Pfeiffer's General Store


Pfeiffer's General Store, Longwood Public Library, Thomas Bayles Collection, CS 28A-1

The home was built before 1739 by the Brewster family. The building served as a general store and stagecoach stop. The inn is mentioned in a diary kept by Dr.Alexander Hamilton in 1744.

"We arrived at one Brewster's att 8 O'clock at night and could
get nothing to eat or drink in this house, so we were obliged
to go to bed fasting and superless. The people in this house
seemed quite savage and rude."

The 1797 Hulse map of Brookhaven Town has the Inn recognized as "John Bayley's tavern" The Tavern and its owner John Bayley are mentioned in the 1776 Committee of Safety minutes.

"John Allabeen junior beeing sworn Deposeth that he being at the house of John Bayles Inkeeper on the 6th of May A.D. 1776, he heard Daniel Rose say, Mr Fanning & I know more than all your Committee or Congress Men."

Sometime before 1835 the hotel was bought by Bryant Davis. An item from the Dec. 2nd 1835 issue of the Long Island Farmer stated.

"Bryant Davis's hotel and stage house is a recently built good Inn, uniting the many requisites for effecting an immediate cheerfulness on the sojourner through these unfrequented forests and Arabian roads. Good stabling attached. Onwards to Blooming Lake (Artist Lake), a beautiful , pure, small sheet of water, adorned with the white lily, and a pretty residence on its eastern border to the Horn Tavern."

Jemimma Randall, granddaughter of Bryant Davis inherited the the homestead and hotel. On August 18, 1857 she sold it to her father Horace Gates Randall for $150. The homestead was described as being about 200 acres and lying on both sides of the main county road. It was bounded on the north by Lester Ruland, on the east by Lester Ruland and Herman Petty, on the south by Joseph Topping and on the west by Jonathan Edwards, Lester Ruland and the road to Millers Place.

Horace Randall bought the store in 1857. When Horace died in 1878, his son Joseph ran the store until 1892. Edward Pfeiffer who had clerked in the store in his teens working for Joseph Randall bought the store. In 1901 Pfeiffer followed Miss Cynthia Hutchinson as Postmaster and ran the Post Office out of the general store. The Pfeiffer's ran the Post Office in Middle Island until 1957.

As a general store it provided supplies to people for miles around. It sold goods to housewives who did their own dressmaking. The store carried shoes, groceries, paints, hardware, farm implements, seeds, fertilizers and harness materials.

Before the automobile all goods came by railroad to Yaphank. Mr. Pfeiffer had to take his goods by horse and wagon from the Yaphank depot. With the coming of the automobile the harness trade ended. When electric lighting came to Middle Island in 1935 it curtailed the need for kerosene. Before refrigeration perishable goods were kept with ice from local ponds.

The store served as a social meeting place where people came to purchase supplies and pick up mail. At the heart of the store stood a potbellied stove, which was the sole source of heat in the store. Around the stove people played checkers or discussed the politics of the day, or gathered for just a good gossip. From time to time, farm auctions were held in front of the general store.

The store closed down in 1957. In 1971, it was declared unsafe and was burned down in order to make way for the gas station that currently occupies that site.


Everett and Edward Pfeiffer.

Aerial view
Looking northwest


Middle Island FD controlled burn of the General Store. March 3, 1971


Pfeiffer's Corner today 2020

Nicholas Giordano
Michael Tutujian

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