I have been asked to make some comments on the original and early members of the Farmingdale Rotary Club. I might first note that this is the centennial year for Rotary since the first club was founded in Chicago in 1905 by a man named Paul Harris.
The Farmingdale Rotary Club was founded on May 23, 1929 and I would like to take this opportunity to mention some of the founding members as well as some early members, many of whom were prominent members of the Farmingdale community some years ago.
William Rathgeber founded the Farmingdale Laundry on Route 110 in East Farmingdale which existed on Route 110 for many years. Ernest Hackwitz was president of the First National Bank of Farmingdale next to my office on Main Street until the bank moved down Conklin Street to a new building where the Bank of New York is now located. The original First National Bank building became the Farmingdale Public Library. A few years ago it was sold by the public library and is now occupied by the Library Cafe. George I. McMurray was a medical doctor, who practiced in the house located on the point where Clinton Street goes into Conklin Street. His daughter Theresa Ahern and her husband Jerry Ahern now occupy the home.
Norman Sullivan was the first secretary of the club. He was a local real estate developer and insurance agent and founded the Norman Sullivan Insurance Agency which is still in existence on Conklin Street under the name of Sullivan, Shrugrue and Lucie.
Harrison Nostrand, grandfather of Bob Nostrand was a local architect. He had a lumber yard located south of the railroad tracks just east of the Farmingdale Railroad Station. The business was taken over by a firm named Wood, Wood and Wood. The lumber yard was finally discontinued and the property is now occupied by an apartment complex.
Charles O. Schmidt was the founding president of the club. He founded Schmidt's Hardware located on Main Street. The Schmidt Hardware store is still in existence at its original location. Frank Manker Jr. founded Manker Florist. He was a grower of roses and other flowers. The business was located on Merritts Road and is still in business at the south end of the property. The bulk of the property was sold to the Farmingdale Public Library and the new library building was erected on that site.
John O. Wagner Sr. was the founder of Wagner Farmingdale Feed located on the corner of Merritts Road and Conklin Street where an Exxon Station is now located. The founders were Weber and Weblaufer. The plant was out toward the eastern end of Conklin Street and was the largest employer in town until the outbreak of World War II. He, Rudolph Weber, Sr., was the last village president and our first mayor. New York State changed the title from president to mayor in 1927. His son Rudy Weber Jr. was also a Rotarian and was himself the mayor of Farmingdale for a few years.
Willis B. Carman Sr. began a law practice in Farmingdale in 1928. He was a local attorney and village justice for many years. He founded the firm still located in the village now known as Carman, Callahan and Ingham.
Halsey B. Knapp was the director of then Aggie School located on Melville Road and now known as SUNY at Farmingdale. He was very active in Rotary. He was, for a year, the local district governor and eventually became the first vice president of Rotary International.
Weldon E. Howitt was the principal of Farmingdale School System for decades. He was my principal and I believe was the principal for many of the persons in this audience.