Deer Park Community Profile
Established in the late 1600s, as part of Huntington South, the Deer Park area was sparsely habited, but its soil was rich and proved to be excellent for growing dahlias and fruits. The majority of ornamental trees and shrubs used to landscape Central Park were grown in Deer Park. In celebration of its agricultural industries, Deer Park was well known for its annual dahlia festivals.
Because its landscape was covered in scrub oak and pines, it was also known for its abundance of wildlife. One local resident is reported as describing the location of his home as "south, toward the Great South Bay . . . in the Deer Park."
The Long Island Rail Road arrived in Deer Park in 1842, establishing the first railroad station in the Town of Babylon. With the arrival of the railroad, a stagecoach route was established down Deer Park Avenue to Babylon. The ease of railroad access established the rural community as a popular destination for travelers heading to Ronkonkoma and the Great South Bay area. Rail transportation also facilitated many local industries, including Gulden's Pickle Works, established in 1902.
In 1872, it is reported that Deer Park consisted of one store, a one-room schoolhouse, and about a dozen homes. Today, Deer Park is the second most populous hamlet in the Town of Babylon.
Legend states that the Deer Park area was once covered with scrub oak and pine trees, which provided excellent cover for deer. The natural landscape supposedly led a local resident to describe their home location as being “in the deer park.”
The arrival of the Long Island Rail Road to Deer Park, in 1842, established the first railroad station in the Town of Babylon. A stage coach route operated down Deer Park Avenue to transfer passengers to Babylon, the Great South Bay and other eastern points.
A postcard view of the Deer Park railroad station, circa 1910. This was the second station building in Deer Park. The first depot building was moved to West 2nd Street and used as a residence.
The Deer Park Hotel was a popular stop for travelers and hunters attracted by the abundance of small game in the area. Following prohibition, the Deer Park Hotel became known as the Colonial Inn. The Brighton Arms Hotel, later “Bucks Tavern,” was another popular retreat for visitors to the countryside.
The Deer Park Hotel, later known as the Colonial Inn, which stood at the northwest corner of Deer Park Avenue and the ground-level railroad tracks. Operators of the establishment included Gideon Seaman, Augustus and Abraham Hudson, Edward and Alfred Clausing, the Buesing family, Andrew Wachter and Josephine Schwarz.
Access to rail travel spurred the development of industries, including Golden’s Pickle Works, established in 1902 along the south side of the railroad. Local farms shipped fruits and vegetables – cucumbers, cabbages, strawberries, peaches – by railroad to the New York City markets.
Golden’s Pickle Works factory opened by Hymie Golden c. 1911, formerly the Alart & McGuire farm. Golden’s was well-known for cucumbers, pickles, and sauerkraut. The factory was destroyed by forest fire, April 1932, but the name still exists in Golden Avenue, just east of the JFK school.
In 1951 and 1952, Dahlia Festivals were held to celebrate the flowers that bloomed around the community. The festivals included flower exhibitions, a baby parade, and the crowning of the Dahlia Queen. A number of small family farms specialized in growing and distributing the popular dahlia flowers.