same cottage was later renamed Hope House.

In 1948, Griffing Hall (named for Board Member, Robert P. Griffing) was erected with offices for administration, doctors, social services, admissions and medical records.

In the 1950’s, The Long Island Home transitioned from a long-stay sanitarium to a psychiatric hospital. At that time, the hospital became known as South Oaks Hospital was born. In 1952, the Board of Directors decided to convert Searle Cottage into a nursing home. This facility was renamed Broadlawn Manor Nursing Home.

In July 1970, South Oaks established Hope House, a specialized inpatient unit for young men and women who were addicted to drugs. In March 1971, recognizing the needs of adolescents with emotional problems, the hospital opened an Adolescent Pavilion for young people between the ages of 13 and 20. In 1972, South Oaks set up a Training Program for Alcoholism Counseling. The Institute of Alcohol Studies at South Oaks was formed in 1972 and was chartered by the Board of Regents of the New York State Education Department.

In June 1980, South Oaks established Sage House, a rehabilitative program for young men aged 13 to 20 who had a history of abusing more than one drug, in combination with alcohol. In 1981, South Oaks conducted an extensive study and three-part program on compulsive gambling. With the advent of this program, South Oaks became one of the first hospitals in the country to offer services for compulsive gamblers and their families.

In 1995, Broadlawn Manor opened its medical model and social model daycare programs to support the frail and elderly during the day while allowing them to remain active in the community.


“History.” The Long Island Home.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Farmingdale State College

Farmingdale State College, originally designed to accommodate upper-level high school students in agricultural training, was founded in 1912 under the name of New York State School of Agriculture on Long Island.  The school has also be named: the New York Institute of Applied Agriculture, the Long Island Agricultural and Technical Institute, SUNY Agricultural and Technical Institute, SUNY Agricultural and Technical College, SUNY at Farmingdale, SUNY College of Technology at Farmingdale, and SUNY College of Technology at Farmingdale.

The founding of the College was originally proposed by State Assemblyman John Lupton in 1909. Lupton Hall, which houses the departments of Chemistry and Physics as well the School of Engineering Technology, now bears his name. The bill to create the school was originally vetoed by Governor Dix. With the lobbying efforts of Franklin W. Hooper, John Lupton, Frederick Cox, Hal Fullerton, James Cooley, and C. H. Howell, the bill was passed to create the school.

The earliest years of the college were devoted to the technology of farming – both farm crops and dairy and animal husbandry. The early curriculum consisted of courses in agronomy, horticulture, and general studies.

In 1920, the college began a farm equipment show that included the various kinds of machinery that would be used on a farm. In 1987, the agricultural programs were discontinued; only Ornamental Horticulture remains. The school became a four-year college in 1990. In 1946, the mission of the college expanded to include technical education.

Hicks and Cutler Halls were originally called the Horticulture and Agronomy Buildings. They were both constructed in 1914.  Ward Hall was constructed in 1914, this building served as a dormitory for over 40 years. Thompson Hall, named after Senator George Thompson, was built in 1938. It was originally the Administration building, housing the Director's Office, the main office, the library, animal husbandry laboratories, and some classrooms.

Dr. Franklin W. Hooper, the namesake of Hooper Hall, was the Director of the Institute of Arts and Sciences, Brooklyn, NY. In 1911, he called a meeting of his colleagues to discuss the establishment of a School of Agriculture on Long Island

Horton Hall was named for D. Hart Horton, and early Professor of Poultry Science. Built in 1936, Knapp Hall was dedicated on October 20, 1937, by then Governor Herbert H. Lehman. The Director's Cottage was built in 1914.

Mott House was owned by the Mott family, one of the families who sold land to the college to become part of the original campus. The house served as a women's dormitory for many years. It is no longer in existence.


“Campus Buildings- Past, Present, Future.” Farmingdale State College,

Cavaioli, Frank J. State University of New York, Farmingdale. Arcadia Publishing, 1999.

“Farmingdale State College.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 May 2018,