History and culture abound in the Central Pine Barrens region. Dotted with the remains of old carriage roads and historical structures dating to the early years of the United States, there are quite literally too many cultural and historical resources in the region to list concisely on a web page.
Whether you’re interested in historical homes and structures, ancient cemeteries, churches, schools or farmhouses, you’ll find numerous examples of each and much more within the boundaries of the Central Pine Barrens.
Below are just a few of the prominent historical or cultural sites in the Central Pine Barrens. Be sure to check with your local municipality or historical society for additional options.
Hawkins House, Yaphank Avenue (near the corner of Main Street), Yaphank:
Built in 1850 and included on the National Register of Historic Places, the Hawkins House was fully restored in 1992 and has been photographed for numerous magazines. The elegant home, constructed by a prominent local family, is now owned by the Suffolk County Parks Department and managed by the Yaphank Historical Society. (photo courtesy of Yaphank Historical Society)
Mary Louise Booth House, Main Street, Yaphank (east of Yaphank Avenue):
Built circa 1929 and filled with period furnishings and display to reflect the life and career of its owner, the first editor of Harper's Bazaar and a well-known journalist and writer in 19th century America, the Mary Louise Booth House was recently restored and is open to the public. The home is owned by Suffolk County Parks and managed by the Yaphank Historical Society.
Davis Town Meeting House, Route 25, Coram (at intersection of Mt. Sinai-Coram Road):
Constructed around 1750, most likely by Elijah Davis, the Davis Town Meeting House began to serve as the Brookhaven Town meeting house in 1790 and continued to host the annual April town meeting until 1885. The Brookhaven Town Board designated the house as an official town landmark on April 15, 1986 and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 15, 2001. The house is owned by Town of Brookhaven and managed by Davis Town Meeting House Society. (photo courtesy of the Davis Town House Meeting Society)
Smith (or Longwood) Estate, Longwood Road and Smith Road, Ridge:
The Smith Estate, also known as the Longwood Estate, is a historic estate located in Ridge. The estate is part of a parcel of land originally purchased by William "Tangier" Smith in the 17th century. It consists of a late 18th century main house, a caretaker’s cottage, a farm complex, the Smith family cemetery and a small frame schoolhouse. The property is owned and managed by the Town of Brookhaven and is the frequent site of an annual fall festival.
East Middle Island Schoolhouse #17, Bartlett Pond Park, Middle Island (so. of Route 25):
The one-room East Middle Island Schoolhouse was built in 1835 and remained in use until the two-room schoolhouse opened in 1928 across the street. The property was acquired by the Longwood Public Library in the 1990s, leading to the preservation of the schoolhouse. The building was then moved to Bartlett Park by the Longwood Central School District. The property is owned by Brookhaven Town.
The Hard Estate Lodge at Southaven County Park, Victory Avenue, Yaphank:
Built in 1937 by the Hard family, the Hard Estate Lodge at Southaven County Park became a public sportsman’s club called the Suffolk Lodge Game Preserve after World War II. The land was eventually sold to Suffolk County and became the county’s first public park. The property is owned by the Suffolk County Parks Department.
Grumman Memorial Park, Route 25 Calverton (next to old Grumman facility now called EPCAL):
The Grumman Memorial Park was created by aviation enthusiasts to preserve and maintain the legacy of some of the legendary aircraft that once graced the site. The memorial includes a specially-designed pedestal displaying the ultimate American fighter aircraft—an F14A Tomcat. The site is operated by the East End Aircraft Long Island Corporation.
Shrine of Our Lady of the Island, 258 Eastport-Manor Road, Manorville:
Perched on one of the highest points in the Central Pine Barrens, The Shrine of Our Lady of the Island was established by the Missionaries of the Company of Mary in 1953. The 18-foot statue of Mary and Christ as a child was erected in 1975 and is now surrounded by a Rosary Walk and a wooded path containing Stations of the Cross. Visiting groups are advised to call (631) 325-0661 to set up a visit.
Brookhaven Volunteer Firefighters Museum, Fireman’s Memorial Park, 725 Route 25, Ridge:
Dedicated to firefighters and police officers from Brookhaven Town who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 as well as deceased members of Brookhaven Town fire departments, the Brookhaven Volunteer Firefighters Museum is a restored 1889 firehouse with two floors of memorabilia, fire trucks and firefighting artifacts.
Brookhaven National Laboratory, William Floyd Parkway (north of LIE), Upton:
Brookhaven National Laboratory is a large-scale, multipurpose Federally-owned public research institution which conducts research in basic and applied science including subatomic particles, ultra-bright light sources, nanotechnology, sustainable energy and medicine. Research conducted there has been recognized by seven Nobel Prizes. Brookhaven National Laboratory is also hosts the National Weather Service unit which forecasts the weather for the New York metro area, including Long Island.
Every summer, the Brookhaven National Laboratory welcomes the public to enjoy special activities at the lab on Sundays, including hands-on learning at the Science Learning Center; a tour of a center where scientists study tiny structures; a visit to a lab where scientists use intense beams of light to see the inner structure of batteries, proteins and space dust; and exploring the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, where particles are smashed together at near-light speed to study the secrets of our universe.