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A Railroad Runs Through It

The Historical Society of the Massapequas is having an open meeting at Old Grace Church on Merrick Road Sunday afternoon from 2 to 4 to discuss the Long Island Railroad. Come and participate.

The Long Island Railroad's Babylon branch was completed in 1867 and served to pull together many small south shore communities that were isolated up to that time.

It was the force behind many efforts to develop the Massapequas: Queens Land and Title Company's plan to develop a city of several thousand residents in northwest Massapequa in the years before World War I; Brady, Cryan and Colleran's efforts to populate the area that became Massapequa Park in the late 20s and early 30s; the post World War II housing boom that transformed the Massapequas and, indeed, the entire south shore into heavily populated bedroom communities. A common appeal in all these activities was the presence of the railroad, which was touted as an easy commute to New York City.

A small wooden station was built at Massapequa in 1870. The Floyd-Jones family members who took the railroad into the City felt their home deserved better and paid for the construction of an ornate Victorian-style station in 1890.

There was no station at what became Massapequa Park, only a flag stop near Grand Boulevard, until the 1940s, when a small wooden shack was provided for customers.

The ornate Massapequa station was demolished in 1953, when the tracks were elevated through this area, and a more functional station was built. Other stations along the Babylon Branch were rebuilt around the same time as the tracks were raised, except for Massapequa Park, where the tracks remained at ground level until 1980. Why was there such a long wait before the Massapequa Park station was reconfigured?

These are among the topics that will be discussed, hashed over and explained this coming Sunday April 15 at Old Grace Church, the unofficial headquarters of the Historical Society of the Massapequas.

The Society is hosting a coffee and cake afternoon all about the Long Island Railroad, especially the south shore.The program will run from 2 until 4 and all are invited to attend. There is no admission charge.

The Church is located on Merrick Road, across from Cedar Shore Drive. Society Officers and Trustees look forward to seeing you there.

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