Friday, March 6, 2015

Weaving the Story Mary Kavanagh, Postmaster of Lawrence

Mary Kavanagh, who lived at the turn of the 20th century in Lawrence, New York,  is a mystery waiting to be uncovered.

Alfred Bellot, in his History of the Rockaways (1917), devotes one line to
"the late Mrs. William J. Kavanagh, a resident of Lawrence for many years,and a well-known Indian scholar and literary woman..."
Map of Lawrence, 1891
The only facts related here are 1) Mrs. Kavanagh's husband's name was William J. and 2) she died sometime before 1917.

It was my goal to reconstruct Mrs. Kavanagh's life from readily available Internet sources and subscription databases through the H-WPL database page.    Combined, these individual facts will show that she was a wife and mother, an author, educator and, in an era when women rarely had professions outside the home, she was a notary and Postmaster.

William J.Kavanagh and his wife, Mary lived in the Town of Hempstead (then a part of Queens County)  in the 1880 U.S. Census and the 1892 New York State Census with their four children: 
  • William L. born 1866 (died 1892)
  • Victor Frank, born 1868  (died 1901)
  • Edmund Arthur, born 1873 (died 1935)
  • Mary Gabriella,  born 1876 (died after 1917)
William was born in New York in 1840.  Mary, born in 1834,  emigrated from her native Ireland in 1842.  Working backwards, it was then possible to verify them in the 1870 Census with the two older boys, as resident of New York City.

There are several William Kavanaghs listed as New York Civil War veterans in various databases.  One lived to collect a pension; the beneficiary was his wife Mary.  This William Kavanagh served with several cavalry units, spent some time as a Quartermaster Sergeant and a Regimental Sergeant Major,  and ended the war as a commissioned First Lieutenant.  He lived to collect a pension, of which Mary was the  beneficiary.  This Quartermaster experience may have prepared him for his profession as "leather dealer." (as "our" William is listed in the 1880 U.S. Census).
Articles from local newspapers of the era provided some insight into the lives of the Kavanaghs, who had a home with a beautiful garden in Far Rockaway (South Side Observer, July 7, 1882).  During a crime wave in 1882, the home was the site of an attempted burglary (SSO, October 19, 1882).  That same year, Mrs. Kavanagh purchased the property of Jacob L. Wood in Lawrence (probably located on West Broadway) in the hope of making it "a handsome and very desirable country home." (SSO, April 27, 1882)
Cedarhurst Post Office block, c.1910
In 1883 (SSO, November 17, 1883) Mrs. Kavanagh is credited with "organizing a first class private academy for a limited number of pupils" in Far Rockaway.  The Kavanagh sons established themselves as real estate and insurance brokers in the Branch communities.   William J. was appointed Postmaster of Lawrence in March of 1886.
Unfortunately, the Kavanagh's good fortunes were not to last.   Mention is made of Mrs. Kavanagh in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of July 13, 1889 as "a lady of fine literary tastes" who, at the time, was suffering from nervous prostration.   In June 1892, the oldest son, William L., died of consumption at the age of 26.  Unable to recover from the loss of his son, William J. fell into a deep melancholy and took his own life the following year.  The elder remaining son, Victor, died of consumption in 1901.
Late 19th Century Postmistresses (Cushing. The Story of our Post Office) 

The appointment of a Postmaster was a political appointment.  Although he only served for one term, Major Kavanagh, a Democrat,  was a respected veteran cited for his integrity and was endorsed for a second term by both parties.  With the election of Grover Cleveland, the widowed Mary Kavanagh was appointed Postmaster of Lawrence in 1893 and again in 1897.

She advertised "two fine homes, fully furnished; all improvements, with stables and five acres of ground, located on main road. in the New York Herald of March 1, 1896 and moved to smaller quarters  on Maple Avenue in Cedarhurst with her daughter, Gabriella.  Mary Kavanagh died in Cedarhurst on March 26, 1917;  her funeral was held at St. Joachim's Church.

At the present time, I have not definitively verified a maiden name for Mary Kavanagh, although she is regularly listed as Mary A.S. Kavanagh and she appears as "Mary Ann Stevens O'Reilly Kavanagh" in transcriptions of  birth records of two of her children.  I also have not verified why she was considered an "Indian scholar" by Bellot, though The History of Queens County, New York (Munsell, 1882) refers to her article on another historical subject.   Hopefully, more research will shed more light on this interesting woman and her accomplishments.

Further information:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fowling in the Branch

In 1840, Daniel Tredwell (1826-1921) wrote:
From our earliest childhood we have beheld with marvelous admiration the phenomenon of the migration of a flock of wild geese.  There are but few Long Islanders, who are not familiar with the mysterious annual pilgrimage of the wild goose northward in the spring and his return in the fall.
Brant on Woodmere Bay (photo: M. Vollono)
 The wonder of the autumn migrations has not diminished since then and Woodmere Bay is the perfect place to view ducks, geese and other water birds, as they rest during their journey south, which can last for thousands of miles.

In Tredwell's time, two hundred species of water birds were know to frequent Long Island (p. 96) and the Great South Bay and its branches were a haven for both the birds and the humans who hunted them.  He also writes that the Canada goose, known as a pest in our era, was considered the same in the 17th century.

Town [of Hempstead] Meeting, May 5, 1682 
"Att the foregoing townd Meeting it was concluded by the Ma Jer Vote that No Teame Geese should have liberty to goo on the commons.  In the townd after the fift of November Next insuing and that it shall be lawful for any Person to shute any they shall find on the commons aforementioned after the time..."   The above was re-enacted yearly. (p.100)
Duck hunter reclining in a camouflaged boat.
(Photo: Courtesy Library of Congress)

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries,  the Branch communities became known for tourism.  "City folk" took advantage of the area's bounty and hired local farmers and fisherman as guides for recreational fishing and hunting expeditions.

Typically, a hunter's boat would be camouflaged with grasses and reeds.

Nancy Solomon chronicled the traditions of the baymen of Long Island's South Shore in her book On the Bay, published in it's second edition in 2011.  The chapter entitled "A day in duck hunter heaven," gives a clear picture of the lives of  "market gunners" as some of the baymen supplemented their income by selling duck meat to local restaurants, feathers to the millinery industry and creating decoys for their own use and local sale, and eventually for sale to collectors.  Market gunning was outlawed in 1918 as a conservation measure, but the guide businesses continued. (Solomon, p. 28)

Today, the antique hand-carved decoys of  baymen Obadiah Verity, Thomas Gelston and Bill Bowman are highly sought-after collectibles.  Contemporary decoy carvers such as Ken Budny, George Rigby Jr. and Larry Udell carry on the tradition .

This decoy, carved by William Bowman of Long Island, New York, c. 1890, sold for $10,500 in 1973. It was the first decoy to sell for more than $10,000, but it turned out to be a good investment. In 2000, the decoy was re-sold at a joint auction by Guyette & Schmidt, Inc. and Sotheby's for $464,500. (Photo Courtesy of Guyette &Schmidt, Inc.)

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation web site:

Long Island holds the majority of New York's wintering waterfowl. Tens of thousands of ducks and geese of at least 28 species are available to Long Island's waterfowlers. The various seasons run from early October through mid-February. The early sea duck season offers generous limits and a long season to those hunting scoters, eiders and long-tailed ducks in Long Island Sound and the Peconic Bays.
A brant, one of many varieties of ducks and
geese which visit Woodmere Bay during their
Many duck hunters pursue the dabbler species, rigging primarily for the prized black duck, with mallards, pintail, widgeon, gadwall and green-winged teal filling out the bag limit.  
Those that seek out the diving duck species generally set for broadbill (greater scaup) and are rewarded with a variety of other open water species, including bufflehead, goldeneye and redhead. Most waterfowlers hunt on the tidal marshes, bays and creeks found along our shores; Canada geese and brant are popular in the western bays of the south shore.

Further Research:

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Lennox Shop

 In 1928, Richard Lennox opened the Lennox House shop in a 12-foot by 18-foot cottage on the site of his grandfather's dairy farm.  Lennox created his version of a general store and featured Early American reproduction furniture.  Enhanced with rescued artifacts from the Oliver Hewlett homestead in East Rockaway (demolished in 1936) , it grew into a charming complex of buildings and a mail order business with over 100,000 customers per year.
Richard and Edith Lennox

An article in the December  29, 1994 South Shore Record states that 19 year old Richard Lennox began with a one-fifth interest in the property, a $200 wedding gift, his wife, Edith's $22-a-week secretarial job and his grandmother's signature on a bank loan. With those assets, and a $50 inventory, Lennox expanded the business, created their own brand of Early American furnishings, and expanded the ambiance of the shops. By 1953 was the subject of a feature article in the trade publication Giftwares, which shared Lennox's story, his business philosophy and his techniques for growing his business into the success that it became, attracting shoppers from all over the metropolitan area and mail orders from all over the United States.

Building the Honeymoon House (c1952).
The shop and its subsequent additions:  Easy Street (which originally featured glassware), the Card Barn, the Fireplace Room, and the Hewlett Room (elegant Early American furnishings) became a fully decorated country home and a showcase for Lennox furniture and decorating services. The 1952 construction of the Honeymoon House enlarged the display and created an environment which those who remember it still miss.

 At this time, the original Seaman homestead (home of Lennox's grandparents) was moved to the corner of Broadway and Trinity Place.   Joan Battino wrote in the December 31, 1998 South Shore Record:
Their home, shop and country store was a great success for more than 70 years.  If ever one needed a special wedding present, a baby gift, a knicknack or just a fun afternoon in a wonderful place to shop, the Lennox Shop was the first place to come to mind.  Christmas transformed the store into Santa's own private haven.  Incense burned throughout, a fire roared in ever fireplace, light hearted holiday tunes were piped into every corner and the shop was decorated from roof to floor plank with pine branches and red ribbons.  No one left without a candy cane.

Richard Lennox died in 1989 and the property was eventually sold to the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library for its 1994 expansion.

 During this month's exhibit of Five Towns History in the Library's Gallery, we have on display some memorabilia from the Lennox Shop as well as local artist Maxwell Diamond's renditions of views of the Lennox Shops buildings, photographs from the H-WPL collection and examples of work from other local artists.
The late Bob Longworth, a cousin of Richard Lennox, created a miniature reproduction of the original 1928 building in its Christmas glory.
More information:

Battino, Joan. "Lennox Shop remembered in miniature," South Shore Record, December 31, 1998, p. 8.
Namee, M. Virginia.  "The Lennox Shop Story, 1928-1953," Giftwares, November 1953.
"The Way We Were: Lennox House,"  South Shore Record, (date unknown)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fathers of the Five Towns: William Soper Pettit

William S. Pettit
(photo courtesy Linda Forand)
From humble beginnings in a family that traced its roots to the earliest settlers of the Town of Hempstead, William Soper Pettit became one of the most respected and influential civic leaders in the New York metropolitan area.

William Pettit was born on January 20, 1880, to Mary Elizabeth Craft and Theodore Edward Pettit.   From the age of 9, he sold newspapers and delivered telegrams at the Cedarhurst LIRR Station.  He was a descendant of Joseph Pettit, the first clerk of Hempstead (about 1657).

After graduating with Far Rockaway High School's Class of 1900,  Pettit went on to attend Columbia University's Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1903.   He authored a book History and Views of the Rockaways, published in 1901.  

Pettit was a leader of the secessionist movement to separate Far Rockaway from New York City and to create a "Rockaway City."  Although the movement was popular and Pettit felt that the legislation's passage was inevitable, it was vetoed by New York's mayor in May 1915.   In 1915, he also served as Special Counsel to the Nassau County Board of Supervisors.  He subsequently served as Chairman of the drafting commission for the Nassau County Charter, Chairman of the Nassau County Child Welfare Board, President of the Nassau County Historical and Genealogical Society and President of the Long Island Y.M.C.A.  In 1920 the Nassau County Republican party backed Pettit in an unsuccessful bid for Justice of the Supreme Court. 
Mary and Theodore Pettit
(courtesy Linda Forand)

In 1925 he won the first Alfred C. Bossom Gold Medallion for distinguished public service by a New York high school graduate.  The award was made for active work in furthering the development of the Rockaways and for leadership in civic and welfare enterprises."  (NYT 5/20/48, p. 60)  When the citizens of Hewlett Neck voted for incorporation of their village (1927), they met at Pettit's home on Barberry Lane in Woodmere.  Pettit was the attorney for the property owners in their quest to have more control over the future of their community.

     During World War I, Pettit headed the local draft board and during World War II, he was chairman of the Lynbrook Ration Board.  He organized the Five Towns War Finance Committee, was a president of the Nassau County Bar Association and a vestryman of Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church in Hewlett (now Trinity-St. Johns) from 1920-1947.  In addition, he was one of the first Trustees of the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library, when is was established in 1947.

Unfortunately, his illustrious career was cut short in May 1948, when he was killed in a collision with a truck in upstate New York. His wife of forty years, the former Dorothea Smolling, was seriously injured in the accident, but survived.  After his death, his home in Lawrence became the headquarters of the Five Towns YMCA, an institution he helped to found. They had no children.  Mr. and Mrs. Pettit are buried in the family plot in Trinity-St. John's churchyard.

Plaque in honor of W.S. Pettit
from the Trustees of the
 Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library

A 1929 article in the Rockaway Beach Wave listed Pettit's business affiliations:
  • President and Director of the Bus Line Holding Co., Inc.
  • Director and counsel of the National Bank of Far Rockaway,
  • Director and counsel of the Rockaway Beach National Bank
  • Vice President, director and Counsel of Hewlett-Woodmere National Bank
  • Director, Long Beach Trust Co., Vision Realty Corporation, Coney Island Estates, Atlantic Beach Realty Corporation, Madison Mortgage Corporation, Equitable Mortgage and Title Guarantee Co., Darwinian Realty Co., Bay Ocean Realty Association, Boardwalk Associates Inc. and Sarego Realty Co.

Further reading:
Bea Jones. "Nassau Civic Leader Dies in Crash, Newsday, May 20, 1948, p. 3.   (requires HW Library card login)
"Citizens of Hewlett Neck Vote for Incorporation," Long Island Daily Press, February 4, 1927, p. 10.
"Mitchel rejects the Rockaway Bill," The New York Times, May 2, 1915, p. 19.
"W.S. Pettit killed in auto accident," The New York Times, May 20, 1948, p. 60.
William S. Pettit. "The Cornell Cemetery, Far Rockaway," Long Island Forum, August 1946.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New York World's Fair 1964-65

One of the great events in the memories of baby boomers and their parents living in the metro New York area, the New York World's Fair opened to the public on April 22, 1964. 
The Unisphere
 The Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library is proud to share some of the photos in our collection, taken the late Max Hubacher, a local resident, during his many visits to the Fair.

The Unisphere, the most recognizable symbol of the Fair, was presented to the Fair by U.S. Steel in 1964.  Standing 140 feet tall, it was the World's Fair's most popular meeting place and is the centerpiece of the modern Flushing Meadow Corona Park in Queens.

 For an adult admission of $2.00 ($2.50 in the 1965 season), and a children's admission of $1.00, visitors could spend the entire day in the world of the future.  In 1964 color TV was in its infancy, computers were limited to large businesses, where they occupied entire rooms with less computing power than an average laptop.  The Fair gave visitors a glimpse of a future that was right around the corner, a world united by technology and trade -- and a universal love of strawberry-topped Belgian waffles!
 New York mayor Robert F. Wagner and a team led by master builder Robert Moses, chose Flushing Meadows Park, the site of the 1939 World's Fair, as the location for the exposition.  Many years before the Fairs, this reclaimed garbage dump had been referred to as "the city of ashes" in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (1925).  It was transformed into a pristine and usable public space, close to  transportation hubs and New York City's many attractions.  
The New York State Pavilion
At the height of the Cold War,  the theme "Peace Through Understanding" resonated with the public as America took on the challenges of the nuclear arms race, the Vietnam War and the future of space exploration.  Thirty-six foreign nations and twenty-one states sponsored pavilions  -- among the most celebrated were the the Vatican Pavilion, where Michelangelo's Pieta was displayed, the New York State Pavilion (above) with its rotating towers, and the Swiss Sky Ride (below).   

In the part of the fairgrounds closest to the Van Wyck Expressway, more than 45 pavilions  surrounded a pool around which was held a nightly fireworks show. With pavilions from Ford, DuPont and  General Electric Pavilion’s Progressland, the Industrial area was a showcase for corporate America. The Kodak Pavilion’s roof was designed like the surface of the moon, and Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen’s egg-shaped IBM Pavilion, where visitors sitting on grandstands were lifted swiftly into a theater. At the Bell System exhibit, visitors previewed touch-tone phone technology that was soon to replace the rotary dial.

Lake Amusement Area
Walt Disney Studios introduced "audio-animatronics," their new robotics technology, in the form of the Illinois Pavilion's Abraham Lincoln, the General Electric "Carousel of Progress," which showed the progress of the American family  through the technology of the Twentieth Century and the Pepsi-Cola Pavilion’s Unicef-Disney production of “It’s a Small World,” featuring animatronic dolls in their national costumes and a theme song, sung in several languages, destined to be lodged in the memories of all who attended.

The United States Pavilion
While it never became a financial success, over 51 million people visited the Fair over its two seasons.  And for this visitor, who first saw the spectacle as a wide-eyed twelve-year-old, the memories of the exhibits, the rides, the pageantry and the belief that all things might be possible are recollections almost as sweet as those waffles!

More Information:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Woodmere Kennel Club

The February 10th opening of the The Westminster Kennel Club 138th Annual Dog Show at Madison Square Garden brings to mind a little-known treasure of early 20th-century Woodmere -- The Woodmere Kennel Club.

The inhabitants of the Branch communities, home to the Rockaway Hunting Club since 1878, were avid canophiles -- much  like their modern counterparts.  Besides having family pets, many had their own kennels, as well as private stables, in what was then a very rural area.  Long Island dog enthusiasts formed local kennel clubs based on breed or locale and the Woodmere Kennel Club was one of the early clubs in the area.

The Woodmere Club had a small opening show on a rainy May 18th of 1913, but on June 28 of that year, a second show was held on the grounds adjoining the Broadway Central Hotel on Broadway in Woodmere (Rockaway News, July 2, 1913, p. 1). The two-hour long event was held in a tent with two rings.  Best in show was one by Sun of Llenrud, a nineteen-month old British-bred Pekingese owned by Mrs. A. McClure Halley of New York.

A Rockaway News article from June 21, 1913 lists prizes offered for the second event, including:

Bull Terriers:
Mr. Wex Jones offers $2.50 in gold for best brace of Bull Terriers.
Dr. A.C. Daniels offers twelve pounds Puppy Bread for the best puppy dog and twelve pounds for the best bitch.
Bulldogs:Mr. P. Seixas offers Set of Cuff Buttons for best Miniature Bulldog
Dr. A.C. Daniels offers a Mark Cross Safety Razer [sic] for best American bred dog or bitch.

Other classes included Irish Terriers, French Poodles, English Toy Spaniels, Children Classes, Scottish Terriers, Great Danes, Setters, Maltese Terriers, Pekingese Spaniels, Dachshunde, Collies, Toy Poodles.
To be shown by a "lady", the woman must be the dog's owner.

Within a few years, the shows had outgrown the Broadway Central Hotel.  In 1915, shows were held in the ballroom of the Nassau Hotel in Long Beach, the Hoffman House and the Hotel Gregorian (42 West 35th Street) in Manhattan.  The Club held shows at the Hotel Gregorian for many years.

On October 21, 1914, an unusual event was held at the Hotel Gregorian.  Billed as "Dogs in Toyland," the Woodmere Kennel Club held a special show for miniature breeds.  It seems that at a prior show there were issues between on of Charles Ludwig's Great Danes and a Pekingese. So large dogs were not invited to the next event.

In December, James R. Meade, a breeder from Brooklyn, resigned from the presidency of the club, which he had held for three years.    Over 100 members attended his farewell meeting, at which speeches were made and a silver loving cup was presented to Mr. Meade (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 22, 1914, p. 2)   Meade, who raised Boston Terriers and Pekingese, resigned his position so that he could devote time to showing his dogs.  One year later, tragedy hit when his entire kennel of Pekingese was lost to an unnamed epidemic.

The Club's new officers of 1914 were overwhelmingly women.  Mrs. M. C. McGlone was elected president; Mrs. J.L. Conklin, Mrs. H. Taylor and Mrs. E. Allis Cox, Vice Presidents;  Mrs. L. Shillings, Treasurer; George Heiline, Secretary.

A 1915 article in The New York Sun (June 27, 1915, p. 16) praises the Club for its activities in bring new breeders and amateurs into the world of dog fancying.  184 entries, a very large number for the time, were judged at one evening show.  In 1915, active members of the Club were working towards running dog shows under the American Kennel Club rules, and granting championship points through that organization.

In the 1930s and 40's local dogs such as the collies of Noranda Kennels, owned by Mrs. and Mrs. William H. Long Jr. of Hewlett Harbor (New York Times, February 2, 1941, p. S6; New York Herald Tribune, February 21, 1937, p.B9A), Hi-Wood Mike, a black Labrador Retriever owned by Mrs. John S. Williams of Hewlett (The New York Times, November 24, 1941, p. 23.) appear as winners of major shows throughout the nation. By that time, the Woodmere Kennel Club seems to have faded into oblivion.  As the "horsey set" moved to the North Shore of Long Island and the residential neighborhoods of the Five Towns no longer welcomed dog kennels, breeders moved farther out on the Island and organizations like the Long Island Kennel Club in Oyster Bay took in the members of many local clubs.

Further Information:

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Branch in the World Wars (HWPL Gallery - November 6, 2013-January 5, 2014)

Our exhibit of posters from World Wars I and II  demonstrates  the power of the graphic image to inspire, inform and persuade.   The collection, a gift to the Library from former Hewlett Bay Park resident Blanche Cirker, offers highlights of the ad campaign created by the U.S. government to inspire patriotism in  its citizens during a time of personal sacrifice and heightened responsibility.  Mrs. Cirker and her husband, Hayward, founded Dover Publications in 1941.

The display cases show a more personal side of the wars, mementos and photographs from the Library's collection and private collections from the community.

 The exhibit will be on display in the Gallery and the Reference Room from 

November 6, 2013 through January 5, 2014.


New York State residents comprised 10% of the American armed forces during WWI.1 Over 493,000 New Yorkers enlisted for the Regular Army, National Guard, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and U.S. Guards2, between April 9, 1917 and November 11, 1918.3

Draftees from New York and Long Island usually were processed and trained at Camp Upton in Yaphank, later the site of Brookhaven Laboratory.  The men of the 77th Infantry Division, most of them  from Long Island and New York City, trained there before sailing for battlefields in France.  Nicknamed "The Metropolitan Division," they sported a Statue of Liberty emblem patch on their uniform.

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”  --  from "History of Veterans Day" (Veterans' Administration Web Site)

"On September 16, 1940, the United States instituted the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, which required all men between the ages of 21 and 45 to register for the draft. This was the first peacetime draft in United States' history. Those who were selected from the draft lottery were required to serve at least one year in the armed forces. Once the U.S. entered WWII, draft terms extended through the duration of the fighting. By the end of the war in 1945, 50 million men between eighteen and forty-five had registered for the draft and 10 million had been inducted in the military." --  National WWII Museum

After the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. entered World War II.  During a three-day period in February 1942, male citizens between the ages of 20 and 45 were required to register with their local draft boards, if they had not already done so.  Over 900,000 New Yorkers served in World War II's armed forced.  In this area, Local Draft Board 722 of Cedarhurst had registration at four sites: School No. 4 in Inwood, School No. 2  in Lawrence, School No. 3 in Cedarhurst and Woodmere High School.4

As Nassau County geared up for a possible air attack, residents experienced test blackouts and air raid drills.  Rationing of sugar, gasoline, rubber, metal and other household necessities was accepted as a necessary sacrifice and War Bond and relief drives allowed citizens to make an individual contribution to the war effort.  Almost every family had someone in the service, but because of its proximity to New York City, its aircraft industry and air fields and it's long coastline, Long Island residents took their defense very personally.  According to a 1942 Newsday summarizing the war's first year:
  • In January 1942, five airmen sacrificed their lives to avoid endangering residents as their bomber crashed in New Hyde Park. 
  • Women and high school boys were eligible for training in manual of arms and rudiments of marching.
  • A local branch of the Civil Air Patrol was founded and women were informed that they would be eligible for "limited participation".  
  • More than 50,000 men between the ages of 45 and 64 [too old for active service] registered for occupational draft.
  • All boardwalk and commercial lights on [the] North and South Shores were ordered blacked out by [the] U.S. Army.
On Memorial Day 1942, an honor roll of Woodmere and Hewlett men in the armed services was dedicated on the grounds of Woodmere High School.  The memorial  now stands at the corner of Broadway and Conklin Avenues.

At the June 1943 high school graduations, many wore uniforms instead of caps and gowns.
"Diplomas were presented to 109 graduates at the 36th annual commencement of Woodmere High School.  [The] Theme of the exercises was "The Four Freedoms," honor students speaking on Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Freedom from Need and Freedom from Fear as defined by the Atlantic Charter."  5

On June 7, 1944 -- as the D-Day invasion was being fought along the French coast, Long Island's religious institutions. In Cedarhurst St. Joachim's School had a special assembly, while in Lawrence Temple Israel, the Lawrence Methodist Church, as well as Trinity Episcopal Church and St. Joseph's in Hewlett opened their doors for special prayer services.

After the War, the changes which transformed Long Island left The Branch a different place.  As the economic changes of the Great Depression transformed great estates into subdivisions, the GI bill and home construction on a grand scale created neighborhoods where once there had been fields.  The Branch, now called The Five Towns, was forever changed.  And a whole new generation moved in to start their civilian lives and raise their families.

"WWI. Total Troops Furnished by Each State." New York State Archives: Remembering World War I, 1914-1918. New York State Archives, n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2013.

2 The United States Guards were a formation of the Army created to guard strategic installations and areas in order to free infantry regiments for war service in the First World War.
3  "47 Cedarhurst Selectees Ready to Join Services." Newsday, February 13, 1942, p. 3. 
4 "All Up to Age of 45 Must Register Here During Next Three Days," Newsday, February 13, 1942, p. 3
5 "Nassau at War - Dec. 7 to Dec. 7", Newsday, December 7, 1942, p. 3. 


Further information:
Web sites
Dwyer, Norval. "The Camp Upton Story, 1917-1921,"  Long Island Forum, January 1970. pp. 6-10;
Part 2 February 1970, pp.31-34; Part III, March 1970, pp.54-57.