Images from the Town of Babylon Centennial Parade, June 17,...

Images from the Town of Babylon Centennial Parade, June 17, 1972. Top row (l-r) Babylon Quacks; Cheerleaders, Wyandanch Schools; Centennial Queen float. Middle row (l-r) Color Guard, West Babylon Schools; Ambulance, Babylon Fire Department; United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America float. Bottom row (l-r) Grand Union float; "Roadway to the Future" float; Band, Copiague Schools. .. Credit: Mary Cascone, Babylon Town Historian

It may not exactly be a divorce party, but the Town of Babylon will begin celebrating its official split from the Town of Huntington next month.

This year is the 150th anniversary of the separation and the town is kicking off the milestone with a reenactment of the first town board meeting.

The invitation-only event on April 2 at Town Hall will feature both Babylon and Huntington officials as well as former Babylon officials who are coming in from other states, said town historian Mary Cascone.

On April 2, 1872, residents elected the town’s first supervisor and board, and the first town board meeting was also held that day, in a hotel on the corner of Deer Park Avenue and Main Street in what is now Babylon Village.

Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Babylon's split from Huntington....

Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Babylon's split from Huntington. Richard DiNapoli (left), then-Town of Babylon Director of Recreation, and then-Town Supervisor Aaron Barnett with the Centennial logo, February 1972. . Credit: Mary Cascone, Babylon Town Historian

"When you think about this time it was so different from what we live in now — dirt roads, no electricity," Cascone said.

Cascone is in the process of creating a special town history website. In addition, the town has formed 13 subcommittees to represent all of its villages and hamlets. Each community will plan its own town anniversary celebration or incorporate the anniversary into existing events, such as annual parades or festivals, she said.

The town will create a time capsule with donations from all of the members, and the anniversary celebrations will conclude on Oct. 2 with a townwide parade.

Until it became its own town, the area that is now Babylon was called Huntington South.

While there had been rumblings of division earlier, in 1870 discussions began in earnest about the idea of splitting from the town. At the time, the population of Huntington was nearly 11,000, with about 3,000 living in the southern part of the town, and the feeling was that that was just too many people for one town to govern, Cascone said.

The continued regulation and harvesting of the south’s natural salt hay resource by the north and a planned road project for northern Huntington to be paid for in part by the taxes of the south created feelings of resentment and neglect, she said. There was also the matter of logistics.

"You lived down here, in Copiague, Babylon Village, you had to get up to the Town Hall up in Huntington to address your town government, to conduct business, and it was considered a burden," Cascone said.

A vote was held on Jan. 27, 1872, with about 1,100 men casting ballots (women didn’t yet have the right to vote). The option to split into two towns won with 651 votes. In the south, 445 of the 449 votes cast were in favor of having two towns.

"What I like to say is that the southern half wanted to leave and the northern half wanted us to leave," Cascone joked.

Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said officials throughout the years have always kept in mind the town’s founders’ desire to protect its resources.

"Everything has been focused on what was the original reason for breaking away from Huntington in order to create this great community known as the Town of Babylon," he said.

TOWN TIMELINE

1653 – Town of Huntington is created

1803 – “Babylon” is named by Nathaniel Conklin and his mother, Phebe Conklin

1872 – Residents vote to separate from the Town of Huntington

1893 – Village of Babylon incorporates

1894 – Village of Amityville incorporates

1918 – First Babylon Town Hall (now known as Old Town Hall) opens in Babylon Village

1923 – Village of Lindenhurst incorporates

1958 – Current Babylon Town Hall opens in North Lindenhurst

Source: Babylon Town historian Mary Casccone

A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports. Credit: Newsday/Daddona / Pfost / Villa Loarca

Uncovering the truth about the chemical drums A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports.

A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports. Credit: Newsday/Daddona / Pfost / Villa Loarca

Uncovering the truth about the chemical drums A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports.

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