Great River is a suburban hamlet in the Town of Islip in Suffolk County, New York. It is situated 50 miles east of New York City on the South Shore of Long Island, adjoining the Great South Bay, protected from the Atlantic Ocean by Fire Island.
Great River's name derives from "Connetquot", an Algonquian word for "Great River." Prior to the 1900s Great River was primarily home to wealthy families on mansion estates.
The Great River Fire Department was started in 1916 and their fire apparatus was a cart that was pulled with rope by two men to the scene. It has steadily evolved to the fire house and apparatus that serves our community today.
On November 26, 1889, a Post Office was established in Great River. Some of the early postmasters and postmistresses were:
Timber Point Golf Course is a public 27-hole regulation length, full-service facility, located south of Montauk Highway in Great River. Positioned where the Connetquot River meets the Great South Bay.
Timber Point, was originally an 18-hole golf course designed by the architectural team of Colt & Alison. The club was built and formed in the Roaring Twenties, along with other prominent estates that were constructed along the South Shore during that time. The original mansion now serves as the clubhouse and still over looks the 231-acre property much the same way it did for club founders Horace Havermeyer, Buell Hollister and W. Kingsland Macy.
Emmanuel Episcopal Church, the "Little Chapel", on Great River Road, became a reality in 1862 when Mr. and Mrs. William Nicoll deeded one-half acre of land. Mr. & Mrs. W. Bayard Cutting donated the funds to build and furnish the church rectory in 1889.
The Bayard Cutting Arboretum was donated to the Long Island State Park Region by Mrs. William Bayard Cutting and her daughter in the memory of William Bayard Cutting "to provide an oasis of beauty and quiet for the pleasure, rest, and refreshment of those who delight in outdoor beauty; and to bring about a greater appreciation and understanding of the value and importance of informal planting."
Heckscher State Park was once the 19th century estates of George C. Taylor and J. Neal Plum. William Nicoll, founder of the Town of Islip, originally built his estate on this property. The park was bought by the State of New York using a donation by the affluent August Heckscher with strong opposition from wealthy local residents. It was one of Robert Moses' most difficult fights to obtain land for public recreation on Long Island. ONce with assistance and support from then Governor Alfred E. Smith was Moses able to close the deal on this beautiful property fronting the Great South Bay.
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