Historical Photographs of East Rockaway and Lynbrook, N.Y.

Cover Image:
Historical Photographs of East Rockaway
Celebrating the Fourth of July on Mill River, East Rockaway - Image Source

Collection Facts


Historical Context

East Rockaway, an early community on the south shore of Long Island, first appeared as Neare Rockaway in 1665. The Town of Hempstead, at a town meeting held December 28, 1688, granted Joseph Haviland the right to construct a grist mill within one year. The Haviland Grist Mill was built in 1689 and became the center of the social, economic and political life of the area. East Rockaway prospered as a seaport with packet boats carrying oyster and farm produce to New York City and lumber and grain farther north. It also developed an early but short lived trans-Atlantic trade. East Rockaway had several churches, schools and an early post office and library. East Rockaway was incorporated in 1900.

Lynbrook is an incorporated village of about 19,000 residents in southern Nassau County. It lies just a mile from Hewlett Bay. It was settled around 1790 when the first church was constructed, and it remained a small, isolated, farming and fishing community until the mid-1800s when a corduroy road and later a railroad line were extended through the sleepy hamlet. By 1890, a downtown of about twenty businesses had developed along Atlantic Avenue near the Five Corners. In 1911, the hamlet became an incorporated village. In the 1920s, many of Lynbrook’s farms were subdivided into residential lots, and it became the fastest growing village in Nassau County. Today it is a bedroom suburb of New York City, with a 35-minute railroad commute. It has a reasonably vibrant downtown of about 150 stores and restaurants along with some light industry, particularly financial services.

These selected images of early local homes, schools, churches, businesses and community events provide a historical perspective of village life.

Scope of Collection

This collection contains historic photographs and memorabilia of life in the communities of East Rockaway and Lynbrook, New York. Topics include residents, homes, schools, churches, businesses, community events, maritime activities, beaches and facets of everyday life.