Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Memories of The Branch" Exhibit at H-WPL

  •  November 1 - December 12, 2010
  • Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library Art Gallery   (Lower Level)
  • Selected photographs from the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library's Local History Collection and Treasures from some of our Talented Neighbors
Viola d'amore made by Edward Maday
 For the first time in recent memory, the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library will be presenting a selection of photographs reproduced from those in our Local History Collection.  In addition, a viola d'amore made by  Woodmere luthier Edward Maday will also be on display.  This intricately decorated stringed instrument was created from local wood and decorated with mother-of-pearl from Woodmere Bay shellfish.  Also featured will be driftwood sculptures by Woodmere artist James Boosin which evoke the area's nautical heritage

What is "The Branch"? 
Jim Boosin's model bay houses
When the Long Island Rail Road was established in 1834 to create a route across Long Island, train travel shortened a three-day trip between Long Island City and Greenport to a mere five hours.  In October 1867, the South Side Railroad began its route from Jamaica to Babylon.  As one of several competing rail and trolley lines to the Rockaways, the South Side expanded its service and in 1869 established the Rockaway Branch to the popular resort area of Far Rockaway.  The farm communities along the route of the Rockaway Branch soon became resort destinations as well.  For generations, these communities had taken the names of major landowners or landmarks: Hewletts, Browers' Point, Jennings Corner, Ocean Point, Northwest Point were all communities in the area collectively known as The Rockaways.  Far Rockaway was so-named because of it’s distance from the population center at Hempstead Village.  The mill community to the northeast was referred to as Near Rockaway (today’s East Rockaway) since it was  nearer to Hempstead.  

The railroad brought land developers like the Lawrence Brothers and Samuel Wood, who created planned communities which they named after themselves.  These communities, which grew with the development of the Rockaway Branch, became known as the Branch communities, or simply, The Branch.  This name was used until 1931, when individual community chest groups combined under the banner of the Five Towns Community Chest.  Since then Hewlett, Woodmere, Lawrence, Cedarhurst and Inwood have been referred to as “The Five Towns.”

 Join us as the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library celebrates our history, with a special emphasis on Hewlett, Gibson and Woodmere.

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