Prager - Middle Island Tool Rental

The Sylvester Swezey house, built, circa 1860s.

Middle Island Tool Rental
If you live in the Longwood community, chances are that you have probably been to the Middle Island Tool Rental building.
This property had been acquired by Stephen Swezey and was part of the 1000 acre area commonly referred to as Swezeytown.
The 10 acre parcel comes from parts of long lots 53 & 54. Lot 54 was sold by Captain Robert Robinson to David Edwards in 1738. In 1745, Edwards sold the property to Stephen Swezey.
Lot 53 was conveyed by Richard Miller to Stephen Swezey in 1749. Stephen Swezey died and left the property to his son, Oscar Swezey. When Oscar died, he left the property to his son Sylvester, who opened a hotel and general store. The hotel and general store burned down in 1917 and a new building was put up. For some time it was known as the Hunter’s Inn and finally as the Island Squire.
The home that stood on Middle Country Road was built by Sylvester Swezey about 1861. In 1874 Sylvester Swezey cut out a ten acre parcel that he gave to his sister Angeline.
10 acres
Aerial of the almost 9 acre parcel.

Albert Prager bought the house and property in 1918. In 1935 Mr. Prager built a gas station next to his home and sold ESSO gasoline. In 1945 Alexander P. Paskas and Lillian (Vojtech) Paskas, purchased the house, gas station and 8 acres from Mr. Prager.
1934 snow storm, Prager's Esso gas station.

The Paskas’ proceeded to work on the house to get it ready to move into; they painted, they plumbed. The house did not have indoor plumbing, so they added an upstairs bathroom, Mr. Paskas and a plumber managed to put an iron clawfoot tub up through a the space where the window was and then replaced the window.
The updated house.

They moved into the house in May 1946 and in 1947 added two bays to the gas station. Mr. Paskas did all the mechanical work on the cars while his father, Paul, pumped gas. Middle Island was not yet the Metropolis it now is so the Paskas', in addition to running a gas station raised pigs and chickens behind their home.

In 1948 Mr. Paskas was one of the founding fathers of the Middle Island Fire Department. Paskas and several other men decided to start a volunteer Fire Department; collecting money on the weekends at the Middle Island traffic light, they were able to collect enough to buy a used 1927 Ahrens Fox from the Centereach Fire Department. In 1948 the Middle Island Volunteer Fire Department was created. With no station house the Ahrens Fox was stored in one of the bays attached to the gas station.

The Paskas’ sold the gas station was sold in 1981. The building continued to operate as a gas station for a number of years, until it opened as the Middle Island Tool Rental in 1991.
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