A Patchogue Downtown Walking Tour is available at the Reference Desk and via free cellphone app with audio, text and images at http://history.pmlib.org/patchoguewalkingtour or above on the Local History drop-down menu.
Patchogue is over 250 years old, named for the Pochaug Indians and divided and sold in a 1758 lottery. Over the next 130 years, mills built on creeks along today’s Montauk Highway were centers of commercial activity. By 1900, large mills employ many inhabitants and others work in the shipbuilding and seafood industries. The railroad’s arrival in 1869 revolutionizes travel to and from Patchogue. Hotels and boarding houses accommodate vacationers escaping city summer heat from 1880 to 1930. The resort industry spawns theaters with vaudeville acts, concerts, plays and lectures.
From the 1920’s to the 1960’s, Patchogue’s downtown area becomes a popular regional shopping center. In the 1960’s, shopping malls pull shoppers away leading to a few decades of decline. Patchogue’s current resurgence is due to determined Village officials, businesses and organizations. The renovated Patchogue Theater, new restaurants, music venues, shops and condominiums change Patchogue’s landscape once again.
The Patchogue Downtown Walking Tour describes architecture and history on South Ocean Avenue and East and West Main Street. The text and audio versions have numerous photographs and historic images, covering one era when hotels and a tavern occupied Main Street and another when vacationers took over, enjoying Patchogue’s streets and summer fun. Patchogue’s crowded days as a regional shopping center are reconstructed in stories about particular buildings. Patchogue’s industrial past is also covered in the walking tour.
Today, Patchogue’s vibrancy is reflected in new architecture and modern building facades. The beauty of older buildings decorated with masonry reliefs, Tiffany windows, Greek columns and marble facades is also on display.
The term ‘a sense of place’ describes a collection of visual, cultural and social qualities that provide meaning to a location. The historic fabric of older buildings adds much to a ‘sense of place’ in the built environment. This is what makes Patchogue ‘Patchogue’ and different from other towns or villages.
On the tour are two magnificent churches built four years apart: one Gothic and the other Romanesque. Two banks along the route are covered in white marble. A particular favorite of the tour’s author is the Furman Building, built 82 years ago during the Great Depression.
Once again, the tour is available at http://history.pmlib.org/patchoguewalkingtour.