While most Long Island Railroad stations exhibit modern structures built within the past fifty to seventy five years, there are a few stations that still feature the original buildings that rose among the birth of the Long Island Railroad in the Nineteenth Century. The Long Island Railroad was originally constructed in the early 1830’s. However, it took almost forty years until the line eventually reached the hamlet of St. James in the 1870’s.
The St. James Station opened in 1873. The original building structure still stands on Lake Ave. The building was built in what was known as the Steamboat Gothic Style. A local carpenter named Calvin L’Hommedieu was responsible for the construction of the train station’s building. At the time, the St James Train Station building became a gleaming showcase for the Long Island Railroad’s expansion into Port Jefferson.
The St James Train Station also housed a freight baggage station just west of the building. However, the freight baggage station no longer exists and is simply a memory of a different time period. Since the original Long Island Railroad Stations were built in the nineteenth century, many of them were torn down during the 1960’s due to operating costs and decaying structures. Passengers also began to buy tickets on the trains instead of the train station buildings. The days of the manned ticket booth inside the station would give way to ticket vending machines making the buildings even more obsolete.
While the ticket booths inside the St James Train Station building have not been manned for years, the building still stands as a tribute to the past. In the 1990’s, the building was restored in order to maintain its historic link to the past.
In the present day, the St. James Train Station serves as the third to last stop on the Long Island Railroad Port Jefferson line. The Stony Brook and Port Jefferson train stations are the last stops on the Port Jefferson Line. The St. James area surrounding the St. James Train Station is a well kept small community that is registered as a hamlet in the Town of Smithtown. Directly to the north of the St. James Train Station is the St. James Elementary School. To the south of the St. James Train Station is a small King Kullen supermarket. Across the street on Lake Ave across the tracks stands Garguilos Bakery. which is easily one of Long Island’s greatest bakeries. Within about a half mile walking distance from the train station, is the St. James General Store. The St James General Store is the oldest general store in the United States that is still open for business.
The St. James Train Station is a one sided single platform station. There are no bus stops at the station. There is a parking lot, but it is rather small when compared to most Long Island train station parking lots. The station seems to serve mostly business travelers and is usually empty on the weekends, although many families use the train for weekend trips into the city.