Page 13

Port Jefferson

Photos courtesy of



e take it as a given in the northeastern United States that communities there are old, with centuries of history. And so it would seem in Port Jeff, where an Irish shoemaker built the first permanent home in 1682 on the “drowned meadow” that gave the town its first name. But the implied wetness of the area made it difficult for the pursuit of the great American dream of those years, farming. By 1797, only a few homes existed in the area. Then, though, with the coming of shipbuilding, fortunes changed. The British found it to be of such importance that they raided Drowned Meadow during the War of 1812. By 1836, the locals built a causeway that created the port of Port Jefferson, and voted to take on that name. In 1852, the United States named Port Jefferson as an official port of entry. The railroad arrived in 1873, and a cross-sound ferry to Bridgeport, Connecticut, came a decade later. Though off to a late start, Port Jeff was on its way. To find it today from the west, round Old Field Point, south of a green #11A gong buoy, and head to the eastsoutheast along Old Field Beach, a barrier beach protecting Port Jefferson Harbor. A green #1 and red #2 buoy mark the break in the thorough shoaling of the area, and the entrance

by John Galluzzo

to the dredged channel into Port Jefferson Harbor. If you’re coming from the east along the northern Long Island shore, watch for 180-foot-tall Mt. Misery, which slopes off gradually into Long Island Sound, a remnant of sand and gravel excavation that sent materials into the city to build some of its most famous skyscrapers. Round Mt. Misery Point for the entrance channel, and it’s a straight shot to the south end of the harbor and the Port Jefferson municipal marina. The Age of Sail ended and shipbuilding died with it locally. Port Jefferson spent the first half of the 20th century just like most other small American towns: awaiting redefinition. Tourism became the magnet. The community incorporated in 1963, breaking away from nearby Brookhaven, and gradually returned access of its waterfront to the public, as industrial entities moved away. Port Jefferson looks to the sea, awaiting the next transient boater heading for shore. It still holds on to ancient traditions, celebrating its maritime heritage and the big names–Captain Kidd, John Paul Jones, P.T. Barnum, etc.– associated with its past but stays modern, even progressive, when it considers its future. Thanks to Port Jeff, you can cruise from the Hamptons to the city without missing a beat.

CaptainsGuide2018.indd 11



6/11/18 1:19 PM

Captain's Seaside Guide 2018  
Captain's Seaside Guide 2018