In 1653, three men from Oyster Bay, Richard Holbrook, Robert Williams and Daniel Whitehead, purchased a parcel of land from the Matinecock tribe. This parcel has since come to be known as the "First Purchase" and included land bordered by Cold Spring Harbor on the west, Northport Harbor on the east, what is now known as Old Country Road to the south and Long Island Sound to the north. The three men immediately turned the land over to the white settlers who had already been living there.
From that initial settlement, Huntington grew over subsequent years to include all of the land presently comprising the modern Towns of Huntington and Babylon. The southern part of the town was formally separated to create Babylon in 1872.
Because Huntington was populated largely by English settlers, unlike the rest of the New Amsterdam colony, the town voted in 1660 to become part of the Connecticut colony rather than remain under the authority of New Amsterdam. It was not until the British gained control of New Amsterdam in 1664 (renaming it New York) that Huntington was formally restored to the jurisdiction of New York.
The arrival of the Long Island Rail Road in 1867 transformed the economy of Huntington from primarily agriculture and shipping (based on its well protected harbor) to tourism and commuting. Cold Spring Harbor became a popular summer resort.
The end of World War II brought about an explosive growth of population in Huntington, as in the rest of the region. Farms and resorts gave way to homes, and Huntington has transformed into a major bedroom community for nearby New York City.