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Commack History: Marion Carll's Farm

Former farm represents Carll family history as well as Commack History.

, residents voted 2 to 1 against the sale. The farm, which is described by many as a local time capsule, was saved temporarily.

Robert Hughes, Huntington historian, said the Carll family owned the land on Commack Road since 1701. The current farmhouse was built around 1860, but it wasn’t the first family home on the property. Surrounding structures such as a milk barn and sheep barn were built even earlier.

The nine-acre farmstead once stretched to Motor Parkway. According to the book Images of America: Long Island Airports by Joshua Stoff, it was the site of Carll’s Sky Ranch built and owned by John Carll from 1929 to 1951. The small airfield had up to six planes that were used for private as well as sightseeing purposes.

Marion Carll played a significant role in the Commack School District. Smithtown historian Brad Harris said Carll, who was born in 1885 in her family’s farmhouse, attended a one-room schoolhouse during the early years of her education. Since there was no high school in the area, she attended one in Jamaica, NY. Carll become a teacher and taught in the city and Commack.

After Carll retired from teaching in 1924, she became active in the Commack Grammar School that was once located on Jericho Turnpike. She was a treasurer and Census Taker from 1929 to 1954, and she also helped to organize the district’s first PTA, which she was president from 1926 to 1936. In 1957, the district renamed the grammar school to the Marion E. Carll School.

In addition to her school activities, Carll was active in the community. Harris said the former teacher created a map of historical sites and lead tours through the area.

“It’s like someone stepped out and just left it there,” said Ettenberg.

He said the farmhouse is filled with furnishings and belongings of the Carll family. Among the antiques, Carll’s teaching papers dating back to 1905 even remain.

Ettenberg said before Carll’s passing, local students would visit the property to learn about farm life and interact with animals. When she died in 1968, Carll willed the farm to the Commack School District with the hopes of it being used for historical and educational purposes. She also granted life tenancy to her niece Alberta Jenkins who died in 1993.

In the 1990s, the property was leased by BOCES. According to Ettenberg, the organization built a one-room schoolhouse for educational programs and also renovated a few of the barns.

At first the school district would hold school programs at the farm. However, when the cost of upkeep became a challenge, many of the buildings deteriorated. The district had to suspend any programs at the farm.

Other proposals for the land have been made and are being considered. A symbol of Commack’s rural past, the farm’s future is now in the hands of the school district as well as the Friends group, local legislators and residents.

Annie D. September 02, 2011 at 06:48 PM
Why does the Commack School website have a request to "sell" (or lease) the Marion Carll Farm, when the voters voted NOT to SELL it???? Can someone look into this so we don't lose one of the last historical places in this town! Is Commack going to try to "sell" it every year and we have to vote NO every year???
vjc June 14, 2012 at 03:49 AM
now is your chance to voice your disapproval of GIVING the farm to the heirs. marion carll willed the farm to the children and residents of commack. attend the b.o.e. meeting june 14 at 7:00 pm, at the high school. you can read a copy of the will. if she wanted the heirs to have the farm she would have willed it to them.
Richard June 14, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Yes.. this is a critical issue deserving of more attention than the Dave Matthews band concert reviews and Verizon wireless fee increases. View all the pics above.Tonight is the BOE meeting

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