Our Community - West Islip
West Islip is located on the south shore of Long Island about 45 miles east of New York City. A principal hamlet of the Town of Islip in Suffolk County, West Islip is bordered on the north by Brentwood, on the east by Bay Shore, on the south by the Great South Bay, and on the west by the village of Babylon. West Islip's western boundary is a natural one formed by Sumpwams Creek, Hawley's Lake, Deer Lake and Swan Creek.
The first people to settle in this area more than one thousand years ago were the Secatogue Indians. The unearthing of an Indian burial ground north of West Islip beach enabled historians to reconstruct a village of these Indians who lived along the edges of the Great South Bay, Sumpwams Creek, Trues Creek and Willets Creek.
One of the main Indian trails was Udall Road which was the first road in Suffolk County to run north and south. It was named for the Richard Udall family who had an estate on South Country Road (now Montauk Highway).
In the early 1600's, the West Islip area came under the influence of the Dutch. In 1664 it came under English rule when the Duke of York claimed Long Island with the permission of King Charles II.
In 1692 this land was purchased by Thomas and William Willetts through an agreement with the Secatogue Indians. These settlers found the area well suited for farming and hunting and the many waterways abundant with fish and shellfish. Since the Willetts owned most of West Islip, additional families did not arrive until late in the 1770's when parcels of land were sold to others. The tax rolls of 1757 only listed Willetts.
During the 1800's, the community became a popular haven of wealthy estate owners. Among these were the Magoun, Udall, Gerek and Smith families. Farming, charcoal production, lumbering and fishing were the main occupations. In the mid 1800's, the completion of the Long Island Railroad brought travelers to West Islip and helped make the La Grange Inn a popular attraction. The Inn had been established in the mid 1700's by the Higbie family.
The first schoolhouse was started in 1807 and was located on South Country Road. One of our first teachers, G.M. Bishop, taught for thirty-three years and by 1872 had sixty-four students in his class.
West Islip's population continued to grow slowly and the 1930 census recorded 734 residents. In the early part of the twentieth century, many Ukrainian people settled in West Islip seeking refuge from political repression and economic hardships. Some worked as gardeners on the estates while others became farmers, land owners and owners of small businesses. The Ukrainian heritage is still part of the community.
From 1940 until 1970, West Islip experienced most of its population growth. It had become an attractive suburban home community with its own fire department, post office, public library and Good Samaritan Hospital. While a short drive on the Robert Moses Causeway affords access to good fishing at the Captree Boat Basin and swimming at the Robert Moses State Park. West Islip boasts its own beach and marina.
Today West Islip is situated on over 4000 acres and approximately 35,000 residents make West Islip their home. Numerous community groups offer support services and cultural enrichment for our residents. In addition to the various clubs and organizations affiliated with our schools and churches, there are the Chamber of Commerce, West Islip Beautification Society, American Legion, the Chamber Orchestra Society, Youth Enrichment Services and the West Islip Fire Department, all working to maintain and enhance the fine reputation our hamlet has attained. In addition, every September the West Islip Bicentennial Committee sponsors a county fair which has focused much positive attention on West Islip.