Lake Ronkonkoma became known as a summer resort in the late 1800s and early 1900s. There were a few boarding houses in town. One of the better-known hotels on the lake was the Lake Front Hotel. This was where many guests stayed and social events for the summer visitors took place. The Lake Front Hotel situated on twenty-four acres of land on the lakeshore was open from May 1st and January 1st each year.
Most of the original settlers and local residents chose to live away from the lakefront. The land one half mile or so beyond the lake was flatter and better suited for farming. Little by little, the lakefront developed into a fashionable haven for the wealthier people who had summer estates there. Lake Ronkonkoma became a summer resort for the wealthy and famous from New York City.
A Resort Town Changes with Time
The perimeter of the lake itself began to change from residential to commercial. As the lake front become less and less exclusive, some of the people sold their homes and moved away. George Raynor, whose family had lived at the lake since the 1840s, bought an estate in 1921. This became the well-known Raynor Beach. Raynor, whose property was being used for picnics by people who drove out from the city, built a small pavilion and some bathhouses on the beach. Up on the hill, a large building was converted into a restaurant where hot meals were served. The Beach catered to a high-class transient trade.
Lake Ronkonkoma adjusted to a two-season pattern, as resort towns must do. The economy of the town depended on a good season, and the lake itself become a great natural resource that brought work and money to Lake Ronkonkoma residents. At the end of each season, Lake Ronkonkoma returned to the normalcy of a small town with familiar faces being seen everywhere.
Lake Ronkonkoma had been accustomed to having large numbers of people in town, but previously these people had gone away at the end of the summer. But when the people of the city came to stay, the town of Ronkonkoma lost its intimacy.