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Mt. Sinai Store Came From Army Surplus Liquidation Sale in 1920s

Currently a gift shop, the little structure was bought from Camp Upton – now the site of Brookhaven National Lab – after WWI.

Over the weekend we showed you this image from the Miller Place-Mt. Sinai Historical Society and asked you to identify the building in the picture and where it originally came from. Did you get it right?

The photo shows a small shop that served as the Mt. Sinai post office and general store from 1922 to 1970, according to a postcard printed by the historical society. The store at 157 North County Road is now a gift shop.

Before it was brought to Mt. Sinai, the little store was a government building at Camp Upton (now Brookhaven National Lab). Camp Upton was a massive military complex built to train recruits before being sent over to fight in the world war America had just committed itself to.

“In all, some 40,000 men would spend some part of their military service at Upton,” a passage on the history of Brookhaven National Lab says. “The completed camp actually doubled the population of Suffolk County.”

One of those recruits was the then-famous swing and big-band composer Irving Berlin. According to a swing band website, Berlin wrote his patriotic paen “God Bless America” while at Camp Upton. (According to multiple sources, Berlin – who was drafted into the Army to do what he did best - wrote the tune as a part of his musical “Yip Yip Yaphank” but held it back from that production.)

After World War I, the War Department liquidated the military camp, offering up around “1,660 buildings of various kinds, together with fixtures,” according to an article in the New York Times from June 16, 1921.

One of those buildings found its way to Mt. Sinai and can still be seen today across from the Mt. Sinai Fire Department on the corner of Mt. Sinai Coram Road and North Country Road. It is currently a gift shop.

Come back soon to take a guess at another historical photo.

This image was provided by the Miller Place-Mt. Sinai Historical Society. For more information please visit the website.

Mels Ditties April 11, 2013 at 12:48 AM
In the summer time I drive by that shop everyday...so cool to know it's history!...Thanx Lon!~

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