The Long Island Rail Road established the Medford Station in 1843 in a flat wilderness in the Long Island Central Pine Barrens. The station connected to the Patchogue Stage Road between Patchogue and Port Jefferson, and a post office was established.
In 1850 the LIRR auctioned the land around the station. The O.L. Schwenke Land & Investment Co. bought 4 square miles (10 km2) and then subdivided the land into 25-by-100-foot (7.6 by 30.5 m) lots which sold for $10 to $75. The land remained poor for farming. According to legend, in a marketing attempt a mock factory with a phony roof was built near the tracks, and when a train neared, tar paper was burned to give the impression that a booming industry existed in the community.