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Preserving Hicksville’s History

If you’ve ever wondered what Hicksville was like back in the 1800s, James Janis is the person to ask. Janis is the Hicksville historian as well as a reference librarian at the Hicksville Public Library. He works on organizing the archives of Hicksville’s history, as well as preparing them for the future.

“I’m working in the past, I’m trying to prepare for the future, and at the same time, I’m working in the present,” said Janis.

The archives have original material that go back as far as 1896 and research articles that go back to the 1840’s. Some of Janis’ prized possessions in his archives include the Silver Star and Purple Heart of a Hicksville resident named James Madden who was killed during World War II, as well as a letter from the Western Union informing the parents of Charles Wagner that he died in World War I.

Janis received his masters in Library Science from Queens College and starting working at the the library five years ago.

Many people come in to the library to do research on families, Hicksville history, as well as school assignments. People also like to look at the yearbooks, and the library has a good collection of the yearbooks starting from the early 1930’s.

“I try and pay attention to what goes on in Hicksville and if something interesting happens, I try and preserve it and put it in the archives," said Janis. He collects vertical files on anything about Hicksville including horses in Hicksville, and even famous murders and serial killers from Hicksville.

“Everything is eventually going to be digitalized, and the archives should eventually be available online,” said Janis.

One of Janis’ daily duties include searching the The New York Times archives to find articles that have any mention of Hicksville. “The first article about Hicksville was in 1854,” he said. “It was about a woman named Betsy Baldwin, who fell down a well and the news made it into The New York Times.”

Janis is currently working on a program about Hicksville residents in World War I. He has previously done programs with Hicksville in World War II and Hicksville in the Spanish American War. The programs received good reviews and Janis plans on continuing with more programs, until he eventually covers Hicksville in all of the wars.    

“While working on these programs I do a lot of original research,” he said. “I end up tracking grandparents or descendants, I find documentation, and I find out things that nobody knew about Hicksville.”

Janis hopes to present the program on Hicksville in World War I in time for Memorial Day.

For more information, visit www.hicksvillelibrary.org

News

The 7th annual Parish of the Holy Family Festival went off without a hitch and lit up the night sky on Fordham Avenue in Hicksville last week. Thousands of community members came and joined in the festivities.  

This year’s theme was the 1964-1965 World’s Fair that took place in Queens. Volunteer coordinator and 28-year member of the congregation Mary White said “We are having this festival to raise money and to offset the expenditures of the school and the church. Last year we had a record breaking 10,000 people attend and while all the numbers are not in yet, we are doing very well this time around too. The turnout has been great because the weather has been so cooperative.”

Matty’s Sports Deli, located at 107 Stewart Avenue, first opened its doors Nov. 12, and slowly but surely, it’s making a name for itself as the place to go to get good eats in Hicksville.

However, according to owner and Bellmore resident Matthew Burak, the main thing working against his slow climb up the hill of success is what any entrepreneur knows is vital to business—location, location, location.


Sports

Cantiague Park Senior Men’s Golf League had its fourth tournament on Thursday Aug. 7. We had 33 golfers and a record 8 who scored under 40. Low overall score was won by newcomer Ed Hyne with an impressive 33, his second low net in a row. Charlie Acerra scored a solid 35, and won low overall net with a 26; his best score in 4 years.

Competition on the nine-hole course is divided into two divisions. Flight A is for players with a handicap of 13 or lower. Flight B is for players with a handicap of 14 or more. The league is a 100 % handicap league. Any man 55 years or older is eligible for membership. We have many openings for this year, and you can sign up anytime throughout the the season. The league meets every Thursday at 7:30 a.m., but the formal tournament dates are only the first and third Thursday of the month through late October. We will have a final luncheon with prizes on our last meeting.

The fields of Kevin Kolm Memorial Park were filled with nearly 200 soccer players on Saturday for the annual ‘Soccer For A Cause’ event. The event was put together by the Mastermind Unit in sponsor of the Michael Magro Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting pediatric patients with cancer and their families.

“The Mastermind Unit is a non-profit organization that was founded by a group of guys who grew up playing soccer together in Hicksville,” said co-founder Bryan Alcantara. “This is our seventh annual  ‘Soccer For A Cause’ event at Memorial Park.”


Calendar

Personality Disorders

August 25

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com