Friday, July 8, 2011

Dr Lewis A W Alleman - One More on Morton Manor

In the previous post, we mentioned that a large parcel of land that came to be known as Morton Manor was the sole remnant of an estate that remained intact during the development that occurred on the Willets Farm in the 1920s and 1930s. It is also the reason why Oak St. is a dead-end road that does not run through to Maplewood St. The estate once belonged to one of the most prominent opthamologists in the country, Dr. Lewis Arthur Welles Alleman (left).

Dr. Alleman a native of Geneva, NY in Seneca County, was born in 1862 during the Civil War to the son of a Union army surgeon. In 1888 he received a medical degree from Jefferson Medical College (now part of Thomas Jefferson University) in Philadelphia and soon after moved to Brooklyn and opened up a practice that specialized in opthamology.

He then went on to publish numerous articles in medical journals and wrote a book entitled Optics as Related to Evolution (D. Appleton, 1891). Among his many achievments, he refined and patented a medical instument called an opthalmo-dynamometer (below) that measures the strength and behavior of eye muscles during convergence.

That same year he married Miss Frances Dudley, a descendant of Thomas Dudley, co-founder of Harvard College and former Governor of the Massachussetts Bay Colony. In 1892 he became chairman of the eye dept. at Long Island Medical College in Brooklyn (now part of SUNY Downstate).

Though his primary residence was in Brooklyn and he retained a summer residence in Seneca County, as can be seen from the 1906 E. Belcher Hyde map (below), he purchased a house and a parcel of land on Maple Ave. (now Maplewood Ave), just south of Hempstead Turnpike. Though it is unclear how extensively Alleman and his family lived at their country place in Hempstead, given the fact that his two daughters, Marion and Elizabeth, attended St. Mary's School for Girls in nearby Garden City, they must have spent some time there.

According to the Nassau County property records, their home (below) was built in 1888.

Then, in 1908, we find the following notice below in the July 2 edition of the Hempstead Sentinel:

Dr. Alleman eventually moved back to Geneva and, after suffering from an illness, died at the young age of 56. His only son, Dudley (d. 1966), was a WWI veteran who was an ambulance driver and was injured in combat. He eventually married and moved to Massachussetts. Dudley had a daughter, Frances D. A. Luce (d. 2001), who became a prominent child psychologist in Boston. Her son, Jim Luce, is founder and president of Orphans International Worldwide.

The new owner of the property on Maple Ave, Henry Rickmeyer, moved the home just to the north to its present location, and by that fall, moved in with the rest of his family. It wasn't until the early 1950s that the rear of their property was subdivided and the homes built around the Oak St. cul-de-sac.

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