The hamlet's name has changed over time: Early European settlers referred to the area first as Penataquit and later as Awixa; both were names used by the Native American Secatogue tribe. For reasons never documented, the name was changed in the early 19th century to Sodom. In 1842 there was a further name change to Mechanicsville, then a return in 1849 to Penataquit. The name Penataquit proved unpopular because it was difficult to spell. The name of the hamlet and post office was changed to Bay Shore in 1868.