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A Look Back

The Development of Meadow Brook Farms

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Following the death of their parents Peter Crosby and Sarah Ann Baldwin Barnum, Joshua Willets Barnum and Kate Vail Barnum inherited the farm properties that straddled Barnum Avenue (now Merrick Avenue). By far the largest tract was the main Barnum estate on the west side of Merrick Avenue, running from the O.H.P. Belmont and Arthur Brisbane estates at Front Street south to North Jerusalem Road. This huge farm tract became the property of Joshua Barnum, while some of the other parcels on the east side of Merrick Avenue (and further east toward Jerusalem and further south toward Merrick) became the property of his sister.

In 1912, six years after Joshua Barnum’s death, his estate was surveyed for future development. The entire project was known as Meadow Brook Farms. Several key East Meadow streets were mapped at this time: Wilson Road, Luddington Road, Durham Road, Preston Road and Richmond Road. The grid extended west over the Meadow Brook and a bit into Uniondale. On the other side of the brook, streets named Meadow Brook Road and West End Place were created. Whatever existed of Meadow Brook Road was obliterated by the construction of the Meadowbrook Parkway in the 1950s, and was not the same as the Meadowbrook Road south of Jerusalem Avenue. West End Place was located between the current-day St. Agnes Road and the Uniondale water tower at Turtle Hook Junior High School. All the mapped streets north of Wilson Road were strictly theoretical, with the exception of part of The Mill Road, which ran from the Barnum estate west to the mill at the Meadow Brook. This lane ran through the property that is now 556 Richmond Road, west of Barnum Woods School.

Unlike other East Meadow land surveys of the World War I era (e.g., Hempstead Terrace Gardens), some of the lots in Meadow Brook Farms were actually developed. If you drive up and down the aforementioned streets, you will see older homes that are clearly out of sorts with the Baby Boom-era models that were later constructed. Additionally, the home sites were much larger: the grid between Merrick Avenue and Preston Road featured 2.5 acre lot sizes. West toward the brook, lot sizes varied between approximately one and two acres, with some larger lots at North Jerusalem Road. Richmond Road curves with the brook, which created some of the smallest lots in Meadowbrook Farms. Ironically, these are some of the largest lots in East Meadow today.

Beginning around 1950, major home development companies began buying up the empty Meadow Brook Farms lots and subdividing them into suburban communities. The first major builder was Elgin Construction Company. Elgin Homes was developed in 1950 south of Wilson Road with Joseph-Martin Homes. Joseph-Martin Associates (Joseph Shapiro and Martin Buxbaum) then built houses beginning in 1951 and 1952 on land north of Wilson Road, behind today’s Apollo Diner. Joseph-Martin advertised its “Del Rio Ranch” model quite widely.

In 1952, Kalman Klein and David Teicholz began constructing many sections of their popular Lakeville Estates development. (The original Lakeville Estates Merrick was built in 1950 and 1951 on the east side of Merrick Avenue.) The first section was built generally north, east and west of Barnum Woods School. Streets in the 1950s were typically named after developers’ family members: Kalman’s wife was Sylvia and his first son was Stephan Marc. Lakeville Estates Sections 2 and 3 were built in 1953 along Richmond Road. Section 4 was built in the triangle between Bellmore, Merrick, and Prospect Avenues (at Haddon Lane) and Section 5 was constructed on one Meadowbrook Farms lot at Luddington Road and Merrick Avenue. A sixth section, not on old Barnum property, was centered on Dieman Lane.

Following a 1952 fire that destroyed the old Barnum mansion (later the Andrews cattery), Irving Kay purchased the land that became Pine, or Kay Manor. These homes were known to be the most expensive splits in the area. A large sign at the development’s entrance still welcomes residents to Kay Manor.

The lots south of Lakeville Estates and Elgin Homes became a true hodgepodge of redevelopment in the mid-1950s. Benjamin Avenue and Blendwood Drive were built as Blendwood Estates by the Stone Family in 1950. Louis Entman of J&E Operating Corp. built Winthrop Estates on Durham Road and Winthrop Drive in 1951. In 1952, Preston Estates was built by the Norma Construction Company on Preston Road and Maple Lane. The same year, David Teicholz (of Lakeville Estates) built East Meadow Gardens on Luddington Road, Oak Place, Maple Lane, and Preston Road. Kusnitz and Peck of Hawthorne Homes Corp. developed Durham Homes on Durham Road and Shari Lane in 1953 and Durham Estates Sections 1 and 2 on both sides of Luddington Road in 1955. Bel-Air Farms was a small 1954 development on Luddington Road and Durham Road by the Sokolov Brothers and Sons and Marlen Homes, Inc. Between Bel-Air and Durham Homes was a small 4-home project by Mark Kane of Merrick Oaks, Inc. called Merrick Wood Homes, which was constructed in 1955.

Rockville Oaks was built on Richmond Road and Richmond Court in 1954 by Mark Kane and Bob and Arthur Pullman. The following year, the same men constructed Richmond Estates at Richmond Road, Sally Court, and North Jerusalem Road. Richmond Manor (Bea Court) was developed by the Leonard Metz and the Cedar Shakes Construction Company in 1973. This land was behind Senator Speno’s home.

The final lots of the old Barnum property were developed on Preston Road as Sherry Park Homes’s Samstein Estates in 1967 and Preston East Meadow Corporation’s Theresa Estates in 1983, both on an extension of Sally Court. Finally, Carrie Court was built by Beechwood Estates at East Meadow in 1984.

Check out www.eastmeadowhistory.org for a detailed map showing the location of every development in East Meadow. I developed this interactive resource over the past month from primary sources available from the county’s vast records.

© Scott Eckers

Dr. Scott Eckers is the author of East Meadow (in Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series). He is a trustee on the East Meadow Board of Education and serves as a teacher and administrator in a nearby school district. He is also an entertainer and recording artist.