Years ago, E. James Freeman took it upon himself to uphold the legacy of Gordon Heights, birthdays included.

Freeman, president of the Greater Gordon Heights Civic Association, said he remembers being told about the hamlet’s humble beginnings and its rich history. As he and the association plan a pair of celebrations this year to commemorate the community’s 90th birthday, he hopes the results will make both longtime residents and newcomers proud.

“Many communities on Long Island have isolated themselves, but Gordon Heights has always welcomed people with diverse ethnicities,” said Freeman, 51. “We have people of color, Native Americans and members of the Hispanic community.”

The African-American pilgrimage to Gordon Heights began in 1927. Pop Gordon — for whom Gordon Heights is named — owned most of the land the community is on. To attract homesteaders and businesses to the area, he enlisted the help of developer Louis Fife, who knocked on the doors of residents and entertainment venues throughout New York City and the other boroughs to solicit buyers.

Fife offered blocks of Gordon’s land for as low as $10 a month, enticing African-Americans to migrate eastward to Long Island, a place where they had previously been welcome to pass through, work or entertain, but not live. The new property owners used the land for weekend and summer getaways.

Longtime residents of the hamlet in Brookhaven Town, which now has just over 4,000 people, recall the homemade-candy store, one grocery store and two delis. Sometimes trucks came around selling fish and meat. Running water and paved roads were yet to come.

To honor the community’s past and present, Children’s Park will be rededicated in April or May to coincide with the scheduled completion of $200,000 in renovations begun in the summer of 2015. The park will have new fencing, a bathroom, a canopy and a basketball court, playground equipment and a sprinkler system for children to run through.

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“It gives them [children] a safe haven in the community to express themselves and gives them a sense of identity,” Freeman said of the park. “We work hard as a community and family to make it possible for them to have a bright future.”

The second celebration will be in the first week of August, when community leaders plan to hold the annual Gordon Heights Day, which recognizes the achievements of those in the hamlet and pays homage to the first community on Long Island where African-Americans could live and build homes.

“I grew up in Gordon Heights, and some of the history I didn’t even know about,” said resident Davina Ford, 31. “I’ve always been proud to say that I live in Gordon Heights.”

Freeman said the park dedication, particularly, will represent progress from years past.

“To see the elderly’s faces is going to be outstanding,” he said. “You want to build on what they had and make it better. That’s going to be the big payoff for us.”

The stories that follow represent elements of the history of Gordon Heights -- which has its own song and once had its own poet -- as told by residents ranging in age from 39 to 85.