Main Street

by Chris Bain

You are standing on Main Street around 1915, just a few doors east from where Dunkin Donuts stands today (a few doors towards the Post Office, that is).  You are looking towards the train station, just beyond the Flower Hill Cigar Store, which is owned by H. Neilsen.  What we know as Main Street today was just a dirt road known as Flower Hill Avenue, and many stores took their name from it, including the Flower Hill Bakery, which you can see on the far right side.  The train station was set back from the road even back then to allow cars and horses to drop off or pick up people traveling to the city or points in-between.  The trolley just came up its tracks from the terminus, in front of  The Anchorage Hotel and the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club, and is headed toward Mineola. Operated by the New York & North Shore Traction Company, you could  change in Mineola and board another trolley to Hicksville or Flushing or Whitestone. The trolley is blocking the view of the magnificent Victoria Hotel, which stood on the corner where Starbucks is today.

Here is a better view of Mr. Neilsen's Flower Hill Cigar Store, taken from in front of the where the Fleming Building had its unfortunate fire a few months ago.  The Cigar Store is on the spot where Port Washington Cleaners now stands, then known as Station Square.  "Horton's Ice Cream" was the featured treat, it would seem.  The train station would be just to the right, so this is prime commercial real estate, circa 1905-1920.  At the back of the right side of the store is a bicycle shop... where Deluxe Taxi is currently headquartered.  Funny how that spot featured up to date transportation even back then! Look carefully to see the roofline on the left (which has been extended) and the corner door (which has been added).

Pivot your head to the right, and take a look at the Long Island Rail Road Station, with the beautiful Victoria Hotel peeking through the trees from the corner of Haven Avenue and Main Street (Flower Hill Avenue).

Here's one more: Giner's Port Washington Bakery, before it became the Flower Hill Bakery.  Directly across from the train station, you can bet that the Giners and their employees got up very early in the morning to bake bread and simple pastries for the townsfolk.  Many people in Port Washington today work similarly long hours.  Its important to remember that our past is all around us.

We're ensuring our future by preserving our past. If you'd like to know a bit more about what we're up to, Join Us! It's an inexpensive and truly meaningful way to support your town.

The Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society
336 Port Washington Blvd., Port Washington, NY 11050-4530
(516) 365-9074  .