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The first residents of the Town of Brookhaven were Algonkian-speaking Native Americans, the Setalcots (or Setaukets), and the Unkechaugs. The boundaries of the Town of Brookhaven coincide almost exactly with the tribal lands of these two groups or “tribes.”

English settlers arrived on the north shore of the Town in 1655. The six men, from the Town of Southold, purchased eight square miles stretching from Stony Brook to Port Jefferson in exchange for tools, wampum, lead, powder and "1 pair of children's stockings." The first settlers came from eastern Long Island and New England. The Town was originally called Ashford, and later Brookhaven, the first settlement was named after the native Americans it was purchased from: Setauket. More land purchases followed over the years. In 1666, after Long Island became a part of the Colony of New York, Governor Richard Nicholl granted a Patent, which fixed the name of Brookhaven, confirmed title to the lands already purchased, and allowed for additional purchases. In 1686, Governor Thomas Dongan issued a Patent which granted extensive powers to the Town, and established a representative form of government.

Early Brookhaven residents were engaged in farming, fishing and whaling. In the 1800s, the shipbuilding, and the cordword industries became important as well. Many of our early residents held important roles in the formation of the state and the nation.

Geography of the Town of Brookhaven
Brookhaven Town as we know it today, is the result of glacier deposits and erosion that began about fifteen million years ago. The place where a glacier stops moving south and begins to melt is called a "terminal moraine," and is usually hilly and rocky. Brookhaven has two such moraines: running east to west along the center of the Town is the Ronkonkoma Moraine. Bald Hill is a part of this area. Along the north shore, the hills, rocky areas and cliffs that face the Long Island Sound are part of the Harbor Hills Moraine.

The glaciers also created large holes, known as "kettleholes,” which filled with water, forming Lake Ronkonkoma, the largest lake in Suffolk County, Artist Lake, Spring Lake (both in Middle Island), Lake Panamoka in Ridge, and others. The outwash plain that formed the South Shore of Brookhaven, resulted when the water from the melting glacier carried sand and gravel from the moraines, building up a wide sandy plain. Many streams and ponds formed in this area, including two of Suffolk's rivers, the Peconic and Connecticut (or Carmans), both of which are located within the Town.

The north and south shores are tall timber areas, covered mostly with oak and maple. The middle section is called the "Pine Barrens," with stands of scrub oak and scrub pine. This is an important area for replenishing our water supply through a process called "water recharge." Long Island is one of the few areas in the United States that obtains its water solely from the underground aquifer. The vegetation of the Pine Barrens filters the water which percolates down through layers of cleansing sand.

The barrier beaches, situated between the various bays and the Atlantic Ocean, from Brooklyn to Southampton, are constantly charging, due to the action of winds and waves. During severe storms new inlets may be opened and old inlets to the bays may be closed. These barrier beaches or islands provide protection for the south shore of Long Island.

Vital Statistics for the Town of Brookhaven
Area: 323.5 Square Miles (third largest Town in New York State)
Location: Central Suffolk County, Long Island, New York
Status: Suburban (Designated by voters in a 1978 referendum)
Suburban Status gives the Supervisor authorization to plan the Town budget and more responsibility to Department heads
Borders: North: Long Island Sound
East: Town of Riverhead and Town of Southampton
West: Town of Smithtown and Town of Islip
South: Atlantic Ocean
Population: 448,519 --2000 US Census
Villages: Belle Terre, Bellport, Lake Grove, Old Field, Patchogue, Poquott, Port Jefferson, Shoreham
Hamlets: Blue Point, Brookhaven, Calverton (part),Canaaan Lake, Centereach, Center Moriches, Cherry Grove, Coram, Crystal Brook, Cupsogue Beach, Davis Park, East Moriches, East Patchogue, East Setauket, Eastport (part), East Shoreham, Farmingville, Fire Island Pines, Gordon Heights, Hagerman, Holbrook (part), Holtsville (part), Lake Ronkonkoma (part), Manorville, Mastic, Mastic Beach, Medford, Middle Island, Miller Place, Moriches, Mount Sinai, North Bellport, North Patchogue, Ocean Bay Park, Point of Woods, Port Jefferson Station, Ridge, Rocky Point, Ronkonkoma (part), Selden, Setauket, Shirley Southaven, Sound Beach, Stony Brook, Strongs Neck, Terryville, Upton, Wading River (part), Water Island, West Manor, Yaphank

Geographic Statistics
368 square miles
2,000 miles of roadway
346-year history (est. 1655)
153 miles of coastline
Larger than the cities of Atlanta (416,474) or Miami (362,470)

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