THE VILLAGE OF MILL NECK, NY – ONE OF THE PRICIEST PLACES IN THE U.S.

 

Old Grist Mill in Mill Neck

The name “Mill Neck” originated from the mill Henry Townsend built in 1661 with a grant from his fellow freeholders. The old saw mill at Mill Neck produced cut lumber in planks as well as turnings for balusters, columns and fence posts until few years before it was demolished in 1890.

The Village of Mill Neck, NY 11765 is located on the North Shore of Long Island in the Town of Oyster Bay. To live in Mill Neck, NY is to live in one of the most expensive addresses in the United States according to some exclusive magazine for the rich and the famous. Although I have my doubt to some extent. Forbes Magazine have listed Mill Neck as the third priciest address in the United States. Most likely because most of the wealthy homeowners are concentrated in that zip code.

I lived in Oyster Bay for 40 years and know the town and the surrounding areas very well. Mill Neck is right next to Oyster Bay and not all homes are in the million dollars price range. I know some friends who live in the area. Some are very wealthy and some are just ordinary folks.

The area that is called Mill Neck is a whole mix of areas. There are few streets very close to Oyster Bay which have a Mill Neck zip code and comparatively speaking have smaller houses on small property. Renville Ct. has a Mill Neck zip code but I will consider those as part of Oyster Bay. It is on the boundary of Oyster Bay and Mill Neck. Then there is the area called Mill Neck Estates which also have smaller lots and close to Bayville Bridge with mid-priced homes. The rest are all located in what I will call the real Mill Neck. These are the Mill Neck properties which get the most headlines as the most expensive homes in the United States having big mansions on huge properties.

Mill Neck is a lovely community with rolling hills and big properties. It overlooks Oyster Bay Harbor to the east, Mill Neck Bay to the north and Beaver Lake flows right in the middle toward the Mill Neck Bay. There is an ice skating rink near Beaver Lake. Shu Swamp Nature Preserve is close by near Francis Pond. Part of Mill Neck borders the Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park – a 400 acres state park. There is also a horse farm in the area.

 

Mill Neck Manor

The Mill Neck Manor (Picture above) looks like an English Castle. When my older son went to school in England, I sent him a postcard of The Mill Neck Manor. “Guess where this is? It’s here at home,” I wrote him. The Mill Neck Manor is located on a big property with a 35-room Elizabethan Manor House completed in 1927 for Mr. & Mrs. Robert Dodge. The whole manor house was imported from England and reassembled in Mill Neck brick by brick.

Mill Neck Manor by oldlongisland.com

Part of the ground of Mill Neck Manor in back of the manor house by oldlongisland.com

 

Apple Festival

The Apple Festival at Mill Neck Manor located close to the long driveway to the manor house. On the left is the Apple Festival and on the right is the parking spaces for visitors. The place is huge.

Later, it was sold to the Lutheran Friends of the Deaf in 1947 after Mr. & Mrs. Dodge passed away. It is now called the Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf where the annual Apple Festival is held every first weekend in October. The Village Hall is located on Frost Mill Rd. near the Mill Neck Manor.

 

Humes Japanese Garden.jpg

The John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden is located in Mill Neck. It is probably the best kept secret in town. Very few people know it is there. It is open to the public. It used to be owned by John P. Humes, a former Ambassador to Japan who brought the idea of Japanese Garden to his Mill Neck home. Now the garden is a preservation project of the Garden Conservancy.

There used to be a railroad station in Mill Neck which catered to the wealthy residents of Mill Neck during the Gold Coast era. Long Island Railroad closed the Mill Neck train station a few years ago due to the fact that only one passenger took the train from Mill Neck station. Most residents of Mill Neck either take the train from nearby stations in Oyster Bay or Locust Valley which are so close by.

Until next time. Let’s keep exploring Long Island.

Rosalinda

East Islip – The Hollinses, The Knapps and The Morgans

This is a continuation of East Islip History. Part 1 was posted a couple of weeks ago. Click here to read East Islip, Suffolk County – Early History.

 

Long Island Beach

When the glaciers melted during the Ice Age, it creates a difference between the North Shore beaches and the South Shore beaches. The North Shore beaches are rocky while the South Shore beaches are crisp, clear and outwash sand. The beauty of the beach and the proximity to the barrier island enticed some New York city residents to settle on the South Shore. South Shore communities are built along protected wetlands and contain white sandy beaches of barrier islands fronting the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Most descendants of late 19th and early 20th century immigrants from southern and eastern Europe and black migrants from the South liked the landscape of Long Island South Shore. Other ethnic groups followed, although Nassau County is more densely developed than Suffolk Country and has pockets of great wealth with estates covering huge acreage within the Gold Coast of the North Shore where wealthy industrialists during the Gilded Age built lavish country homes.

 

East Islip, like some hamlets along Long Island’s south shore, was once an enclave for some of the nation’s wealthiest families. Its estates at one time included the Hollins, Gulden, and Knapp estates, among others.

 

Knapp Home Photo

The original estate mansion, Brookwood Hall, owned originally by the Knapp family has passed from its last private owners, the Thorne family.

The three-story, 41-room mansion with French and Greek influences was designed by the renowned New York architectural firm Delano & Aldrich, whose portfolio includes blueprints for the Vanderbilt and Whitney families’ homes. It was built in 1903 for the affluent Knapp family before it was sold to financier Francis B. Thorne in 1929. It was later used as an orphanage before the town purchased the 44-acre property in 1967. Now, it houses its parks department headquarters as well as the nonprofit Islip Arts Council.

 

P1070100

Brookwood Hall under renovation. Check Newsday article.

https://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/islip-owned-brookwood-hall-to-receive-additional-renovations-1.12769093

 
BrookwoodHall    Bob and Matt at Brookwood Hall

Here is an undated photo of the portico of Brookwood Hall. On the right is a photo of my brother in law, Robert W Morgan and my husband, Matthew Morgan (with blond hair) on the steps of the portico taken in the 1930s on their visit to their aunt Hildegard who was then married to Francis Thorne, the owner of Brookwood Hall.

 

Other big estates at that time is the Sullivan estate which would become the home of the Hewlett School, an old private boarding school. Some estates and early farmlands were donated to the Roman Catholic Church and would make up the current grounds of St Mary’s Catholic Church of East Islip, which includes a private elementary and middle school, in addition to church and other parish buildings. There was also the original Westbrook farm on the boundary between East Islip and Oakdale, near the Bayard Cutting Arboretum.

 

East Islip borders four other hamlets: Islip is to the west, Islip Terrace is to the north, North Great River is to the northeast, and Great River is to the east. The Great South Bay is to the south.

 

In 1880, Harry B. Hollins purchased a large property in East Islip located south of the South Country Rd. and running to the bay on the south and to Champlin’s Creek on the west. It was known at the time as the Mainwaring Farm and could be reached by Pavilion Avenue. It was several hundred acres in size and would be called Meadowfarm. He built a large country home with several outbuildings including the usual stables and carriage house.

 

When the Hollins fell into hard times, Charles L. Lawrence bought the main house along with 116 acres bordering the Great South Bay and Champlin Creek. My husband’s Grandma Morgan bought the stables and clock tower together with about 15 acres. They are still in existence today but are now located on 37 Blackmore Ln. Blackmore was named after the Mr. Hollins’ estate manager. My husband said he and Harry III were the vain of Mr. Blackmore’s existence when they were in their teens. Matt and Harry III were best friends and neighbors.

 

The Hollins renovated one of the farmhouses on the northern portion of the property approximately 480 acres remaining to which they relocated. When my husband family lived on that street, there were only 5 houses in the whole street with Charles Lawrence family at the end of the road having the biggest property. First house you see as you enter Meadow Farm Rd was Mr. Harry Knapp’s, then my husband’s parents’ home, then Mrs. Harry Knapp’s (The Creekside). They got divorced and Mr. Knapp built the other house. After Creekside, my husband’s Grandma Morgan’s house and then Mr. Charles Lawrence’s house at the end.

 

Nowadays, you won’t even recognize the old Meadow Farm Rd. Several houses were built during the last 30 years. When my husband took me to see his old place in the ‘70s the place was still intact. New development had not invaded the area yet. It was a quiet street with lots of trees. The hemlock tree he planted when he was six years old was still in front of his house. It’s most likely been cut down when the new development began construction.

 

Harry Knapp's Driveway

Creekside’s driveway between my husband’s parents’ property on one side and his grandmother’s property on the other side.

 

The Creekside 70 Meadow Farm Rd

The Creekside’s backyard on Meadow Farm Rd. owned by Harry Knapp Jr. His son, Harry Knapp III was my husband best friend and my husband spent a lot of time in this house when they were young boys. At the time my husband was growing up on Meadow Farm Rd., there was no number on the street because there were only five houses on the whole street. I could not find a photo of my husband’s house on the internet. We have no copy of the pictures of the Morgan’s house. We gave all the photos of the house from the time it was constructed to later years to Robert Entenmann of Entenmann’s Bakery when they bought the house from Mrs. Robert Pinkerton of Pinkerton Detective Agency who bought the house from my in-laws. We should have kept the album. My husband said at that time, “What for? We don’t own the house anymore.” Now, we are sorry we gave them away.

 

88 Meadow Farm Rd.

This is the aerial view of the Meadow Farm Rd and the creek behind it. It’s most likely part of the Lawrence estate which is the biggest parcel of land at the end of the street.

 

During the summer months in the 1920s, plenty of notable people visited East Islip including Charles Lindbergh and a high-ranking person on the world’s stage, the Prince of Wales. In September 1924, while he was a houseguest of Mr. & Mrs. James Burden of Syosset (she was a niece of William K. Vanderbilt), the Prince of Wales would often “disappear” with his two equerries, during a party and paid a visit to the Hollinses at Meadowfarm in East Islip. He would not return to the Burdens until the next day.

 

Sources: Hometown Long Island, Along the Great South Bay by Harry W. Havemeyer, Personal conversation with Matthew Morgan, Wikipedia, New York Times, Newsday

 

 Until next time. Let’s keep on exploring Long Island.

Rosalinda

 

 

More facts about Long Island

 

Planting Fields State Park

Planting Fields State Park

Long Island, NY has 26 state parks.

 

East Hampton Coastline

East Hampton Coastline

Long Island’s picturesque coastline is 1,180 miles long.

 

Charles_Lindbergh_and_the_Spirit_of_Saint_Louis_(Crisco_restoration,_with_wings)

Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of Saint Louis

Charles Lindbergh began his famous non-stop flight from New York to Paris from Long Island’s Roosevelt Field airstrip in the early morning of Friday, May 20, 1927.

 

Apollo Lunar Module - NASA

The Apollo Lunar Module (LM) that landed on the moon was built in Long Island, NY by Grumman Corp.

 

The Great Gatsby

F.Scott Fitzgerald wrote the Great Gatsby (which described Long Island’s “Gold Coast”) while living in Great Neck.

 

The Vanderbilt Planetarium, located in Centerport, NY is one of the largest and best-equipped in the United States.

The Long Island Railroad provides more than 303,000 rides to customers each weekday.

Long Island, NY has several national award-winning schools including more than 14 leading colleges and universities.

Long Island has world leaders in biotechnology.

Long Island has leading research and world-renowned hospitals.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda, “The Rose Lady ”

www.rosalindarmorgan.com

 

 

What do you know about Long Island?

Long_island_Do you know . . .

Long Island is the longest and the largest island in the contiguous United States. It looks like a fish swimming along Connecticut’s shore.

From end to end, it is about 118 miles eastward from New York Harbor to Montauk Point, and the widest north-to-south distance is 23 miles between Long Island Sound and the Atlantic coast.

The total land area is 1373 square miles. In Long Island’s head lies Brooklyn and Queens, New York City boroughs. Its granite backbone, the ridge of hills along the northern coast, twice rises to a height of about 380 feet, but elsewhere Long Island is quite low. Gardiner’s and Peconic bays split the tail for a depth of 50 miles, Orient Point forming the northern tip and Montauk the southern tip.

For the purpose of this blog, Long Island will refer to only Nassau and Suffolk counties including Fire Island although the island comprises four counties including Queen and Kings counties in the United States state of New York.

The population of Long Island is composed of two distinct elements. There are the wealthy, drawn by the mild oceanic climate of the island, who live in some of the most expensive and beautiful neighborhoods near the shorelines. Then there are the working class and some inhabitants of old village stock – baymen, fishermen, and market gardeners. There are also transient summer throngs, who crowd the seaside resorts.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda, “The Rose Lady ”

www.rosalindarmorgan.com

 

The Battle of Long Island

 

BattleofLongisland-H

Photo credit: History.com

 

The Battle of Long Island, which took place on Brooklyn Heights, Aug. 27, 1776, is the most important event in the history of the island with one of the largest expeditionary forces ever launched against an enemy in the history of Great Britain – 32,000 troops. The immensity of that military effort was a tribute both to the fighting skills of the Americans and the grand strategy of the British high command.

George Washington, anticipating an attack on New York, moved his 19,000 raw and poorly equipped soldiers, setting them to work building fortifications on the southern tip of Manhattan and in Brooklyn Heights.

On the morning of August 22, 1776. American stationed at Gravesend (near the present Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn) awoke to see an armada approaching from Staten Island, ships loaded to the gunwales with British troops. The invasion was on. The American fled and soon joined the bulk of Patriots soldiers who were aligned either behind the Brooklyn Heights fortifications or along a ridge that ran from near Gowanus Bay eastward toward Jamaica. The ridge, called the Heights of Guan, was thickly wooded and formed a natural barrier, penetrable only through four openings, the easternmost of which was called Jamaica Pass.

After several days of skirmishing, the British took up positions in front of the three other passages, engaging the attention of about 2,500 American militiamen defending the ridge. While Washington waited for the attack, General Howe led his main force of 10,000 on an all-night march to Jamaica Pass, where only five Patriot officers had been posted. Capturing the five before they could warn their cohorts, the British learned that the pass had been left undefended and quickly poured through. Howe’s strategy worked to perfection. He had positioned overwhelming forces both in front of and behind the American lines; the final blow was to be coordinated with a naval bombardment of Brooklyn Heights from the East River.

However, nature intervened. A stiff north wind and an ebbing tide prevented Howe from moving his fleet northward. Yet the situation was still desperate. Patriot troops, caught in the British pincers, suffered severely and were barely able to retreat behind the fortified Brooklyn Heights positions. There, they faced a force, superior in every regard, that was prepared to win victory by seige or assault.

Confronted by this terrible dilemma, Washington conceived and executed a brilliant strategem – to retreat to Manhattan. After sustaining incessant fatigue and constant watchfulness for two days and nights, attended by heavy rain, exposed every moment to an attack by a vastly superior force in front, and to be cut off from the possibility of retreat to New York by the fleet which might enter the East River, Washington commenced recrossing his troops from Brooklyn to New York on the night of Aug. 29.  

Moments before its completion, with Washington on the Long Island side, British scouts, suspicious of the silence, infiltrated the Patriot lines and discovered what was happening. But before they could act, a fog rolled in and concealed the departure of the remaining boats, one of which had Washington on board.

The evacuation resulted in the extrication of some 9,500 American soldiers out of 10,000 American actively engaged in the Battle of Long Island with their equipment and supplies, from positions only 600 yards from the British lines to safety in Manhattan. This was one of the first American defeats in the Revolutionary War.

Long Island remained a British stronghold until the end of the war in 1783.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda, “The Rose Lady “

www.rosalindarmorgan.com