Oral History Interviews

Articles About Great Neck History

These articles, written by Great Neck Historical Society members, originally appeared in the Great Neck News.  They cover a broad array of topics, and will be added to as more appear in print.  Click on the title of the article to read the original story.






Historic Crampton Avenue Homes - by Jennie Speelman
Jennie is proud to live in one of the very special homes that were built for working class families.  Read about them, and then visit this historic block.


Our Village Green - by Leila Mattson

You've been there, but do you know how it came to be?


William Gould Brokaw - by Alice Kasten

The Village Green (and North High School, and many, many homes) was built on the former property of this millionaire playboy.  Read about how the other half lived in the early 1900s.


One of our Last Lighthouse Keepers - by Carol Frank

You know that the Historical Society is working hard to save Stepping Stones Lighthouse.  We've even tracked down some of the more recent keepers.




The History Behind the Great Neck Street Names - by Leila Mattson

Many of our streets were named after well regarded local residents.  Read about the background of your street's name.  And this one, not in the article, was named for the late Deena Lesser, former Mayor of Thomaston, Town Clerk, and Water Commissioner.

Local History On The Internet


North Hempstead and the Civil War
Local historian Matthew Moshen has spent many years compiling records of residents of the Town of North Hempstead who fought in the Civil War.  His extensive research, including biographies of the soldiers, maps of campaigns, photos, etc can be viewed at his website.



The Village of Thomaston

The Village of Thomaston is located mainly South of the Railroad track and East of Middle Neck Road.  You can download a wonderful booklet which includes a walking tour, and read about the long history of this village by clicking here.


Great Neck Park District

On Monday, August 14, 1916, Roswell Eldridge of Great Neck appeared before the Board of the Town of North Hempstead in Manhasset, N.Y. and filed a petition for the establishment of the Great Neck Park District. Read more about the Great Neck Park District by clicking here.

Recently Published

Great Neck Arcadia Images of America, 2013

Written by Alice Kasten and Leila Mattson

An illustrated history of our peninsula spanning the time from the 1600s through about 1950.  Available at local bookstores,  and online at Amazon and at Arcadia's website.




North Hempstead Arcadia Images of America, 2013

Written by Howard Kroplick

An illustrated history of the Town of North Hempstead, written by our Town Historian.  Available at local bookstores and online at Amazon and at Arcadia's website.

Scenes of the Past


We hope you enjoy these selected views of Great Neck's past.  The Great Neck Historical Society would welcome donations of any images or memorabilia you might have that illustrate the rich history of our peninsula.

GREAT NECK HISTORICAL  SOCIETY

Interview of Jim Wells, son of the founder of Wells Oil & Fuel.  Jim, now in his 90s, lived and worked in Great Neck from 1925-1970.  A remarkable man, he was not only involved in the family Oil business, but was a Town Councilman, on the Board of North Shore Hospital and involved in much that was happening in Great Neck.  These notes were transcribed and edited by Alan Zamchick, who was born and lived in Great Neck for many years.

 We have interviewed some older residents over the years,

to find out first-hand what life was like in Great Neck in the past. 

Click the links to read their recollections.

Interview of Grace Smith, born 1895 - by Great Neck South HS Students
Ms. Smith was an African-American woman who lived her whole life on Community Drive.