Village History

Please note that this historical account was copied from the December 1999 Planning and Zoning Study by JAC Planning Corp (Great Neck, NY)

The Village of Port Washington North was incorporated only two-thirds of a century ago. However, the Village, part of the Cow Neck peninsula, dates back to the mid-1600′s and is one of the early settlements on Long Island. The creation of the Village of Port Washington North and its land use relationship to the peninsula is directly related to its natural resources. Examples of this include the grist mills, which were built where there was water to power them and sand mining which occurred where there was sand and a means to transport it away. The process of land use evolving from natural resources must be reflected upon. In the process, history and the progression of land uses must be examined along with the current conditions in order to plan for the future. Simply put, it is necessary to know who we were, so we can decide what we want to become.

The Village celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1982, at which time it designated eleven sites as “Historic Landmarks” and commemorated the occasion by erecting bronze plaques at those locations (soon to be attached figure showing a map of the Village and the locations). In 1976, during our Nation’s anniversary, the Village erected a bronze plaque identifying the “Mill Pond Historic District” which declared as such in 1973 by the Vilage Landmark Preservation Commission. Therefore, the Village and its officials perceive and acknowledge its historic character and historical implications.

The Village and the Cow Neck peninsula trace their beginnings back to early European settlements when the Town of Hempstead (which then included the Town of North Hempstead) was created in 1644 by the Dutch. The English subsequently created the entity of Queens County and the New York legislature created North Hempstead in 1784 located within Queens County. Nassau County was created as a spin-off when the City of New York was created in 1898.

The population grew slowly in the Port Washington-North Hempstead area from 1790 to the early 1900′s (prior to 1940) as follows

1790 – 2,696
1840 – 3,891
1890 – 8,134
1940 – 83,385
1990 – 218,624
2000-2,700
2010- 3,154

Village History

Year Event
1677 Gov Andros land grant to John Cornwall (later site of Treadwell Farm; now Soundview Village).
1684 Cornwall buys additional land from Matinecock Indians.
1781 Adam Mott builds Grist Mill on Cow Bay.
1793-1795 Dodge’s Inlet (Mill Pond) dammed by Town.
c. 1795 Caleb Cornwall builds grist mill at Mill Pond.
c. 1820 Henry Cocks comes to Cow Neck from Locust Valley.
1832 Henry Cocks becomes first person to plant oysters here.
1840 Henry Cocks and John Mackey plant oysters in Cow Bay.
c. 1840 “Little Red School House,” first school in Cow Neck, built at foot of Pleasant Avenue.
1859 First Church built on land donated by Henry Cocks at foot of Pleasant Avenue – “Little Red School House” moved across the street to make room for the church.
1864 Henry Cocks buys Mott Grist Mill; his brother Solomon becomes the miller.
1890 Hotel Renwick built by Lorenzo Smull (later known as “Gildo’s;” more recently as “Winston’s.”)
1898 Mill Pond Model Yacht Club established.
1903 Solomon Cocks’ son Jacob builds home at 75 Old Shore Road.
1926 “Little Red School House” burns down.
1932 Village of Port Washington North incorporated; Jacob Cocks elected first Mayor. Judge ArthurJones appointed first Clerk; Cocks’ Barn serves as Village Hall, and Jones’ residence at 41 Mill Pond Road as Village Office.
1933 Polish American Citizens Association formed.
1936 Mayor Cocks dies in office; succeeded by his son, Martin.
1939 National Broadcasting Company given permit to build WEAF AM transmitter at crest of what is now Radcliff Avenue.
1940 Transmitter building and twin 325 foot towers completed.
1945 Village Hall moved from Cocks’ Barn to Jones residence, 41 Mill Pond Road.
1950 Village Hall moved to Lewis Oil Company office, 65 Shore Road.
1951 Referendum to change name of Village to “Port Washington” successful, but invalidated on technicalities.
1952 Regular monthly meetings of Village Board of Trustees begin; formerly held only once a year, plus sporadically as needed. Manuel W. Levine appointed first Village Attorney (had served since ‘thirties as legal consultant).
1953 Uninhabited strip of sand mine along Cow Neck Road annexed to Village. Manuel W. Levine appointed Nassau County District Court Judge, resigns as Village Attorney; his son, George D. Levine, appointed Village Attorney.
1956 First Village Planning Board appointed.
1957 First contested election in Village history; Henry Zebroski. defeats incumbent Mayor Martin Cocks by 1 vote out of 177 cast; Harold Thomas appointed Clerk in place of Judge Jones. Charles Zwerlein, one of original 1932 Trustees, resigns after 25 years in office. First report of sale of large tract of vacant land owned by Colonial Sand to developers.
1958 H. Irving Cocks, Chairman of Board of Appeals since 1938, dies. He was a son of first Mayor, Jacob Cocks, and brother to second Mayor, Martin Cocks.
1959 First section of Soundview Village approved; construction begins.
1960 Petition for dissolution of Village rejected by Board. Michael Chester defeats Francis Smith for Trustee by 1 vote.Developers announce plans for five 6story elevator apartments in Soundview Village; Board amends Zoning Ordinance to limit any apartment development to 30 foot height.
1961 Disputes rage over development of Soundview Village, proposed amendments to Zoning Ordinance, law suits; Mayor John Whaley, in office only two months, resigns, along with Trustees Fico and Chester and Clerk Thomas; George Kupper elected Mayor at Special Election; most members of Board of Appeals resign. Alice M. Edmundson appointed Clerk.
1962 Thomas Colligan defeats Robert Scher for Trustee by 1 vote.
1963 John L. Bauer, Jr., elected Mayor.
1964 Mayor Bauer resigns, Sumner Berkman appointed Mayor.
1965 Joel H. Joseph elected Mayor.
1966 Cornwall Cemetery dedicated by Town of North Hempstead. Application to build 2-family houses in Soundview denied; developer sues Village (Village wins law suit in 1967, affirmed on appeal in 1968). Extensive tree planting program begun by Village.
1967 Planning Board adopts rule requiring future developers to dedicate 3 percent of their land or its equivalent value to Village Park and Recreation Fund. Village Board announces plan to purchase abandoned NBC transmitter building for use as Village Hall.
1968 Residents force referendum on Village Hall plan; proposal defeated by 3-1 margin.
1970 Village Landmarks Preservation Commission created. Board proposes building of bank by Security National Bank, with room for Village Hall; local law passed permitting meetings outside Village limits in interim; first meetings held at Manorhaven Village Hall.
1971 Nassau County takes title to “Love ‘Inn” located on Bay side of Shore Road near Mill Pond, and demolishes it. Waterfront report issued by Open Space Institute. Comprehensive Waterways Ordinance adopted by Village. Thomas J. Pellegrino elected Mayor.
1972 Security National Bank building completed, first Village meeting held in new hall February 14, 1972. Resolution passed establishing Police Justice Court for the enforcement of Village Ordinances; proposal defeated at special Election by 2-1 margin.
1973 Resolution passed declaring Mill Pond Historic District.
1976 Bronze marker placed July 4, 1976, at Mill Pond Historic District; it disappears within 48 hours.
1978 Board passes ordinance giving Village control of traffic in Soundview Shopping Center. Missing historic plaque found by Mill Pond resident, replaced by Village.
1979 “Pooper-scooper” law adopted. Village grants Cablevision ten year franchise. Village obtains agreement between landlord and tenants of Wildwood and Soundview Gardens based on provisions of Emergency Tenant Protection Act.
1981 Historian Joel H. Joseph appointed Chairman of 50th Anniversary Committee. Dr. George L. Williams, author of Walking Tour of the Mill Pond, appointed Landmarks Commissioner.
1982 Eleven sites named .by Village Board as “Historic LandmarkS” in honor of 50th Anniversary; to be marked with . bronze plaques; Village holds celebration May 16, 1982.
1992 First parcel of waterfront land for Baywalk Park received from Nassau County
1993 Dedication of Robert Dayton Park (within Baywalk Park)
2002 Fearon Marine property purchased from Barbara Belanich for Baywalk Park
2003 Village’s Bay Walk Park Master Plan agreed upon by Town of North Hempstead and Villages of Baxter Estates, Manorhaven and Sands Point
2004 Donation of Lewis Oil waterfront property for Baywalk Park upon building of Stop & Shop
2005 Mayor Robert S. Weitzner is elected; Thomas J. Pellegrino retires, having served 34 years as Mayor since 197;
- Village Justice Court is established
2006 Eight acres deeded to Village upon building of Mill Pond Acres; Dedication of Thomas J. Pellegrino Park (within Baywalk Park)
2007 First audible traffic signals in Port Washington installed along Shore Road
2008 Baywalk Park groundbreaking
2009 Village Pier completed
2011 Nautical Art Museum is established within Baywalk Park

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