Friday, 23 October 2009 00:00
1794: On September 25, a post office opens in the Queens County Court House. It is the first post office in what is now Nassau County (the second one was opened at Hempstead Village in 1802). Mail can now travel from New York City to Jamaica to Herricks to Sag Harbor in eastern Suffolk County largely along what is now Jericho Turnpike. The Court House branch is officially called “Queens Post Office” until 1805, when the name is changed to “North Hempstead Post Office.” It will operate until the early 1870s.
1807: Why is businessman James C. Roosevelt of 291 Broadway in New York City, relative of two future Presidents, advertising the availability of “a valuable farm at Herrick’s” in the city newspapers? His mother is Mary Duryea and he’s helping out his cousin, William, who is interested in selling 144 acres here. The land “is in high cultivation, well timbered, and abounds in excellent fruit.” It also includes a two-story residence and outhouses.
1813: Horatio Gates Spafford, gazetteer writer, complains to his readers that the Queens County Court House lies “upon an almost naked heath, remote from the conveniences of more populous districts” and that it “furnishes an admirable comment on a blind adherence to geographic centres, unmindful of those of population and business.” A decade later, in a revised edition, Spafford will still be unimpressed by the vicinity, which he suggests “hardly deserves a local name or notice, but that the courts are held there”
1814: The latest in mass transportation technology is coming to Herricks, as the Jericho Turnpike Company opens its books to potential stockholders at the Court House. The company has received a state charter to plank over the old Jamaica-Jericho road past the Court House, creating a wide, smooth tolled highway that can be used in almost any weather. Commissioners Denton, Hewlett, Hicks, Jones, Pool, Van Wyck and Willets are recruiting local investors in order to speed construction. The next year, they will begin accepting bids from road building companies on a 17-mile stretch from the Oyster Bay-Suffolk County border line to Queens Village
1822: For the fourth consecutive year, Herricks is the site of the Queens County Fair, held near the Court House just off the new turnpike. Farmers from the area do very well. Prize winners include Samuel Willis for Best Yearling Colt ($10 prize), Benjamin Platt for Best Pair of Working Oxen ($10 prize) and William Smith for Best Two Acres of Indian Corn ($12 prize for his 210 bushels). The fair opens on October 24 and is well-attended, despite cold weather. Exhibits include cotton grown in nearby Jericho and Oyster Bay