The Floral Park Board of Trustees recently honored a piece of village history when they unveiled the portrait of Raymond I. Stokely, who was president of Floral Park from 1921-23, along with president of the village’s historical society Ann Corbett and Dennis McEnery, who is a member of the conservation and historical societies.
“Over the years, the history of Floral Park has had many presidents and many mayors,” said Mayor Dominick Longobardi. “If you look around the room, you’ll see all of those people.”
According to Longobardi, the village had a hard time locating a picture for Stokely, but due to the perseverance and extensive research by Corbett and McEnery, a portrait of Stokely was finally found.
“I found out that Ray was born in Ohio, went to Ohio State University and found his wife Grace who he married,” said McEnery about the findings of his research. “They made their way to Floral Park in the 1900s. In 1919, which was 100 years ago, there was a big political scandal where John Lewis Childs lost his last campaign. Stokely was the head of the board of trade, which was the chamber of commerce at the time, and in 1921 he became the president of Floral Park, which was mayor at the time.”
Accomplishments during Stokely’s tenure include the board of trustees going from two members to four members and the acquirement of two bonds, which each cost $100,000 for road improvements leading to an increase in population in the village from 1921-31 from 2,000 people to 10,000 people. During McEnery’s research, he was able to find Stokely’s grandson, who lives in Maryland and gave him the pictures of Stokely.
According to Corbett, who was also a former mayor of Floral Park, it wasn’t until 1927 when the village board changed the title from president to mayor.
When it came time to unveil the portrait, the village board, Corbett and McEnery pulled off the velvet covering to thunderous applause and cheers from the residents who came out.