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Long Island

Long Island: Our Story

Two decades ago, Newsday began publishing the first pages of “Long Island: Our Story,” our celebrated 273-part series that told the history of this island we call home, from the Ice Age to the Space Age. Now, 20 years later, we’re proud to once again share this remarkable story with a new generation of Long Islanders.

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  • Erosion at Montauk Point bluffs reveals a cross

    Chapter 1: The birth of Long Island

    Chapter 1 of “Long Island: Our Story” is available here.

    Photo Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

  • Inside a water tunnel 670 feet below Queens

    In the belly of the earth

    Water tunnel offers rock-hard and ages-old clues about the formation of LI.

    Photo Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

  • The Long Island Sound is framed by Connecticut and

    The evolution of Long Island Sound

    Once a river, a valley, a lake, and recently the body of water we know today.

    Photo Credit: NASA / Our Story

  • From space, Long Island  looks like an island,

    Long Island - Not really an island?

    A decision was rendered by the Supreme Court in 1985.

    Photo Credit: NASA

  • Erosion is visible on these cliffs  at Caumsett

    Washed to the sea

    Despite humanity's best efforts, erosion poses a relentless threat.

    Photo Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

  • Some geologists theorize that places like The Calverton

    More floods in the future?

    If sea levels keep rising, many LI communities can expect wet changes.

    Photo Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

  • Atlantic white cedars, seen at the edge of

    When the island was new

    Before people arrived, a pristine land of wildlife and sweet vegetation.

    Photo Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

  • This illustration by Newsday's Bob Newman depicts big-game

    Chapter 2: The first Long Islanders

    Chapter 2 of “Long Island: Our Story” is available here.

    Photo Credit: Bob Newman/Newsday

  • The idea that Long Island had 13 distinct

    Untangling a myth

    Europeans apparently mistook Indian place names for tribal labels.

    Photo Credit: Steve Madden/Newsday

  • This painting by Dorothy Raynor, past president of

    Masters of agriculture

    Indian communities grew corn, beans, squash and tobacco in Long Island soil.

    Photo Credit: Dorothy Raynor

  • Samson Occum, a Mohegan from Connecticut who preached

    Gods of the Indians

    Old Dutch writings relate to some of what original Long Islanders believed of life and the afterlife.

    Photo Credit: Boston Public Library

  • Beulah Timothy with a picture of her paternal

    The first Long Islanders

    A dying language once heard on Long Island is spoken by a few on a Canadian reserve.

    Photo Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

  • A Thomas Jefferson painting by Charles Wilson Peale

    Jefferson’s lost legacy

    A robbery foils his work to save some of the Island's Algonquian language.

    Photo Credit: Independence National Historical Park

  • William Wallace Tooker is shown in this undated

    Indian names were his fame

    William Wallace Tooker's quest to recover lost words.

    Photo Credit: Jermain Memorial Library

  • A watercolor made before 1664 shows New Amsterdam

    Chapter 3: The Dutch and English settle colonial LI

    Part one of Chapter 3 of “Long Island: Our Story” is available here.

    Part two of Chapter 3 of "Long Island: Our Story" is available here.

    Photo Credit: Museum of the City of New York

  • Pastor Allan B. Ramirez at the Brookville Reformed

    Dutch settlers left their mark

    Influences of the Netherlands live on centuries later in roads, buildings and names.

    Photo Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

  • English religious dissenter Anne Hutchinson and five of

    Blood flows, war threatens

    Violence escalates as a Dutch craftsman is murdered and Indians are massacred.

    Photo Credit: Stock Montage Inc.

  • In Robert Gaston's 1939 mural, Richard Smith rides

    Learn the legend behind an LI town's name

    The tale of Smithtown's borders may be apocryphal, but it makes for a good story.

    Photo Credit: Robert Gaston

  • A town clerk's copy of the deed for

    The Dutch welcome the English

    A settlement is born in Hempstead, and its founders become wealthy.

    Photo Credit: Nassau County Museum, LI Studies

  • An illustration of a 1600s slave auction in

    The rise of slavery

    New York has the most slaves in the North, almost half of them on Long Island.

    Photo Credit: The Granger Collection / Howard Pyle

  • Accusations fly in an illustration of the 1692

    Before Salem, LI held its own witch trials

    A Long Island farmer's wife is accused of witchcraft three decades before the trials in Salem.

    Photo Credit: The Granger Collection

  • A magazine illustration shows Capt. William Kidd's men

    The legend of Captain Kidd

    He goes to sea with royal approval to attack England's enemies, and returns accused of piracy.

    Photo Credit: Harpers Magazine

  • An oil painting by G. Moore shows shipbuilding

    The well-kept colonies

    Reaping the 'considerable' harvest of the New World's wealth on land and sea.

    Photo Credit: New York Historical Society

  • In a 19th-Century engraving, British troops retreat while

    On the verge of war

    The colonies protest new taxes from George III and clash with British troops.

    Photo Credit: The Granger Collection

  • An illustration of King George III's statue being

    Chapter 4: Christopher Vail's revolution

    Part one of Chapter 4 of “Long Island: Our Story” is available here.

    Part two of Chapter 4 of “Long Island: Our Story” is available here.

    Photo Credit: The American Revolution: A Picture Sourcebook

  • George Washington in an undated portrait.

    The plot to kidnap George Washington

    One of the general's own guards joins the king's Loyalists in a wide conspiracy.

    Photo Credit: National Archives

  • The capture of Gen. Nathaniel Woodhull depicted in

    A hero’s last words

    'God save us all,' Nathaniel Woodhull told his attackers... Or did he?

    Photo Credit: Nassau County Museum Collection

  • Members of the Ancient and Honorable Huntington Militia,

    Huntington takes on the king

    By 1774, the town emerges as an energetic proponent of revolution.

    Photo Credit: Newsday / Julia Gaines

  • Part of a 1996 sculpture by Ed Dwight

    Revolution's unseen rebels

    Blacks fought on both sides in the War of Independence, but gained little.

  • Francis Lewis, left, and William Floyd, two Long

    They signed for independence

    William Floyd and Francis Lewis, the two Long Islanders who took a stand for freedom.

    Photo Credit: National Archives/National Parks

  • The Hulbert flag, which some historians claim predated

    America celebrates its new freedom

    Defeated British and Loyalists board ships to leave the U.S.

    Photo Credit: Newsday/Bill Davis

  • Mill owner Hendrick Onderdonk speaks with George Washington

    Chapter 5: A Long Island victory tour

    Part one of Chapter 5 of “Long Island: Our Story” is available here.

    Part two of Chapter 5 of “Long Island: Our Story” is available here.

    Photo Credit: Roslyn Public Schools

  • "Fire in the chimney" - what whalers called

    In search of whales

    The last whale hunted off Long Island was killed Feb. 22, 1907, by a group of aging East Hampton whalers.

    Photo Credit: Sag Harbor Whaling Museum

  • An illustration used in the 1835 edition of

    Slavery died a slow death on LI

    Slavery was allowed to die a slow death in New York.

    Photo Credit: The Granger Collection

  • A diagram from about 1835 shows the type

    The coming of the iron horse

    The idea may have seemed simple, but it took 10 years to achieve.

    Photo Credit: Nassau County Museum Collection

  • Walt Whitman sat for this portrait by pioneer

    The Paumanok Poet

    Walt Whitman's early years on Long Island inspired the creative genius of an American literary giant.

    Photo Credit: National Archives

  • Roslyn attorney Benjamin Willis formed Conmpany H of

    LI marches off to battle

    A Roslyn attorney formed Company H and coaxed 104 men who lived in and around Hempstead to join together.

    Photo Credit: Nassau County Museum Collection

  • Members of Company H, 119th New York Volunteer

    Keeping the Civil War alive

    On Long Island, re-enactors remember the soldiers and fight the battles of the 1860s.

    Photo Credit: Newsday/Bill Davis

  • The base of the center span of the

    Chapter 6: Gateway to a century

    Part one of Chapter 6 of “Long Island: Our Story” is available here.

    Part two of Chapter 6 of “Long Island: Our Story” is available here.

    Photo Credit: National Archives

  • An early sketch of the planned community on

    Home on the plains

    Grazing land gives way to Garden City, one of the earliest planned developments.

    Photo Credit: Collection of Vincent F. Seyfried

  • Shellfishermen work the Great South Bay from catboats

    The shellfish that made LI famous

    South Shore shellfish were welcomed internationally and brought prosperity home.

    Photo Credit: Nassau County Museum Collection

  • In the late 1860s, several lines served the

    The LIRR gets on track

    After discovering Long Island, the LIRR pulls ahead by absorbing other lines.

    Photo Credit: Collection of Vincent F. Seyfried

  • The octagonal Wetherill house, overlooking Stony Brook Harbor

    The architect of desire

    Stanford White, designer of elegant Long Island houses for the Gilded Age.

    Photo Credit: Newsday/Bill Davis

  • Theodore Roosevelt, vice president of the United States,

    The White House on the hill

    As president, Theodore Roosevelt spent summers at his beloved Cove Neck mansion.

    Photo Credit: Theodore Roosevelt Association

  • Skipper Frank Cable stands in the conning tower

    Submarines in LI waters

    John Holland's persistence at America's first sub base leads to improvements.

    Photo Credit: Cutchogue Library

  • Smoking in public, a scene on the beach

    Chapter 7: The Modern Era

    Part one of Chapter 7 of “Long Island: Our Story” is available here.

    Photo Credit: International News Photos

  • Italian electrical engineer and nobel laureate Guglielmo Marconi

    A battle over the air waves

    Long Island was part of the turf where radio pioneers Marconi and Tesla fought for fame.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images/Hulton Archive

  • The Big Duck is escorted to its new

    The story of the Big Duck

    Born as a creature of commerce, the Big Duck grew to symbolize Long Island.

    Photo Credit: Newsday/John H. Cornell Jr.

  • Elinor Smith smiling from the cabin of her

    How LI teen Elinor Smith flew into history

    Elinor Smith was a world-class pilot before she was out of her teens.

    Photo Credit: AP