Eastern Long Island during the middle to late nineteenth century, especially its south shore, had long been a place of Summer homes and resort hotels; however, the difficulties of travel had limited their patrons to the more wealthy of society. With the advent of expanded rail road service during the latter part of the nineteenth century, this changed dramatically.
While the Long Island Rail Road extended service to Greenport in 1844, its original purpose was to create a “fast” rail/ferry/rail connection from New York to Boston. The needs of Long Island itself were ignored and the chosen route was through the vast, level, but mostly unpopulated plains of the center of Long Island, midway between the established communities of the north and south shores. To maintain fast service, stops were relatively infrequent (there was, however, a station at Yaphank just to the north of Brookhaven hamlet). Eventually, a direct rail link to Boston was construction through Connecticut, and the raison d’être for the LIRR ceased. Other competing rail lines and LIRR branches were constructed; the South Side railroad had extended service as far east as Patchogue by 1869. However, it lacked a convenient western terminus with access to the East River. The various branches and routes were not economically viable, and eventually were merged into a single system. In 1879-1981 the rail line to Patchogue was extended east to Eastport, with stations at Bellport and Brookhaven, finally arriving in Montauk in 1895.
The establishment of rail service along the South Shore made vacationing convenient even for folks of modest means. Hotels and guest houses burgeoned in every community along the south shore, including Brookhaven. The former farming and fishing hamlet became a popular destination, especially for those looking for a “rural” environment. In just a few short years, the fundamental character of the community changed.
Historic Guest Houses of Brookhaven and South Haven, L.I., New York
|Beaver Dam Lodge||331 Beaver Dam Road||Esther Hayes Wickham||B18A||Beaver Dam Lodge was operated by Mrs. Esther Wickham nee Hayes, who had been a proprietor the Edgewater Inn (Br17.1-S) before 1927. In 1927 she rented the property from Ellen Learned. There are frequent mentions of it from 1927-1929. It appeared to have operated year around, while the Edgewater Inn apparently was only open during the Summer months. It appears to have ceased functioning as a guest house after 1929.|
|Brookhaven Farm and Tea Room||?||?||?||Newspaper account suggests it operated as a guest house in 1927 and earlier.|
|Bedetty House||352 Beaver Dam Rd.||Herbert Badetty||Br29A||Bigelow, p. 44|
|Edgewater Inn||349 Beaver Dam Rd.||Mrs. Rachael (Purdy) De Arcas||Br17.1-S||Destroyed by fire 4 Apr 1928. (Advance 6 Apr 1928)|
|Fire Place Inn||359 South Country Rd.||Mrs. Amy B. (Smith) de Arcas||Br08||She was daughter-in-law to Rachael de Arcas, proprietor of the Edgewater Inn.|
|Green Shutters||?||?||?||Newspaper article suggests that it was open in 1926 and earlier.|
|Hawkins House||311 Beaver Dam Rd.||Mrs. Arthur Kaufman
Mrs. H. E. Hawkins?
|Br20||It is not certain that this residence was operated as a guest house. Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Johnson appear to have maintained it as a private residence until Mrs. Johnson’s death (after 1948.) Thereafter it may have been a boarding house. Mrs. Irene Hawkins Johnson was a daughter to Mr. and Mrs. Herman Hawkins.
While some have said that a Mrs. Kaufman operated the Hawkins house as a guest house, it appears as if the Kaufmans did not remove to Brookhaven from Staten Island until March 1944, living first with Frederick Kost’s sister Minna, on Beaver Dam road, then in a new house built on Mott lane; no evidence has been found that she operated a guest house. While it was said that Mrs. Kaufman was Frederick Kost’s sister, this appears not to be true, although they were related—probably Mr. Kaufman was a cousin.
No confirmatory evidence yet has been found that either of Frederick Kost’s sisters, Emma or Minna, operated a guest house, and it seems doubtful
It is not definite that Mrs. Hawkins was a proprietor of this establishment, although it is said that she was a proprietor of a guest house.
|Hunters Lodge||2847 Montauk Highway||Gardner Murdock||SH08||From about 1928-1929 through the 1930’s, it was operated as a boarding house and inn, known as the Hunters Inn.|
|Holy Trinity Holiday House||311 South Country Rd.||Holy Trinity Church, Brooklyn?||Br09F.1-S||Torn down after WW II.|
|Michelson House “Lark Shores”||Beaver Dam Rd., at the Carman’s River||Bernardine B. Michelsen.||Br16.2-S||Previously known as Carman House, then Lush House, both private residences. Destroyed by fire, mid-1960s.|
|Robin’s Inn||?||?||?||Mention in Patchogue Advance, 22 Jun 1928, p. 14: “Robin’s Inn was very busy over the week-end catering to city guests who arrived by auto.”|
|Starke’s Hotel – “Shore Acres”||~150 Bay Ave.||Charles P. Starke||Br38.150-S|
|Swan’s Hotel||Beaver Dam road||?||?||Bigelow, p. 44 Also mentioned Advance, 15 Aug, 1941, p. 12.|
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