Tuesday, 26 March 2013 09:45



The Changing Waterfront: Casualties and Survivors



A rare view of the shoreline around the mouth of Motts Cove looking south from Hempstead Harbor about 1912 shows the Ayers Hotel and dock with the Clapham/Stern house in the background.


The hotel and dock have vanished, along with at least two other hotels that once welcomed guests to the Glenwood Waterfront. But the Clapham/Stern House survives. Today the home, located in Roslyn Harbor, is occupied, restored, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Thomas Clapham (1839-1915), the home’s first occupant, was an avid yachtsman and boat-builder who for a time operated a fish hatchery in the streams surrounding Motts Cove. The property he chose for his estate was part of a 150-acre land grant awarded to Nathaniel Pearsall (1649-1703) about the time the area that came to be known as the Town of North Hempstead was settled.


The Pearsalls gradually deeded away portions of the grant. In 1868, Clapham purchased 18 acres from Stephen Taber, a state legislator, congressman, president of the Glen Cove Steamboat Company, director of the Long Island Rail Road, and the first president of the Roslyn Savings bank. In 1906, Benjamin and Madeline Stern, owners of the Stern Brothers department store, purchased the home that Clapham built.


During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, several boatyards operated along Motts Cove between the Clapham/Stern house and the Ayers hotel. One of them was the Bedel Shipyard. Stephen Taber, a two-masted schooner, was designed and built at Bedel’s. It launched into Hempstead Harbor in October 1871. The Taber, too, survives, but it cannot be found in local waters. Also listed on the National Register, the Taber is today operated as a windjammer out of Rockland, Maine.


        Stephen Taber - the man - sometime between 1860 and 1875; courtesy Library of Congress, Brady-Handy Collection (left) . Stephen Taber - the schooner - anchored in Setauket circa 1883 (right) .



Stephen Taber - the schooner - today (below).

PJ Postcard2

Thursday, 21 February 2013 15:40

Norway Hall 1932-1991


The Gold Coast Public Library building was once the home of Norway Hall, a fixture in the Glen Head community for almost 60 years. When the lodge closed in 1991, Robert Beck - Lodge Historian and one of the original members who helped build the hall - wrote about the building's early history for the Lodge's newlsetter.



To view a pdf version of this article, click here: Norway Hall


Special thanks to Mabel Rostad for generously sharing this article.

Saturday, 12 January 2013 19:00



Three Views of Old Glen Head



Recently acquired postcards added to the local history collection
offer a rare glimpse of bygone Glen Head: Above,

the Glen Head Hotel on Glenwood Road, postmarked circa 1914

(the original is a sepia photograph).

Lower left, an undated view of an area west of the railroad tracks
(the original is a also sepia photograph). Lower right, C. W. Bell’s Store,
where - long before zip codes - the Glen Head Post Office
was housed, postmarked 1914 (the original is colorized).

Do you have any clues about the exact locations or uses of properties? If so,
please contact the reference desk (516-759-8300). We’d love to know.



Friday, 23 November 2012 19:00

Motts Cove Fishery Rediscovered




Trout raised in a hatchery, fed by springs surrounding Motts Cove, were once sold at the Fulton Fish Market in Manhattan. Thomas Clapham, who lived in a mansion he built just south of Motts Cove, owned the operation. These illustrations, from the front page of the April 19, 1879 edition of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, document activities at the hatchery. They recently were donated to the local history collection by the Glenwood/Glen Head Civic Association.



On April 2, 1878, The New York Times reported that Eugene G. Blackford’s establishment at the Fulton Fish Market was stocked with “25 pounds of brook trout from Thomas Clapham, of Roslyn, Long Island, caught in a brook emptying into Hempstead Harbor, where the fish can take daily trips into salt water. These are very handsome steel-blue specimens, and they lived entirely upon shrimps and salt water food.”

Clapham also operated a boatyard at the eastern end of Motts Cove on the site of the present-day Swan Club. His mansion, known at the time as Stone House, was later the home of department store magnate Benjamin Stern. The farming portion of the Stern estate extended east to Cody Avenue and north to Grove Street. Today a private residence, the home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. (For more about Thomas Clapham and Stern estate, click here.)




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