Holbrook is believed to have gotten its name from a stream which was called in various tellings as either “Old Brook” or “Hollow Brook.”
The area was part of the 51,000 acre Islip Grange estate acquired in 1697 by William Nicoll (son Matthias Nicoll who was the 6th mayor of New York City). It was largely a rural area until Alexander McCotter acquired 5,000 acres in the area in 1848 (after the Long Island Rail Road reached it in 1844) and plotted the community. The oldest still standing building from this period is St. John’s Lutheran Church which was built in 1863. In 1875, the Nevins and Griswold cigar factory operated at the original LIRR station.
In 1931 the population was 321. Population increased from 2,500 in 1965 to 15,000 in 1975 to after the Long Island Expressway reached the community in 1969. It also was the center of growth as Long Island McArthur Airport developed along the community’s western border.