Jerry and Judith Wilcox researched and wrote the"First History of West Islip." They were ardent local historians and also founded the now-closed West Islip Community Museum, which was housed in the Community Center on Higbie Lane. Their children have given us permission to post a digital version of this book which can be downloaded to your own computer. Part 1 Part 2 It also can be found on the West Islip Library's website.
The old Weeks - Muncy Cemetery on Boulevard Avenue is where Revolutionary War soldier David Ruland is buried. On Memorial Day, flags are placed on his grave.
See the newspaper pages that announced the new "Bank of Babylon" in 1956:
Listen to (or read) interviews conducted with West Islip residents who described life in our community back in the early 1900s. They took part in the Library's 1982 Oral History Project.
In the 1970s, Helen Kipybida collected tidbits of West Islip history for her “Did You Know?” column in the Babylon Beacon newspaper. She donated several of her columns to the West Islip Library for a 1976 Bicentennial Celebration exhibit. Following are a few excerpts:
'Did you know'....there used to be a dude ranch north of Hunter Avenue between Higbie Lane and Boulevard Avenue? Look at Dan Andrews' page for early information.
‘Did you know'….that Higbie Lane used to be called "Love Lane?" See it noted on this 1829 map, and on this 1888 map, and read about it in this excerpt from Babylon Reminiscences, by Benjamin Field, c.1911.
‘Did you know'….that a little bit of Florida grew in West Islip in the early fifties? A type of Spanish Moss hung majestically in long silvery festoons from the branches of trees near the bridge that formerly crossed Hawley’s Lake. That was the George Street Bridge, and it mysteriously burned one Halloween night long ago. The bridge was still there in 1954 – see it on this map and in this photo. See what the bridge area looks like in more recent times.
Do you have any stories about West Islip history? Share your memories with us by writing to West Islip Historical Society, PO Box 231, West Islip 11795.