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."
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
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.
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
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.