Bartlett Pond Park Story

What now is the centerpiece of the Longwood Community, Bartlett Pond Park, was once a vacant piece of property, an unmaintained dumping ground and an eyesore along Middle Country Road in Middle Island.
In 1976 The Brookhaven Town Board approved a 275,000 bond to condemn the 6 acre parcel to prevent any type of commercial development with a pond and golf course in close proximity.
The question became, "what to do with the property?" A park was discussed and in July of 1989, $263,974 was approved for what would become the Bartlett Pond Project, beginning with a playground.
In 1998 the old East Middle Island School which was part of a residence, was moved from the corner of Middle Country Road and Middle Island Yaphank Road to the park by Dawn House movers, owned by the Kazel family of Yaphank.
In 1999 a group of WW2 veterans visited Longwood Jr, High School to talk about their experiences growing up in a community much different than the the present and their war experiences. Among them was Coram resident James Eagle, who, stationed in Hawaii, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Students, with the assistance of teachers Vic Massian and Paul Infranco researched the hundreds of names of those Longwood community residents who served in the wars leading up to WW2 and Korea and began writing their biographies. (They would later be printed and published in individual books) It was decided they should be honored and remembered on monuments, and the Bartlett Pond Park seemed to be the perfect spot.
With the cooperation of Brookhaven Town, the Longwood Alliance, Middle Island Civic and local fire departments, and money from the Caithness project, funds were raised and what was a dream became a reality,
First was the 2007 dedication of the World War 2 monument sitting on a grassy crest overlooking the park with 153 names etched in granite of veterans who served in the war while living in our communities. It took nine years for the students to help raise $10,000 for the project.
Three years later in 2010 another four monuments were unveiled, the Revolutionary War, Civil War, Korea, and Vietnam. The dedication was attended by 500 community members as well as VFW, Fire Departments and local elected officials.
In the following years monuments representing the Global War on Terror, Gold Star Families and a monument honoring all the animals that died while in service and the POW/MIA's of all the wars.
All totaled 1,025 veterans, all who lived in our communities whenever called to service or volunteered are listed on the monuments.
The park has evolved into a peaceful place honor these brave men and women with walkways, benches, tables, a playground, the old schoolhouse and a Victory Community Garden for all to enjoy thanks to volunteers, Brookhaven Parks and local Boy Scout Troop 433 with several eagle Scout projects.
This Thursday November 11TH at 11:00 AM will be the 13th annual Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony. In addition to this ceremony, other events include Memorial Day, Gold Star family Day and the annual Holiday Tree lighting held on Pearl Harbor Day on December 7th, all well attended, led by Gail Lynch-Bailey with help from her husband Frank, Harold Bachmann, Thomas Lyon, Carl Verdi, Paul Infranco and the Bocchimuzzo family.
The park is located on Middle Country Road Middle Island across the street from Reliable Fence next to the historic Union Cemetery
Sources: Gail Bailey, Paul Infranco, North Shore Sun and Suffolk Life newspapers archives

Written by
Jeff Davis
October 2021
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