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Lynbrook Historial Odds and Ends: Streets of shells

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This is Lynbrook’s Five Corners, in 1908, looking east along “the Merrick Road,” which was then an unpaved dirt road. Four years later, oyster shells were used as paving.
This is Lynbrook’s Five Corners, in 1908, looking east along “the Merrick Road,” which was then an unpaved dirt road. Four years later, oyster shells were used as paving.
Courtesy Art Mattson

Editors note: Lynbrook Historical Odds and Ends is a column that looks back at some interesting facts and events in the village from over the years.

Decades before Lynbrook’s dirt roads were paved with macadam and asphalt, they were covered with oyster shells.

On Dec. 5, 1912, the South Side Observer newspaper announced, “Lynbrook Trustee Doxsey was authorized to purchase 1,500 bushels of oyster shells at four cents per bushel, to be used on the village streets.”

The shells came from oysters that were “farmed” in Hewlett Bay. The village purchased tons of discarded shells in early winter and promptly spread them on the streets. This allowed the fresh shells several months to “cure” before summer heat would make the stench impossible to bear.

Mattson is the official Lynbrook village historian and the director of the Historical Society of East Rockaway and Lynbrook. Additionally, he is the author of “The History of Lynbrook,” which is available on Amazon.com and at local libraries.