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Beginnings: By the early 1700s, an old Indian footpath from Brooklyn and Queens reached into Suffolk as part of the King's Highway - now Middle Country Road. It bisected what is now Lake Grove, but there wasn't exactly a rush into the woods. Local historians say the first farmhouses didn't appear for nearly a century. The first church group, Methodist Episcopal, was formed in 1796 and built a church in 1852-53 that still stands. The Methodist Episcopal group was part of a countywide circuit of itinerant preachers after 1820. Later, it became part of the Smithtown circuit. Meetings were held in a schoolhouse until the church was built. The community's first church building, built in 1818, was the First Congregational Church of New Village. That building has been preserved and is depicted on the village seal. Lake Grove was long entangled in identity problems, surrounded by Stony Brook, Lake Ronkonkoma and Centereach. In the early 19th Century, the area was variously called Lakeland, Lakeville, New Village, Ronkonkoma or West Middle Island because there was lots of space, unclear boundaries and few people. The community was named in the mid-1800s for the groves of trees near Lake Ronkonkoma. Turning Points: Early in the 1900s, cottages on small lots, many of which are now year-round houses, appeared. The advent of a housing project called Stony Brook Lawns, combined with changes in the bounds of the postal and school districts, brought concern that Lake Grove's identity was being threatened. In 1954, the county built Nesconset Highway (now State Route 347), which intersected Middle Country Road adjacent to Lake Grove, creating a commercial crossroad that attracted sprawling Smith Haven Mall in early 1968. Town approval of the mall zoning rekindled the desire for more local control and led to incorporation of the three-square-mile village in 1968.


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