About the Chamber - Chamber History

HISTORY OF BALDWIN
The land that is today called Baldwin was first inhabited by the Merrick tribe of Native Americans,  The Merricks were poor hunters and farmers, surviving primarily through trade with other tribes.  This dependence on trade allowed early European settlers to persuade the Merricks to trade away their land.  The Merricks formally lost all their land when Chief Tackapausha of the Massapequa tribe signed a treaty with English settlers Robert Fordham and Johan Carman in 1643, which gave the English all of the Hempstead Town area.

In the 1660s, the town of Baldwin was a piece of land between Parsonage Creek and Milburn Creek called Hicks Neck, named after early resident John Hicks.  The community was strengthened in 1686 when John Pine constructed a grist mill, attracting settlers and industry.  For most early residents, however farming and fishing remained the primary occupations.

The Revolutionary War caused a schism between Hicks Neck residents due to differing political beliefs, but following the war, the area prospered as an agricultural center.

Bethel Chapel was constructed on St. Luke’s Place in 1810 and served as the first church and schoolhouse of Hicks Neck.

Another man who brought activity and growth to Hicks Neck was John Lott, who ran both Lott’s Inn and Lott’s Landing seaport from the early to mid-1800s.  Lott’s property was located in an area of Hicks Neck north of Atlantic Avenue and west of Milburn Creek, which was known by the 1830s as Milburn..  Around the same time, Baldwin’s final namesake thus far, the Baldwin family, first moved into town.  Thomas Baldwin quickly became a pillar of the community running a sawmill, a hotel and a general store.  Thomas’ son Francis, an architect, followed in his father’s tradition by building many homes in Baldwin and making donations to local schools and churches.  His funeral in 1890 is said to have been the largest in Baldwin’s history,  The Baldwin family’s role in the community was so great that in 1855, only 25 years after Thomas Baldwin had moved there, the village was named Baldwinsville.  By the end of the century, the village included the Milburn area, and its name had been shortened to Baldwin,

In 1867, the first train of the South Side Railroad (later part of the Long Island Rail Road) passed through Baldwin, and four years later Baldwin constructed its own post office near the train station,.  1896 saw the establishment of the Baldwin Fire Department.  The village was on the grow, and by 1890 the population had exceeded 1,200.

Albert and Arthur Heinrich, two brothers from Baldwin, made history in 1910 by building and flying the first successful American monoplane a one-winged plane, as opposed to a biplane).  The Heinrichs went on to enjoy lucrative careers in airplane construction, which included building warplanes for World War I in a factory right in Baldwin.

Two local newspapers, the “Daily Review Star” and the “Baldwin Citizen,” started up in Baldwin in the 1920s,  There was plenty to report, thanks to the high volume of liquor smuggling occurring in Baldwin’s ports during Prohibition,

The Depression was just as damaging to Baldwin residents as it was to most other Americans.  A number of community groups formed to combat the unemployment and poverty of the times, and Baldwin continued to grow.

During World War  II, a Baldwin resident, Lieutenant Bernard James Ray, earned a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor when he strapped himself with explosives and charged an enemy blockade.  The close of the war saw another large boom in Baldwin’s population when soldiers returned home seeking employment.

The Village continued to modernize in an attempt to accommodate its growing population.  In 1957, the train tracks were raised onto a platform, and throughout the 1950s meadow land was filled in so that more homes could be built.  In 1962, the Baldwin Public Library opened its doors.  By the 1970, Baldwin’s population was over 34,000.

In July 2006, Baldwin was voted  #25 out of 100 “Top Places to Live” in the United States and  #1 on Long Island by Money Magazine.

In the summer of 2009, Baldwin hosted its first-ever fireworks show; becoming one of the few non-villages in Nassau to do so. This fireworks show combined with the Baldwin Day Picnic has become a much anticipated annual event.

Today, Baldwin is a thriving suburban community  It boasts numerous schools and fine restaurants.  It is home to the Nassau County Police Department’s First Precinct, and contains several lovely parks.  The village of Baldwin stands as an example of a modern Long Island suburb whose history will only continue to grow as it progresses into the 21st century.

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Baldwin, NY 11510
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