The lush countryside of North Babylon became known for an abundance of large estates owned by wealthy New Yorkers, including Long Island Rail Road President Austin Corbin, August Belmont, Col. M. Robert Guggenheim, Hall of Fame baseball player John Montgomery Ward, and Royal Phelps. Seeking refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life these titans of industry built lavish estates that bordered well-stocked fishing ponds and enjoyed the bounty of game available in their leisurely pursuits. Living legacies remain as to the beauty of such tranquil settings these estates boast can be found at Phelps Lane Park and Belmont Lake State Park.
August Belmont had a 1,100-acre estate which included a 24-room mansion, and a horse-breeding farm where he also trained his famous racehorses. During World War I, a portion of his horse track was used as the site for U.S. Army Air Corps, as Camp Damm. Col. Guggenheim was known to have bred some of the finest dogs at his Firenze Farm and kennels, on Deer Park Avenue.
Like the titans of industry before them, many middle class families chose North Babylon to build modest summer cottages and escape the city heat, beginning in the years before World War II.