Locust Valley: A Place Named
for Its Beautiful Trees
It's a peaceful setting of elegant homes, rolling hills,
two-lane roads and woods filled with the trees that give Locust
Valley - right in the heart of Long Island's Gold Coast - its
Strictly speaking, "Locust Valley" on the map is a quaint
unincorporated hamlet of Oyster Bay Town, just one square mile
in size with shops and boutiques, a library, fire house and Long
Island Rail Road Station. But the hamlet was once part of a much
larger region in what is now northern Nassau County, settled by
farmers around 1667 and dubbed Matinecock after the Indian tribe.
Today, when most residents talk of the "Locust Valley"
area, they include, at least, the surrounding incorporated villages
of Lattingtown, Matinecock and Mill Neck - a location encompassing
two exclusive private golf clubs, the Creek (founded in Lattingtown
in 1923 by J. Pierpont Morgan Jr.) and the Piping Rock in Matinecock,
historic landmarks and celebrity homes.
(Continued from Home page)
Most of the early settlers like Captain John Underhill were English.
By 1730, they had rechristened their new home Buckram - possibly
after a Norfolk, England town called Buckenham where many originated.
More than a century later, in 1856, nature lovers counting the
locust trees punctuating the landscape, renamed it Locust Valley.
In 1870, the first railroad train reached Locust Valley, a catalyst
for change. By the early 20th century, the area was dotted with
beautiful estates; and later horse farms, polo fields and private
clubs. Publishing tycoon Frank Doubleday, credited with founding
the current Locust Valley Library in 1909, with his wife Neltje,
built a lavish home in Mill Neck and was actively involved in
community life. Industrialist Myron Taylor, president of U.S.
Steel, whom FDR made this country's first Ambassador to the Vatican,
created a mansion on site of his mother's old home. Later in the
century, it was at a nephews' home in Locust Valley that Madame
Chain Kai-shek spent the last years of her life.
Landmarks of the past include two privately owned homes dating
from about 1698 - the Joseph Weeks Jr. and William Hawxhurst houses
on Oyster Bay Road. The Matinecock Friends Meeting House at Piping
Rock Road and Duck Pond Roads - now in Glen Cove, but historically
part of Locust Valley - was built by Quakers in 1725, but destroyed
by fire in 1985. Rebuilt the next year, it is on the National
Register of Historic Places.
There are two nationally known private schools in Locust Valley
- the Friends Academy situated on 65 acres across from the Quaker
meeting house and the Portledge School on 62 acres of what was
the former Coffin family estate.
this article reproduced from Newsday, October 22, 2000