Farmingdale-Bethpage

Historical Society

 

 

 

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The Quaker Meeting House  

The Quaker Meeting House on Quaker Meeting House Road, Farmingdale, remains as a link to the early history of present day Farmingdale and Bethpage on Long Island. It also stands in a sense as a symbol of religious freedom, well over three hundred years after Thomas Powell (1641-1721), the area's first settler, sought a refuge in order to practice his Quaker faith. 

Powell and his family came from the Town of Huntington to the area in 1687. Some years earlier he had decided in conscience to become a member of the Religious Society of Friends, popularly known as Quakers.  After relocating, his family and others who joined with him met for worship in each others' homes as early as 1690. 

In 1695 Powell arranged the agreement known as the Bethpage Purchase with the local Native American clans. Today this fifteen-square-mile tract comprises Bethpage, East Farmingdale, Farmingdale, South Farmingdale, Melville, Old Bethpage, Plainedge, and Plainview. 

In 1698, the Quaker families established a local congregation, the Bethpage Preparative Meeting, but it was not until 1741, twenty tears after Thomas Powell's death that the first meeting house was built.  It stood on the north side of Quaker Meeting House Road, on a site which is now part of Bethpage State Park. By 1810, a larger meeting house was required. This structure not only had a room for worship, but also a school room. This second meeting house stood until it burned during the Great Blizzard of 1888. 

The third meeting house was completed in 1890, again on the same site as the earlier two, on the north side of Quaker Meeting house Road. In 1936, following the formation of Bethpage State Park, the meeting house was moved to the south side of the road adjacent to the Friends' Cemetery. This move was made so that this house of worship would not be located on public property. 

In 1990 a fire seriously damaged the century-old Bethpage Meeting House in Farmingdale.  As the number of members of the "meeting" was quite small, the larger community came to the decision to preserve, repair, and restore the meeting house.  This was done to serve as a tangible, physical presence of the Quaker heritage which originally settled the community. The Farmingdale-Bethpage Historical Society was the leading agency in this successful effort. The little gray meeting house still stands amidst the trees, next to the graves of many who worshiped there over the years.

 

 

 

Quaker Meeting House - 2008.JPG (2307806 bytes)

Quaker Meeting House - 2008

Quaker Cemetery.JPG (2404153 bytes)

Quaker Cemetery

Quaker Meeting House Historic Marker.JPG (2295640 bytes)

Quaker Meeting House Historic Marker

 

 

All Photos above