The Garden City Historical Society

The Garden City Historical Society We are a nonprofit museum dedicated to raising awareness about the history of the Village of Garden City in Nassau County, NY. The museum is temporarily closed to protect our volunteers and friends due to covid-19.
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Keep in touch with us online! Founded in 1975, The Garden City Historical Society is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, chartered by the New York State Education Department. It is dedicated to preserving the historic character and ambiance of the Village of Garden City, and educating its members and the public in preservation and history related matters. The Society owns and operates The Garden City Historical Society Museum, an original 1872 A.T. Stewart-era Victorian structure, as well as a gift shop and a consignment shop—the A.T. Stewart Exchange (516-746-8900)—on the lower level of the Museum. The Society’s Archives includes over 1,200 artifacts pertaining to the Village and its immediate surrounding communities. The Society offers periodic lectures and presentations, publishes a newsletter, and maintains an Historic Structure Survey of pre-1935 residential and non-residential structures in the Village of Garden City.

Operating as usual

Supplies are beginning to arrive for “Paint like Vincent Van Gogh.”  Register for $25 to include a $5 donation to The Ga...
11/09/2020

Supplies are beginning to arrive for “Paint like Vincent Van Gogh.” Register for $25 to include a $5 donation to The Garden City Historical Society’s capital campaign to restore the museum at 109 11th street via athomeart2.eventbrite.com. Once supplies are in, we’ll notify you of a pickup time for your very own canvas, brushes, paints, paint well and more. Ages 4-14

Registration is open for “Paint like Van Gogh” via athomeart2.eventbrite.com.  Easy to setup and cleanup, we’ll provide ...
11/07/2020

Registration is open for “Paint like Van Gogh” via athomeart2.eventbrite.com. Easy to setup and cleanup, we’ll provide the supplies and instructions for pickup at 109 11th street. Looking forward to seeing your artwork and creativity. Cost is $25.

The Garden City Historical Society as it moves past the Wyndham with a warm welcome to her new neighborhood in 1988.  Co...
11/06/2020

The Garden City Historical Society as it moves past the Wyndham with a warm welcome to her new neighborhood in 1988. Compliments of @suziealvey #gardencityhistoricalsociety #apostlehouse @traditionalwindowrestoration @oldworldqualitycorp

Did you know that in 1988 The Garden City Historical was moved from 5th to 11th Street now home to the Museum and AT Ste...
11/06/2020

Did you know that in 1988 The Garden City Historical was moved from 5th to 11th Street now home to the Museum and AT Stewart Exchange. Come see the ongoing restoration at 109 11th Street as we continue preservation efforts for the benefit of the community funded by our generous friends, donors, volunteers and sponsors. #gardencityhistoricalsociety Newspaper clipping compliments of @suziealvey. Special thanks to @oldworldqualitycorp @traditionalwindowrestoration for your progress this year.

At Home Art II - “Paint like Vincent Van Gogh” Register via athomeart2.eventbrite.com to receive your art kit and instru...
11/06/2020

At Home Art II - “Paint like Vincent Van Gogh” Register via athomeart2.eventbrite.com to receive your art kit and instruction to imagine your version of a starry night as our seasons change with vivid blues, whites, yellows and set over your village, home or favorite landscape. Supplies include paints, brushes, canvas, sample silhouettes and more to make the project easy to setup and cleanup. The cost is $25 including a small donation to The Garden City Historical Society to support the ongoing restoration of our AT Stewart era home and museum for the benefit of the Community. Be bold and expressive like Van Gogh and join us for the next in our series. #athomeart #gardencity #gardencityhistoricalsociety #childrensart

Stratford School Grade 3 1959 compliments of @suziealvey   #gardencityhistoricalsociety #stratfordschool. Two students a...
11/06/2020

Stratford School Grade 3 1959 compliments of @suziealvey #gardencityhistoricalsociety #stratfordschool.
Two students are identified (GCHS 1969): Top, second from left: Todd Helmus. Bottom, on floor, on left: Bobby Eggers.

Just launched!  Episode 2 of the children’s at home art program “Paint like Vincent Van Gogh.”   Register for your art k...
11/06/2020

Just launched! Episode 2 of the children’s at home art program “Paint like Vincent Van Gogh.” Register for your art kit including paints, brushes, canvas and more via athomeart2.eventbrite.com #athomeart #gardencity #gardencityhistoricalsociety #sunflowergallery #gardencitypta #gardencityschooldistrict

New Event Launch!  At Home Art Project "Paint like Vincent van Gogh."  Join us for this easy to set up and easy to clean...
11/05/2020
At Home Art Project Episode 2 - Paint like Vincent van Gogh

New Event Launch! At Home Art Project "Paint like Vincent van Gogh." Join us for this easy to set up and easy to clean up project to emulate the style of Van Gogh to create your own Starry Night. The cost is $25 for non-members and $20 for members to include the cost of supplies and a donation to The Garden City Historical Society's capital campaign to restore our 1872 era museum for the benefit of the Community. Click on the link below to purchase your kit while supplies last.

This next episode emulates Vincent van Gogh's response to the world around him with bold and expressive color as seen in "The Starry Night."

Have a happy and safe Halloween Garden City and enjoy a spooky tale of the former Greenfield cemetery by Suzie Alvey. Ol...
10/31/2020

Have a happy and safe Halloween Garden City and enjoy a spooky tale of the former Greenfield cemetery by Suzie Alvey.

Old Cemetery in Garden City
Time for a spooky break from our regular Garden City history series.
While walking along roads in Garden City, have you ever had the feeling you were being watched? Or followed? Do you see strange lights at night? Have you seen the ghost with no name?
When Alexander Turney Stewart, the founder of Garden City bought most of the Hempstead Plains in 1869, he found a mostly uncluttered prairie. However, one of things he had to do before he was ready to build his planned community was to move a fenced-in cemetery in the (current) Eastern Section. It was called Greenfield Cemetery. At the time, it held the overflow of the dead from the Hempstead Town Cemetery (Denton Green) on Front Street. After 150 years, the Hempstead one was filled. The burial place further north, in what later became Garden City, was used next. 105 people were buried in that small Greenfield Cemetery, as it was called, which opened in 1857. Before Stewart bought the large tract of land, the Town of Hempstead was hoping to expand Greenfield Cemetery.
One body in the Greenfield Cemetery had no name. It was delivered from France. No one knew who was in the coffin, even whether it was a man or woman. The agent who lived next to the cemetery did not see how the coffin, filled with charcoal and the body, got there; it just appeared mysteriously.
We are not aware whether Stewart knew about the unclaimed body in the graveyard in 1870. He approached the Hempstead Village board with the idea of buying a 20-40-acre property a bit south of their village in order to construct a new burial ground. At his own expense he would also remove the graves, re-inter the coffins in new ones and transfer the original headstones. The board agreed to his generous idea and maintained the Greenfield Cemetery name. Did the families get upset? Did the spirits?
Greenfield Cemetery is located at 650 Nassau Road in what is now Uniondale. It is run by the Town of Hempstead, and is the only town-run cemetery on Long Island. Famous people who are buried in the 158 acre site include Walter Arlington Latham, a Major League baseball player from the 1800s who lived at Hampshire House, 111 Seventh Street in Garden City; Ramona 'Ms. Melodie' Parker, a rap artist; and John Alexander Searing, US House Representative from 1857-1859.
No one ever found out who was buried in the charcoal-filled coffin....
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Photo: Arched entrance and chapel, Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale (undated, no photographer listed) Hempstead Library (PH-150).

10/30/2020

See this week’s article on the mission for TGCHS with leadership of Bill Garry, Jon Segerdahl and our Board of Trustees. Proud to be part of this organization and to work on behalf of its bold ambitions for preservation and education for the benefit of the community.

At Home Art: Paint like Jackson Pollack | Garden City News
10/23/2020
At Home Art: Paint like Jackson Pollack | Garden City News

At Home Art: Paint like Jackson Pollack | Garden City News

On Friday October 16th The Garden City Historical Society completed the first of their at home art series, simple-to-set-up and easy to clean-up, to promote the arts and art history. The program was

Congratulations to all of the children, parents and grandparents participating in our first At Home Art Series, "Paint l...
10/18/2020
Photographs

Congratulations to all of the children, parents and grandparents participating in our first At Home Art Series, "Paint like Jackson Pollock." We had 100 children complete the project and plan to launch our next series in the coming weeks. Enjoy this short slideshow and find hope and joy in the artistic creations shared with us.

See the work of @traditionalwindowrestoration and @oldworldqualitycorp as progress continues to restore the windows, doo...
10/11/2020

See the work of @traditionalwindowrestoration and @oldworldqualitycorp as progress continues to restore the windows, doors, porch and front facade of our 1872 era AT Stewart Apostle house now home to The @gardencityhistoricalsociety and @atstewartexchange. Thank you to our friends, members, donors and volunteers for supporting this transformation.

Do you live in Garden City’s Mott Section?  See Article 6- Mott Brothers, in the series by Suzie Alvey on the developers...
10/10/2020

Do you live in Garden City’s Mott Section? See Article 6- Mott Brothers, in the series by Suzie Alvey on the developers of Garden City,
featuring the Mott Brothers Company.
Our northeast part of Garden City flourished under the supervision of the Mott Brothers Company. The Mott Section layout dovetailed perfectly with the concept of a planned community started by Alexander T. Stewart and continued with the Estates Corporation and the Garden City Company. In keeping with strict village codes, they also built wide, tree-lined streets with well-constructed homes.
The curved streets of the Mott Section are Claydon, Kenwood, Kingsbury and Wyatt Roads. (It doesn't include Osborne Road) To the west is Washington Avenue and the east, Clinton Road.
The Mott Brothers Company advertising claimed that their home building went back to their great grandfather, a builder. That might have been true, but the Motts had a number of jobs before hitting the real estate jackpot starting in the 1920s. While living in New York City, the father, Edward Charles Mott, Sr. (1875-1937) worked as a clerk and then in coffee sales. His oldest son, Harold Bedell Mott (1897-1946) was also in the coffee business and then marine insurance. Edward, Jr., his youngest son, was a sales clerk and chauffer. While the three Motts were exploring careers, Harold married Adelaide Mezick in 1922. They had two children.
Meanwhile, apartment rentals were getting pricier with the population increasing in New York City. With the combination of FHA low interest rates, low monthly payments, and longer length mortgages, it became preferable to buy a home on Long Island, rather than rent an apartment in New York City.
It was a boom time for real estate on Long Island and the Motts were now in the right place at the right time. Harold and Edward, Jr. were in their mid-twenties when in 1924 the E.C. Mott Realty Company was started with their father with $20,000 in capital. It had offices in Richmond Hill and Jamaica. That same year Edward, Jr. married Eveline Dawson. The following year the company name was changed to Mott's Better Value Homes in St. Albans, Queens.
Sometime before 1930 Edward, Sr. and his wife were living separately. Jennie Mott lived at the newly-built 196 Kilburn Road in the Estates Section of Garden City and he lived in Hempstead. Both passed away in 1937. Harold Mott also had a home in Garden City at 121 Whitehall Boulevard. Ironically, neither home is in the Mott Section.
The Mott Brothers Company (another name change) was kept very busy with building "colonies" in Mineola (circa 1933), Rockville Centre (circa 1934), Hempstead and Flower Hill in Manhasset. They also built developments in Short Hills, Colonia and Tenafly, New Jersey.
By the time the Mott Brothers bought land in Garden City circa 1936 they had a good reputation. The area here was ideal with no hills or trees, the Camp Mills Military Base Hospital had already been cleared away after WWI and they only had several small buildings to remove. Garden City was an established town with a cache that was appealing. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle and other newspapers of the time are quoted as saying, "Garden City offers an ideal environment for people of moderate means who are used to life's finer things. ..The best proof that Mott Brothers' houses maintain the Garden City standard is that many of them are being taken by the younger generation of established Garden City families."
By 1937 the Mott Brothers had offices in the General Motors Building in Manhattan at Broadway and 57th Street and one at 11 Osborne Road, a beautiful custom tudor at the highest price. They also had warehouses to store building materials and fixtures.
According to the Mott Brothers' sales booklet from 1937, the main concept was the idea of customized homes for the discerning up-scale buyer so that "no dwelling can find its twin anywhere in the colony." The Motts had clients who were walked through the process of sales, looking at plans, working with the architect to customize their home to their own specifications, purchasing with financing available for approximately 4-5% interest, having the builder construct the home, free interior design consultation, landscaping, continual inspection service and legal aspects. This was all for homes in the $6,000 to $15,000 and up range to begin with. There was a minimum down payment of 20%. The company did such a great job that they were awarded the Good Housekeeping Studio of Architecture medal in 1938.
The Motts hired the Reynolds Corporation as builders. Features were a minimum lot of 60 by 100 feet, slate roofs, wood-burning fireplaces, Armstrong linoleum floors in the kitchen, colored tiles in the bathrooms, lead water lines, three coats of plaster on walls and more.
The Motts were smart to sell their home planning and supply service to many builders, where the builders could use the architectural plans that were designed by the Mott Brothers Company, order the materials from the Motts, build it themselves and then have inspections by the Motts. The Mott Brothers worked with Graystone, Realty Associates and other companies. Realty Associates bought property in the Western Section of Garden City between Yale Street and Cambridge Avenue, between New Hyde Park Road and the Garden City Country Club. Realty Associates built 200 homes using the Mott company service and materials, called "Country Club Homes."
By 1939 the Mott Brothers had built 350 homes in 2.5 years in northeast Garden City, but had a total of 1,800-2,000 homes that included other areas. It came to an average of 150 homes built per year since they started in 1924.
On the personal side, Edward Mott, Jr. wed for the second time to Edith Bryson in 1938 and continued to live in Great Neck. The following year they had a son. Development speeded up even more with the opening of the Queens Midtown Tunnel for commuters around that time. By 1946 Harold had moved to Miami, Florida with perhaps the idea of an early retirement or maybe building another colony. But he died after a few months at the age of 48. Luckily, Edward survived longer and passed away in Stony Brook in 1971.
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[photo] Aerial of the Mott Section, 1948. "Aerial view of east Garden City facing northwest. Curtiss Engineering Co. in foreground. Stewart School at center right. Mott houses almost complete. Mineola Fairgrounds in top background. Stewart Avenue and Clinton Road shown." [aer10- Garden City Village Archives Collection in NYHeritage.org:].

Cousins Abbey Maaiki and Ava Bloss hard at work creating their At Home art.  Abbey and Ava support us all the way from R...
10/04/2020

Cousins Abbey Maaiki and Ava Bloss hard at work creating their At Home art. Abbey and Ava support us all the way from Riverhead, NY. Thanks Abbey and Ava for your great work!

Signs of hope to start your day....With care from The @gardencityhistoricalsociety
10/04/2020

Signs of hope to start your day....With care from The @gardencityhistoricalsociety

Thank you to @oldworldqualitycorp and our friends, volunteers and donors for your generosity and contributions to the re...
10/03/2020

Thank you to @oldworldqualitycorp and our friends, volunteers and donors for your generosity and contributions to the restoration of our AT Stewart era museum at 109 11th Street now home to The Garden City Historical Society and AT Stewart Exchange. See @oldworldqualitycorp hard at work on the porch and east facade. #preservation #gardencityny #gardencity #preservationlongisland #nationalregisterofhistoricplaces #gardencityhistoricalsociety #gardencityhistory

October is American Archives Month.  What question would you like to ask about Garden City’s His and Her-story?  Questio...
10/02/2020

October is American Archives Month. What question would you like to ask about Garden City’s His and Her-story? Questions will be used to inform upcoming articles and photos from the Village Archive Collection and/or inspire our research with your interests. #gardencityhistoricalsociety #askanarchivist

218 Kilburn circa December 1936 shared with us by Helen M Guelpa and Bea Grannis when their grandparents first moved in....
10/02/2020

218 Kilburn circa December 1936 shared with us by Helen M Guelpa and Bea Grannis when their grandparents first moved in. Do you have early photos of the Estates to share? #gardencityhistoricalsociety

Do you live in Garden City’s Estates section?  Garden City Estates Map 1921 (Garden City Archives- fmap14e). The map cov...
10/02/2020

Do you live in Garden City’s Estates section? Garden City Estates Map 1921 (Garden City Archives- fmap14e). The map covers part of the Estates Section of Garden City, from Roxbury Road on the west to Hampton Road on the east, the Long Island Rail Road on the north to Cambridge Avenue in the south. North is on the right hand side on this map. The black dots indicate homes already bought/built. The beige areas show land still available, mostly in the north. The G.C. Company sold a one square mile tract of this farmland in 1906. The Garden City Estates Corporation bought it for $1,500,000, the value of a single home in that section today. Tanners Pond Road was the western edge and Westminster Road was in the east side of the Garden City Estates. Some infrastructure was already present. 26 years before, in 1880, Stewart Avenue had been extended when St. Paul's School was being constructed. The Corporation only had to move one farmhouse by horse and rollers from Nassau Boulevard and Stewart Avenue, to what is now 3 Kensington Court. Excerpt from Suzie Alvey’s fifth series The Garden City Estates Corporation: Garden City Grows Larger. Follow us on FB to see the full article. #gardencityhistoricalsociety

The Garden City Estates Corporation: Garden City Grows LargerFifth in this series by Suzie Alvey. This article features ...
10/02/2020

The Garden City Estates Corporation: Garden City Grows Larger
Fifth in this series by Suzie Alvey. This article features the real estate developer, Garden City Estates Corporation.
Real estate was booming in Nassau County at the turn of the twentieth century with the opening of the tunnels and bridges for commuters to Manhattan. Syndicates were buying land and old farms to convert into residential development.
The heirs of Alexander Turney Stewart of the Garden City Company were ahead of the game, having started to develop Garden City in 1893. Originally, the large areas of our Estates and Western Sections were used for growing buckwheat for "old" Garden City. The G.C. Company sold a one square mile tract of this farmland in 1906. The Garden City Estates Corporation bought it for $1,500,000, the value of a single home in that section today. Tanners Pond Road was the western edge and Westminster Road was in the east side of the Garden City Estates. Some infrastructure was already present. 26 years before, in 1880, Stewart Avenue had been extended when St. Paul's School was being constructed. The Corporation only had to move one farmhouse by horse and rollers from Nassau Boulevard and Stewart Avenue, to what is now 3 Kensington Court.
The Garden City Estates Corporation consisted of high-profile New York businessmen with offices in Manhattan and the Nassau Boulevard Station. Its president for the first four years was Gage Tarbell, formerly an officer in an insurance company. The two vice presidents were Timothy Woodruff, Lieutenant Governor of New York and Adelphi's president of the Board of Trustees; and Major Ernestus Gulick, real estate mogul and founder of Jamaica Estates. They wished to continue Stewart's planned community, "a veritable Eden," with the same expansive style of a grid of wide roads, lush landscaping and beautiful homes. Cyril E. Marshall and Charles Leavitt, Jr. were excellent engineers, along with the architectural company of Kirby, Petit and Green who designed the Nassau Boulevard Station. Nassau Boulevard's wide road with a central divider, was so appealing that it was duplicated with Stewart Avenue in the east shortly after. The Estates Clubhouse was built on North Avenue (now a private home at 119) in 1908 to duplicate the Casino in "old" Garden City. That same year a stable-garage was built on the south side of Cambridge Avenue that also housed a fire department. (Houses occupy the area now.)
Strict rules were set up for Garden City Estates. Among them were that house construction costs had to be more than $4,000 and if it was on Nassau Boulevard or Stewart Avenues, it had to be at least $8,000. Ironically, no mansard or flat roofs (like the Apostle homes) were allowed.
Many articles and ads in the New York City newspapers extolled the virtues of the new development. The GC Estates Corporation offered free "excursion trains" or "inspection trains" with comfortable express parlor cars to attract wealthy buyers.
Tarbell, Woodruff and Gulick built mansions along Stewart Avenue to demonstrate how wonderful the area was and to entice like-minded buyers. Tarbell's mansion was a Mediterranean style designed by the architect, Oswald Hering. His property filled the block on Stewart, between Nassau Boulevard and Euston Road. Where his mansion was built is now the site of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Central Nassau at 223 Stewart Avenue. Ernestus Gulick built a mansion at 245 Stewart Avenue, now the site of the Garden City Community Church. Lieutenant Governor Timothy Woodruff built an imposing Dutch Colonial Revival mansion on Stewart Avenue as well. (None of the homes survive.)
In 1910, Timothy Woodruff assumed the second presidency of the Garden City Estates Corporation when Gage Tarbell stepped down. Tarbell joined the Garden City Company to develop the eastern portion of our town. Woodruff, perhaps thinking that it would spur growth and certainly for his own enjoyment, opened up the Nassau Boulevard Aerodrome in 1911. It didn't require much acreage for the small planes to take off and land back then. The nascent aviation industry had its start with the Second International Air Meet held at the Aerodrome. It was located west of Nassau Boulevard, where there were many open and unsold lots remaining (around the Stratford School area). The Aerodrome brought many visitors and some bought homes. Some residents in the Estates were not happy with the loud planes and the crowds. An airfield ultimately clashes with suburban growth. The homeowners brought a court case against Woodruff when he overstepped bounds with Sunday meets; blue laws were in effect. One was Bishop Burgess of the Cathedral, who said parishioners couldn't hear his sermons. Woodruff decided to call it quits and returned to Brooklyn politics in 1912, just two years into his presidency of the G.C. Estates Corporation.
William G. Gilmore, a Brooklyn businessman and director of the Corporation from the beginning, assumed the presidency after Woodruff left, but felt no need to build a mansion in the Estates. During his time the Garden City Country Club was founded in 1916 for residents living in the Estates Section, as the Clubhouse became too small. Later, the Estates Corporation informed residents that it couldn't continue the policing, lighting and upkeep of the area as things got more complicated with the increase in population. The residents formed a property owner's association to deal with the situation. Ultimately, it led to Garden City's incorporation along school district lines, between Garden City Estates, the newly formed Eastern Section and the original Garden City. The tie that bound everyone together was the unique "Gentlemen's Agreement," formulated by Roxbury Road resident, C. Walter Randall in 1919. (The Western Section joined the Village of Garden City in the 1930s.) George Loring Hubbell with his extensive experience with the Garden City Company became our first Mayor.

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[Photo] Garden City Estates Map 1921 (Garden City Archives- fmap14e). The map covers part of the Estates Section of Garden City, from Roxbury Road on the west to Hampton Road on the east, the Long Island Rail Road on the north to Cambridge Avenue in the south. North is on the right hand side on this map. The black dots indicate homes already bought/built. The beige areas show land still available, mostly in the north.

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109 11th St
Garden City, NY
11530

LIRR, Garden City station on the Hempstead Line

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Our Story

Founded in 1975, The Garden City Historical Society is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, chartered by the New York State Education Department. It is dedicated to preserving the historic character and ambiance of the Village of Garden City, and educating its members and the public in preservation and history related matters. The Society owns and operates The Garden City Historical Society Museum, an original 1872 A.T. Stewart-era Victorian structure, as well as a gift shop and a consignment shop—the A.T. Stewart Exchange (516-746-8900)—on the lower level of the Museum. The Society’s Archives includes over 1,200 artifacts pertaining to the Village and its immediate surrounding communities. The Society offers periodic lectures and presentations, publishes a newsletter, and maintains an Historic Structure Survey of pre-1935 residential and non-residential structures in the Village of Garden City. Follow us on instagram @gardencityhistoricalsociety or join us on our website at tgchs.org

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Come join in on our focus groups and help us define our presence in the community. Sessions are held at the Society on 11th Street, in Garden City. We want to hear from you.
My maiden name is Peggy Jane Wynn. I lived in Garden city from 1928-1947, attended St Mary (in your historical Society building) through tenth grade. my brothers attended St Paul's. I have some photos I p;an on posting and also would like o send some artifacts to your society if you are interested...year books etc. I lived in east Garden City at 77 Brook Street. Very happy years!
Do you have anything you'd like to donate to The Garden City Historical Society?
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