All of the Village Boards and Commissions are run by volunteer residents. If you have any interest in volunteering to serve in our government, please send a letter of interest and biography/resume to: Village Clerk, Village of Lloyd Harbor, 32 Middle Hollow Road, Huntington, NY 11743, firstname.lastname@example.org. Vacancies are routinely posted and we welcome your participation.
Lloyd Harbor Village covers 9.2 square miles and in area is the second largest incorporated Village in New York; however, with a population of approximately 3,400 (same as in 1970), it is one of the most sparsely populated. The Village includes Lloyd Neck and the northern portion of the West Neck peninsula. It is a blend of colonial manor, Gold Coast estate, small rural residential community, and suburb. Despite the fact that some more recently developed streets have a suburban feel, rustic dead-end streets still outnumber manicured subdivisions.
The Village has a rich history and has succeeded in preserving much of the rustic ambience for which it has always been known. By understanding the efforts that have been made in the interest of preserving the natural beauty and quiet privacy of our Village, we hope that you, too, will become a strong supporter of preservation of these assets, and of the low housing density needed to sustain them. In so doing, we will leave an invaluable legacy as to how preservation can be achieved and sustained despite proximity to a major metropolitan area.
The following brief history of the Village will give you an appreciation of its early years, and a look at some of the problems and threats to its “quality of life” that the Village has faced.
The neck of land called Caumsett (meaning “place by sharp rock”) by the Matinecock Indians was sold by them in 1654 to three Englishmen (Samuel Mayo, Daniel Whitehead, and Peter Wright) for a variety of items, including three coats, three shirts, wampum, six knives, and two pairs of shoes. The property changed hands several times during the next two decades, acquiring the name Horse Neck because Huntington farmers grazed horses there. In 1684, James Lloyd, a Boston merchant became the sole owner of Horse Neck. On March 8, 1685, the Lieutenant Governor granted James Lloyd the royal patent for Horse Neck and formally renamed it the “Manor of Queen’s Village.” Thus, James Lloyd became Lord of the Manor, and Lloyd Neck was annexed to the Town of Oyster Bay, Queens County. Although there had been many owners of Horse Neck, none had developed the land. Mr. Lloyd set out to create an amiable feudal estate with tenant farmers. He would continue to reside in Boston.
In 1711, James Lloyd’s son, Henry, took up residence in the manor, where he built a “Salt Box” dwelling (the restored Henry Lloyd Manor House). One of his slaves, Jupiter Hammon, was America’s first published African-American poet. After Henry’s death in 1763, his son Joseph built (in 1766) the Joseph Lloyd Manor House. The Henry Lloyd Manor House (the “1711 House”) has been restored and is maintained by the Lloyd Harbor Historical Society. The Joseph Lloyd Manor House is owned and has been restored and furnished by SPLIA (Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities). Both houses are open to the public.
During the Revolution, members of the Lloyd family found themselves on opposing sides, and the farms of two Lloyd patriots were confiscated by the British. Joseph, a patriot, fled to Connecticut and a fort (Fort Franklin, now known as Fort Hill) was built by the British in 1778 on the western end of Lloyd Neck overlooking the entrance to Cold Spring Harbor. Another fortification was built on the east side of Lloyd Neck near a large rock. This rock is called Target Rock because British warships were said to have used it for target practice. The last Lloyd to own the estate was Henry Lloyd IV, who acquired it in 1841 and built a dock near the Causeway in 1852 as a stop for Oyster Bay-to-New York steamboats. In the early 1880s, steamboats brought tourists to a beach recreation complex at the end of the Causeway called Columbia Grove. The Lloyd property continued to change hands, but it remained sparsely developed.
The early history of the West Neck portion of the Village included early settlers with greater ties to Huntington. During the Revolution, the residents of the West Neck area were avid patriots and opposed to the Loyalists on Lloyd Neck. One of the earliest tidewater gristmills (milling wheat into flour) was constructed in 1794 on the Mill Pond adjacent to “Puppy Cove” which is an extension of Huntington Harbor. The Van Wyck-Lefferts Mill was accessed by traveling on Lefferts Mill Road (no longer a road) from Southdown Road. The Tidal Mill has been restored and is owned and preserved by The Nature Conservancy. It is accessible by boat tours arranged periodically by The Nature Conservancy (telephone: 631-367-3225).
Later it was found that the clay deposits along Cold Spring Harbor (at the current Village Park location) were ideal for brick making and a large brick-making foundry called Crossman Brick Company was built. Barges shipped loads of bricks to New York City from the shore near the Village Park boat dock.
Lloyd Neck: Secedes from Queens – Annexed to Suffolk
It was not until 1885, after a year of much lobbying in the State Legislature, that Lloyd Neck became a part of the Town of Huntington and Suffolk County, thereby seceding from Oyster Bay, Queens County. The New York Sun in 1884 reported:
“The isthmus which connects the main part of Lloyd Neck with Long Island is a great picnic ground, and the picnickers who flock there in daily crowds worry the inhabitants of Lloyd Neck. (ed.: The Columbia Grove Beach Resort was located on the Lloyd Neck end of the causeway, and boats from New York City brought bathers for daily outings.) When residents need a constable they are forced to drive around the head of the bay to where the constable lives – they might sail across, but the picnics are held in the calm days of summer when there is no wind and it is too hot to row.”
Many politicians in Queens County opposed the legislation annexing Lloyd Neck to the Town of Huntington, County of Suffolk. An article in the East Norwich Enterprise (1885) on the subject of secession from Oyster Bay stated:
“Lloyd Neck is a very valuable tract of property, containing nearly 3,500 acres of as productive land as may be found in one tract east of the Alleghenies. There have been more dollars worth of timber, oak, hickory, and chestnut growing upon Lloyd Neck at one time than can now be found on the south side of Long Island from Gravesend to Montauk. The land is exceedingly fertile and produces immense crops naturally and with the generous treatment it receives from its enterprising owners, the receipts are simply enormous. Valuable houses and expensive barns and magnificent lawns are scattered here and there. Building sites cannot be obtained very readily from the wealthy owners, who desiring to live entirely secluded from the common herd, rarely sell unless to one of their own class, and then only at fabulous prices.”
Some felt Queens and Oyster Bay should be compensated for the loss of territory.
Early in the twentieth century, Long Island’s North Shore became the desired location for large estates, which extended along the “Gold Coast” east to Huntington – Centerport. Many large estates were established in Lloyd Harbor, including Burrwood the estate of Walter Jennings (one of the founders of Standard Oil Co.); Panfield, the estate of Albert Milbank (law firm Milbank, Tweed, et al.); Coindre Hall belonging to George McKesson Brown; and Roland Ray Conklin’s Rosemary Farm (now the Seminary) on West Neck. On Lloyd Neck, there was Wilton Lloyd Smith’s Kenjadrety estate; William J. Matheson’s Fort Hill, the Gilbert G. Colgate (of Colgate-Palmolive) estate; S.M. Fairchild’s Eastfair estate, and Marshall Field III’s (retail and publishing magnate) 1,500-acre Caumsett.
Mr. Field came to Lloyd Neck in 1921 after searching Long Island’s North Shore for a tract of land suitable for the country home he envisioned. Field had been educated in England and yearned to replicate the life of an English gentleman with a grand manor house and self-sufficient estate. The 1,500-acre estate was carefully planned as a well integrated rural estate village with farm houses, servants quarters, 18 major structural units, dairy farm, extensive gardens, racehorses, and sports and hunting. It was said by many to be the finest country estate in America. Some of the large estate homes (e.g., Burrwood, Rosemary Farm, Livingston Manor House) have since been lost; however, a number remain.
The Village was incorporated in 1926. At the time of incorporation, the tax rolls listed 62 owners of 80 parcels, of which only seven parcels were less than three acres. Two West Neck residents, Albert Milbank and Colonel Timothy S. Williams, were the prime movers of incorporation. The residents were motivated by a desire to control future development through the adoption of a zoning plan to preserve the rural surroundings and protect the community from urban encroachment. Some of the then 444 residents were also concerned about the lack of effective police protection. The May 21, 1926 issue of the Long Islander reported:
“The scandalous condition of affairs at Lloyd’s Beach, where traffic in intoxicating liquors has been going on unrestrictedly and bootlegging by the wholesale, whole cargoes having been unloaded from schooners and sloops, without the least interference by our town or country law enforcement officers, has long been a source of irritation to the great majority of the residents of West Neck and Lloyd’s Neck, and they propose to clean out the foul nest, as far as possible, with their own efficient constabulary.”
The first Mayor of Lloyd Harbor was Mr. Albert G. Milbank, and the first Trustees were: Mr. Wilton Lloyd-Smith, Mrs. Ellen Day Ranken, Mr. Marshall Field, III, and Mrs. Anna Matheson Wood. Within a few months after incorporation, the first zoning ordinance was enacted.
Albert G. Milbank continued as Mayor for 20 years until 1946. It was a period of slow growth for the Village. The population increased from 444 in 1926 to 480 in 1930, 588 in 1940, and 700 in 1946. Major growth occurred after World War II during the fifteen-year period of 1946 to 1961. The advent of the graduated income tax, the increasing cost and difficulty of engaging adequate and competent help, and the geometric distribution of family wealth subsequent to the demise of founding members, heralded the demise of the grand country estate. The Village population increased from 700 in 1946 to 2,521 by 1960. The swelling ranks of the small homeowners portended the selling off of the old estates. By 1961, seventeen new subdivision maps had been filed and some 35 additional roads opened.
In 1955, the Village acquired its first real estate holding, the former Jennings estate barn and two acres on Middle Hollow Road to be used as Village Hall and for storage of Village equipment. The structure was remodeled, and the Board of Trustees held its first meeting there in April 1958. In 1959, the Village purchased 73 acres on the shore of Cold Spring Harbor for a park and playground. A Park and Beach Committee was established to direct improvements. The Park opened in the summer of 1960.
Village Faces Threats to Quality of Life
In 1961, Ruth Field (Mrs. Marshall Field III) sold Caumsett to the State of New York with the proviso that the estate be used “forever for park purposes.” This created great concern among Village residents. Robert Moses, President of the Long Island Park Commission, had prepared an extensive development plan which included extending the Bethpage Parkway along Route 108, up the shore of Cold Spring Harbor, cutting through the Village Park, crossing West Neck Road, and running adjacent to the Seminary to the shore of Lloyd Harbor. A suspension bridge was to span Lloyd Harbor and connect to Caumsett. Moses planned to construct two 18-hole golf courses, turn the Main House into a clubhouse, establish a large bathing beach area along the Sound, and establish extensive bridlepath facilities. The parkway right-of-ways were acquired by the State in 1963 and are still owned by the State. For a variety of reasons, including determined opposition by the Village, the planned development of Caumsett did not occur. Today, Caumsett remains a passive park, protected by the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP).
In late 1967, the Long Island Lighting Company’s proposal to build and operate a nuclear power station on the eastern end of Lloyd Neck aroused a storm of controversy. Residents were very opposed and formed the Lloyd Harbor Study Group to stand in formal opposition to the project. In 1975, LILCO abandoned use of the site. Eventually, the area (111 acres) was sold and is now Seacrest Estates.
By 1970, the Village population had increased to 3,400, and a total of approximately 800 homes. By the end of the 1900s, the number of homes in the Village has increased to 1,200. The population, however, remains at roughly 3,500.