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The Gift of History:
Unwrap the Past in the Local History Collection

Local history tells the story of the Northport-East Northport community and how it came to be what it is today. The history of our community and its residents can delight and enrich our lives, inspire and caution, as well as inform and educate. For example, the choice of rural East Northport as a location for a train depot in the 1870s brought with it residential development that has shaped the character of the hamlet. The founders of a law book publishing firm in Northport had a lasting influence on the area’s institutions, as they established village government, the fire department, banks, improved transportation, and the library in the late nineteenth century.  

The Northport-East Northport Public Library’s Local History Collection helps preserve and tell the stories of the past, actively connecting past and present while keeping history’s tales for future residents. Reach into the grab bag of our community’s past at the Library and open up the gift of history.  

Local History Centers in both building house rich collections of books, magazines, and newspaper clipping files on the history of the Northport-East Northport community and Long Island. Bulletin boards display announcements from local history organizations.  

The Northport building Local History Center reference case contains rare and older local history books, Little Yellow Phone Books dating from 1959 to the present, and a special collection of works related to Long Island poet Aaron Kramer.  

To support the community’s efforts to preserve its historic buildings, an extensive collection of historic preservation resources are shelved in the Local History Center.

The Local History Department coordinated a community oral history project, Tracks Through Time. More than one hundred interviews have been recorded and transcribed, and all are available for use by appointment.  

The Local History Collection also holds over one thousand historic photographs and postcards that preserve historical images of the community from the Eaton’s Neck Lighthouse to Mabel Carll’s farm on Clay Pitts Road. Currently, many images are being digitized and can be viewed on NY Heritage Digital Collection.

Local history can be found throughout the library. Books by local authors are identified by “Literary Beacons” labels. Materials related to Beat author Jack Kerouac, a Northport resident during the late 1950s and early 1960s, have “Kerouac Collection” labels. A sculpture of the Little Prince from the book by the same title, written by French author Antoine de St. Exupery while he lived in Asharoken, stands in the Library Courtyard.  

A map case near the Northport Library Reference Desk stores several historic maps of our area. A 1909 detailed North Shore atlas may be viewed by appointment.  

With a focus on the present but quickly becoming sources of history are municipal government and school board meeting minutes, library records, high school yearbooks, government land use reports, and several local newspapers. Many local newspapers can be viewed digitally through NYS Historic Newspapers. Newsday and Newsday Historical are also available online through the library website. In addition, the library also maintains microfilm holdings for local newspapers, contact the reference desk for more information.

The Library catalog and website, resource and subject heading lists, and Living In (a community information brochure prepared by the Library) serve as guides to the Local History Collection. Please contact the Local History Department or stop by the Reference Desk for additional assistance in unwrapping the gift of history.      

Local History Department
September 2018 


151 Laurel Avenue, Northport, NY 11768 (631-261-6930) / 185 Larkfield Road, East Northport, NY 11731 (631-261-2313)
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