Friday, December 31, 2010

Hempstead Lake Park Homes I

The view above, looking west toward Woodfield Road from Hillman St. along Colonial Drive in Lakeview and shows a section of the brand new Hempstead Lake Park Homes development as it appeared in 1931. On May 5th of that year, the development was incorporated by Reuben Hillman with a capitalization of $20,000 and with rapid speed, a number of houses were already built by September 6th when 2,000 people came out to inspect the homes. The name of the principle street of this neighborhood was chosen for the colonial designs of its homes, and another, Hillman St., was named, well - you guessed it, after its developer.

The premier attraction of this new neighborhood, as indicated by its chosen name, was its proximity to Hempstead Lake State Park, to which it had easy access via a back entrance at the end of Colonial Dr. The deal for the park's development occurred in Nov. 1925 and two years later, on Nov. 6 1927, the first section of the Southern State Parkway, from the Queens border to Hempstead Lake, was formally dedicated by Gov. Al Smith. In the following couple years, Hempstead Lake State Park began to take shape with a number of prized amenities such as playgrounds, clay tennis courts, ballfields and bridle trails. Local landowners immediately saw the value of their properties rise and these and similar types of housing developments began sprouting up throughout the area.

Below is the "now" shot to the picture above, showing the block virtually unchanged. The only difference is something you need to pay close attention to; in the "then" shot, you will notice at the end of Colonial Drive an island of trees that used to adorn the entrance to the colony at Woodfield Rd, which is no longer there.

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