Stormwater Information


When the first Dutch settlers arrived on Long Island in 1636, there were approximately 13 Indian tribes or chieftancies comprised of several thousand native Americans. They lived in well defined areas and were known for their location. Thus the Merricock derived their name from their word for "bare land" while the Copiague for "place of shelter."

These Indian tribes, judging from the language and customs, were related to the northern Algonquin rather than to the Iroquois of the Hudson Valley. The Marsapeague - which means "great water land" took its name from the area of south central Nassau with its abundant fresh water springs. The Indians had friendly dealings with the settlers through the efforts of their chief, Sachem Tackapausha. In 1658, Tackapausha gave the settlers of Oyster Bay a deed to the Marsapeague meadowlands thus establishing a European presence in what was to become Massapequa Park. The park and museum on Merrick Road in Seaford are named for the Indian chief.

South of what is now Sunrise Highway, in the area of Cartwright Boulevard, was a council grounds. Until the woods were cleared for construction, there was a hollow surrounded by trees that were bent by the Indians to grow as benches. They had a fortified settlement south of present-day Merrick Road on what they called the Marsapeague "river." The Europeans called this area "Fort Neck" (at Gloucester and Fairfax Roads in Harbor Green). In 1667, Tackapausha made his mark on a deed that gave the last tract of Indian land in the Massapequa area to the white man.


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Old maps and deeds use the name South Oyster Bay to cover the Massapequas. Early German settlers in the area north of the railroad tracks gave it the name "Stadt Wurtemburg" after a city in Bavaria. Wurtemburg Road ran from what is today Merrick Road to the present Clark Boulevard and is now known as Park Boulevard.

The earliest known house built by a European was occupied by Thomas and Freelove Jones. The house was at the head of Massapequa Creek near the probable Indian trail that became Merrick Road. The family prospered and in 1770 built a mansion, the first in the area. A memorial marker stands at the corner of Cartwright Boulevard and Beverly Avenue, the mansion location. Tyron Hall, known later as the Fort Neck House, remained standing until 1940. By 1780, a number of estates stretched along Merrick Road from Amityville to Seaford, primarily owned by descendents of Judge Thomas Jones. However, Thomas, a well known Tory, and his wife were exiled to England after the Revolutionary War.

In 1868, the first steam train came along and the Floyd-Jones families had a private station built on their side of the track, just west of Unqua Road. The Southside Railroad also had a station west of Hicksville Road called the South Oyster Bay Station. Woodcastle Hotel was built by Louis Francois Dessart on the site of the Front Street firehouse and became a well known summer resort. Descendants of the hotel's founders still live in the area.

Two houses built in the 1880s are still standing. One is on Roosevelt Avenue at Front Street, the other on Broadway and Front. Before 1920, there were about 18 homes in what is today's Massapequa Park, 15 of them on the north side of the tracks. A few of the homeowners worked on the estates; some commuted to Brooklyn and New York City. During the 20s, Sears, Roebuck sold prefabricated homes through its catalogue and several communities of these ready-to-build "prefabs" were put up in the area, including Hollywood Gardens in the area of Grand Boulevard, Pacific Street and Charles Avenue. All are still standing. An excellent example is on the southwest corner of Clark Boulevard and Second Avenue.