Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Old Bethpage Village Restoration, Long Island, NY
Photos by James Robertson
OLD BETHPAGE VILLAGE RESTORATION: Experience life in a recreated mid-19th-century American village. The 209-acre village includes an assortment of homes, farms and businesses.
Each fall, the village hosts the Long Island Fair, a traditional county agricultural fair that draws tens of thousands of visitors, and through most of the year the village supports a steady series of family-friendly events and exhibits, including old-time "base ball" tournaments.
Old Bethpage Village Restoration (OBVR) came into existence in 1963, when Nassau County acquired the Powell property, a 165-acre farm located on the Nassau-Suffolk border. The acquisition of the land and the plan to develop a historic restoration were timely, as rapid post-World War II development on Long Island had taken a toll on the area's landmarks.
Although OBVR never existed as an historic entity, it represents a typical rural Long Island farm village of the mid-19th century — one whose roots can actually be found in the earlier Dutch and English settlement of Long Island.
During the 1640s, the colonial settlers founded town "spots" throughout the region that functioned as commerical and social centers where taverns, general stores and meeting houses were built. Townsmen received a centrally located town lot as well as outlying fields to use for grazing livestock, growing crops or havesting firewood.
By 1700, the English had gained control of Long Island, townships controlled whatever land had not already been distributed, and the economy had expanded to include trades dependent on the sea and land. Life remained quiet, unhurried and closely tied to nature — patterns that were evident until well into the 19th century and that can be experienced at OBVR.
From spring through December, Old Bethpage recreates the atmosphere of a pre-Civil War Long Island Village, illustrating agricultural, domestic and commercial activities through the actual practice of crafts and skills.
Old Bethpage features special seasonal activities, such as an 1880’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration in March, Sheep Shearing in May, Civil War Battle in July, and the Fall Harvest in September, the month of the Long Island Fair -- one of the state's oldest agricultural expositions.
Old Bethpage Village Restoration
1303 Round Swamp Road
Old Bethpage, NY 11804