Welcome to the Farmingdale Public Library's Local History Guide. This guide provides links to various topics on Farmingdale's History. Included in this is the Farmingdale Local History Encyclopedia.
Natalie Korsavidis & ToniAnn Pignataro
Thomas Powell was born in Barbados in 1641. He came to New York as a passenger on a trade ship at twelve years old. He boarded with lawyer Thomas Matthew and it is said he was his apprentice. He would become an important citizen in Huntington, Long Island, first becoming a recorder in 1663 and a Trustee in 1688.
He gradually began acquiring land and possessions. On August 18, 1695, he procured a deed from the Massapequa Indians for 140 lbs. sterling and established the area known as Bethpage.
On October 18, 1695, a group of settlers and Native Americans met and signed the deed that made Thomas Powell the owner of 17 square miles of land. The land was three and half miles wide and five miles deep and included parts of what today is Bethpage, Old Bethpage, Farmingdale, Plainedge, Plainview, and Melville. In 1699, Powell bought more land in the Rim of the Woods Purchase.
Ambrose George opened a general store in Farmingdale. He also was in the real estate business. At that time, Farmingdale was named Hardscrabble. Anticipating construction of the Long Island Rail Road, he purchased a large tract of land between a community then known as Bethpage and an area in Suffolk County called Hardscrabble.
In order to enhance the status of his property and to make it more attractive to prospective purchasers, George renamed the area "Farmingdale," for it was still very much a farming area, and in a dale south of the glacial sand hills. He divided the acres he purchased into lots and two streets in Farmingdale are named after his family. Cornelia Street is named for his wife and Elizabeth Street is named for his daughter.
In 1841, the Long Island Railroad came to Farmingdale. There were no trips at that time to New York City; if you wanted to travel there, you had to go to Brooklyn first. And then take a ferry across. In the early 1900’s, the Cross-Island Trolley ran along a track down Conklin and Main Streets. It operated from 1909 – 1919.
Telephone service arrived in 1899 with dial service added in 1955. Lights were added in the streets in 1906 and a water system was brought in. In the mid-1800’s, the Hook, Ladder, and Hose Company No. 1 was founded. The Police Department would be organized in 1925. The first Post Office was opened in 1845 in a private home.
As for schools, Farmingdale became an official school district in 1892. In 1912, SUNY Farmingdale and Main Street school opened. Howitt was originally the high school and it opened in 1952. It remained that way until Farmingdale High was built ten years later. Woodward Parkway and the original East memorial opened in 1955. Albany Avenue opened in 1957 and Northside in 1961.
The first Farmingdale free library opened in 1923 in the Kolkebeck House. In 1961, the library on Main & Conklin was dedicated and the South branch opened in 1962. Both branches operated until 1994, when this building was opened.
Farmingdale Junior Honor Society. Farmingdale’s Story: Farms to Flight. The Society, 1956.