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Long Beach’s first inhabitants were the Algonquian-speaking Rockaway Indians, who sold the area to English colonists in 1643. While the barrier island was used by baymen and farmers, for fishing and harvesting salt hay, no one lived there year-round for more than two centuries. Buy Long Beach NY Real Estate.
In 1849, Congress established a lifesaving station.
Austin Corbin, a builder from Brooklyn, was the first to attempt to develop the island as a resort. He formed a partnership with the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to finance the New York and Long Beach Railroad Co., which laid track from Lynbrook to Long Beach in 1880. That same year, Corbin opened Long Beach Hotel, a row of 27 cottages along a 1,100-foot (340 m) strip of beach, which he claimed was the world’s largest hotel. In its first season, the railroad brought 300,000 visitors to Long Island. By the next spring, tracks had been laid the length of the island, but they were removed in 1894 after repeated washouts from winter storms. Buy Long Beach NY Real Estate
In 1906, William Reynolds, a 39-year-old former state senator and real estate developer, entered the picture. Reynolds had already developed four Brooklyn neighborhoods (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Borough Park, Bensonhurst, and South Brownsville), as well as Coney Island‘s Dreamland, the world’s largest amusement park. Reynolds also owned a theater and produced plays. Buy Long Beach NY Real Estate
He gathered investors, and acquired the oceanfront from private owners and the rest of the island from the Town of Hempstead in 1907; he planned to build a boardwalk, homes, and hotels. Reynolds had a herd of elephants marched in from Dreamland, ostensibly to help build the Long Beach Boardwalk; he had created an effective publicity stunt. Dredges created a channel 1,000 feet (300 m) wide on the north side of the island to provide access by large steamboats and sea planes to transport more visitors; the new waterway was named Reynolds Channel. To ensure that Long Beach lived up to his billing it “The Riviera of the East”, he required each building to be constructed in an “eclectic Mediterranean style”, with white stucco walls and red-clay tile roofs. He built a theater called Castles by the Sea, with the largest dance floor in the world, for dancers Vernon and Irene Castle.
On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck Long Beach. As a result of flooding, hundreds of vehicles were totaled and houses suffered various levels of damage. The estimated cost of all the damage was over $250 million. The city was without power and running water for two weeks after the storm. Buy Long Beach NY Real Estate. The boardwalk was also destroyed during the storm. The City began rebuilding the boardwalk with grants from FEMA and the State of New York. The first two-block section of the new Long Beach boardwalk reopened on July 26, 2013, and the entire boardwalk opened on October 25, 2013.