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Developing the North Side of Front Street

A Look Back

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Last week’s article highlighted the development of Meadow Brook Farms, the former Barnum Estate. This week’s column will look at the developments that form the jigsaw puzzle bound by Merrick Avenue, Hempstead Turnpike, East Meadow Avenue, and Front Street. 

The oldest development in the Front Street area was Newbridge Gardens at Hempstead, planned by Joseph M. Gross in 1926. Early aerial photos of East Meadow show built-up streets in this neighborhood, which centers on Coolidge Drive. Calvin Coolidge, known informally as “Silent Cal,” was president of the United States at the time of general prosperity when the development was built. Residents formed a civic association, which was active as the community grew. In 1946, members of the Newbridge Gardens Community Association asked the town to improve their streets. Three years later, they were vocal in backing their own neighbor, Theodore Foote, in his bid to fill retiring school board trustee William Lowden’s seat. Not every lot was immediately developed; beginning in 1950, Frank Builders, Inc.’s Meadow Garden Homes project added fifty houses to empty spaces in the neighborhood.

The land for Newbridge Gardens at Hempstead came from two large parcels. The northern half was part of a series of adjacent properties owned by extroverted resident and town Justice of the Peace George C. Tatem. The southern half was land owned by F.J. Menendez and then P.C. Hendrickson. In the 19th century, the land was farmed by the Walker, Denton, and then Turrell families. A small section of the former Hendrickson property – extensions of Grant, Maurice, and Albermarle avenues – was later owned by vegetable farmer Edward Ryder and built up by Michael Forte’s Adonia Homes (as Romain Homes) in 1951.

Entering Lloyd Court from Merrick Avenue, between the former David Shor property and the former Temple Emanu-El property, you will find yourself in a small development called Alan Homes, built by Morris Garelick in 1951. A much larger Alan Homes development was constructed in North Massapequa two years later. This is a typical situation with postwar developments in Nassau County: one company built several “colonies” with the same or similar name in different hamlets throughout the region. Moving east on Lloyd Court, you will next enter Roosevelt Homes, built by Julius Miller’s Salisbury Park Homes, Inc. in 1960. This section includes Rosalie Court West.

At Rosalie Drive, Lloyd Court changes to Bard Lane and meanders eastward into a small development named Moorehaven, built by Rocco Morone in 1955. Notice that Brisbane Lane is the main thoroughfare here; the development was built at the eastern edge one of several properties owned by a famous East Meadow resident, journalist Arthur Brisbane. Moorehaven advertised six-room “Colonial Split Ranch” houses, with modern “science” kitchens, large playrooms, and garages. Sales director Edward Toner advertised the $18,490 model as “a woman’s dream!” Further east on Bard Lane, you will get to Country Squires, built by Michael Pantony in 1963 on property that once belonged to George Wood.

The entire section described in the last few paragraphs was once the homestead of the Duryea Family. Moving south, a large development called East Meadow Birchwood was built in three sections beginning in 1951 on the former Twersky property. This neighborhood is generally defined by Wickshire Drive, Norman Drive, Francis Drive, Rugby Road, and Kroll Road and featured brick capes with all brick center halls. Birchwood was a major player in the East Meadow development scene: its owner Herbert Sadkin owned Birchwood Terrace, Inc. Together with Seymour Sadkin and Morris Schoenfeld, the prolific builders constructed most of the homes in the Salisbury area – as well as numerous communities across Long Island, South Florida, the District of Columbia, and as far away as Kentucky. He worked with architect Stanley H. Klein, and together they created the “model American home” (dubbed the “Sputnik Home”) for an expedition in Moscow, then the Soviet Union. Sadkin, who died in 1989, was active in non-profit organizations and became a philanthropist who supported medical research and Jewish charities.

In the southwest corner of the superblock, entering from either Peter’s Gate (now styled Peters Gate) or Peters Avenue, is Green Valley Homes. (The small section now containing a donut shop is not part of this development, having been retained by Joseph H. Rottkamp, a member of a prominent East Meadow landowning family.) Its two sections were laid out in 1950 and 1951 around a neat circular drive. The homes featured five rooms with attached garages and full basements. In typical 1950s style, sales agents Kemp and Miley advertised “colored tile baths” and the latest in electric appliances. The homes sold for $13,390. Green Valley Homes was constructed on land that also once belonged to Arthur Brisbane, after being in the Turrill or Turrell Family for much of the 19th century.

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