Hauppauge residents see a Lukoil gas station at the intersection of Route 111 and Townline Road. In the early days of the hamlet, it was the homestead of Hauppauge’s first resident Thomas Wheeler.
As a child, Wheeler’s family moved from Easthampton to Smithtown and around the 1740s he relocated to Hauppauge. Thomas Wheeler’s house was recognized as the first settlement in the area and was built before the line between Smithtown and Islip was finalized, according to local historian Noel Gish.
The two-story home with cedar shakes was an example of pre-revolutionary architecture. It featured the 6-over-6 window style that was popular during the time. Gish said that due to the cost of glass, windows were constructed this way. Instead of one large piece of glass, a few smaller pieces were used to create a pane.
Before Wheeler established his homestead in Hauppauge, the area consisted of acres of woods. Once he made his home in Hauppauge, the settler made a living cutting wood in the colder months and farming in the warmer months. The farm extended behind the house where today you can find the Hauppauge Post Office and shopping center.
A few years after Wheeler built his home, his brother, Timothy, built his house about one mile away on King’s Highway. According to Gish, the nickname “The Wheelers” became popular and caught on until about the mid-1850s.
“You stuck that on there because you were going to visit the people at the house," Gish said.
According to “Colonel Rockwells Scrap-Book” published by the Smithtown Historical Society in 1968, after Wheeler’s passing the home was inherited by his son, Timothy, and then his grandson, Richard.
As it changed hands, the original structure remained recognizable. Gish said the house may have had small renovations through the years, but nothing to alter it greatly.
“It almost remained unchanged,” he said.
The house burned down on May 25, 1931, according to Gish. It caught fire after an illegal whiskey still blew up in the root cellar. Luckily, the family did not live there when the fire occurred and was most likely renting the home out, according to the local historian.
After the fire, the location of Hauppauge’s first homestead became the site of gas stations, including Texaco and Lukoil. The busy intersection now shows no trace of the first house that was once found in the middle of wood lots.