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About Cold Spring Harbor



Originally known as "Wauwai-peck" by the Algonquian-speaking Native people, Cold Spring Harbor was home to a thriving community of fisherman, shellfish gatherers, hunters, and farmers. In 1639, a Dutch coastal trading ship ventured into the harbor from Long Island Sound. In the years following that fortunate voyage, colonists from England began purchasing land in the surrounding hills and along the water from Native inhabitants. The land was formally deeded to the new settlers in 1653, and by the late 1700's Cold Spring Harbor had become a center of commerce.

From the boisterous days of whaling boom, through the days of wealth at the turn of the century, we have remained a community with a distinctly different identity. That identity may not have always been considered "proper" but it has always been with to visit. During the 1850's, people came here for unusually good shopping, sidestepping tipsy sailors and roughnecks along "Bedlam" street, to get to the best selections. Main street bustled with so much noise and shouted foreign languages that it reminded many visitors of the stories of the famous London asylum!

Many of the building standing along main street today have been around long enough to remember a thriving harbor business that once specialized in taking old wooden warships and coastal vessels apart and stripping them of their lumber, to be re-sold for building ashore! Beams and detail work on many of these "prominent old citizens" came from such an odd beginning. You may even hear a ghost or two.