December 7, 2012

It was a snowy day in Port Jefferson on Dec. 7, 1962, when, according to The Record newspaper, residents of Port Jefferson chose to incorporate by a vote of 689 to 361. In a special Friday night edition of the paper the headline exclaimed “Incorporation Wins!”

Incorporation was a hotly debated topic in the town with many calling for home rule while others came out against it. The paper described incorporation as a “tremendous uphill battle.”

At the time, William Glass was quoted as saying, “The people of Port Jeff finally showed some brains.”

“I’m damned sorry for the people in the community,” said Ned Plummer. “The poor people.”

The vote was done at the Junior High School. A crowd formed early on with more than 200 people voting in the first hour. Town Clerk Edwin Arnzen told the paper that it was a “highly unusual turnout for a local election in a community the size of Port Jefferson.” A steady stream of voters in the afternoon included “housewives and retired people, as expected, but a large number of men also, who presumably had arranged time away from work to cast their ballots, or who simply could not wait to vote.”

The paper said that Port Jefferson was the first village in Suffolk County to incorporate in more than 30 years.

Incorporation would actually have to wait until later the next year.

“Because of court challenges, the vote did not become official until April 1963,” said Village Historian Kenneth Brady.

You can see the front page of The Record newspaper’s special Friday night edition announcing Port Jefferson village incorporation attached to this article.