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HICK'S NECK
The Story of Baldwin
INTO THE 1800's, part II

The Civil War to 1900
A map dated 1859 shows Merrick Road as the "Merrick and Jamaica Plank Road," a turnpike with tollgates. By then, Central Avenue was there, and Church Street joined Grand Avenue and Milburn Avenue.

The Civil War (1861-1865) was fought and several young men from our area joined the Army to preserve the Union. These brave citizens included Charles F. Raynor, Stephen Brower, William Ryerson, Joseph Memby, John Riker, Jim Story, Tredwell Bedell, Joseph Denton, and Charles Johnson.

The year 1867 saw the first train of the South Side Rail Road pass into Baldwinsville. For many years, a daily packet plied between Lott's Landing and New York. In the 1830's, came talk of the new-fangled railroad, and presently, traveled persons were describing to the stay-at-homes the thrills of the trip by rail from Brooklyn to Jamaica. But as the steam trains crept eastward, it was by a route that left Hick's Neck well to one side. For a short time beginning in the summer of 1868, the train depot was named Foxborough to honor resident Charles Fox who was president of the railroad company.

In 1871, the village post office was near the railroad depot, and the name was changed to "Baldwins" as there was already another Baldwinsville post office in upstate New York. In addition, a larger schoolhouse was needed and was constructed on the present site of Wick's Florist Shop.

In 1882, an advertisement listing Baldwins' establishments included two churches, a public school, a railroad depot, post office, six stores including Isaiah Thomas the grocer, the Hingle Brothers' Carriage Shop, E. S. Raynor & Brothers Sewing Machine Agency, and Treadwell Jones hotel.

In 1883, the third public school was built west of School Street, a large white frame structure. It burned in a fire in 1925. By the 1880's, the oyster industry was a major business in Baldwin.

In 1890, Baldwins' population was nearly 1,500. Visitors from the railroad depot had a choice of three hotels or small boarding houses. By 1892, the post office was officially called Baldwins, but from that year until 1897, its owners named the railroad depot Milburn. In 1897, it was changed back to Baldwin because the railroad superintendent required the station to have the same name as the post office to avoid confusion. By 1893, our village boasted of an ice cream parlor, lawyer, doctor, masons, realtors, and many other tradespeople.

All of northern Baldwin was cornfields and farms. Until well into the 1900's, James H. Story had a butcher shop on Grand Avenue, a couple of hundred feet north of Hebenstreit's Baldwin House; and in the same block were the bicycle shop of Frank Cotte, Scott's drug store, and Schaeffer's dry goods shop. Before Cotte's time, George Ackley's candy store occupied the building. Directly north of the Baldwin House, adjoining these stores, "Tinker" Bill Powell had a tin shop about 1868. In the 1870's, Ryerson's blacksmith shop was in the shed at the rear of the hotel. Mr. Ryerson had moved there from a shop on the side of Wortman's General Store; later he moved again, this time just opposite the present day South Side Laundry.

Grand Avenue ended at Church Street. From that corner, the land was open prairie and farm acreage in all directions. An inlet from Parsonage Creek ran up to the crossroads, called the Landing. The present site of Steele School was part of the old Wheatley farm.

There were approximately 1,200 people in the community in 1882 and only 5,000 in 1920. Farms made rectangular patterns on the landscape from bay to woods. Kerosene lamps on long arms were fastened nightly to posts along the main streets until gas lamps, lit at dusk by a long taper, superseded them just after the turn of the century, only to be displaced by electricity in a few years.

As the village grew, it needed a Fire Department more than ever. The Baldwin Fire Department was officially begun in 1896. Soon Charles Noble opened a hotel and restaurant in the old Tredwell homestead (now the Coral House) and called it "The Willows," it was the third hotel at the comers of the Milburn area.

As the 1800's came to an end, one last and major change took place in government. When New York's five boroughs were formed on January 1, 1899, Hempstead and two other towns joined together and created Nassau County. Our Hamlet was now part of the new county and, as such, entered the 1900's.

To join the Baldwin Historical Society, please call (516) 223-6900.

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Image

Grand Avenue
& Brooklyn Avenue,
1926

 

Image

Grand Avenue
&Sunrise Highway,
1926

 

Image

Milburn Ave,
1926

Milburn Ave looking North.

 

Image

Milburn Avenue,
1928

Milburn Avenue & Sunrise Highway looking South.

 

Image

Grand Avenue
1928

The "Village." Grand Avenue looking North from Merrick Road.

 

Sunrise Highway
& Grand Avenue,
1929

 

School located at the foot of School Street,
1926

 

Air Photo Baldwin,
1931

Baldwin looking North. Merrick Road & Grand Avenue in the center.

 

Grand Avenue
& Brooklyn Avenue,
1940

 

Merrick Road
& Grand Avenue

Police booth (later known as the Pagoda) at Merrick Road and Grand Avenue. Its construction in 1927 was funded by a community fund drive. The Pagoda was razed in 1948.