About the Wantagh Preservation Society
The Wantagh Preservation Society (WPS) is a non-profit organization based in Wantagh, Long Island. It maintains the Wantagh Museum and engages in other activities to improve the historical and environmental values of the community. The Wantagh Preservation Society was founded in 1965, in order to save Wantagh's Victorian Railroad Station from demolition, when plans for the present elevated railroad crossing called for its removal.
The WPS is responsible for maintain the museum grounds that include:
- Old Wantagh Rail Road Station
- “Jamaica” Parlor Car
- Recreated 1904 Wantagh Post Office
- President: Tom Watson
- Vice President: Matt Susco
- Recording Secretary: Mary Corrigan
- Treasurer: Wayne Wagner
- Curator: Heather Famiglietti
- Newsletter Editor and Webmaster: Jim Colotti
- Trustees: Harold Ball, Zack Brauer, Bob Cook, Pete McHale, Bob Meagher, Fred Parola, Norene Parola, Barry Rivadue, Paul Sigler, Mary Wagner, Elaine Yarris
As paraphrased from our first Newsletter in September 1966: The idea of preserving some of this town’s historic past, through the old Long Island Railroad Station, has blossomed into a much wider and far-reaching endeavor. From a small band of dedicated citizens the Wantagh Preservation Society has grown into a broad-based, permanent educational society, chartered by the State of New York, dedicated to the beatification and restoration of our community.See Our First Newsletter
About the Wantagh Museum Grounds
The Wantagh Museum resides in three structures, The Station, The "Jamaica" Railroad Car and the Recreated 1904 Wantagh Post Office. The Station was built in 1885 and originally stood on Railroad Avenue, east of Wantagh Avenue. In 1966, The Station was moved to its current location to save it from demolition when the Wantagh Railroad service was expanded. After this move, The Station was restored to its 1904 appearance, and in 1982, the Wantagh Preservation Society opened the structure to the public as a museum. The ticket booth in The Station was restored to reflect the presence of Emma Whitmore, the first woman to serve as ticket agent in the Wantagh Station.
Built in 1912 for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), The "Jamaica" was a magnificent parlor car complete with solarium, cooking facilities and an ice-cooled air conditioning system. It was donated by the LIRR to the Wantagh Preservation Society in 1972. The moving process, from the storage site at Grumman in Bethpage to the museum grounds, lasted two days and required several trucks, two dollies and a crane. Time and equipment were donated by local companies to complete this move, and to set the Car on its bed of hand-hewn ties and 80-pound rails.
Across from The Station stands the recreated 1904 Wantagh Post Office. This 10 x 12 foot structure was built in 1907 and once stood on the corner of Wantagh and Railroad Avenues. (This location is now occupied by Mulcahy's.) At the time of its construction, Wantagh was a relatively rural town populated mostly by farmers. Used until the mid-1920s, the Original Post Office was operated by one person, who sorted mail into slots. Gertrude Ballem was the last person to work in the Original Post Office.
Together, the Railroad Station, the "Jamaica" and the Post Office offer visitors an opportunity to see important parts of everyday life from an era 100 years ago. The Station contains displays including a collection of turn-of-the-century photographs that depict life in early Wantagh. Several display cases feature memorabilia from Wantagh's past and exhibits of historical themes.
The money raised through membership is used for maintenance of our museum and grounds. You are not just joining the society - you become a supporter of history by enabling the society to continue its work to educate residents, especially children, on Wantagh's past. Thanks!
These photos can give you a general idea of what the Wantagh Museum has to offer. But to truly experience our displays, please visit us. There is no admission charge.
- Museum Interior
- Museum Grounds
- Jamaica Interior
Join the Wantagh Preservation Society Today!
By joining the WPS, you are helping us to maintain our museum and grounds. By joining you also help us continue our efforts to educate residents, especially children, on Wantagh's past. We also invite you to become an active member of the society. Thanks!
- Fast and Easy
- All Major Credit Cards
- Select Membership Level and click "Join Now"
Join by Postal Mail
- Click "Get Form"
- Print and fill out form
- Mail with check to address on form
The Informaton Window
"The Information Window" is the official newsletter of the Wantagh Preservation Society. In addition to general information about the Society, the periodical may also include articles about the history of our area.
It is published about three times per year. The editor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Articles and notices are invited on subjects of local interest.
Check out the archive or click the link for the most recent edition.Latest Edition
Fun Facts about Wantagh and the WPS
Click the topic or the down chevron on the right of the topic to learn more about these interesting facts.
The Jamaica Train had an early form of AC
The Jamaica had an early form of air conditioning where a fan blew air over two 300 pound blocks of ice under the train to cool the car. The Jamaica was used by Governor Rockefeller and by President John F. Kennedy.>More
The Wantagh Museum could have been located on Merrick Road
In the mid-1960's, the still-forming WPS suggested locating the Wantagh Museum on Merrick Road. Read more about it in a heartfelt letter from the WPS acting coordinators to then Senator Speno.>More
Wantagh used to go by two other names
Wantagh, Seaford and the southern part of Levittown were once known as Jerusalem. Wantagh was later renamed Ridgewood, but soon after had to change to its current moniker.>More
In 2002, the BBC filmed a TV special at the Wantagh Museum.
The Wantagh Preservation Society was honored when a television production crew from the BBC stopped by to film segments of a TV special on the life of author PG Wodehouse, the creator of Jeeves, the ever-efficient butler.>More
Contact and Hours
In addition to being open on Sunday afternoons from mid-April to mid-October, the Museum hosts many special events throughout the year. Hours are subject to change, as the Museum is staffed by all volunteers. The museum grounds are open all year round from dawn until dusk.
1700 Wantagh Avenue
Wantagh, Long Island, NY 11793
PO Box 132
Wantagh, Long Island, NY 11793
Dawn to Dusk (All Year)
No admission charge except for Professional Photographers
Sunday, 2 PM - 4 PM
Mid-April to Mid-September
No admission Charge