Nestled by the water on the south end of Babylon, a town in Suffolk County, is the Village of Babylon, a two-square mile incorporated entity that is home to a little over 12,000 residents. Babylon Village isn’t very large, but it is home to some of Long Island’s most popular places to be—as well as a thriving condo market.
A Look Back
When it was first settled by farmers in the early 1800s, Babylon was called Huntington South, thanks to the many Huntington residents that flocked to the South Shore to collect salt hay to feed livestock and gather mulch for planting.
Legend has it that Nathaniel Conklin and his family built a house on the northeast corner of what is now the intersection of East Main Street and Deer Park Avenue in 1803, and Conklin's mother came up with the name “Babylon” for their home, which was much more isolated than her home had been in nearby Dix Hills. Some believed this was prompted by a reference to the quotation from the Psalms: "By the water of Babylon there sat we down; yea we wept, when we remembered Zion.”
According to the Babylon Historical Society, Babylon was able to separate from Huntington in 1872 and put its own local government in place. In 1893, the village was incorporated officially. The Historical Society has a room devoted to this time period, with farm tools, photos of mills and accounts from some early Babylon residents. Judging from published material from that time, life in Babylon was typical for a farming community of the day. There were also a number of mills in the area that made use of the waterpower produced by the streams running in the Great South Bay.
In 1842, the railroad began in the area and stagecoaches came to the village and down to the dock to meet the ferries to Fire Island and Oak Beaches. By the time it was incorporated, Babylon was a resort town, complete with hotels and large estates. This “Gilded Age” roughly spanned the decades between 1870 and 1890.