Long Island's Hidden Past: Jones historic complex

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MASSAPEQUA -

Along Merrick Road in Masapequa, there is a cluster of buildings that dates back to the 1800s. The buildings are the only structures left that were part of the influential Jones family.

"The first white settlers were Thomas Jones and his wife Freelove Townsend Jones who settled in this area in 1696," says Massapequa historian George Kirschmann.
Major Jones was a soldier, privateer and later ran a successful whaling business off the Barrier Islands of what is now Jones Beach - named in his memory.

 

His children and grandchildren settled and built mansions throughout the area - most along Merrick Road, called Kings Highway back then.

The mansions are gone, but Major Jones descendants built the Old Grace Church in 1844. The church's ceiling is built to represent the hull of a ship - memorializing the family's seafaring history.

A unique feature of the church are the bells with two separate sounds - one for happier times and another for when someone dies.

Next door to the church, another descendant - Colonel Delancey Floyd-Jones - built the first public library in the Massapequas. The library remained in use until 1952.

An 1870 servant's cottage from one of the Jones family estates is also part of historical society's complex.

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