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Port Jefferson Village

Port Jefferson Village Hall is located at 121 West Broadway, Port Jefferson, NY 11777; phone: 631-473-4724.

Beginnings [1]

The geography of the Inc. Village of Port Jefferson limited the early settlement of this area. At the head of the harbor were extensive tidal marshes surrounded by steep hills and ravines, limiting building and agriculture. Only sparse settlement occurred before the onset of shipbuilding at the end of the eighteenth century.

Shipbuilding began in Port Jefferson in 1797 when John Willse constructed the sloop Jay at the head of the harbor near the intersection of East Main Street and East Broadway. The Brookhaven Town Records indicate that Willse had constructed a dock at his shipyard at the foot of East Main Street by 1809. This shipyard established by John Willse and continued by Richard Mather and Titus Mather was the first significant waterfront establishment at Port Jefferson. Thomas Bell, James Still and Thomas Bayles also began to build vessels here early in the nineteenth century. The modest beginnings of shipbuilding is indicated by the tally of 26 vessels known to have been built in Port Jefferson from 1797 to 1830.

  1. Heffner, Robert J., Port Jefferson Village Historic District, nomination document, 2002, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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