Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gibson, NY

After World War II, the Baby Boom and the explosion of suburban housing developments created the Long Island which we know today. But twenty-five years earlier, William Gibson and his Gibson Corporation began building in Valley Stream to accommodate New Yorkers who wanted to get out of the crowded city.

The concurrent development of the Long Island Railroad and Sunrise Highway made Valley Stream a transportation hub and an easy commute to The City.

According to Howard F. Ruehl in his History of Valley Stream, published for the village's fiftieth anniversary in 1975


"Almost all of the families included at least one commuter. Realizing that his community needed transportation, Mr. Gibson planned a railroad station. After several years of legal negotiations, the Long Island Railroad agreed to have trains stop morning and night at Gibson, if the builder would erect his own station. This was done at a cost of $55,000 and on May 29, 1929, the new building was
officially opened. ..."

"Gibson awarded prizes for the most-beautiful and best-kept gardens and lawns. He started the custom of carol-singing around a Christmas tree at the Gibson Station, provided the Santa Claus, and bought candy for all the children who attended. ...In a whimsical mood, he named some of the new streets after well-known liquors: Haig Road, DuBonnet Road, Carstairs Road, Gordon Road and Wilson Road."

At one period during Gibson's development, 733 houses were sold in 738 days. During the depression years, Mr. Gibson pioneered the cellarless house, the so-called Nantucket model. It sold in 1939 for $3,890. These homes, comparable to an average four-room apartment, won the award of the New York Chapter of The American Institute of Architects for "excellence in design and construction."

The accompanying photos, dated November 2, 1947, are part of a fascinating series of photographs in the Library's local history collection which documents the post-war construction of the Gibson Houses and the growth of a neighborhood.

(Photographs by Max Hubacher)

For more information:

Newsday's Long Island History: Valley Stream
Valley Stream Historical Society
"South Shore Operation: sites in four towns being improved with dwellings " The New York Times, Feb. 18, 1923
"Building houses without cellars". The New York Times, Sept. 21, 1941.
Ruel, Howard F. Ruehl (comp.). History of Valley Stream, 1840-1975. Valley Stream, NY : Incorporated Village of Valley Stream, 1975.

1 comment:

liam gibson said...

hello i am interested in knowing if this william Gibson the Builder Has Any relations to Frederick Gibson Also a homebuilder who built homes in Brightwaters,Holbrook,East Patchogue and Had A son By The Name of William Gibson and some of the streets in their developments are the same.