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Smithtown, A History: The Village Green

A simple two and a half acres of land is a prime example of Smithtown's rich history.

The main branch of the and the Caleb Smith II House sit on two and a half acres of property known as The Village Green. It is recognized as the site where the first house in the Village of the Branch was built.

According to , before 1700 Joseph Blydenburgh married Deborah Smith, who was the granddaughter of town founder Richard Smythe. Smith had been granted the land by her father Jonathan II, and it is believed that part of their house was built in 1688.

The homestead was passed down to the family through the years, according to the scrap-book. After the Blydenburgh’s grandson Benjamin died, his widow Ruth ran an inn from the home during Revolutionary War times and for a few years after.

When British soldiers came to her door, she turned them away sending them to another inn. George Washington also noted in his diary in April of 1970 that he stopped at a Widow Blydenburgh’s to bait the horses on his way back from Setauket.

While an important home in Smithtown, the house was torn down in 1907 due to it being in a state of disrepair, according to Colonel Rockwell’s Scrap-Book.

Smithtown historian Brad Harris said in the 1920s when the owner of the land proposed building a gas station on the spot, the Smithtown Village Green Corporation was formed. The corporation made up of concerned residents included Vail Blydenburgh, a descendant of both the Smith and Blydenburgh families,

According to Harris for a period of time The Village Green featured tennis courts. However, around 1950 when there was talk of moving the library from its location where Middle Country Road and Route 111 meet today, the corporation donated the land to the town for the library's use.

In 1955, the Caleb Smith II House was also moved to the location.

Another piece of local history is represented on the grounds of the Village Green. A sign acknowledges for planting the Shipmast Locust trees in 1850. Smith planted the trees throughout the Village of the Branch and a few still remain today. Harris said many were knocked down during a road widening project in the 1980s, however the state planted new trees 15 feet from the road on the grounds of the Smithtown Historical Society.

Today visitors to the library will also find a boulder with a bronze tablet on the front lawn acknowledging the site’s importance. According to Colonel Rockwell’s Scrap-Book, the boulder was placed there by Vail Blydenburgh.

While the Village Green may be a small plot of land, it is a great example of Smithtown’s rich history.  

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