The Plainedge Public Library is the learning center of our community, a place where our residents can turn to for the discovery of ideas, the joy of reading and the power of information. It is a place where residents can connect with the past and plan the future. Community needs drive our services and we take a personal interest in ensuring that they are delivered in a welcoming, convenient and responsive manner.
History of Plainedge
Plainedge is not a political entity except to the extent that it is the name given to an area comprising the Plainedge School District. It consists of parts of unincorporated areas of North Massapequa, Bethpage, Seaford and Farmingdale all within the Town of Oyster Bay, Nassau County, New York. Bounded on the south by Massapequa, on the east by Farmingdale, on the west by Levittown and Island Trees, and on the north by Bethpage, Plainedge is approximately three square miles. It contains a total of 1,836 acres, 58% of which is residential and has a population of 22,019.
When the last invasion of the Labrador glacier withdrew from the eastern section of the North American continent (about 28,000 years ago) It paused before it leisurely retreated to the polar regions. During this time, swift currents that were saturated with sand and gravel traveled in countless tunnels beneath the mile—high sheets of ice. Several of these hidden rivers reached the ice front in our area, and thus — joined with the wild, muddy streams that were flowing from the sun—lit surfaces, sand and gravel were slowly deposited until soon there was enough to force back the sea and build the south shore of Long Island. Plainedge is situated in the central section of this out—wash plain.
Once the climate changed and the ice was gone, grasses grew five and six feet tall on the broad, level area of 60,000 acres in the western half of Long Island which came to be known as the Hempstead Plains. It was not long before these tall grasses were inhabited by wildcat, deer, wolves, bison, turkeys and a variety of lesser game. The American Indian, who had knowledge of conservation, also had a rare restraint and took nothing wantonly. Thus, Long Island soon became rich in land and wildlife. Tackapausha of the Marsapesques was one of the great tribal chiefs that were in the vicinity of Plainedge. Other tribes that once lived and hunted in what is now School District #18 were the Rockaways, the Merricokes, the Canarsies and the Massapequa Indians.
Pioneers and Slaves
In 1644, about forty English families crossed the Sound from Stamford, Connecticut, and homes were established in the area that is now called the Town of Hempstead. Robert Jackson and Captain John Seaman were among who purchased land from the Indians in the Jerusalem River section which extended to the north and to the east. This area was also a part of Plainedge, but has since become the Island Trees School District.
While Plainedge is of English origin, it is also descriptive of the geographic region it included. The first Plainedge School District of about 150 years ago was the huge ‘edge of the plain” that stretched from Massapequa to Westbury. The present town of Westbury, until it was renamed by William Willis In 1663, had been called Plain Edge. This dates the origin of the name, Plainedge, to almost the beginning of the English settlement on Long Island.
The original 6,000-acre Jackson—Seaman purchase In 1664 was eventually divided among many land owners including Thomas Powell, Isaac Powell, William Frost, James Townsend, John Newman, John Witson and Job Wright. Records of the Town of Oyster Bay reveal that slaves worked on the farms In Plainedge, including the pioneer—farmer John Witson, who had several slaves working 150 years ago on his farm which was located just east of our present John H. West School.
Plainedge holds the distinction of being the first to free any of the slaves on Long Island. It was about 1770 that pioneer—farmer Job Wright’s daughter, Alice, freed the first Long island slave. Mrs. Alice (Wright) Crab’s farm was located south of Boundary Avenue along what is now known as Hicksville Road. Her will reads: ‘ I give to my negro man, one calf, one Iron skillet, one mare, and his freedom and liberty.’ This slave, called Black Tom, was later given six acres of land by the Town of Oyster Bay.