Senator Kemp Hannon
6th District New York
Introduction to Massapequa

The Massapequas have a star-studded history.  They served as the childhood home to comedian Jerry Seinfeld and the Baldwin brothers.  Massapequa received its name from the Marsapeague Native American tribe.  The name, Massapequa, means "Great Water Lane," which accurately reflects its south shore location.  The first non-indian settlers of Massapequa were Thomas Jones and his wife, Freelove.  They owned approximately 6,000 acres purchased by Freelove's father, John Townsend including the sandbar which is now called Jones Beach. The land was purchased from a Massapequan sachem, Tackapousha. 

Massapequa served as a resort, attracting such notables to its lavish Vanderwater Hotel as President Chester A. Arthur, and Civil War General "Fighting Joe" Hooker.  In the 1920s, much of Massapequa's land was being purchased by developers to satisfy a growing need for housing.  During this time Annie Oakley and Will Rogers rented houses in the Massapequa area.  This suburban development has since been referred to by national leaders  as quintessential  suburban America.  

The site which now houses Sunrise Mall, used to host Frank Buck's Jungle Camp.  Frank Buck would collect animals for zoos and circuses until he decided to open an attraction of his own in Massapequa.  This Jungle Camp displayed all kinds of animals, including elephants, lions and other exotic animals.  The main attraction was the 75-foot Monkey Mountain.  It was a mini-island surrounded by a mote, which housed 500 rhesus monkeys until August 22, 1935, when a workman left a plank over the moat and 150 monkeys escaped and scattered all over Long Island.   

For more information: Historical Society of the Massapequas
4775 Merrick Road
P.O. Box 211
Massapequa, NY 11758-0211
(516) 799-2023

http://massapequahistoricalsociety.org
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