Farmingdale State College
Children growing up in the Farmingdale-Bethpage area as late as the
1960d 70෯uld likely have visited the college in East
Farmingdale to watch cows being milked, sheep shorn and other
assorted farm animals being cared for. Thatயt a surprise since
when the school was founded in 1912 it was the New York State
School of Agriculture on Long Island. As such, it was the first
public college on Long Island.
college founding drew support from many prominent Long Islanders
such as Franklin Hooper who lobbied the legislature to approve the
creation of an agricultural college on Long Island. At the time an
agricultural school at Morrisville, NY was the closest one to Long
Island and it was halfway to Buffalo. As reported in the New York
Times in 1909, 䨥 easterly half of the stateea, containing
more than 裂the stateయpulation, has no agricultural
institution at the present time.p; There were many besides farmers
themselves who were rooting for a college to be established on Long
Island. Farm machinery manufacturers, fertilizer producers, grain
and seed dealers, and nurserymen were the advocates closely
associated with the soil. However, bankers and especially railroad
men were all cooperative in trying to get an agricultural college
established on Long Island. H. B. Fullerton of the Long Island Rail
Road who had established an experimental farm in Wading River, Long
Island was particularly influential in getting state sponsorship for
an agricultural college on Long Island although there was quite a
bit of arguing about where it would be located. Farmingdale was
chosen because it had good soil, was ready to be farmed, was not too
far from New York City and it was on the Long Island Rail Road
line. The purchase price for the 325 acres was $300/acre.
Some of the early board members at the college included: Hal
Fullerton of the LIRR Experimental Station in Medford, Congressman
Henry Reeves, Benjamin Yoakum, farmer and railroad executive and
many other prominent government officials and businessmen.
first students arrived on campus in March 1916. Fifteen graduated
in 1919 including one woman. Plans to have an extensive ﭥstic
economyಯgram never materialized although there were women
students from the very first day.
earliest years of the college were devoted to the technology of
farming- both farm crops and dairy and animal husbandry. The early
curriculum consisted of courses in agronomy, horticulture, and
general studies. Students were required to work the fields and care
for the livestock. In 1920 the college began a farm equipment show
that included the various kinds of machinery that would be used on a
farm. That show proved to be quite popular and became an annual
event known as the Country Life Open House.
curriculum expanded in the late 30d 40യ include more
science and technology programs. These were particularly prominent
during World War II. Popular exhibits at the Country Life Open
House such as A Victory Garden, Baby Chick and Egg Show and Farm
Machinery and Tractor Adjustment and Repair drew large crowds. The
school continued to keep up with the times after the war and offered
programs in food technology, engineering technology, business
administration, dental hygiene, advertising and art design and
aircraft operations. This Technical and Industrial Division which
was opened in 1946 was temporarily housed at the former Nazareth
Trade School at 520 Conklin Street in Farmingdale. The Technical
Division moved to the college campus in 1953 thereby uniting the
students from the Agricultural Division and the Technical Division
for the first time.
Long Island moved away from an agriculture-based economy, so too did
the programs offered by the college. During the 1980젴he
agricultural programs were discontinued. Only Ornamental
Horticulture remains. The beautiful gardens on the eastern part of
the campus are maintained by students of this department and are
open to the public. They are well worth a visit.
college is currently known by the name Farmingdale State College.
It became a four-year school in 1993. A large dormitory called
Orchard Hall was opened several years ago to house the many students
from distant areas that are now attending the school.
The college is currently looking forward to and planning for its centennial in 2012.
Nazareth Trade School
Tying Grapes at the College - Late 1920's
At Work at the Dairy Barn
Advertising Art at the College
Dental Hygenist Training at Farmingdale College
Farm Equipment Show - 1920's<