Since the 1930's the Long Island communities of Hewlett, Woodmere, Cedarhurst, Lawrence and Inwood have been known collectively as "The Five Towns." One of the oldest population centers on Long Island, the area attracted Victorian vacationers, many of whom returned and settled in lavish homes. During the Gilded Age, captains of industry, government and finance came from New York city to enjoy the Rockaway Hunting Club, Woodsburgh Pavilion and the Holly Arms Hotel. The growth of the railroads created service industries and turned quiet fishing and farming villages into a suburban commercial and residential hub. A microcosm of the great metropolis to its west, the Five Towns strived to maintain their distinct characters despite the development and homogenization of the 20th century. In The Five Towns, vintage photographs from unique library and personal collections are brought together to recreate the rich history and charm of the Rockaway Peninsula.

Millicent D. Vollono has been a librarian and historian for her professional career. As Head of the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library Readers ’Advisory and Reference Services, she coordinated the Library’s Local History Collection, began their digitization project, created and wrote the Local History Blog, and curated its history-related exhibits. As well as authoring The Five Towns (Arcadia Publishing, 2010) and a commissioned commemorative pamphlet for the Village of Woodsburgh's Centenary celebration, her chapter on "Robert Burton's Woodmere" appears in Gardens of Eden: Long Island's Early Twentieth Century Planned Communities (W.W. Norton, 2015). The article, "Designing Suburbia: Olive Tjaden on Long Island," originally published in the Nassau County Historical Society Journal (December, 2016) provided the perfect opportunity to collaborate with daughter, Lauren Drapala in a rediscovery of the pioneering architect. More of their work on Tjaden will appear in the forthcoming Routledge Companion to Women in Architecture.

From: The Nassau County Historical Society Journal, 71 (2016): 53-56.

The Last Word, 2016

Natalie A. Naylor

The articles in this year’s Journal deal with diverse aspects of local history. Millicent D. Vollono and her daughter, Lauren V. Drapala, have combined their talents in researching and writing their article, “Designing Suburbia: Olive Tjaden on Long Island.” Architect Tjaden designed hundreds of houses and other buildings in Nassau County from 1925 to 1945.

Judith Tabler’s “History of Foxhunting with the Meadow Brook Hunt” is based on her recent book, Foxhunting with the Meadow Brook Hounds. Foxhunting was a popular sport on Long Island in the early decades of the twentieth century and the Meadow Brook Hunt survived until 1971, despite post-World War II developments in their hunt area in northern Nassau County.

“Oystering in Inwood, 1891” provides a delightful glimpse into a popular Long Island pursuit, as described by journalist Jenny L. Hopkins in 1891. (My appreciation to Millicent Vollono who brought the article from her personal collection to my attention. She also researched Hopkin’s background for “About the Contributors” on p. ii.)

Bill Bleyer, in “The Theodore Roosevelt Association Saves Sagamore Hill,” recounts how Sagamore Hill was preserved as a shrine and is now a national historic site. This article is reprinted from his excellent recent book, Sagamore Hill: Theodore Roosevelt’s Summer White House.

“Discovering Hempstead Town’s Country Home Era,” by Raymond and Judith Spinzia, introduces an aspect of Hempstead’s history often overlooked in other accounts of the period. It provides a look into the extensive historical information amassed by the Spinzias in their multi-volume Long Island’s Prominent Families series.

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