Babylon Village Community Profile


The Babylon Village area was first settled in 1689. English settlers were attracted to the area by an abundant supply of salt hay that was harvested to provide feed and bedding for livestock in the northern part of Huntington Town. Before long, settlers came to the area for easy access to fishing, clamming and hunting. The Village's first permanent dwelling was built by Nehemiah Heartt, Sr. around 1760.

The community was named by Phoebe Conklin, in 1803, who likened the raucous settlement to biblical Babylon. The first house of worship, the First Presbyterian Church, was built in 1783, and the first school was built in 1805.

The arrival of the South Side Railroad, in 1867, established Babylon as a premier resort destination. In the late 1800s, hotels dotted Deer Park Avenue and Main Street. A horse car route (and later trolleys) conveyed vacationers to the docks where steamboats stood ready to transport them to the barrier island settlements, including David S.S. Sammis' Surf Hotel on Fire Island. 

In 1893, Babylon Village became the first incorporated village in in the Town of Babylon.

Historical Summary:

Attracted by the abundance of fish and shellfish in the Great South Bay, English settlers established farms on the South Shore in the late 1600s, but the area remained largely unpopulated for another century.

Nathaniel Conklin built his Main Street home in 1803. Along with his mother Phebe, Conklin is credited with initiating the name Babylon. The name Babylon was adopted by the Post Office in 1830.

In 1867, the South Side Railroad extended from New York City to Babylon. Numerous hotels welcomed visitors, including Sherman House on Main Street, and Watson House on Fire Island Avenue. Built in 1882 by Long Island Rail Road President Austin Corbin, the Argyle Hotel was the birthplace of the celebrated Cuban Giants, the first Professional Black Baseball Team, in 1885.

The first South Side Railroad train arrived in Babylon on October 11, 1867. The first depot was erected 1868. This depot, pictured circa 1905, was built in 1881 and was demolished in 1962 when the tracks were elevated.

As Babylon grew and became a business center, it led the effort to separate from Huntington Town in 1872. The South Side Signal newspaper, founded by Henry Livingston in 1869, published several editorials in support of the secession from Huntington. Babylon became the first incorporated village in the Town of Babylon, in 1893.

The historic South Side Signal building which stood on the south side of West Main Street and, later, housed the Red Lion Pub. Built in 1869, the building was moved to Mansfield Place in 1990 and, unfortunately, demolished in 2019. 

In the fall of 1902, the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company established a wireless station and training school on Fire Island Avenue.

The wireless station and training school of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company, in Babylon, 1902-1907