The History of Port Washington
The early history of Manhasset is of course the same as Port Washington's. Both part of that great cow pasture.
In 1670, Mayor Matthias Nicoll of New York, the Speaker of the first Colonial Assembly and Secretary of the Colony, acquired a large parcel of land and built a home in what is now Plandome. The first grist mill in the area, at Leeds Pond, was built by Joseph Latham about 1693 on Nicoll's property. It was later moved nearer to the Bay and remained in service until 1906. It is now a private residence.
The people of Manhasset established their first meeting house, school and cemetery in 1720. When Hessian mercenaries burned down the meeting house, a new one was built in 1812 and it is still in use. It stands on the north side of Northern Boulevard and Shelter Rock Road.
A one-room school was built in Manhasset Village in 1826. Smith Leek, one of the carpenters who built the school, painted his name and the date on an attic shingle and is it visible to this day. The school was in use until 1868.
In 1832, Henry Cocks began an experiment with the planting of seed oysters in a pond by Manhasset Bay. The experiment was a huge success. And in 1855 the industry became commercial and brought an influx of new families.
In 1840, Manhasset adopted its name, derived from the Indian "Manhasset" meaning "island neighborhood". Hempstead Harbor became Roslyn. In 1907 the Town Hall was moved to Manhasset from Roslyn. From 1913 to 1980 the population grew from fewer than 1,000 to over 19,000.
The "Miracle Mile" was started in 1941 and is now a bustling row of famous-name department stores, specialty shops, banks, supermarkets and chain stores which attract people from all parts of Long Island and New York City.