Wantagh was originally known as Jerusalem, although some early accounts do refer to the area as "Wantagh." The creek running north/south through Wantagh, and which has been covered up in many places but is still visible between Wantagh Parkway and the housing developments west of Wantagh Avenue, was originally the Jerusalem River. The original post office was built in 1837, for Jerusalem, but mail service from Brooklyn began around 1780. The town's first school was established in 1790. At some time around the 1880s, Jerusalem was renamed Ridgewood, and the town's original LIRR station was for "Ridgewood Station." Later, Ridgewood was renamed Wantagh to avoid confusion with another town in New York State with the same name.
George Washington rode through Jerusalem on April 21, 1790, as part of his 5-day tour of Long Island. The Daughters of the American Revolution have placed a plaque on Hempstead Turnpike to commemorate Washington's travels, which took him from Hempstead on Jerusalem Road (now North Jerusalem Road) to Jerusalem, on to Merrick Road. He then went on to head east, then circle back west on the north shore. During the Revolutionary War, British ships traveled up Jones inlet and came ashore to raid Jerusalem farms.
The oldest original settlers of the Wantagh/Jerusalem area were the Jackson and Seaman families, and their marks are still visible today. For example, the Cherrywood shopping center (at the corner of Jerusalem and Wantagh Avenues) was the site of prominent settler Capt. John Seaman's estate, which was named Cherrywood. Wantagh is home to a number of New York State Historical Markers (9 of Nassau County's 25), including:
The oldest cemetery in Wantagh is the Jackson Cemetery, located just north of the St. Frances de Chantal Roman Catholic Church on Wantagh Avenue. There are 63 confirmed graves that include descendants from the Seaman and Jackson families, with the most notable including Thomas Jackson, who served in the Revolutionary War in the Second New York Regiment and participated in the Battle of Long Island and the storming of Fort St. George under Major Talmadge in 1780, and who was the original landowner of the site of land around the Wantagh Public Library, and General Jacob Seaman Jackson, a Brigadier General in the War of 1812 and senior warden of Long Island's first chartered Masonic lodge in 1797.
The Rierson burial plot was located in what has been redeveloped into Bunker Road. This cemetery includes members of the Rierson family who served as loyalists during the Revolutionary War.
The Jerusalem Society of Friends Cemetery is located behind (east of) the current Christian Tabernacle Church. The Society of Friends were Quakers who maintained meeting houses in Jericho, Bethpage, and Hempstead, and met in then-Jerusalem as early as 1697. Capt. John Seaman allowed the Society to conduct meetings on his land in 1699, but the congreation later traveled to Bethpage to worship. The Jerusalem Society of Friends purchased land from another Seaman, Arden Seaman, and then constructed their own meeting house on the site of the current Christian Tabernacle Church in 1827, and added the cemetery in 1861. By the 1940s, the congregation had dwindled significantly, and the property was sold in 1952 to the newly-formed Wantagh Baptist Church and then recently sold to the newly-formed Christian Tabernacle Church in 2007. The cemetery contains the graves of three Civil War veterans: Lt. H.R. Jackson, Gilbert Seaman, of the 139th Regiment of NY Voluneers, and Charles Wilson, of the 119th Regiment of NY Volunteers and who was wounded in Gettysburg.
The St. John of Jerusalem Cemetery served the German Methodists, who moved to Jerusalem from New York City around 1850 to farm. The cemetery can be found west of Wantagh Avenue a few hundred yards north of North Jerusalem Road (now North Wantagh). The congregation began to meet in 1854 and held services entirely in German. The cemetery was constructed in 1862 and was intended only for use by congregation members and their families. Later generations of congregants grew weary of the services in German, and numbers dwindled until the last German service was held in 1911. From 1912 to 1926, the church remained unused. The church has since been used by a local Lutheran congregation from 1926 to 1940, and a United Christian congregation from 1949 to 1969. Since then, however, the church has remained unused, although the cemetery has been fenced in and maintained by a Board of Trustees. The cemetery contains graves of veterans from the Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, and Vietnam.
The area that became today's Wantagh continued primarily as a farming area until the construction of Sunrise Highway and Jones Beach in the early 20th Century, when tourism and fishing took hold, centering around Jones Beach. The Long Island Railroad has served the town since 1885 (and possibly as early as 1867), but the town did not take on a suburban character until the housing development between the 1950s and 1970s. The LIRR tracks were elevated in 1966 with the rest of the Babylon LIRR Line.
Wantagh is located at (40.674697, -73.510548).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 4.1 square miles (10.7 km²), of which, 3.8 square miles (9.9 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.8 km²) of it (7.25%) is water.
Because of non-conforming postal codes, Wantagh has a different border than does the "Wantagh, NY 11793" postal zone. There are a small number of places in Wantagh that have a "Bellmore, NY 11710" mailing address; and, at the same time there are places in Levittown, North Bellmore, North Wantagh, Seaford and Jones Beach State Park that have a "Wantagh, NY 11793" mailing address.
There were 6,179 households out of which 41.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 73.8% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.6% were non-families. 13.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.06 and the average family size was 3.37.
Jones Beach State Park is located within the departments jurisdiction, during large gatherings the WFD deploys various apparatus and its new mobile command center.
|Jones Beach State Park||accessible by Wantagh Parkway, Meadowbrook Parkway, or Ocean Parkway||6 miles of white sandy Atlantic beachfront, 2 miles of boardwalk, concession facilities, picnic areas, surfing, bandshell, pitch & putt golf, swimming pools, restaurant and catering area, miniature golf, softball field, roller skating rink, playground, beach volleyball, 15 paddle tennis courts, 22 shuffleboard courts, 4 basketball courts, historical art deco buildings, and site of the Jones Beach Theater|
|Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center||West end of Jones Beach State Park||South Shore Estuary Reserve, educational environmental boardwalk, child-friendly museum and visitor's center, Discovery Bone Cove, gift shop, butterfly garden|
|Mill Pond Park||North of Merrick Road, West of Wantagh Parkway, East of Bellmore Avenue||15-acre pond for fishing a wide variety of fish: largemouth bass, chain pickerel, bluegill, pumpkinseed, black crappie, yellow perch, white perch, carp, ameican eel, brown bullhead, black bullhead), paved trail with benches for jogging, relaxation, birdwatching|
|Wantagh Park||South of Merrick Road, off of Woodland Avenue||Swimming complex (six pools), open and sheltered picnic tables and grills, concession facilities, tennis courts, bocci, horseshoes, large playgrounds, jogging trails, illuminated baseball and softball fields, year-round fishing pier, boating marina and launch ramp, fenced-in dog run area, jogging trails|
|Twin Lakes Preserve||Corner of Park Avenue and Old Mill Road||58-acre woodland preserve with unpaved trails, nature tours available, the two lakes provide 30 acres of water for shoreline fishing for largemouth bass, crappies, perch, carp, bullhead, and stocked with rainbow and brown trout in the spring and fall|
|Forest City Community Park||3099 Morgan Drive||Two swimming pools and changing areas, nature trails, paddle tennis courts, baseball diamond, picnic areas, playground, 6-acre fishing pond, concession facilities|
Notably, Wantagh is home to Mulcahy's Pub and Concert Hall. This large establishment hosts live music Wednesday to Saturday from local to nationally-known bands.
Wantagh is primarily served by the Wantagh Union Free School District, which is composed of three elementary schools (Wantagh Elementary School, Mandalay School, and Forest Lake School), Wantagh Middle School, and Wantagh High School. All of these schools have been recognized as New York State Schools of Excellence. In addition, Wantagh is the only school district in New York State in which every school has been recognized as National Schools of Excellence.
SCHUMER CALLS ON AMERICAN WATER TO STOP AQUA'S PLAN TO BUILD WATER TOWER IN HEART OF WANTAGH AND TO EXPLORE OTHER OPTIONS FOR WATER DELIVERY.
Jul 13, 2011; WASHINGTON -- The following information was released by New York Senator Charles Schumer: With Purchase of Aqua New York,...
SEN. SCHUMER CALLS ON AMERICAN WATER TO STOP AQUA'S PLAN TO BUILD WATER TOWER IN HEART OF WANTAGH AND TO EXPLORE OTHER OPTIONS FOR WATER DELIVERY
Jul 16, 2011; WASHINGTON, July 13 -- The office of Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N. Y., issued the following news release: United States Senator...