Bellport Village and Brookhaven Hamlet by Victor Principe
When Capt. Thomas Bell came to the old Brewster Plantation in the 1820s, he recognized its potential as an important seaport. The place, formerly known as Occumbomuck, lay with nearby Fire Place opposite an inlet on the barrier island to the south. Bell's vision never materialized; however, the area soon had admirers who made it one of the earliest summer destinations in Suffolk County. So it remains-periodically rediscovered as a summer haven by a succession of scientists, writers, artists, moguls, and intellectuals, and long-cherished by its permanent residents.
With more than two hundred images, most of them never previously published, Bellport Village and Brookhaven Hamlet visits the late 1800s and the first half of the 1900s, capturing the buildings, people, activities, and events that defined this special area. Old houses at the early heart of the settlements are not just charming; some of them were home to fascinating people: Birdsall Otis Edey, poet and suffragist; Oliver Hazard Perry Robinson, inventor of the ball bearing; William Glackens, Ashcan school artist and summer resident; and others. As Brookhaven Hamlet remained quiet and rural, Bellport Village became a year-round resort with fancy hotels, such as the Bay House, the Goldthwaite, the Wyandotte, and the Bellport, and an exclusive beach club known as the Old Inlet Club. Although the area has always attracted the famous and prominent, it was also home to the creative and entrepreneurial who made their mark locally.