The Oldest General Store In New York Has A Fascinating History
In New York when something isn’t broken we’re in no rush to fix it, some of our greatest attractions are the ones that are also our oldest. From America’s
oldest natural attraction in the Adirondacks to the oldest restaurant in our state down in the small hamlet of Tappan, there’s an endless amount of historical locations that are worth checking out. But out on Long Island you’ll be amazed to discover that there’s a general store that’s been continuously running since 1857! Giving the you greatest dose of nostalgia you could ever ask for, you’ll love hearing about the fascinating history behind the St. James General Store.
Situated on the North Shore of Long Island in the hamlet of St. James, you'll find the
St. James General Store waiting for you.
Established in 1857 by Ebenezer Smith, the community was originally formed around the general store.
The general store originally stayed a family business for quite some time. When Ebenezer Smith passed away, his son Everett inherited the store. When Everett too passed away in 1940, his father-in-law took over the store and ran things until he was 90 years old! Since then, the store has been run by several people but has now been operated by the Suffolk County Department of Parks since 1990.
Today the general store is a part of the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing property to the St. James District in Suffolk County.
When the store originally opened, the vast amount of its customers were local famers and sailors. The town began to form around the general store, depending on it as their go-to location to get local necessities.
The general store even served as the local post office for a period of time. Today you can still see the original counter inside of the store.
Another fascinating fact? During the late 19th Century the general store became home to the hamlet's first telephone!
During the early 1870s, the small area became home to the local railroad, something that was originally a cause for concern.
A subsidiary of the LIRR, the railroad ended up drawing in a ton of visitors to the small town when it was built in 1873! The general store began to receive famous visitors and celebrities, erasing any previous concerns that the local residents and business owners originally had.
Today the general store wins over the hearts of visitors with nostalgia, a favorite being their giant jars filled with candy, just like the old days!
In the upstairs area of the store you'll find children's books and other various books that tie into Long Island's history and local community.
The store is unlike anything we often see today during such modern times, inside the St. James general store you can find a variety of antiques and vintage items that you'll love.
A great place to visit during the holidays, you can stop in to pick up hand-painted ornaments and delicious cookies that will fill you right up!
The store also features homemade chocolates, jams, and other sweet treats! The store has remained structurally unchanged since 1894, holding an incredible amount of historical significance to the area and Long Island. You'll quickly fall in love with the ambiance of this place.
How to get here: 516 Moriches Road St. James, NY 11780
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