In the 1890’s, trolley fever had swept the nation and Long Island was no exception. In cities and towns everywhere, electric trolleys replaced horse-drawn carts. The Suffolk Traction Company, based in Patchogue started laying tracks for the trolley lines in 1907. The Patchogue streets were in disarray when the trolley tracks were laid down. The route of the trolley line went from the bay on South Ocean Ave to Main Street and from there west to Blue Point and Sayville and from Main Street north to the Holtsville station. On July 1, 1911, the line started with two battery powered cars that seated twenty five passengers and reached speeds of 11 mph. The cars had a range of 52 miles if the batteries were fully charged. The Suffolk Traction Co. had an agreement with the Long Island Railroad regarding the crossing of its tracks. In Patchogue the old PD tower was used for among other things, signaling the trolley when to proceed. The LIRR paid $81 per month for the employee, anything above that per month was to be covered by Suffolk Traction Co. The trolleys were enjoying great success. By 1915 a fourth trolley was added and revenues peaked at $16,000.
The company had more ambitious projects in mind. Acquiring the “Echo Line”, tracks previously laid from the Sound in Port Jefferson north to the Long Island Railroad tracks, it was thought that a line from Patchogue to Port Jefferson would enjoy similar success. The right of way having been purchased from Port Jefferson to Holtsville and a fine, steel bridge built over the Long Island Railroads main line. It remained in place for many years but was never used. By 1916, expenses were climbing and revenue decreased and the path was all downhill from there. Two things hastened the decline of the trolley car company. The first was when jitneys (early buses) started to compete with the trolley line on South Ocean Avenue to the bay. The jitneys were faster and cheaper. Second, by overextending themselves during the Sayville phase and being unable to secure additional funds the last trolley was run on October 10, 1919. The popularity of the Ford Model T also helped hasten the decline of the trolley.
After abandonment of service, the tracks remained in place for some years. The cars were left outside of the car barn, their batteries removed and sold for scrap. Soon thereafter the tracks were torn up, the Holtsville bridge torn down and all sold as salvage. The age of the trolley was over.
In 2007, while doing construction on North Ocean Ave town workers removed the last of the trolley tracks that had been buried beneath years of tar &asphalt. The rails were then donated to the Greater Patchogue Historical Society which will use them in a future exhibit. The car barn still remains, now converted into an ironworks shop. The only remains of the old Holtsville Bridge are the bridge abutment, currently being used as a sign.
(The Holtsville bridge abuttment still standing in Holtsville.)