by Bradley Harris, Smithtown Town Historian
(This is the third article in a series about the history of the Ft. Salonga area for the FSA newsletter. This article focuses on the period of time after the Revolutionary War and before the Civil War, a time when Ft. Salonga was a stagecoach stop on the road between Smithtown and Huntington.)
Ft. Salonga in the nineteenth century….
When the Revolutionary War came to an end and the Treaty of Paris was written in 1783, the British forces occupying Smithtown and Huntington pulled out and seemed to disappear overnight. Many of the people who lived in the Ft. Salonga area and had fled across the Sound to escape the British menace, returned to find their homes and farms in shambles following the eight long years of the British army’s occupation. Houses had been broken into, the contents taken. Barns and outbuildings had been pulled apart and the boards broken up for firewood. Fences had been destroyed and livestock had been hunted and consumed, and farm fields lay fallow and neglected. For some folks the devastation was so discouraging that they decided to pack up what was left of their worldly possessions and headed west to start life anew. Those who stayed — the Smiths, the Gildersleeves, Platts, Longbothums, Ketchams, Skidmores, and Rogers worked to rebuild and restore their farms. The homes that remained standing were clustered along Bread and Cheese Hollow Road, North Country Road, and Ft. Salonga Road, and these clusters became the centers of population in the area during the 19th century. One of these centers was located where North Country Road and Bread and Cheese Hollow Road intersected and was known as Fresh Pond. Read More
After months of coordination efforts undertaken by the
FSA, Town of Smithtown Highway Chief Robert Murphy,
Legislator Rob Trotta and the expansion team at National
Grid, we are happy to announce that natural gas mains will
be extended throughout the length of Bread and Cheese,
north of Pulaski Road. This project is key to securing gas
expansion for the homes along Bread and Cheese as well as
those streets that are connected to Bread and Cheese. In
addition, gas is scheduled to be run through Bradshaw and
Hastings. If you are interested in natural gas, please sign up
on the FSA’s natural gas registry at http://fortsalonga.org/
tag/natural-gas/. This grass roots community effort has
resulted in over 150 homes being offered the opportunity
to switch their home’s heating system from oil to gas and
we hope to keep the expansion going, offering our neighbors
a service that they were once told would be impossible.
Owl Hill Update
After securing $500,000 in State monies and matching that
amount utilizing preservation funds, the Town of Smithtown
contracted to purchase multiple acres at the Owl Hill
site for $1,000,000. After securing an appraisal, the Town
has entered into negotiations with the owners of Owl Hill
to nail down how much acreage will be preserved. Details
are still forthcoming. In addition, news recently broke confirming
that the owners of Owl Hill switched real estate
brokers – relisting the property for sale. If anyone knows
of a Smithtown business that requires the purchase of TDR flow.
The Dejana property on Pulaski Road has begun to clear
the way for their new facility. The FSA has reached out to
the owners requesting a meeting so that we can get a feel
for their plans for their property and discuss the community’s
concerns about the project. In addition, we have recently
learned that the Dejana company has purchased the
vacant site at the corner of Town Line and Pulaski
Roads. No plans to develop the property have been filed,
however, the FSA hopes to discuss the future of this property
with the new owners (Dejana) very soon. As always,
we will keep the community updated.
On Sunday, October 22nd, the board of the Fort Salonga Association hosted our annual welcome party for new residents to the community. It was held at the Northport Historical Society on Main Street in Northport. Attendees were treated to sandwiches, salads, and cookies from Copenhagen Bakery. Frank Konop, board member, spoke to the gathering about the FSA, our mission, and activities that occur during the year. Tracy Pfaff, the director of NHS, also spoke about the society and it’s events. The new residents are thrilled to be a part of our beautiful community, and we look forward to seeing them during the year at our events.
Fort Salonga – The Northport Historical Society needs your help!
Northport Historical Society is seeking homes to feature on their annual “Deck the Halls” holiday tour. Each year they highlight four to six decorated homes, which are visited by ticket holding tour goers. Attendees are given protective booties at each house and hosts/hostesses are stationed to ensure the visitors are respectful and follow any stipulations about which rooms are off limits to visitors.
This year the event will be held on Sunday, December 10th from 12-4pm. The historical society has one house in Fort Salonga and would love to have another to really highlight our beautiful area!
This event is a main fundraiser for the Society, whose mission is to collect, preserve, interpret and educate the greater Northport area about the history and events which have shaped the community.
Please contact Tracy Pfaff at email@example.com or at the Society’s number, 631-757-9859 if you are interested in highlighting your home for the holiday tour.
FSA ANNUAL MEETING
Join us for our annual meeting on Wednesday, December 6th 7 PM in the Fort Salonga Elementary School cafeteria. All Fort Salonga residents are welcome to attend.
Our annual election for the FSA board will take place at this meeting. All 2017 paid FSA members are eligible to vote. One vote per household. The slate of officers is as follows:
President Frank Capaccio
Vice President Scott Paisley
Secretary Ellen Fantauzzi
Treasurer Joe Stolfi
Directors Barbara Mandelik, Richard Gasser
Our guest speaker will be Louis Amsler, an owner of Richters Orchard, the oldest Long Island family-run orchard. They will talk about the history of this treasure right in our own backyard.
Refreshments will be available
WE HOPE TO SEE YOU ON DECEMBER 6th!
The Fort Salonga Association would like to remind the community to vote on Election Day, Tuesday, November 7, 2017.
Fort Salonga roads are under siege with speeding, tailgating and illegal passing all too common. Many of our roads are also inherently difficult to navigate with curves, hills, and poor visibility due to our wooded terrain. Bread and Cheese (B&C) presents the biggest challenge with a large volume of VA traffic and also providing trucks with an illegal shortcut. We continue to enlist the assistance of the appropriate county, police and town agencies. We have also reached out to the VA director and he has cautioned his employees. Electronic warning signs have been periodically installed on both B&C and Old Bridge. The county refuses to place stop signs along B&C, claiming they are not designed for speed control.
The county will be repaving B&C this fall and while this may make for a smoother ride it will add to the speeding issues. Also, Huntington will be repaving Middleville and Old Bridge, probably this month. We urge residents to continue to report specific violations of illegal trucks to police and trucking companies. While of limited immediate effect, it does demonstrate the level of community concern. Also, this is an election year and keeping town officials focused on these issues is important.
Another area of danger is the large volume of traffic moving through our shopping centers. Pedestrians cross at random, oblivious to oncoming cars, often texting while walking. With no traffic controls, parking lots become a free-for-all with drivers speeding to the nearest exit. Parking in an open area with few obstructing cars can reduce the risk. We remind our residents to be aware of other drivers and pedestrians, and be extra cautious in this dangerous mix of people and cars.