WII-1 Burr Cemetery
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Wayfarer II
N 40° 50.512 W 073° 18.704
18T E 642327 N 4522574
Quick Description: Located in the Home Depot parking lot in Commack.
Location: New York, United States
Date Posted: 10/11/2005 2:49:55 PM
Waymark Code: WM2FF
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member FloridaCacher
Views: 186

Long Description:

    In 1851 the Burr cemetery was originally located in-between farm fields, maybe in a small grove of trees, and seems to have stopped being used by 1878.  When the Army came in 1918 they cleared three farms and built Brindley Field.  The cemetery then sat in the middle of a runway with a small white fence around it.  After the war, the cemetery was again surrounded by cabbage, potato, and wheat fields. By the 1950's, Modell's was built and the old cemetery was then surrounded by a parking lot.

The Burr Family

    The Burr family first arrived in America from England in 1630. They arrived on Long Island in 1656, first in Hempstead and shortly thereafter in Commack where they purchased 166 acres of land. The Burrs thrived in Commack becoming quite wealthy. At one time the family farm encompassed what is now the Home Depot shopping center on the corner of Larkfield Road and Jericho Turnpike. A mid-nineteenth-century Burr family cemetery still sits in the parking lot of that shopping center.
    In the nineteenth century, Smith Burr (1803-1887) operated a hotel on the northwest corner of Burr Road and Townline Road. Smith Burr also bred harness horses – including Lady Suffolk, considered the most famous Long Island racehorse. Lady Suffolk, who was owned by David Bryant (who was Burr’s neighbor), competed in 162 races in seventeen states from 1838 to 1853 setting several records.
    Smith Burr’s son, Carll S. Burr (1831-1916), continued the family horse breeding business. Following his marriage in 1857, he purchased a farm and opened a training school to develop trotting horses. He built a half-mile track behind his house on Burr Road. The school became quite well known and kept as many as 100 horses at the same time for training, breeding, or racing. Carll Burr was active in the Republican Party and was an Elector in the Electoral College in 1880 and 1888.
    Carll Burr enlarged his father’s small house, which had originally been built in 1832.  Although Burr first enlarged the house shortly after his marriage, his growing wealth and prominence led him in 1881 to greatly expand the house and remodel it in the then-popular French Second Empire style. The result is an imposing two and one-half story residence with a mansard roof.
    His son, Carll S. Burr, Jr., joined the family business and was also elected to the State Assembly and Senate. Carll Burr, Sr. and Carll Burr, Jr. built Suffolk County’s only one-mile race track on the east side of Commack Road where Commack North High School now stands.  The heyday of the track ended by 1916, but it continued to be used for amateur races through the 1930s.
    Carll S. Burr, III established a successful real estate business in town, which was continued by his son. The family home remained in the Burr family until the end of the twentieth century.

Adapted from Commack: A Look Into The Past, by Lucille Rosen (Commack School District, 1970)


Brindley Field

An undated postcard of a Jenny biplane
in front of hangars at “Brindley Flying Field”.

    During World War I, June 1918, an aviation camp, Brindley Field, was set up on the corner of Jericho Turnpike and Larkfield Road. It became the home of the 211th Aero Squadron for advanced airplane training. The base was deactivated in May, 1919. The field after Major Brindley, a famous pilot who had recently died.
    Originally the camp was to be named Chapman Field after Lt. Col. C. G. Chapman who died while fighting in France. The name was then changed just before it opened to Brindley Field in memory of Major Oscar A. Brindley who had just died testing a new plane and was considered at the time to be one of the best pilots.
    The field itself consisted of ninety acres of land, with the buildings, and barns, one large barn, and several other storage barns of a smaller size, and other out buildings. And a main house which they immediately established as a headquarters for the field.
    In August of 1918 they built five big steel hangers, the nearest one was about one hundred and fifty feet from Larkfield Ave. They stood in a line behind the original hay barn that had been used to hold airplane parts at that time. They were for what we called Jenny planes at the time.
    The field was a satellite of Mitchell Field in Mineola, and was the last training field for flyers before they went to France. Here they trained on Jennys, equipped with the DH-4, with the most powerful engine at the time.
    They had dog fights in their training over the field and surrounding areas. One of the most serious accidents happened while they were having dog fights over the Havemeyer property east of Townline Road. Two pilots were killed when their plane crashed into the ground after loosing control.

First Name: Not listed

Last Name: Not listed

Born: Not listed

Died: Not listed

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