The Stony Brook Village Center on the north shore of Long Island, NY is unique by design. The charming, consistent, Colonial style of the buildings in the hamlet and it’s beautiful open spaces and view of Stony Brook Harbor were meticulously planned.
A gentleman by the name of Ward Melville had a dream to create a “living Williamsburg.” He envisioned a Colonial-style village that would breathe new life into the area. Having moved to the area with his parents, Frank and Jennie, when he was younger, the family had become increasingly upset over the growing effect of the Great Depression and the condition of the existing buildings there.
Seeking community cooperation, Ward hosted a dinner at the Three Village Inn on January 19, 1940. He presented his plans, designed by close friend and architect Richard Haviland Smythe, which included a crescent-shaped Village Center with connected shops grouped around a federalist-style post office.
With a majority approval by the local people, the venture began at Ward Melville’s own personal expense of $500,000, or in today’s conversion, over $8, 000,000. He relocated, demolished, or modified some thirty-five buildings in the downtown area.
The enormous undertaking also included the rerouting of roads, the relocation of large trees, and moving one million cubic yards of dirt. A two acre Village Green was created opening the vista to the harbor. The new Stony Brook Village Center, which now housed many of the existing businesses of old Stony Brook, was completed in the summer of 1941.
Stony Brook Village Center has long been recognized as the first planned shopping center in the country.
Find some ideas for things to do in Stony Brook Village.