General Introduction to Camp Upton’s History

Located in the eastern portion of the town of Brookhaven sits what is now known as Brookhaven National Laboratory or BNL. The lab exists on 5,265 acres of land that was once occupied by Camp Upton—a military encampment that was named after a Civil War general, Emory Upton. The initial purpose of the camp was to train American soldiers during the First World War, and it was reactivated for the Second World War for training purposes, for a hospital, and for an internment camp for Japanese Americans.

After World War II ended, the camp was no longer needed. Its buildings and materials were taken apart and sold at auction to the highest bidder, and the material was shipped as far as Washington State. Since the land was already owned by the federal government and was in a pristine location, local politicians wanted to continue using the camp. It was decided to convert it into a research facility for peaceful uses of atomic energy, thus creating the Brookhaven National Laboratory. Eventually, the land and facility were turned over to the Department of Energy.

The Mystery behind Camp Upton’s Three Train Stations

It all started when I moved to East Yaphank. Being an explorer and a huge history buff, I wanted to venture out, especially knowing that Camp Upton once covered my house’s land. Venturing outside, I took a trail that followed the Long Island Rail Road’s tracks east. I stumbled upon a strange structure just to the south and decided to check it out. To my surprise, it was a solid, concrete structure that had three walls still standing with amazing arches and graffiti everywhere. My mind went whirling. What is this, and why is it here? Trying to keep logical, I thought it may be a building from when Manorville was farmland, or maybe, just maybe it was an abandoned structure from the old Camp Upton. Maybe this was where all the troops came in from. What a grand sight that would’ve been. Everything supported this; it even had a stop for the train to bud against.

Searching online, I found near to nothing regarding this mysterious structure; however, over time, I kept visiting it and eventually found an old water tower along with a pump house. The Internet sources I consulted only showed Upton Junction and the camp’s station itself, both being on the northern side of the tracks. So what could this structure be?

Fast-forward to a couple years later. My friend wanted to know where this was. Seeing as I enjoy a nice walk through some abandon places, I decided to show them and to try and take some more pictures. Once again, my mind was wondering what this place could have been. He, too, was wondering. I posed the possibility of it being a train station once again but cautioned that I was not 100 percent positive. We also made our way back to the junction where the turned-over water tower still lies on its side. This time, I noticed a trench I forgot about—a trench that once belonged to the western “wye” of the Upton spur. I realized this was more feasible since the tower is too far from the main track to reach. Doubt was in my mind, however, since today’s entrance—once the eastern entrance—is a lot farther east. I was right to assume this to be the western spur; however, after reflecting on numerous historical images and maps.


Upton Junction—looking east. West leg of WYE on the left with the LIRR “Main Line” on the right.
Circa 1968 by Dave Keller


Knowing that the junction was definitely the eastern and western entrance into the original camp made searching for this structure a tad easier. I just had to search what was to the west of the junction and find out what exactly sat there. An easy feat? Not really. Searching for maps that have identifying marks is hard; finding maps that have words and labels from that time period is nearly impossible.

Starting off with maps, I noticed from a website I use that a few maps dated 1904 and 1926 showed a small square situated exactly where my mystery building sat. However, on a 1949 map of the same spot, the building disappeared. This tells us that this structure dates back to 1904 and was closed and forgotten about sometime between 1926 and 1949.

Digging a bit deeper we come across a map that was published with an outline of Camp Upton itself. The camp stretched from today’s Route 25 all the way down to the Long Island Rail Road; then for some reason, there was a smaller portion that stretched down to Montauk Highway. It seemed to make the camp form an “L” shape. This map produced by the Department of Interior also showed a structure located between today’s North Street (once Manorville Road) and the Long Island Rail Road’s main branch.

This is where things get a little out of control.

Searching further, we finally found proof of a separate station located on the Long Island Rail Road’s main line; this station was once called Upton Road Station. According to records, it was located just east of Upton Road—once the main entrance to the army reservation, prior to William Floyd being built. There are records of this with the Long Island Rail Road itself on memos and tickets.

While the fact of Camp Upton having more than two stations is a little-known fact, it’s even rarer to have the knowledge of a third station. A little memo is the perfect indication, dated January 22, 1918, by the Long Island Rail Road Office of Superintendent: “Extra train leaving Camp Upton Terminal at 5.10 P.M for Manorville will make “s” stop at Camp Upton Station on Main Line.” Camp Upton Terminal? Camp Upton Station on Main Line? What are these places? We know that the railroad would be pretty specific with names when communicating information so nobody was to get confused, so what is this Camp Upton Station on the Main Line, and why was it making a stop there on its way to Manorville Station? This is when newspaper digging comes in handy, but before that, I did a quick search once more, which is when I realized I had missed an article that was linked to from one of the sites. The article in question is one dated August 23, 1917, and was published in the Engineering News-Record Vol. 79. This was the key to everything. In this article, it shows a map of the camp exactly as it was in the one produced by the Department of the Interior’s 1904 map, the only difference being that this mysterious building, sitting on the southern side of the Long Island Rail Road’s main branch, had a label on it showing “Camp Upton R. R. Station.”

Now, what about the Upton Road Station? We know about the Camp Upton R. R. Station and now know where it is located, but what about the Upton Road Station that we read about before? Well, apparently in 1918, the Long Island Rail Road had plans to relocate the station. In a memo dated May 24, 1918, the Office of Superintendent of the Long Island Rail Road made announcements that effective May 28, 1918, “New station and platform designated as UPTON ROAD located on north side of main track at a point about two miles west of the present Camp Upton station on Main Line is in service. Trains will stop at Upton Road and discontinue making stop at the former Camp Upton Station. Passengers will be received and discharged from north side of trains at new station. The terminal station at the camp is designated as “Camp Upton.”’

A map of Camp Upton—Engineering News-Record circa 1977

Upton Junction

The Upton Junction was an intricate and vital interchange for the Long Island Rail Road and Camp Upton while it was active for both World Wars. Here conductors and guards would turn a switch on the tracks that would allow the locomotives to leave the main line and enter the camp. Once in the camp, the trains would travel a small distance to the Camp Upton Terminal where it would unload recruits and materials for the camp itself.


Based on the facts that were provided and researched on, I can safely conclude that Camp Upton, now Brookhaven National Laboratory, once had a total of three passenger rail stations: one station being the Camp Upton Terminal located inside the reservation itself, another being the Camp Upton R. R. Station, and the final one being the Upton Road Station. We can also conclude that the stations were part of a more intricate system with the Camp Upton Junction, which helped with the numerous trains that entered and exited the camp during its active days.




Queens Library


Other Sources

Southern Pine Beetle Community Recovery Grants totaling more than $275,000 have been awarded to five projects in Nassau and Suffolk counties that will assist with recovery efforts from southern pine beetle (SPB) damage, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

“The cost of managing the negative impacts of the southern pine beetle is a significant hardship faced by Long Island communities,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership in providing these grants through New York’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), the State is offering critical assistance to alleviate the burden of removing hazard trees and helping to protect the remaining canopy and the ecological and economical services these trees provide.”

These grants are part of New York’s ongoing initiatives to address this invasive pest and provide funding directly to impacted communities. The objectives and goals of the awarded projects coincide with DEC Lands and Forests’ ongoing active management to slow the spread of SPB.

Project activities will focus on addressing safety issues associated with dead trees, cutting infested trees to reduce beetle populations, and replanting native pine barrens species in impacted areas. All of these efforts will help protect and restore the Central Pine Barrens, which is vital to protecting water quality, wildlife habitat, endangered species, and recreational opportunities.

DEC staff reviewed six completed grant applications and selected five recipients based on established rating criteria, including cost-effectiveness, projected benefits, use of recommended standards in implementation, community outreach, education, support, and regional economic impact. A full list of funded projects is below:

Recipient County Project Award
Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood, NY Suffolk Southern Pine Beetle Initiative @ The Sisters of St. Joseph $75,000
Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District Nassau Southern Pine Beetle Suppression and Management in Peter J. Schmitt Massapequa Preserve $60,644
Bayard Cutting Arboretum Horticultural Society, Inc. Suffolk NYS Bayard Cutting Arboretum, Paradise Island $60,820
Town of Southampton Suffolk Removal of Hazard Trees at Good Ground Park and Foster Avenue Park $28,050
Town of Easthampton Suffolk Open Space SPB Management $64,000
Last year, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo targeted $3 million from the Environmental Protection Fund to help manage the spread of SPB on Long Island. The additional funds bolstered DEC’s ongoing efforts to manage the invasive pest, which has killed thousands of pine trees on Long Island since it was first discovered in 2014. The 2018-19 budget proposes an additional $250,000 for prescribed burns to address SPB.

DEC is continuing to inventory the health of the pitch pine stands and designate areas for thinning. Much like weeding a garden, thinning overcrowded and low vigor stands increases the health of the remaining trees, which are then more resilient to SPB attack. SPB management includes removing infested trees, thinning overcrowded pitch pine stands, and using prescribed fire to maintain healthy Pine Barrens.

The Central Pine Barrens are vital in the protection of Long Island’s sole source aquifer, provide habitat for many endangered species, and offer a variety of recreational opportunities.



On Friday, Suffolk County Park Officials had cancelled a $2.8 million per year contract with the food and bar concessions operator at Smith Point, Cupsogue and Meschutt. The Operator, Beach Hut, had pleaded guilty to failing to pay both sales and income taxes.

Parks commissioner, Philip Berdolt, said the county had sent a letter to the Beach Hut on Friday terminating the contracts it held since 1999. Berdolt mentioned that Suffolk County will advertise a request to accept proposals for other firms to take over the concessions by Memorial Day weekend. The bids will be advertised in the coming week and was sent to more then 20 vendors.

The county will require the new vendor to install some sort of “Point of Sale” computer system to allow the county to track the purchases in real time and will have to install security cameras over all of the cash registers.

In regards to the cancellation Mr Berdolt has said that it was the appropriate call and “The fact is that funds were withheld from the county and a crime was committed”

Beach Hut president, Fred Marsillio, said on Friday that he had not yet received the county’s letter and declined to comment any further.

As a background, the Beach Hut had pleaded guilty to filing false state income tax returns from 2012 all the way to 2016, and failed to report $1.7 million in income to avoid paying any state income tax on $127.783. As a result the Beach Hut had paid restitution of $1.114 million in state and county sales tax, which includes interest and penalties.

The Beach Hut’s prosecution came after Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy performed an audit that had found the discrepancy.

The criminal case against Beach Hut also involved its operations at Babylon Town’s Tanner Park and Venetian Shores Beach. Babylon recovered $66,000.

Town Supervisor Richard Schaffer said town attorneys are reviewing Beach Hut’s contract, and he expects a final decision within the next week.

Long Island is full of beautiful places, and Old Field is one of them, so today we decided to take a trip out to the lighthouse to get this hallmark style shot with our drone.


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A video of the ice moving between Fire Island Lighthouse and Captree State Park..



Photo taken on D7100 before the video was shot

A small flyby of the frozen Shinnecock Bay as well as the Frozen Shinnecock Inlet and Ponqougue Beach.


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I decided to take the drone out today and captured this amazing video of the Peconic River frozen!

Date: December 22, 2017

Contact: Daphne Yun, 718-354-4602

The National Park Service is seeking interested parties to redevelop historic structures and land at Fort Tilden East and Riis Landing in the Jamaica Bay Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area. This Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) invites plans that include opportunities for multiple day experiences and overnight accommodations in the forms of both lodging and camping as well as improved transportation and access.

“The National Park Service is looking for the right partner(s) to join us and envision a new beginning for this area,” said Jen Nersesian, superintendent of Gateway National Recreation Area. “We believe that this is a wonderful opportunity to build on the growing popularity of the Rockaways and Fort Tilden.”

The RFEI ( was published on December 22, 2017. Submissions are due by February 23, 1 p.m. (EST). Individuals, governmental agencies, not-for-profit and for-profit organizations are welcome to submit proposals. All legal uses will be considered. Interested respondents can submit questions and arrange site visits by emailing e-mail us.

About Fort Tilden East

Fort Tilden served as a U.S. Army Coast Artillery Post from World War I through the Cold War. It protected the entrance to the New York Harbor from naval attacks during World Wars I and II. During the Cold War Fort Tilden protected the New York City area with Nike Missiles, both the Nike Ajax and the Nike Hercules. The Army transferred Fort Tilden to the National Park Service in 1974, when it became part of Gateway National Recreation Area.

About Gateway National Recreation Area

Gateway is a large diverse urban park with 27,000 acres in New York City and New Jersey. Gateway combines recreational activities with natural beauty, wildlife preservation, military history and more. Visitors can learn about forts, hike, or camp overnight in the New York metropolitan area. Gateway encourages visitors to be a part of the National Park Service’s next 100 years. For more information about Gateway visit our website at


USFWS Photo/G. Thompson
News Release Date: December 19, 2017
Contact: Kaetlyn Jackson, 631-687-4770

Patchogue, NY – The National Park Service (NPS) announced today that the the Final Fire Island Wilderness Breach Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (Final Breach Plan/EIS) is now available online. A final decision on the plan will be made after a required 30-day no action period.  The Final Breach Plan/EIS identifies No Human Intervention Unless Established Criteria are Exceeded (Alternative 3 in the plan), as the NPS preferred alternative for managing the breach that formed within the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The Final Breach Plan/EIS evaluates the impacts of all alternatives considered in the plan, and responds to public and agency comments received on the Draft Breach Plan/EIS during the 45-day comment period which began in October, 2016.A final decision on the Final Breach Plan/EIS will be documented through a Record of Decision signed by the Northeast Regional Director Gay Vietzke at least 30 days from the publication of the plan in the Federal Register. Notice of the decision will be announced through press release and on Draft Breach Plan/EIS evaluated the impacts of three alternatives for the management of the wilderness breach. The Wilderness Act requires the wilderness breach to be managed in a way that preserves wilderness character. The Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness Act, the legislation that established the Fire Island Wilderness, permits the NPS to close the breach in order “to prevent loss of life, flooding, and other severe economic and physical damage to the Great South Bay and surrounding areas.” These management directives and public and agency comments guided the development of the management plan and the NPS decision to recommend Alternative 3 for selection.Planning documents, including the Draft and Final Breach Management Plans/EISs  are available online at the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website. For more information on the wilderness breach please visit:

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