Sayville was founded by John Edwards (b. 1738) of East Hampton, New York. He built his home, the first in Sayville, in 1761, located at what is now the northwest corner of Foster Avenue and Edwards Street. The house was destroyed by fire in March 1913. Another man, John Greene, settled what is now known as West Sayville in 1767.
The community had no formal name until 1838 when residents gathered to choose a name for their post office, which had opened on March 22, 1837. Until that time, Sayville was known informally as “over south”. The townspeople held a meeting to decide on a name, and after Edwardsville and Greensville tied in a vote, one resident suggested “Seaville”. According to historical accounts, the clerk at that particular meeting did not know how to spell and had to go home and look in an old Bible he had brought from England years before. In the Bible, the word “sea” was spelled “s-a-y”, and “Sayville” became the name he sent to Washington. After the error was discovered, the community sent a letter of protest to Washington D.C.; however, the Postmaster General responded that the name should stay “Sayville”, as there were many “Seaville”s in the world but no “Sayville”s. As a result, the name stuck. Incidentally, in some very old Bibles, the town name is also spelled “S-a-v-i-l-l-e”.
Sayville became important mainly for its timber and oysters. Beginning in 1868, when the South Side Railroadarrived, the hamlet became a summer tourist destination. Over 30 hotels were built in the area, which hosts a ferry to Fire Island. Between 1880 and 1930, many grand homes and estates were built in Sayville, including Meadow Croft, the home of John Ellis Roosevelt, a cousin of Theodore Roosevelt. Meadow Croft still stands and is part of Suffolk County’s San Souci Lakes Nature Preserve.
The Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce began in 1948. Sayville is known as one of the most beautiful and desirable communities on Long Island. We offer a wholesome, well rounded community life that residents take pride in and that our future generations will cherish. There’s just so much to see and do! We are on the water, so enjoy boating, fishing, and swimming in the Great South Bay. Our ferry terminal links the mainland to Fire Island and provides a gateway to the Atlantic Ocean for your pleasure.
“Home is where the heart is, and my heart is in Sayville”
Sayville and West Sayville have excellent schools and we boast a professional-caliber, 18 hole championship golf course, the Long Island Maritime Museum (known for their annual Seafood Festival), a rich history, multiple parks, and countless community enrichment groups. Visitors can enjoy the shady streets and lovely Victorian-style homes, shop our friendly downtown business district, and explore our many places of interest.