Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Local Street Names

Every village has a main street.  Some are actually called Main Street, some Broadway, others are completely different.  According to the U.S. Postal Service (MailPro -- November/December 2010), the top five most common street names are Main, Maple, 2nd, Oak, and Park.

Residential builders commonly used names of trees or flowers, states, political figures and even family members  as inspiration for the vast number of street names required to create communities. Many of the streets in the Five Towns were named for early residents of the communities which they helped to establish.  Here are a few of the street names and their origins:
  •  Albro Lane - The Albro Farm appears on the 1891 Wolverton map between the Rockaway Hunting Club and Woodsburgh. George Albro listed his profession as "Oysterman" in the 1880 census.  His son Eugene is listed as an ice man on the 1900 census.
  • Auerbach Lane  -  Joseph Auerbach, (1855-1944) attorney for the Hewlett Bay Company and original owner of Seawane, now the clubhouse of the Seawane Club.
  • Brower Road, Brower's Point Branch - There were so many Browers in the mid-1800's that the area was known as "Brower's Point."
  • Burton Avenue - Robert L. Burton made his fortune in textiles.  In 1901, he purchased the entire village of Woodsburgh from the estate of  Samuel Wood and began the development of his planned community of Woodmere.  He and his brother, John Howes Burton, were both members of the Rockaway Hunting Club and lived in Cedarhurst (later Lawrence).
  • Combs Avenue - The Combs Family has a long history in the area. Alexander Combs is a major property owner on the 1906 Belcher-Hyde map of Woodmere.
  • Conklin Avenue - Joseph Conklin's property is listed  on the 1873 and 1891 maps of Woodsburgh.
  • Everit Avenue  -   Cousin and financial advisor of Carleton Macy, V. Everit Macy was a philanthropist and President of the Westchester Park Commission.  He owned a home in Hewlett Bay Park.
  • Elinor Road - probably named for Elinor Stewart, wife of John Stewart, a Rockaway Hunting Club member and Hewlett Bay Park resident.
  • Finucane Place  - Matthew Finucan owned the land on the 1873 Beers, Comstock and Cline map of Woodsburgh. Thomas Finucan owned local hotels at the turn-of-the century.  He was a colorful character. Contemporary newspaper articles trace his numerous lawsuits and assault bookings.
  • Frost Lane - The Frost family owned land throughout the Branch.  C (Carman) Frost, a bayman,  is listed in the 1873 Beers, Comstock and Cline map of Hewletts as owning property on Broadway.
  • William Gibson lent his own name to the residential area that he started building in 1925.  He named a series of streets after well-known liquor brands:  Haig Road, Dubonnet Road, Carstairs Road, Gordon Road and Wilson Road.
  • Harris Avenue - Tracy Hyde Harris (c1864-1933), an attorney, lived in Hewlett Bay Park.
  • Grant Park - a residential area developed after the Civil War.  Features streets named for Civil War Generals: Hancock Street, Slocum Street, Sheridan Avenue.
  • Hartwell Place - Dr. John D. Hartwell (d.1902) was a respected physician.  He owned property next to Trinity Church on Broadway.
  • Ike Place -  C. (Charles) Ike, a Woodsburgh property owner on the 1873 and 1891 maps, was a bayman, as were generations of his descendants.
  • Johnson Place - Abraham Johnson, a carpenter and his son,Thomas Johnson, had a farm on the site of the current Woodmere Educational Complex.  Abraham Johnson helped to build the current Trinity-St. John's Church building.  Both are buried in the churchyard. 
  • Keene Lane - James Keene and his son, Foxhall, were stock brokers and members of the Rockaway Hunting Club.  Foxhall Keene was an accomplished all-around sportsman. 
  • Lefferts Road - named for Carleton Macy's wife, Helen Lefferts Macy.  
  • Longworth Avenue - The Longworth Family have lived in the community for generations and had large amounts of land around Broadway in Hewlett at the turn of the 20th century. Daniel Longworth donated the land for the site of the first St. Joseph's Church.
  • Macy Drive - Carleton Macy was the President of the Queens Borough Gas and Electric Company, and later was the President of the Hewlett Bay Company, which developed Hewlett Bay Park.  George's Creek (named for George Hewlett) was dredged to create Macy Channel in the hope of creating a direct waterway between Hewlett and Long Beach, deep enough to float large freighters." (Rockaway News, May 1910)
  • Meadowview Avenue - actually overlooked the meadows owned by the Hewlett family prior to the construction of the Hewlett Bay Company homes.
  • Neptune Avenue -  The 1873 Beers, Comstock and; Cline map of Hewletts shows Neptune Avenue intersecting Broadway at the site of the Neptune Hotel.
  • Paine Road - led to the estate of Edward Paine, an investment banker and member of the Rockaway Hunting Club.
  • Porter Place - H. Hobart Porter (1866-1947), mining engineer.  His large Tudor-style home, Lauderdale, still stands in Lawrence.
  • Sage Lane - led to the property of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Sage in back Lawrence.
  • Stevenson Road - Richard W. Stevenson was an attorney and  developer of Hewlett Bay Park, He was a partner of Joseph Auerbach in the purchase of the Hewlett family lands and their transfer to the Hewlett Bay Company.
  • Veeder Lane - led to the estate of Paul Lansing Veeder (c1885-1942) Yale football star and coach. 
  • Voss Avenue - William Voss, a stockbroker built his home, Merriefield,  in Hewlett Bay Park.  His sons were real estate brokers.  Franklin Voss was also an artist, specializing in equestrian scenes, while his sister, Jessie Voss Lewis, was a portrait painter.  The road to the homestead is now called Pleasant Place.
  • Ward Place -The 1906 Belcher-Hyde map of Woodmere shows Thomas Ward's property bordering the estate of Dr. Hartwell and the property belonging to Trinity Church.
  • White Lane- The White family made their fortune in recycling the carcasses of dead livestock from the streets of Brooklyn and transporting them to Barren Island for processing. They owned large tracts of property throughout Cedarhurst and Lawrence, but White Lane was the site of the family home.
  • Wood Lane - Samuel Wood (c1795-1878) grew up on his father's farm in what would become Woodsburgh. He and his brothers were liquor importers; four bachelors who each left their property to their remaining brothers.  Samuel, the last remaining brother, used the money to buy up neighboring farms and build two hotels, the Woodsburgh Pavilion and the Neptune Hotel, and to establish the village of Woodsburgh as a resort community.

Further reading:

  •  Morris, Joel J.  "Hewlett Bay Park: The Hunting Club Connection." The Nassau County Historical Society Journal, volume XLIX (1994), pp.15-26.
  • The lives of many of those mentioned are documented in detail through various articles (marriage announcements, obituaries, etc. in The New York Times* (available through the Library's Proquest Historical Newspapers database*), census records (available through the Library's Heritage Quest* database), archival maps (available through the Library's Historic Map Works* database) and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (available online through the Brooklyn Public Library's web site)
  •  Meyer, Milton S.  Village of Lawrence, N.Y. : a brief history of a Long Island community.  Lawrence, NY : Village of Lawrence, 1977.
  • Vollono, Millicent.  The Five Towns.  Charleston, S.C. : Arcadia Press, 2010.

  *requires Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library card login

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