Dating back to the 1800s, the history of the Village of Floral Park began when 17 year old John Lewis Childs came to the village, which was originally known as East Hinsdale. The name on how Floral Park got its name is actually quite self-explanatory. When Childs became an employee of C. L. Allen, who was a grower of flowers and seeds, Childs afterward went into business for himself, rented a small area of land and began a seed and bulb business eventually growing his business to hundreds of acres of gardens. As a successful businessman, Childs bought land in the village and named the new territory Floral Park, naming the streets and avenues after flowers and trees.
During a recent ceremony at the Floral Park Recreation Center, the Floral Park Historical Society (FPHS), while celebrating its 20th year anniversary, unveiled eight brand new historical markers that will be erected throughout the village. The markers will be installed at the historic sites in the village this month.
“The cost of casting eight markers was significant so our members decided to apply to the Nassau County Legislature for a $10,000 grant to cover the cost of casting eight new historical markers,” said Floral Park Historical Society President Ann V. Corbett. “With the assistance of Legislators Richard Nicolello and Vincent Muscarella, the FPHS was awarded the grant. The eight historical markers were cast, unveiled and will be installed at predetermined locations. We are eager for our local residents of all ages to see and read them.”
“Presiding Officer Nicolello and I were proud to work with the Village of Floral Park to ensure our historic landmarks are preserved, and are well marked so that residents can read and learn more about where they live,” said Legislator Muscarella. “The markers that were recently installed will ensure that these sites are remembered for generations to come.”
Sharing the same sentiments Nicolello said that he was proud to work with Legislator Muscarella on funding and unveiling the markers.
“These markers will remind people of the great history of Floral Park and will add to the beauty of the area,” said Nicolello. “I look forward to seeing them displayed prominently throughout the community.”
State Senator Anna Kaplan also presented the historical society with a proclamation in honor of its 20th anniversary during the ceremony.
In prior years, three historical markers were installed in the village: one stands in front of the United Methodist Church on Verbena Avenue in recognition of its 115th anniversary; the second marker stands at the site of John Lewis Childs’ former residence and his company’s seedhouse on Tulip Avenue; and the third marker highlights the route of the first Vanderbilt Cup race that sped through Floral Park in 1904 and stands in a pocket park at Jericho Turnpike and Emerson Avenue.
The following is the list of the eight new historical markers:
Fireman’s Hall was located on Violet Avenue where there is a public parking lot today. The first floor housed firefighting apparatus and the second floor was used as a meeting and event room for the firefighters as well as community organizations and churches. It was the polling place where residents voted to incorporate the village in 1908. The top floor housed Village offices until 1936, when the Floral Park Village Hall was built a block away.
The 1779 house located on 116 Carnation Ave., is the oldest home in Floral Park. It was built of timber harvested from the Baylis/Bailey farm, which ran from Carnation Avenue and proceeded west, following the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) tracks. Today the owners of the 1779 house are Floral Park Village Justice Doug Hayden and his wife Una. Susan Doyle of Floral Park is a decedent of William Baylis, who lived with his family in this home in Colonial days.
The Tyson Building at 107 South Tyson Ave., is in the middle of what was once known as the Tyson Block. George I. Tyson, a major property owner in the early days of Floral Park, built this large, impressive commercial building. The wood frame building originally constructed at this site burned down and was rebuilt of brick by Tyson. It is where the FPHS Museum is housed today.
Floral Park School
The Floral Park School was built facing South Tyson Avenue. Children no longer had to travel more than one mile to a small, wooden one-room schoolhouse on Jericho in what is today Bellerose Terrace. The school was demolished in the late 1950s and replaced by a new structure with the front entrance facing Elizabeth Street.
The Floral Park American Legion Post 334 at 15 Elizabeth St., is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The American Legion Hall, referred to as the “Post,” was erected in 1924 by volunteer labor from the membership. Carpenters, masons, plumbers and electricians contributed their labor to make a welcoming gathering place.
The Floral Terrace at Jericho Turnpike and Park Place, a popular wedding venue today, was once the Floral Theatre. It was considered the grandest theater in Nassau. It was built by John McNeill, a contractor/builder, who eventually became mayor of Floral Park. It was equipped to present silent and talking movies, vaudeville acts, dance troupes and newsreels. It had more than 1,600 seats and was the first theater in the area to have a balcony.
The Masonic Temple at 26 Tulip Ave., was the home of the Masons of Floral Park. The Masonic Temple was built in 1925 on a playing field that featured a baseball diamond at the junction of Carnation and Tulip Avenues. It was purchased by the Village of Floral Park in 2004 and renamed Centennial Hall.
The Covert Homestead consisted of three family homes, a carriage house, barns and other structures. John and Marie Covert, raised six children there. The acreage owned by Covert stretched north of Tulip Avenue past the LIRR tracks and south of Tulip where Sewanhaka High School is. Covert donated land to Nassau for a paved roadway, which was named Covert Avenue as a tribute to him.
(Photos courtesy of the Floral Park Historical Society)