Oakdale, New York


Oakdale is a hamlet (and census-designated place) in Suffolk County, New York, United States. The population was 7,974 at the 2010 census. Oakdale is in the Town of Islip. It has been home to Gilded Age mansions, the South Side Sportsmen's Club, and the main campus of Dowling College. It is now home to Connetquot River State Park Preserve.

Oakdale, New York
Oakdale, New York is located in New York
Oakdale, New York
Oakdale, New York
Coordinates: 40°44′23″N 73°8′23″W / 40.73972°N 73.13972°W / 40.73972; -73.13972Coordinates: 40°44′23″N 73°8′23″W / 40.73972°N 73.13972°W / 40.73972; -73.13972
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
 • Total3.8 sq mi (9.7 km2)
 • Land3.3 sq mi (8.6 km2)
 • Water0.4 sq mi (1.1 km2)
10 ft (3 m)
 • Total7,974
 • Density2,416.4/sq mi (927.2/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)631
FIPS code36-54144
GNIS feature ID0959162


Oakdale was founded around two Native American trade routes, where Sunrise Highway and Montauk Highway currently lie. Oakdale was part of the royal land grant given to William Nicoll, who founded Islip Town in 1697. Local historian Charles P. Dickerson wrote in 1975 that Oakdale's name appeared to come from a Nicoll descendant in the mid-19th century. The community includes: St. John's Episcopal Church, built in 1765, is the third oldest church on Long Island.

The community originated with a tavern owned by Eliphalet (Liff) Snedecor in what is now Connetquot River State Park Preserve. Soon after its founding in 1820, Snedecor's Tavern began drawing New York bluebloods and business barons who wined and dined in remote joy when they weren't fishing and hunting nearby. "Liff's food is as good as his creek", a magazine writer declared in 1839 referring to the food and Connetquot River. The writer added: "and the two are only second to his mint juleps and champagne punch; whoever gainsays either fact deserves hanging without benefit of clergy."

In 1866, as the railroad reached the area, Liff's wealthy patrons formed the South Side Sportsmen's Club, and soon the race was on to see who could create the most superb spread in the thick forests adjoining Great South Bay. The most prominent were built by William K. Vanderbilt, grandson of railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt; Frederick G. Bourne, president of the Singer Sewing Machine Co., and Christopher Robert II,[1] an eccentric heir to a sugar fortune. Meanwhile, William Bayard Cutting, a lawyer, financier and railroad man, built his estate next door in Great River, New York which had once been west Oakdale.

In 1912, Jacob Ockers of Oakdale organized the Bluepoint Oyster Co., which became the largest oyster producer and shipper in the country.

Gilded Age estatesEdit

Gilded Age estates were a feature of Oakdale's past toward the end of the 19th century and into the early 20th century.

Idle HourEdit

In 1882, William Kissam Vanderbilt built the most noted one, Idle Hour, 900-acre (3.6 km2) on the Connetquot River. The lavish, wooden 110-room home was destroyed by fire on April 15, 1899, while his son, Willie K. II, was honeymooning there. Willie and his new wife escaped. It was promptly rebuilt of red brick and gray stone, with exquisite furnishings, for $3 million. The building at the time was considered among the finest homes in America. His daughter Consuelo had also honeymooned there when she married the Duke of Marlborough in 1895.

After Vanderbilt's death in 1920, the mansion went through several phases and visitors, including a brief stay during Prohibition by gangster Dutch Schultz. Around that time, cow stalls, pig pens and corn cribs on the farm portion of Idle Hour were converted into a short-lived bohemian artists' colony that included figures such as George Elmer Browne and Roman (Bon) Bonet-Sintas as well as sculptress Catherine Lawson, costume designer Olga Meervold, and pianist Claude Govier, and Francis Gow-Smith and his wife Carol.[2] The estate was most recently the home of Dowling College, a struggling school which closed in August 2016.

Pepperidge HallEdit

By 1888, Christopher R. Robert II (son of Christopher Robert) built a spectacular castle just east of Idle Hour called Pepperidge Hall, furnished in the French style for his wife. But the pair didn't get along. On January 2, 1898, she told police she found Robert shot to death in his Manhattan apartment. It was ruled suicide and she moved to Paris. The mansion featured in silent movies 1916-1920,[3] fell into disrepair and was razed in 1941.

Indian Neck HallEdit

In 1897, Frederick Gilbert Bourne, who began with 438 acres (1.77 km2) but later owned land reaching to West Sayville, completed his mansion, Indian Neck Hall, on the east side of Oakdale. Bourne was active locally, as commodore of the Sayville Yacht Club, and was generous to the local fire department. The eastern part of his estate now comprises the West Sayville County Golf Course and the Long Island Maritime Museum, while much of the middle portion is developed with homes. Bourne died in 1920. Six years later the mansion, on the western end, became the site of La Salle Military Academy, operated by the Christian Brothers, a Catholic order. In 1993, the brothers converted the academy into a kindergarten-through-high-school "global learning community". In 2001, La Salle was closed and it was bought by St. John's University of New York.


Oakdale is located at 40°44′23″N 73°8′23″W / 40.73972°N 73.13972°W / 40.73972; -73.13972 (40.739858, -73.139696).[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2), of which 3.3 square miles (8.5 km2) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) 11.70%) is water.


As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 8,075 people, 3,035 households, and 2,148 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 2,430.3 per square mile (939.1/km2). There were 3,207 housing units at an average density of 965.2/sq mi (373.0/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 96.88% White, 1.46% African American, 0.01% Native American, 0.67% Asian, 0.47% from other races, and 0.51% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.01% of the population.

There were 3,035 households, out of which 28.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.6% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.2% were non-families. 24.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the CDP, the population was spread out, with 22.2% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 27.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $68,793, and the median income for a family was $88,162. Males had a median income of $53,650 versus $36,056 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $31,239. About 0.8% of families and 2.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.0% of those under age 18 and 3.4% of those age 65 or over.

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ "Christopher R. Robert". www.spoonercentral.com.
  2. ^ Holliday, Diane; Kretz, Chris (24 May 2010). Oakdale. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9781439638491 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Diane Holliday, Chris Kretz Oakdale - Page 36 073857239X - 2010 -"filmed a number of silent movies on the estate with Pepperidge Hall serving as the atmospheric backdrop for such films as My Ladies Slipper (1916), To Hell With the Kaiser (1918), and Dead Men Tell No Tales (1920)."
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  5. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.

External linksEdit

  • The Snapper Inn - Fine Dining on the Connetquot River
  • Dowling College
  • St. John's University: Oakdale Campus
  • Oakdale, NY
  • Oakdale Community web site