From the archives: History of Bayville

Bayville Village Hall at 34 School St. on Bayville Village Hall at 34 School St. on July 10, 2013. Photo Credit: Tara Conry

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This story originally ran in “Long Island: Our Story” on Feb. 22, 1998

Beginnings: In 1658 Daniel Whitehead of Oyster Bay purchased land from the Matinecock Indians. At the time, the eastern section of the peninsula was known as the Pines and the western section as Oak Neck. In 1674 the land was divided among 23 men who used it for pasture. Initial development centered near the western end of the village, the area now known as Friendly Corner.

Bridge to the Future: In 1859 the name was changed to Bayville. Because of its isolated location, some people traveled by water taxi from Oyster Bay or a ferry that ran from Stamford, Conn., until 1937. To improve access, a bridge across Mill Neck Creek was completed in 1898 with donated funds. The current bridge on the site is the fourth, built in 1938.

Turning Points: The earliest businesses were farming, converting oyster and clam shells left by the Indians into lime, and harvesting salt hay. By the late 1800s, much of the land in the village was used for growing asparagus. Farming died out after the turn of the century as the community became a summer resort with small cottages, several estates and an entertainment complex called the Bayville Casino, built in 1913. The biggest estate was owned by stock market speculator Harrison Williams, who later donated his stables to the village for use as a village hall and library, and an adjacent 28-acre wooded tract as a preserve. Bayville became an incorporated village in 1919.

Clam to Fame: Besides its popular beaches, Bayville is known for the firm of Frank M. Flower & Sons, founded in 1887. The company is the last remaining Long Island oyster and clam dredging company. It also cultivates oysters at its hatchery.

Run-in With The Master Builder: A large chunk of the business district and many homes would have disappeared if Robert Moses' 1965 proposal to build a bridge across Long Island Sound to Rye had not been killed in the early 1970s after wetlands were donated to the federal government for a wildlife preserve.

Where to Find More: "The Times and Tides of Bayville, Long Island, N.Y.," Bayville Library.  

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