What happened to The Argyle hotel in Babylon?
The Argyle hotel of Babylon, named in honor of the Duke of Argyle, was located right on the north end of Argyle lake. It was built in 1882 by August Belmont and could accommodate 400 guests. It was one of many hotels on the south shore of Long Island that drew people from the city out east for fresh air and beach fun during the warm months. When it opened it was managed by James P. Coft and had a casino on site.
Apparently the hotel is considered the birth place of the Cuban Giants, the first professional black baseball team, and there is a marker that says just that! The black service workers of the hotel formed their team in 1885. Despite the name, there were no actual Cubans on the team, but they did play in Cuba 1885-1886.
The 350 room hotel closed in 1897 and was demolished in 1904. According to an article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, there just weren't enough summer guests to keep the hotel open and the hotel was in debt. The real flux of popularity to eastern Long Island hotels was about 30 years earlier when the railroad just started bringing guests out to the island. Unfortunately this particular hotel was built at the tail end of this popularity and was very expensive to build, even though Austin Corbin had changed the entire train service on the southern line to make the hotel more accessible. Unfortunately, It just couldn't survive. A year after it was demolished, a home was built where it once stood. Local lore says that remnants of the hotel was actually used to build the current home.