Philip Henry Hoeffner was born on Oct. 2, 1871, in Fosters Meadow — farmland that was first settled in the 1600s and is now home to several Nassau County communities, including Franklin Square and Elmont.
Philip’s parents were Louise Stattel and Henry Hoeffner, owner of the Hoeffner Hotel in Elmont, just west of Elmont Road on the south side. Philip became owner of the hotel in the late 1800s, as well as the Elmont Sale and Exchange Stables, where he kept first-class stock horses.
In 1897, Philip married Mary Gunther, a native of Queens. In 1905, he hosted a community meeting at the Hoeffner Hotel to discuss the establishment of a local fire company. August Belmont, known today as Belmont Park’s founder, promised liberal contribution to residents, regarding the fire department’s construction, which was to be known as the Belmont Hook and Ladder Company.
The ensuing year, several officers were elected to the fire company, including George W. Covert, who was named president; George Goeller, named vice-president; Philip, named foreman (similar to a department chief today); Frank Franklin, assistant foreman; Morris Wright, treasurer; and Peter Herman, secretary.
In 1908, Morris Wright was elected president of the Elmont Board of Education; Philip was named treasurer; and George W. Covert was named clerk. In 1920, Philip was elected as president of the BOE of the Union Free School District No. 16 in Elmont.
Philip died on March 30, 1929, in Elmont. Today, the only known documentation of him is on a plaque located on a white building on the corner of Hempstead Turnpike and Elmont Road in Elmont, pictured above; a plaque in the Elmont Union Free School District; and his tombstone, which is located in the St. Boniface Cemetery in Elmont.