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"Just the Date" Plaque

8 Sandy Hollow Lane

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An 1888 Port Washington Home

by Chuck Idol


The Cow Neck Historical Society offers homeowners the ability to proudly display the year their home was built. Our home was built in 1888. The fun part about this historic recognition program is learning what was happening the year your home was built.


My home is very small and simple and one of many homes built in Port Washington in 1888. What is notable about the homes of the time is “porches”. It is well documented that many homes of the time had porches as places to sit and enjoy company or just to cool off as there were no air conditioners.  

Another notable fact is that at the time the home was built “the area now designated Nassau County was originally the eastern 70% of Queens County, one of the original 12 counties formed in 1683, and was then contained within two towns: Hempstead and Oyster Bay. In 1784, the Town of North Hempstead, was formed through secession by the northern portions of the Town of Hempstead. Nassau County was formed in 1899 by the division of


Queens County, after the western portion of Queens had become a borough of New York City in 1898, as the three easternmost towns seceded from the county.”

For me the one big event was the Great Snow Storm of 1888: “It was the Great Blizzard of 1888 that drove the New York City utilities underground. After more than 20 inches of snow downed overhead electric, telephone and telegraph cables, paralyzing the city, officials ordered that lines be buried.”

Does that story of snow-covered trees and downed powerlines sound familiar?

It is interesting also to see what the local Port Washington community was like in 1888 by visiting the Cow Neck Historical Society web site. They offer a wonderful trove of information about our local community.

There I reacquainted myself with many interesting Port Washington (aka Cow Neck) local facts about sand mining, the Long Island Rail Road, famous (and not so famous) people, airplanes, boating, historical mansions, and much more. In summary we are a history-rich community. 

The Cow Neck Historical Society website also provides a stark reminder that life was hard work back in 1888. There were no cell phones or streaming media, and even simple things like washing machines did not exist. 

I highly recommend the historic recognition program, as it is enjoyable fun for the entire family to learn history and display where their home fits into the big picture. 

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