The earliest English records show a settlement known as Wading River was founded by eight colonial families. “The spot for the village was chosen with care. There was a stream adequate for water power and abounding in seafood…good water for drinking…soil rich enough to grow essential crops, woodland for fuel, building material and food, topography to offer protection from the elements, meadowland for its grass.”
Between 1895 and 1938, the Port Jefferson Branch of the Long Island Rail Road extended to Wading River. It was once planned to continue eastward to rejoin the Main Line at Riverhead or Calverton. From 1905 to 1928, Wading River was also the site of an LIRR demonstration farm. Another was east of Medford Station on the Main Line. The Wading River station closed in 1938. During World War II the Benson House was used by the FBI as the site of a secret counterintelligence operation to feed the Nazis deceptive information.
The hamlet of Wading River had a year-round population of less than 500. But during the summer months, hundreds of visitors filled the town to use Wildwood State Park, the cottages on the cliffs and dunes and, of course, the beaches.
This year was a landmark year of change for the sleepy little hamlet; noteworthy accomplishments include:
Returning service men from World War II began building homes in Wading River
The formation of Wading River’s own volunteer fire department, Wading River Fire Department
The military installation known as Camp Upton was converted for use as Brookhaven National Laboratory
The Wading River Historical Society was formed.