The Story of Baldwin
THE 1800's, part II
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
To join the Baldwin Historical Society, please call (516) 223-6900.
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