Nassau County Historical Society

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From: The Nassau County Historical Society Journal, 74 (2019): 54

The Last Word, 2019

This issue includes Memorials to two eminent local historians who were long-time members and officers in our Society (pp. 1-5). Robert P. Rushmore and Richard A. Winsche were both prolific writers for this Journal and contributed immeasurably to local history. They will be missed.

Amy Vacchio, in “The Banisters and McNeills of Rock Hall Rediscovered,” traces the previously unknown story of the last Martin descendants to live in the house built by Josiah Martin in 1767. The historic house museum in Lawrence is open year-round and worth a visit. Zonta is a women’s organization celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019. Millicent Vollono in “Zonta Club on Long Island” traces the history of the local Zonta, focusing on its early members and their networking. Her research on individual entrepreneurial and professional women highlights the diversity of women’s careers in the middle third of the twentieth century. Garden City celebrated its purchase in 2019. To commemorate its 150th anniversary, we are reprinting in “The Creation of Garden City, 1869-1874,” several chapters from the centennial history by historian Vincent F. Seyfried.

Natalie A. Naylor

The President’s Report

Our meetings in 2019 featured a diversity of topics. David Morrison spoke on the Oyster Bay Branch of the Long Island Rail Road in February; Julia Blum on the Women Air Service Pilots (WASPs) in World War II in April; and Suzanne Johnson on Camp Yaphank, “The City in the Wilderness” in September. In June we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Joshua Stoff provided a curator’s tour of the new exhibition in the Apollo Gallery at the Cradle of Aviation, and we viewed the Apollo 11 documentary in the I-Max Theatre. Names of all the speakers as well as programs scheduled in 2019 are inside the front cover of this Journal.  (Full descriptions are listed on the website under Calendar.)

At our Annual Meeting in October at Hendrick’s Tavern in Roslyn, Professor Peter Bales provided a light-hearted look at the American presidency, with enjoyable insights into American history. Professor Joshua Smith concluded our programs in December, speaking on the history of the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point. The year 2020 promises equally informative and interesting programs. Check inside the front cover for the meetings already scheduled.

The Board unanimously elected Muriel Tatem a Life Member of the Society in September, in recognition of her many years of service on the Board. She was recognized at the Annual Dinner. We regret that Barbara Haynes resigned as a trustee. She had been elected to the Board in 2011, was Chair of Hospitality for several years, and served as Corresponding Secretary from 2015- 2019. We appreciate her many years of dedicated service. Four trustees whose terms expired in 2019 were elected to the Class of 2024 at our Annual Meeting. Incumbent officers were re-elected at the November Board meeting. The names of all trustees and officers are listed inside the front cover.  Names of all the officers and trustees are listed inside the front cover this Journal (and on the web site at Board of Trustees).

Students at the Palmer School of Library and Information Science at LIU- Post have digitized the contents of all the issues of this Journal published since 1937, under a grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation. There have been some delays because of upgrades of the software, but we hope to have these on our website in 2020; we already have indexes to all the issues on our website,

News of Interest

Howard Kroplick resigned as the Historian of the Town of North Hempstead in July. During his seven years as the Town Historian, he secured the relocation and restoration of one of the Marley Horse Statues (originally on the Mackay estate) from the backyard of a private house to Gerry Park in Roslyn. He also spearheaded restoration of historic cemeteries and in 2016 won statewide recognition for his work as Town Historian. As President of the Roslyn Landmark Society, he is now overseeing the long-awaited restoration of the 18th-century Grist Mill on Old Northern Boulevard in Roslyn. Howard continues as President of the Long Island [Vanderbilt] Motor Parkway Preservation Society (visit his excellent website,

Preservation Long Island’s 2019 list of endangered places includes Merrick Gables, a 1920s planned community. Most of the 260 surviving homes are in Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival-style. You can find Suffolk locations on the endangered list on PLI’s website. A building that had been on their 2013 endangered list (Freeport’s Art Deco-style, Meadowbrook Bank building), was razed in December 2019, despite efforts to save it.

William Johnston was a life member of the NCHS Society who died March 30, 2019 at the age of 86. He was a teacher and principal in the Farmingdale school district for 32 years. He also preserved his community’s past as Farmingdale Village Historian for more than 25 years, and even longer as program chairman for the Farmingdale-Bethpage Historical Society. He wrote articles on Farmingdale’s history and led walking tours in his village.

The Suffolk County Historical Society has opened a new entrance wing that has made its museum and library in Riverhead handicap accessible. The SCHS’s 2019 Journal reprinted Natalie Naylor’s article on the Big Duck from our 2011 Journal. Another article, derived from the SCHS’s 2019 exhibition, When Women Wore Whales, explains how whalebone shaped 19th-century fashion.

Articles in the 2019 issue of the Long Island History Journal include Marian Desrosiers, “Friend of Government or Friend of Country: The Revolutionary War Journey of Thomas Banister from Rhode Island to Long Island” (a prequel to the Rock Hall story in this issue); John A. Strong and MaryLaura Lamont, “The Richard Floyd Account Book, 1719-1732: Insights into Changing Times in Colonial Brookhaven”; and Christopher Verga, “The Battle for Long Islanders’ Souls and Minds: Holy Name Society’s Fight against the Ku Klux Klan.” The LIHJ is an open access (i.e. free) web journal (

The commemoration of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment granting women the vote nation-wide will be celebrated in 2020. Our June meeting will feature a talk on suffrage by Natalie Naylor.

In the 2019-20 Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society Journal, “John S. Witmer, Jr.,” discusses an amateur photographer who took hundreds of pictures of Port Washington in the early 1900s, including many glass plate negatives (visit the Society’s website to see Witmer’s images). The Society’s recently restored “Sands Dutch-Anglo Barn” is the focus of another article and “The Battle of Locust Grove,” deals with an army training exercise in present-day Manorhaven which occurred in August 1917 during the Great War.

Natalie A. Naylor

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