Hagen's General Store


Charles Hagen's store and hotel. North of Middle Country Road, on land currently occupied by the Island Squire. Davis Erhardt Collection.

Hagen's General Store, attached to hotel. Davis Erhardt Collection

The Hagen general store and hotel was located between Swezey Lane and Swezey-Town Lane, on the north side of Middle Country Road. The general store was built in 1835. By 1860 it was owned and operated by Oscar Swezey. It had a hotel to serve people who were hungry or needed a place to sleep when traveling across Long Island. A fire destroyed the hotel in the early 1900's. After World War I it was rebuilt and renamed Hunters Inn. It eventually became known as the Island Squire Restaurant. The building has been empty the last few years and the property is for sale.


The Hagen's

My great-grandfather was Christian Heinrich Hagen, who owned and operated The Old Homestead in Middle Island from 1902 to 1918. He and his wife, Anna (Bohle) Hagen had formerly lived at 14 Sherman Street in Brooklyn. There in Brooklyn, the couple lost their first three children in the diphtheria epidemic in 1894 & 1897. The three children, August C. Hagen, Henry N. Hagen, and William Hagen were buried in the Green-Wood cemetery in Brooklyn. During the week little August C. Hagen died, 181 people died of diphtheria, according to the NY Times “Vital Statistics of the City” for the week ended June 10, 1894. Evidently, the epidemics in the tenement houses of NY were terrible. As you may know, another one of their infants, Walter Hagen, was buried in the Union Cemetery, although I was not able to find the grave.

I’m not sure if the epidemics were the reason my German great-grandparents moved out to Long Island, but their next child did live to become my grandfather, Charles John Hagen. He had a strict upbringing out on the farm, and was not allowed to play ball on Sunday. My mother told me that he would find native American arrowheads in the fields when plowing. My grandpa attended a one-room schoolhouse near his home. He grew up speaking ~‘Hoch Deutsch” or High German, the dialect spoken in Ulm, Germany, where his father was from.

Christian Hagen, the proprietor of the inn, was born in Germany and left at age 16, reportedly to avoid military service. He and a brother arrived in the US at Ellis Island, but the records are not available for the year he arrived.

My great grandmother, Anna C. (Bohle) Hagen, cooked, crocheted, made quilts, and loved to play cards. She and my great-grandfather separated in 1918, and he returned to live in Brooklyn. Aside from the separation, I would suspect that the enactment of the 18th Amendment in 1918 and its ratification in 1919, prohibiting the sale of alcohol, may have played a factor in my grandfather’s leaving The Old Homestead, which had a general store, hotel, and tavern.

Written by,

Marianne Bickerton
Granddaughter of Charlie Hagen
Feb., 2009


Charles Hagen making store deliveries.

Newspaper articles

Port Jeff Echo
October 16, 1915

C.H. Hagen has a new Ford car for his children, Frank and May, to use in attending the High School at Patchogue daily.

May 3, 1919

Herman Bubb and Leroy Still have enlisted in the Army for 3 years in the Aviation branch of the Army. They reported to Fort Slocum for induction.

Miss Tessie Hagen visited her home here over the weekend. She holds a very responsible position as nurse to Dr. Pflugg in Brooklyn

The Long Islander
March 26, 1920

There will be an big auction sale of horses, wagons, harness and pigs at Hagen’s store, Middle Island, Saturday, March 27, at 1 P.M.

July 2, 1922

The old stand where Oscar F. Swezey started a store in 1860 has again changed hands. The Hagen family, who have occupied it as a hotel and general store for the last 20 years, transferred it to Leon De Ryckere by whom with his wife, Anna it will be continued. Charles J. Hagen will continue for a while in charge of the store.

The Hagen Hotel or Hunters’ Inn as it is named is under new management had about 20 guests from the city booked for the fourth of July vacation period, which this year reached from Saturday afternoon to Wednesday morning.

1902 liquor license given to Christian Hagen for his store/hotel. Copy from the collection of Marianne Bickerton.


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