Lindenhurst - the Name, the Zip Code, Etc.
Up until the mid-1800s, there were several families who had permanent dwellings and farms in the area that is now Lindenhurst, but its identity as a distinct community goes back to 1870 and the “City of Breslau.” Although the developers called it a “City,” it did not have a city government and would best be described as the hamlet of Breslau, in the Town of Babylon.
The primary north-south thoroughfare through Lindenhurst – Wellwood Avenue – was previously known as Neguntatogue Road, as listed on the map, below. The road was one of several paths established from the north side of the old Town of Huntington to the Great South Bay where people traveled to fish, clam and collect salt hay from the South Shore.
Neguntatogue is a Native American word believed to mean “abandoned” or “forsaken land.” Geographically, the name Neguntatogue is associated with Neguntatogue Neck (a “neck” is another term for a peninsula), which is the body of land on the south side of Montauk Highway (Venetian Shores community), and Neguntatogue Creek, which lies on the west side of Shore Road.
Please note: Spellings and pronunciations of Long Island Native American words and names are subjective and typically determined by community residents. The Native Americans had a spoken language, and records kept by Colonists, starting in in the 1600s, contained their interpretations of the Native American language. The European settlers (primarily Dutch and English) typically used phonetic spellings, which often differed among documents and writers. The meanings of Native American words can also differ among historians and researchers.
This 1888 map shows the old Breslau community, at the right, in green. At the far left, Amityville is shown in yellow, and Copiague is in pink. The colors denote the school district boundaries at that time. Breslau was unique in that most of the streets north of Montauk Highway, up to Straight Path, were laid out in a grid, which facilitated the sale of building lots. Prospective homeowners could select property from the real estate maps.
From Atlas of the towns Babylon, Islip, and south part of Brookhaven in Suffolk County, N.Y. New York, F.W. Beers & Co.; Published by Wendelken & Co., 1888.
Around 1861, Brooklyn resident Abby Welwood started buying large parcels of real estate in Suffolk County, surrounding the area through which the South Side Railroad would build the Babylon Line in 1867. In the 1869 railroad timetable, the area was listed as “Wellwood Stop.” It is important to note that the Welwood family spelled their name with one “L.” Misspellings in railroad timetables and on maps let to the use of two “Ls” in Wellwood Avenue.
Abby and her husband Thomas Welwood partnered with Charles Schleier to start a new residential community. Named Breslau, after Mr. Schleier’s European hometown, the community had its official dedication on June 6, 1870. Primarily marketed to German immigrants, Breslau experienced slow growth but it was consistent. The developers of Breslau attracted new residents with not only homes, but also employment in factories and stores and helped religious organizations establish houses of worship by giving them land to build.