A Birthday for the Millennium
A Birthday for the Millennium appeared in the Winter 2000, Volume
8, No.1 issue of the Nexus Newsletter and has been added
to the Baldwin Public Library's Home Page with the permission of
the Baldwin Foundation for Education. It is a first-hand account
of life in Baldwin as told by Ruth Wheeler Steele (Baldwin High
School Class of 1918) to Ed Ingles (Baldwin High School Class of
1950). Ruth Wheeler Steele lived in Baldwin from 1899 until 1997
and is believed to be the oldest living Baldwin alumnus.
Ruth Wheeler Steele draws the blinds in her room and remembers those
98 wonderful years in Baldwin. She recalls the days she lived on
Pine Street and how her house was furnished. Now her theater of
the mind also extends to looking out a glass window in her Northport,
Alabama, home where she lives with her niece, Elizabeth Pease Bradt
'57 and her husband. Mrs. Steele does not see the beautiful pines
and oaks that line the peninsula out on the lake. Instead she imagines
being back in one of several Baldwin homes in which she lived, remembering
the neighborhood houses and the cars that passed back and forth.
"I miss my Baldwin, miss my friends," she says, sadly
thinking that everyone she knew from years ago is now gone.
Ruth Wheeler, born on November 17, 1899, lived for the next 98 years
in Baldwin. As a child, she lived south of Merrick Road and on Pine
Street from the time she married, until she moved to Alabama. She
went to kindergarten next to the blacksmith shop, in a white building
with a belfry whose bell could be heard all over Baldwin.
Prospect School in 1907
Ruther spent most of her school years in Baldwin's newest school,
the three-story, brick Prospect School, built in 1907 on Prospect
Street near the site of the present St. Christopher's Church. The
building housed the second through twelfth grades. Ruth graduated
in 1918. Class size in those days was fifteen to twenty students.
Winter on the Bay
"I had a simple, but very happy childhood," Mrs. Wheeler
remembers. "We did not have much, but we made do and had a
good time." Her father was a fisherman and Ruth remembers a
few occasions when large ships went aground off Long Beach. They
took her dad's boat, cutting the ice that clogged the bay between
Baldwin and Long Beach. The ships had to unload their cargo so they
could be refloated. She and her dad would gather up discarded crates
of coconuts and bananas that washed up on the beach. "My father
had an oyster business, and the oyster shells were crushed and sprinkled
along what is now Foxhurst Road, turning the entire road white.
Of course in those days, all the roads were dirt."
Grand Avenue Carriage Houses
Before World War I, the hub of the village consisted of short stretches
of Merrick Road and Grand Avenue around the intersection of those
two main roads. Elegant carriage houses that were set back from
the road lined the main thoroughfare. Mrs. Wheeler remembers Dr.
Steele's Silver Lake Pharmacy on the corner of Merrick and Grand.
Nassau Chemists, successor to Dr. Steele, was at that site until
a recent move to larger quarters a few doors east on Merrick Road.
Other shops Mrs. Steele remembers in the town center included Hebenstreit's
Baldwin House, a bicycle shop, a dry goods shop, a butcher shop,
and the blacksmith.
Trolley Car to Baldwin
In 1903, an electric trolley line from Brooklyn extended its service
through Baldwin along Atlantic Avenue. The cars were open-sided
in warm weather and closed in the winter. It continue into Freeport
and then turned north to its terminus in Mineola. "If you wanted
anything from a department store, you took the trolley to Brooklyn
and transferred and traveled to Manhattan. It was a single-track
line, but at certain intervals there was a double track so the trolleys
could pass each other. I remember walking about a mile from my house
to the trolley. It cost a nickel to go to Oceanside to visit my
grandma and twenty cents to travel to Brooklyn. Earlier when I was
a small child, there was a row of stables and hitching posts where
horse-drawn carriages could park. Only the wealthy had carriages,
and we rarely saw a car, but my dad did have a bike."
Groceries at Your Door
Although we may all soon be ordering our food online for delivery
to our front doors, almost 100 years ago Ruth recalls a service
which was faster and probably more efficient. "The grocer man
came to the house, took you order in the morning, and brought it
back to your home in the afternoon. There was a big store on Milburn
Avenue at the head of Clinton Place that Coles Petit owned, and
he delivered groceries, sold horse feed, bail of hay, tin pails,
chamber pots, and yard goods. The baker came to your house once
a week and the fisherman came around with a small horse-drawn truck
with scales to weigh the fish," Mrs. Steele recalls. "One
time his horse fell down on the ice, and they had a hard time getting
him up." She reminisces about the times when she and her friends
hitched their Flexible Flyer sleds to the back of the coal man's
horse-drawn delivery truck for a ride around Town. This wasn't dangerous,
she noted, until the coal trucks became motorized.
at Milburn Pond
Back in the 1920s it was "a big deal" to drive up Grand
Avenue all the way to the North Shore and tool around. "There
weren't many cars on the north-south roads in those day," Mrs.
Steele recalls, "But on weekends Merrick Road was jammed around
Baldwin with people driving from the city out toward the East End
and back." One of the highlights was when Baldwin resident
and actor Victor Moore was making silent films - his Klever Komedies
- in our town. "He would make these short, one-reel films and
he would shoot around the Coral House by the lake; I was seventeen
years old and I came to watch," said Mrs. Steele. "This
particular scene was in an old cow yard, and the next thing I knew
Mr. Moore was hiring me for one scene in the movie. He needed me
to work on a fire line and I was one of the pail pushers. I got
paid for it, but that didn't mean anything to me because I was just
thrilled to be in the movie."
Farming in North Baldwin
As children, Ruth said, they didn't often walk to North Baldwin
because they felt it was just too far. Almost everything north of
Sunrise Highway in those years was farm, with names like Wicks and
Sprague. Ruth's father would ride his bicycle up north to buy a
dozen ears of corn for a quarter. Occasionally, the kids would walk
up Grand Avenue to Seaman and then east to the "Kissing Bridge."
"We should picnic by the bridge, take our shoes and stocking
off, and go in the creek. I was ten or twelve years old. We often
got chased by a man who patrolled the brook because it was owned
by the New York Waterworks."
New York Waterworks
The waterworks was located just north of the railroad tracks on
Brookside Avenue, and the shell of the huge building still stands
today. "Brookside Creek delivered the water to the pumping
station and they built a pipeline above water level that fed drinking
water into New York City" she said, adding, "I don't remember
that water being used in Baldwin."
Ruth recalled that you needed to have a water tank in the attic
in order to have an indoor bathroom. You would get the water up
to the tank either by hand-pump, or if you were lucky, with an electric
pump. You had another pump in the kitchen to pump water from the
well. "I suppose it was a very monotonous life; as a child
not much happened. We held lantern shows, played basketball games
in the movie theater, and did most of our ice-skating at Baldwin
Pond, which is now Loft Pond Park. I remember Leon Loft driving
a geek - a two-wheeler and a fast horse. He sat up high and we called
him Leon Aloft. We went out on a boat and picked pond lilies, brought
home turtles, and picked berries all along the Long Island Railroad.
We really lived in an innocent age."
Nexus is the newsletter of the Baldwin Foundation for Education,
Baldwin, New York. The Foundation was established in 1993 as an
independent, tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization whose fundraising,
promotional, and alumni development activities benefit the students
of the Baldwin Public Schools and help to sustain Baldwin's tradition
of excellence in education.
Wheeler Stelle, Valedictorian of the Class of 1918 - was
the subject of an interview by Ed Ingles. Here is the conclusion
of this interview.
Her health is remarkably good. Her wit is sharp. Her penmanship
is steady, but Baldwin's oldest living alumna, Ruth Wheeler Steele,
draws little joy from living to 100 years. "Isn't that awful!
Whoever heard of anyone walking around for one hundred years?"
said the widowed Mrs. Wheeler Steele. From her home in Northport,
Alabama where she has lived for the past 2 years with her niece,
Elizabeth Pease Bradt '57 and her husband, she said, " I miss
Baldwin and I miss all my friends because they're all dead now."
However, she hasn't lost her sense of humor. During a recent visit
to the doctor she was told "I can't find a thing wrong with
you." She replied, after a pause, "You better look again."
She never smoked or drank and thinks the reason why she is a centenarian
is because she did not live in a stressful environment for those
ninety eight years in Baldwin. "Life was calm and that undoubtedly
was conducive to living longer." Baldwin
started to become a New York City bedroom community when she was
in her teens after World War I. The Telephone Company was signing
up high school graduates to work as file clerks in New York City,
and the job paid eleven dollars a week. Mrs. Steele, however, chose
to continue her education, going to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn
where she studied art and became a designer of greeting and place
cards, which where in big demand in those days.
A fond memory during World War I is of the army sending lorries,
big trucks with canvas sides, to get chaperoned girls and take them
to Mitchell Field and Camp Mills near Garden City to dance with
soldiers. She recalled writing to service men and waving to the
numerous troop coal-burning trains that roared through Baldwin on
their way out to military camps on the eastern end of Long Island.
Mrs. Steele said that the advent of the movies had a greater impact
on her life than either radio or television. In those early years
"They showed a lot of Western movies, which cost a nickel or
dime to attend". She walked with her mother to Freeport on
Main Street upstairs above Woolworth to a movie theater. She also
went to the Plaza Theatre, which some later alumni might remember
calling the "Itch". "The building would shake when
the trains went by," she recalled with a laugh. "About
the only form of entertainment young people had in those days was
the movies and parties. There was really little excitement."
She did remember watching minstrels performed in the Sophie Tucker
garage on Merrick Road just west of the Methodist church. It cost
a quarter to attend and 25 to 30 people would watch the performance.
She married in 1923 and remained so until her husband, Harold Steele,
died in 1968. He was an officer in the Navy during World War II
and was one of the few people who understood sonar at the outbreak
of the conflict. He was sent to the Brooklyn Navy Yard at the early
point of the war supervising the installation of sonar. She was
doing chores on December 7, 1941 when she heard on the radio that
the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. Harold Steele rose to the
rank of lieutenant commander and spent considerable time in the
Pacific Theater, he used to tell her jokingly that he won the war
for the Americans.
Dramatic changes took place in Baldwin after World War II, when
Long Island was the fastest growing community in the United States.
"Baldwin seemed to become a little more sophisticated,"
Ruth recalled, but she did not enjoy her hometown as much because
she says she was too old, even then, to adjust to all the changes.
"One of the greatest changes" Mrs. Wheeler remembered,
"was the advent of the washing machine right after World War
II. You could go to the laundromat, put in a quarter in the mechanical
washer and ten cents in the dryer, fold your clothes, and take them
home. Before that you washed on a washboard and Monday was known
as wash day." She chuckled at the thought of those days when
her son sent his laundry home from college to be washed because
they didn't have washing machines. "He had a specially made
cardboard box to mail the laundry home. It didn't cost more than
thirty or forty cents to mail his dirty clothes home to me."
By the 1950's the Baldwin community and the surrounding area was
almost concluding its transition from what Mrs. Steele called an
agricultural to a mechanical culture, adding, "It was very
noticeable." The Long Island she had grown up in was one big
garden for New York. Trucks loaded with potatoes, cauliflower and
ducks heading for New York had all but disappeared.
The area was not without a powerful politician in the 1930's. "There
was a big estate that belonged to a man named Fox on Foxhurst Road,
just over the line in Oceanside. Whenever he visited his estate
the flag went up," she said. "It was a well kept home
with an iron fence that rang along Foxhurst, just beyond the bridge
over Mill Pond." Obviously, the street is named after him.
"He belonged to Boss Tweed's political machine in New York,"
Mrs. Wheeler said.
"Young people of today know more than my generation did, they
are better educated and certainly feel more independent. We were
children when we were teenagers. The young people of today know
a great deal more than we did, but I don't know if they know enough
to take advantage of it." When asked if she had a message for
today's young people, she emphatically responded, "No-No-No.
And what's more, they don't want to hear it. It's a different world,
no doubt about that. I feel that I'm out of place."
Neck to Baldwin - The History of Your Home Town
by Helen MacDonough
account of the early history of Baldwin, New York, was written by
Helen MacDonough, head librarian of the Baldwin Public Library.
Hick's Neck to Baldwin was originally published in "The Baldwin
Citizen" on July 27, 1961, and was reprinted by the Baldwin
Public Library in 1983.
Long and narrow in shape and comparatively slow in growth until
the twentieth century, Baldwin might almost be considered a Long
Island in miniature. Today Baldwin is the second largest unincorporated
community in New York State, after Levittown, and perhaps in the
United States, with a population of more than 30,200, according
to the 1960 census. But its population, about 1,500 in 1880, did
not exceed 5,000 forty years later.
For many years Hick's neck remained simply a place to go clamming,
fishing or boating. Never exclusively farmers or baymen, the early
residents, both Indian and white, combined the two pursuits.
We find that its proximity to the bay has had much to do with Baldwin's
progress through the years. In the words of Daniel M. Tredwell,
local historian, "Probably no locality on the Atlantic coast
was stocked so abundantly as this immediate portion of the Great
South Bay." Even today the bay holds a great attraction for
new as well as old residents. Proof of this may be seen in the boat-filled
canals of the community.
The friendly Indians of this section were known as Merokes. Their
two villages were located on Milburn Creek several miles from the
bay and on the west side of the same creek south of the future Merrick
Road. These Indians, though improvident fishermen and farmers, were
expert manufacturers of wampum, their product being held in high
esteem by Indians of the mainland.
Baldwin is only the last of a series of names for this section of
Nassau County. An offshoot of Hempstead village, settled in 1643-44,
Baldwin has been Bethel, Baldwinsville and Baldwins.
The name Hick's Neck originated when two of Hempstead's early settlers,
John Spragg from England and John Hicks from Flushing, pushed southward
from Hempstead village to the verdant salt meadows extending into
When the Hempstead Town Board on January 25, 1686, voted to let
one John Pine set up a grist mill anywhere in the town, he chose
Hick'sNeck in preference to other locatations. Taking in five acres
on Milburn Creek just north of the trail which skirted the south
shore (Merrick Rd), this mill attracted many settlers.
Soon a well-traveled road ran from the vicinity of Pine's mill toward
the bay. This was the beginning of what is now Milburn Ave. A still
earlier road connecting Hick's Neck with Hempsted became the present
The old mill pond formed by John Pine with the assistance of John
Tredwell, his neighbor, who owned the land on which the mill was
built, became famous as a fisherman's paradise. Tredwell claims
that in 1840 one Dave Leinad caught a brook trout there which weighed
four pounds and eleven ounces.
This pond was also the cause of a lengthy legal battle some 200
years later. the Pine property eventually came into the hands of
Carman Smith who obtained a deed to the pond and assumed control
of it thought the Tredwell family opposed it. In 1881, one Christopher
Risley began residence at the Tredwell homestead. After examining
the title he decided that the Tredwells owned the pond and all the
privileges. Thus he secured the right to fish there. Smith objected
and sued Risley for trespassing. A local justice decided in favor
Risley then carried the case to the General Term which reversed
the decision. The decision read that the Tredwell property included
the pond and pondage and all privileges. The grant of five acres
to Pine applied to the mill only. Smith carried the case to the
Court of Appeals which confirmed the decision against him.
Thus he lost the pond merely because he objected to a fisherman's
using it. Soon thereafter the City of Brooklyn acquired the pond
for water purposes. The mill went to Smith's son, Charles, who operated
it for many years as Smith's Mill.
In the early days a tavern, known as Milburn Inn was erected near
the mill. Besides serving as a popular meeting place for local residents,
the inn was also once used as a courthouse and jail. In later days
it was run by Ben Homan, then by Smith Pettit. The inn still stands
on the northeast corner of Merrick Rd. and Milburn Ave. moved back
fifty feet from its original location.
Lott's Landing and Lott's Inn were established on the waterfront
and, as years went by, this landing became an important shipping
point for the people of Hempstead Town. Here coastwise sailing vessels
loaded and unloaded and a packet ran daily between Lott's Landing
and New York City.
There were other important landings, among them Bedell's and Tredwell's.
After 1850, however, shipping declined due to competition with the
Long Island Rail Road. Some of the captains in the early days were
Henry Jackson, John Jackson, Daniel Bedell, Joseph Johnson, John
Thomas, Thomas Raynor, and Benjamin Tredwell.
"Marshing," a popular industry in the early days, also
provided opportunity for social get-togethers of the farmers of
Hempstead Town, and especially those of the shore communities, such
as Hick's Neck and Raynortown (Freeport). This odd occupation consisted
of harvesting salt hay on the meadows of the island beaches. A Town-appointed
hay-warden supervised the industry and saw that nobody cut hay except
during the time specified by Town ordinance.
One of the first industries on the Neck, besides fishing and farming,
was cutting logwood which was shipped to New York. Another was sheep
raising. Like other residents of the Town, the sheep farmers of
Hick's Neck kept their animals on the Hempstead plains which were
common lands retained for many years by the Town for the pasturing
of sheep and other livestock.
Every sheep owner had his own earmark, registered with the Hempstead
Town Clerk, and as early as 1658 the Town appointed William Jacocks
and Edward Raynor as stocktenders whose duty it was to protect pasturing
livestock from thieves and wolves. The first white settlers of the
east end of the Island (1640) had found that the Indians made a
practice of using captive wolves for hunting, and took steps to
protect themselves and their livestock from these prowling wolf-dogs.
Sheep-parting Day was in early times the most important event of
the year. For many years the first Monday of November was the day
designated by the Town fathers and it was declared unlawful for
sheep owners to remove their stock from the common herd on any other
Early in the morning of this day the Town sheep tenders drove the
great herd into a large central pen where they were identified by
their owners who then parted them from the others. Unclaimed sheep
were, later in the day, sold at auction and the funds thus raised
went towards defraying the expenses of the Town's activities.
Hick's Neck had many sheep owners and at one time William Clowes
purchased the grist mill which had been established by John Pine
in 1686 and started a wool factory. After a brief career, however,
it was closed and the property sold to Daniel Terry who re-established
the grist mill, moving the factory building to Merrick Rd. where
it became a hostelry.
This Terry, was, it seems, a talented man. According to Daniel M.
Tredwell, he invented the screw propeller and installed one in a
small boat which he operated on the mill pond. But we are getting
ahead of our story of Baldwin.
Hick's Neck, too, shared in the hardships brought to Long Island
by the War of Independence. Erstwhile friends and neighbors divided
into two groups - Tories and Whigs. Long Island, unlike almost every
other section of America, was controlled by the enemy throughout
the entire war. Both Tories and Whigs were called upon to supply
the British occupational forces with farm products, seafood and
log-wood, the difference being that the Tories received payment
while the Whigs, or rebels, were usually victimized by Tories and
There is a story told that a Whig named Waite Smith, pursued by
the Redcoats, took refuge in the Hick's Neck marshes from whence
he was rescued by one Increase Pettit.
On another occasion, the British packet, Carteret, was pursued by
a Yankee privateer and ran ashore on the beach opposite Hick's Neck.
A group of Tories rescued the British sailors from death and then
looted their stranded ship.
Still another story tells of the American privateer, Revenue, being
chased ashore by the British frigate Galatea and her crew being
captured by local Tories of the Loyalist militia, among whom were
John and Joseph Mott, Ruben Pine and three Smiths, Isaac, Joseph
Following the Battle of Long Island which was a decisive victory
for the British, more than 1,100 Long Islanders of Whig sentiment
became refugees to New England. Among them were many from Queens
County of which Hempstead Town was then a part, and Hick's Neck
was represented in this historic exodus. An interesting book in
this connection is F. G. Mather's "The Refugees of 1776 from
Long Island to Connecticut." Many of these refugees returned
after peace was declared in 1783 while about the same time those
of Tory sentiment began to leave.
Among those Islanders who had been loyal to a lost cause were scores
who never returned. Quite a few settled in New Brunswick, some in
Canada, and still others as far away as the West Indies. Stemming
from this movement there are today many prominent families in those
distant lands who trace their ancestry back to Long Island and some
to little Hick's Neck.
Between 1782 and the War of 1812, Hick's Neck grew apace. During
this period it gradually came to be called Milburn Corners and Milburn,
although old timers clung tenaciously to the original name.
The first church edifice erected in Baldwin was Bethel Chapel in
1810. It was built by Christian Snedeker who had amassed a considerable
fortune for those days as a retail merchant in Hempstead. The chapel
stood off Grand Ave. near St. Lukes Pl. and was the first home of
the Methodists in Milburn.
In 1843, however, the congregation outgrew this chapel and moved
to a larger building erected for the purpose on the south side of
Merrick Rd. "Eloquent speakers spoke to large congregations
who packed every available space; often the porch was crowded and
at times, during the summer, even the window spaces were filled
A larger church became necessary and, in 1872, was built on the
north side of Merrick Rd. This attractive white frame church, now
considerably enlarged, is still the home of Baldwin's Methodists.
For a time the community was known as Bethel. Churches of other
faiths followed and today Baldwin contains 12. In 1934 an interesting
pamphlet entitled "An Adventure for God" was published
by the Baldwin Episcopal Church giving an account of its history
and incidentally that of Baldwin.
After the War of 1812, the little village of Milburn began to acquire
distinction in various fields. A private school, operated by William
Fowler, stood just above Parsonage Creek on what is now Stowe Ave.
Another schoolmaster of that era was Jessie Pettit who joined the
Mormons and went west, being succeeded by John Magee. In 1833 the
school building stood at Brooklyn Ave. and Grand Ave. Its principal
was Thomas Smith, with one assistant, Miss Louisa Baldwin. When
this building burned down it was succeeded by a larger structure
near the site of the present School No. 1 (Prospect School).
The famous naturalist, Jacob P. Guraud, Jr., who then dwelt at Freeport,
may had had something to do with the growth of culture in this vicinity.
Guraud occupied the carpenter and wheelwright shop of George Smith
at Freeport and here, besides studying and mounting specimens of
local bird life, he began writing his great book, "Birds of
Long Island," which described 560 varieties of feathered folk
indigenous to the island.
The book, now considered a classic among natural history students,
was published in 1844 and Guraud's valuable ornithological collection,
much of it gathered on Long island, was later presented to Vassar
College at Poughkeepsie.
In 1835 one James Wood was a boss fisherman at Hick's Neck. James
Frost kept the store at the Corners. Among local fishermen were
Thomas Carmen, Norton Homan, Richard Soper, Thomas Dunbar, Charles
Johnson and a half-breed Indian named James or Jim Tom. There was
also a broom factory operating on Coe's Neck, but it closed in 1841.
John I. Lott did a thriving business in making cider, but upstate
cider eventually forced him to abandon this business.
In 1842, because of the large number of small boats using the waters
of the south shore, the United States made a survey for a contemplated
canal which would have run from Milburn on the south shore across
the island to the head of Hempstead Bay on the north shore.
It was on January 2, 1837, that the barque Mexico was wrecked about
opposite Baldwin. Of 112 passengers and a crew of 18, all hands
perished except eight whose heroic rescue was effected by Raynor
Rock Smith, Jophar Smith, two Oliver Smiths, Willard Curtis Smith
and James Smith.
There were many Smiths following the bay in those days. One "Uncle"
Daniel Smith, built sea-going vessels, mostly sloops. On March 10,
1840, he launched his fifteenth craft, a sloop called the "Plough
Boy," which was still in service more than 50 years later.
The name Baldwin has its origin in the name of the family prominent
here over 100 years ago. Thomas Baldwin, a native son, was then
the leading merchant of Milburn, having built the Baldwin House
about 1825 on the northwest corner of Grand Ave. and Merrick Rd.
This was a popular stopping place for those passing through.
Merrick Rd. was then a plank road. Every other day stage coaches
ran through between New York and Amityville. Every day another coach
made the trip from Freeport to New York.
Thomas Baldwin also erected a general store which he operated under
the name of T. Baldwin and Sons. From one son, Francis, came the
name Baldwinsville, later Baldwin and still later Baldwin. For some
years, however, the section south of the railroad remained Milburn
while that north of the station was called Baldwin, which latter
name was given the first railroad station here.
Francis Baldwin became Treasurer of Queens County and also represented
the County in the State Assembly. It was he who built the large
residence known in later years as the Loft house.
Francis Baldwin also presented the site for School No. 1 which was
built in l833. Elisha Baldwin was County Clerk for a number of years.
His two daughters moved from Baldwin and all trace of them has been
lost. apparently all other descendants have since died. During
the Gay Nineties, about 1895, Baldwin acquired its first volunteer
fire department, although there had been single companies before
that. John Carl was the first chief.
Many of the old buildings erected in the nineteenth century are
still in use. The Baldwin Public Library now occupies the large
brown frame building which, more than 50 years ago, was the popular
"Wortman's General Store." Here was installed the village's
first telephone system. The central and switchboard were located
in the store and anyone wishing to call Freeport or some other town
had to ring the store first to make the connection. The storekeeper
worked as telephone operator besides selling groceries and vegetables.
The line eventually fell into disuse and vanished in the march of
In 1921 the Woman's Advance Club of Baldwin purchased this site
and building for a free public library. For two years previous to
this the library had been housed in a little store on Grand Ave.
just south of the railroad. In 1932 the deed of the building was
transferred to the school district by vote of the taxpayers.
Many alterations and additions were made on the old building, making
it more attractive and usable but its general outline remains the
same. Library borrowers admire its informal appearance and friendly
Time exacted its toll after World War II as the wooden building
became dilapidated, and with an increase in population no longer
could offer suitable facilities for all its users. Taxpayers of
Baldwin approved a bond issue in 1959 for the construction of a
new library, which will open this Fall at the southeast corner of
Grand Ave. and Prospect St.
The building of a new library runs parallel with the growth of other
public facilities. When Meadow Elementary School and Baldwin Harbor
Junior High School, now under construction, are completed, the Baldwin
public school system will have ten elementary schools, two junior
high schools, and a senior high school.
To keep pace with expanding public needs, a new post office will
rise on the west side of Grand Ave. south of Sunrise Hwy. to take
the place of the main building on Grand Ave. south of Prospect St.
Informal appearance and friendly atmosphere are words that have
been used to describe Baldwin as a whole. These qualities continue
to be fostered in public life by about 150 organizations serving
various purposes. These include church-sponsored groups, youth groups,
committees interested in schools, and civic, political, business,
veterans, fraternal, vocational, and service clubs.
Although Baldwin's growth has been rapid in the last 30 years, it
has kept abreast of the times and improvements and still retains
the informality and friendliness rooted in community tradition.
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