Quick, think about great towns in New York. New York City and Albany may come to mind, but you shouldn’t forget about Massapequa Park.
Massapequa Park has more than 17,000 residents and an average household income of $149,220. This makes it one of the wealthiest towns in the state of New York. But a glimpse at the history of Massapequa Park reveals that this wasn’t always the case.
Who were the first inhabitants of Massapequa Park? How did they live in the area? How did the town develop during the 19th and 20th centuries?
Answer these questions and you can gain a rich understanding of this beautiful town. Here is your quick guide.
Native American History
The Massapequa people were the first inhabitants of the area that is now Massapequa Park. The Massapequa originated from the Algonquin people, who lived north of Long Island and throughout the Northeast.
No one knows for sure when exactly the Massapequa set up communities in the area. The first Dutch settlers arrived in Long Island in 1636, and they found the Massapequa spread everywhere.
The Indigenous people of Long Island adapted well to the area, fishing in the Atlantic Ocean and hunting deer in the woodlands. They built fortifications in order to protect themselves from enemies and keep themselves warm during the winter.
The Dutch and Massapequa did not get along, resulting in battles between the two. Diseases spread amongst Indigenous communities throughout New York, wiping out most inhabitants. Some Indigenous buildings in Massapequa Park remained until the 1930s when they were destroyed to build houses.
German Immigrants Arrive
Massapequa Park had a majority-Dutch population until the 19th century. The 19th century was a time of massive immigration to New York, with people from all over the world filling the five boroughs.
This led many families to move out of the city in order to find room for themselves. In particular, German families began moving east into Nassau County. They founded the town of Massapequa Park, which they called “Wurtenberg.”
The Twentieth Century
The arrival of German immigrants inspired changes in Massapequa. In 1868, residents built the Woodcastle Hotel, a rooming house and summer resort. Tourists arrived in town to stay at the hotel and enjoy the sights of southern Long Island.
In 1928, developers arrived to build homes in the town. People responded to ads in The New York Times and bought kit houses in Sears catalogs. The town’s population swelled, so in 1931, Massapequa Park was incorporated as a village to manage the population.
The town continued to grow during the 1900s. In 1973, the Sunrise Mall was built in East Massapequa, and it became popular amongst Massapequa Park residents. You can view here for more information on the Sunrise Mall and Massapequa real estate.
What Happened in Massapequa Park
Massapequa Park has a lot of history to offer. The Massapequa people resided in the area for centuries, and they thrived. Dutch settlers forced them out of Long Island in the 17th century, with many Massapequa dying as a result.
German families arrived in the town in the 19th century. They brought an industrious spirit and helped the town develop quickly. The town was formally incorporated in 1931, and it has stayed a town ever since.
Towns throughout New York offer similar stories. Read more New York history guides by following our coverage.