The History of Port Washington
In 1648, eighteen families from Stamford bought what is now the western half of Nassau County. The property which was part of the New Netherlands became known as Hempstead Town.
In 1664 Hempstead Town became part of the British new world.
Until 1674, the peninsula to the north was set aside exclusively for grazing land, and called Cow Neck. Richard Cornwell became Cow Neck's first resident when he built his home on 1500 acres granted to him.
By 1757, this land attracted enough settlers that the first school on the peninsula was built. This school was used by the Hessian Army during the Revolutionary War. During the revolution, a split separated Hempstead, the loyalist landowners to the south and the revolutionary farmers to the north. The split became permanent in 1784 when the town of North Hempstead was created.
In 1790 George Washington stopped in Roslyn on his way to New York. The people of Cow Neck decided to honor the American President by renaming their town, Port Washington.
Port Washington remained primarily agricultural well into the nineteenth century. But when stagecoach and steamship service became routine the area began to change. In 1865 the mining of sand and gravel made entire hills vanish. Workmen from Nova Scotia and Europe were brought in to mine the sand and gravel that helped New York City build everything from sidewalks to skyscrapers.
Port Washington was further changed in 1867 when the Long Island Railroad completed the tracks to Great neck, and in 1898 all the way to Port Washington. Resort hotels and "Gold Coast" mansions made the area an ideal vacation spot for the high society of New York City. By the end of the second world war, the movement to the suburbs had begun in earnest. Where farms and estates once were, homes were built.
By 1904 the year round population grew to about 2000 people and with the increasing number of people came telephones, volunteer firemen, policemen and it's own newspaper, the Port Washington Press.
The town kept on growing and changing. By the end of the second world war the movement to the suburbs had begun in earnest. Where farms and estates once were, homes were built.
Today, besides its beautiful homes, Port Washington has become a thriving business community. It has everything from art galleries to light manufacturing, service businesses to fine restaurants and gourmet food stores, just about anything a person in modern America might want.