The first West Babylon school was erected in the early 1800s, on Montauk Highway near Great East Neck Road. Poet Walt Whitman taught at the local school during the winter of 1836, while his family lived on a nearby farm (the site of which is now the Great South Bay Shopping Center).
The Great South Bay Shopping Center debuted in 1957. As pictured, stored included Abraham & Straus department store, Grand Union grocery store, and Pergament home store.
Starting around 1874, a branch of the Central Railroad of Long Island joined with the Long Island Rail Road near the intersection of Great East Neck Road and Railroad Avenue. Known as Belmont Junction, the railroad operated a freight depot and telegraph station until 1888. Belmont Junction was also a trolley stop for the Babylon Railroad trolley line that extended between Amityville and Babylon, from 1910 to 1920.
A Babylon Railroad electronic trolley car, circa 1915. The trolley appears to have a snowplow fastened to the front. Above the front windows is a “Great East Neck Rd” sign and on the side is an “Amityville” sign. These signs indicate that the trolley was headed west, toward Amityville, and that it was near Trolley Line Road, between the Babylon railroad station and Great East Neck Road. The trolley line ended in 1925.
Photograph from the collections of the Lindenhurst Historical Society.
Many flower farms and nurseries flourished in the West Babylon area. Around 1936, Bulk’s Nursery constructed a windmill along Montauk Highway to mark the site of their garden center.
Bulk’s Nursery, at the southeast corner of Montauk Highway and Bergen Avenue, circa 1960.
In 1936, actor James Barton opened the first lighted sports park in Suffolk County, which hosted baseball games and wrestling matches. Barton’s Stadium is now the site of Santapogue Elementary School.
Although it is now the most populous hamlet in the Town of Babylon, the population of West Babylon was relatively small until after World War I