Contact Info
Brookhaven Town History

Barbara M. Russell
Contact: 631-451-8038, Email Barbara
One Independence Hill, Farmingville, NY 11738

Hours of operation:
Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm

Train crossing over the Carman's River in East Yaphank 1899First Brookhaven Residents
The original inhabitants were Algonkian-speaking Native Americans, the Setalcotts (or Setaukets), and the Unkechaugs. The boundaries of the present Town of Brookhaven coincide almost exactly with the tribal lands of these two groups or “tribes.”

English Settlers
English settlers from New England and eastern Long Island arrived on the north shore of the Town in 1655. The six men, land agents, purchased eight square miles stretching from the present areas of Stony Brook to Port Jefferson in exchange for tools, wampum, lead, powder and "1 pair of children's stockings." The deed for this purchase exists, and can been seen in the lobby of Town Hall. The first settlement, Setauket, was named after the native Americans it was purchase. More land purchases followed over the years, and in 1666, after Long Island became a part of the Colony of New York, Governor Richard Nicholl granted a Patent, which fixed the name of Brookhaven, confirmed title to the lands already purchased, and allowed for additional purchases. In 1686, Governor Thomas Dongan issued a Patent which granted extensive powers to the Town, and established a representative form of government. The Dongan Patent can be viewed in the lobby of Town Hall.

Activities of Early Brookhaven Residents
Early Brookhaven residents were engaged in farming, fishing and whaling. By the nineteenth century, the shipbuilding, and cordwood industries became important as well. The advent of the Long Island Railroad in the mid-nineteenth century through the Town of Brookhaven made travel and transport of goods and materials easier and faster. The history of the United States of America includes many residents of the Town of Brookhaven. William Floyd of Mastic was a signer of the Declaration of Independence; General George Washington relied on information supplied by the Culper Spy Ring, which operated out of Setauket, during the War for American Independence; and Camp Upton in Yaphank was used during World War I and World War II as a training area for soldiers. The Town of Brookhaven has seen its residents represent our country in every major conflict.

The Pavillion at Shoreham Growth of Brookhaven
The twentieth century witnessed the Town of Brookhaven expand from an agrarian community to a leader in communications, technology, and education. Home now to Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Stony Brook University and Health Sciences Center, Brookhaven stands proudly at the forefront of the world's leading research fields, while its almost 500,000 residents can still appreciate its natural resources and beauty that brought the original settlers over 360 years ago.

Historic Sites
Many of the town-owned structures are open to the public by appointment via our Town Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation Department or on a non-daily basis, except for the Longwood Estate which is open the hours listed. Our town wishes to create public-private non-profit relationships with organizations willing to host tours and help us to steward these critical historic structures. Please contact your local councilmember or the Supervisors office if your organization (Historical Society, Boy / Girl Scouting organization, Civic Association, homeowners association, Senior Club, etc) would like to assist our town open these structures on a more regular basis. Please see our links below to view historic sites in the Town.

Additional Brookhaven Historian Web Pages
Demographics - View Brookhaven population information.
Dongan Patent - 300 year old document which provides the foundation for Brookhaven government.
Geography - Brookhaven Town as we know it today, is the result of glacier deposits and erosion that began about fifteen million years ago.
Historic Sites In Brookhaven - View a listing of historic sites in Brookhaven Town.
Historic Sites Owned by Brookhaven - View a listing of historic sites owned by Brookhaven and tour information.