History hidden in plain sight

Valley Stream Historical Society: The Lodge


According to the Nassau County Land Records, this building dates back to 1880. It is not the oldest structure in Valley Stream — that distinction belongs to a homestead in Gibson (which will be discussed in a future article), but its history makes it a Valley Stream gem.

In the late 1850s, Joseph Roeckel opened a general store and post office on the corner of Merrick Road and Ocean Avenue. Three houses were clustered on the west side of Merrick Road between Ocean Avenue and what is now Arlington Avenue. As per the “1896 Hyde & Company Map of Long Island,” the Roeckels occupied the house furthest west (pictured here), closest to the store. In January 1909, the corner store burned down and another building, and one that still stands, was erected soon after.

By 1925, Moses Rodninsky, a farmer who dabbled in real estate, moved to Valley Stream. He purchased the Roeckel’s corner building and leased it to the Rosedale Repair and Towing Company. And just like the Roeckels, the Rodninskys settled into the nearby house. The “1932 Hagstrom’s Street, Road and Property Ownership Map of Nassau County,” notes that Moses and his wife Fannie owned all the land on Merrick Road from Ocean Avenue to Ivanhoe Place.

In 1947, Edward Barry and James Fleming became co-owners of the former Rodninsky abode. Together they formed the Barry-Fleming Corporation and opened The Lodge, a restaurant and cocktail lounge that also functioned as a private sportsmen’s club, catering hall and meeting space. In 1949, a one-story cinderblock addition with brick veneer was added to the west side of the existing building; the area was to be used as a summer garden. In 1958, an “Application for Minor Structures, Alternations and Repairs” was filed by Larry Emlaw, who took ownership of the property at that time. Tax liens, however, hastened The Lodge’s closing in 1964.

In 1965, the Knights of Columbus (KC) Saint Therese Council 2622 moved from 27 South Terrace Place (its home since 1949) to the recently shuttered restaurant. In 2013, the KC put their Merrick Road building up for sale due to declining membership and financial hardship. Numerous renovations have taken place since they first moved in — all the surrounding property, save the parking lot that fronts Merrick Road, has been built out. If you’d like to be transported back in time, however, visit the east side and back of the building and you will see the original brickwork. Take a look at the terracotta arches that once framed the tops and bottoms of three windows – albeit windows that have long since been bricked over.

The Apostolic Church of God 7th Day, a ministry-driven church that fosters growth and spiritual enrichment is the present owner of this ancient building. And although the KC is no longer on Merrick Road (they now meet at Blessed Sacrament on North Central Avenue), the chapter has survived, abiding by their four core principles: Charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism.

Location: 825 West Merrick Road (northwest corner of Ivanhoe Place)