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A Brief History of Bethpage, N.Y.

Bethpage is hamlet located in the Town of Oyster Bay. Today it is a middle class suburban neighborhood. Bethpage was founded in 1695 when Thomas Powell purchased a massive tract of land from Native American tribes living in the area. Powell, a Quaker, named his lands after Biblical names, and Bethpage reflected Bethlehem. The name did not stick at first, and maps from the 1800s also named the area Bedelltown and Jerusalem. The area remained a tiny farming community until the Long Island Rail Road opened a station in the 1850s. This brought in many new families that began farming the area. In 1867 the community was renamed Central Park, to attract development. The population continued to grow as land speculators purchased large tracts for development. In 1936 the residents of the community tired of their mail getting lost and being sent to the Central Park in Manhattan. They petitioned the post office to change their name to Bethpage, and one of the last name changes in Nassau County was completed.
The end of World War II started the growth of massive suburban sprawl in Nassau County. Bethpage was no exception and was largely built out with suburban tract housing by 1960.