Authored by Lisa Ha
The Maps and Atlas Collection at the Bay Shore Brightwaters Public Library consists of 28 maps and atlases. They are mainly historical maps and atlases of the Long Island, NY region and a few of the five boroughs of New York City. The collection spans from 1873 to 1961. There are Fire Risk Assessment Maps, Insurance Maps, Atlases of Suffolk County, Real Estate Maps of Suffolk County and Nassau County, Section Plans of Nassau County, and so on.
This map is from the Atlas of the Towns of Babylon, Islip, and South Part of Brookhaven in Suffolk County, N.Y. The original atlas was created by F.W. Beers & Co. and was published in 1888. This particular map is a Map of the Town of Babylon. According to LongIsland.com (2014), the Town of Babylon was once part of the Town of Huntington, called Huntington South. It was separated by an official partition in 1872 (16 years prior to this map being published).
On this map, the Town of Babylon is divided into eight districts and also Oak Island and Cap Tree Island. It depicts general landscapes of Babylon in 1888. As one might see in the map, only some of the districts were named when the map was published, including District 1 Babylon, District 3 North Babylon, District 4 Breslau, District 6 Amityville, and District 7 Deer Park. When the Town of Babylon was founded in 1872, most of the town population was located within the communities of Amityville, Babylon, and Breslau (now Lindenhurst). The remainder of the town was sparsely populated and consisted mainly of farms (Town of Babylon, 2015a).
As one can also see from the map, the South Side Railroad line runs through Amityville, Breslau, and Babylon. In a booklet published by the South Side Railroad company around the same time period this map was published, it shows various advertisements of building lots and villa sites for sale in Amityville and Breslau with slogans such as “Breslau, the wonder of the age! Astonishing progress in real estate improvement. The best point on Long Island for making investments” (Catlin, 1873).
The present day Town of Babylon consists of three villages- Amityville, Babylon, and Lindenhurst, and ten hamlets (Town of Babylon, 2015b). Using this map, researchers are able to infer changes in the official district divisions of Babylon and any shoreline changes. It showcases the historical development of Babylon and enables researchers to gather evidence of how the community has developed since 1888 when the map was completed.
Upon researching F.W. Beers & Co., I wasn’t able to find any information on the author. However, I was able to find many similar maps by the author that were done around the same period (late 1900’s). Most of these maps are county maps of various states, including New York, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, New Jersey, Vermont, and many more (Historic Map Works, 2015). And these maps were made in a similar fashion as the Babylon map.
I was able to digitize the whole atlas which also includes Town of Islip and Town of Brookhaven and the many section maps of Babylon, Islip, and Brookhaven. The digitized images will later be put on the Bay Shore Brightwaters Public Library’s website for easier access to researchers and interested citizens. The posting on the website demonstrates the Vincentian principle of community service combined with classroom learning.
G. L. Catlin, “Homes on the South Side Railroad of Long Island: Catlin, George L. [from Old Catalog]: Free Download & Streaming,” Internet Archive, 2015. Accessed March 30. https://archive.org/details/homesonsouthside00catl.
Historic Map Works, “Historic Map Works,” 2015. http://www.historicmapworks.com/Search/publisher.php?query=%22F.W.+Beers+%26+Co.%22&x=0&y=0.
LongIsland.com, “Town of Babylon, Villages & Hamlets – Long Island Towns,” LongIsland.com, 2014. http://www.longisland.com/town-of-babylon.html.
Town of Babylon, “Old Town Hall,” 2015. http://townofbabylon.com/index.aspx?nid=290.
———. 2015b. “Villages & Hamlets.” http://www.townofbabylon.com/index.aspx?NID=94.