Cattle Traders Stopped to Socialize
Beginnings: Beneath the quiet facade of the tiny, unincorporated community of Greenvale lies a sometimes exciting, though hazy, past. In the years before the Civil War, Greenvale went by the name Bull's Head, for the hotel-tavern that stood at the present-day Northern Boulevard and Glen Cove Road. Cattle traders on their way to New York City stopped at the tavern to socialize. Some reports tell of a dangerous crossroads described as an eastern Dodge City where shootings were not uncommon, though very little proof of Greenvale's history is available except for second-hand accounts from old-time residents. Wishing to dissociate from the tavern, residents moved to change their community's name. Beer's Map of 1873 shows the first trace of Greenvale, listing a post office a mile from where Greenvale stands today. The Long Island Rail Road from 1885 lists Green Vale as a stop.
Turning Point: The late 1800s marked the establishment of a viable community, straddling the North Hempstead-Oyster Bay town lines and with an economy centered around agriculture. With the turn of the century came wealthy landowners who bought farms from original settlers and created extravagant rural homes. Italian and Polish laborers came in droves to build these palaces and to work the land. Many inhabitants of Greenvale today are descendants of these working-class pioneers. The first years of the new century saw Greenvale attract a small, but notable number of commercial establishments including two plant nurseries, Wheatley Gardens (1909) and Lewis & Valentine Nurseries (1914), and later, a famous landscape architectural firm, Innocenti and Webel (1931), which designed landscapes for the DuPonts, Fords, Rockefellers and Astors, among others. Greenvale roads also served as thoroughfares for the Vanderbilt Cup racers in the early 20th Century.
Claim to Claim to Fame: Greenvale is a college town - sort of. The C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University opened in 1954 on Northern Boulevard and for 40 years used a Greenvale mailing address. But because most of the campus is in neighboring Brookville, the college now uses that postal designation.
Where to Find More: Reference material in the Bryant Room of the Bryant Library, Roslyn.
Courtesy LI History