The name Copiague is derived from a Native American term meaning “sheltered place.” The community was also known as Powell’s, Great Neck and East Amityville, before the name Copiague was chosen around 1900.
President George Washington visited Copiague, then known as Huntington South, on April 21, 1790, during his tour of Long Island. Washington dined at the home of Zebulon Ketcham, writing in his diary that it was “a very neat and decent one.”
President Washington reportedly traveled Long Island in a cream-colored coach led by four gray horses, as depicted in this drawing from Historic Long Island in Pictures, Prose and Poetry, by Paul Baily, 1956.
In 1906, real estate developer Giovanni “John” Campagnoli designated the area north of the railroad tracks as Marconiville. The predominantly Italian–American settlement was named in honor of his schoolmate, famed wireless communications inventor Guglielmo Marconi. Marconi made two known visits to Marconiville, in 1917 and 1927.
Guglielmo Marconi, the famed wireless inventor (center), made two known visits to Marconiville, in 1917 and in 1927. Giovanni “John” Campagnoli is pictured, at left. Courtesy of Robert LePorte.
The oldest elementary school in the Town of Babylon is the Great Neck Road Elementary School, which was built in 1911 as a two-story wooden schoolhouse.
The 1920s brought a number of summer and year-round developments to the bay front community, including American Venice, Amity Harbor and Hawkins Estate. The American Venice neighborhood was designed to emulate Venice Italy, complete with gondola rides down the Grand Canal. Hawkins Estate was once the property of William E. Hawkins, whose mansion later became Lakeside Hospital.