Valley Stream is a village in Nassau County, New York in the United States. As of the United States 2000 Census, the village population was 36,368. Including South Valley Stream, and North Valley Stream the total population is 57,795 as of the 2000 census.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 3.5 square miles (9.0 km²), of which, 3.4 square miles (8.9 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.86%) is water.
Communities bordering Valley Stream are Elmont (Home of Belmont Park Racetrack), Lynbrook, Malverne, Franklin Square, Garden City, Hewlett, Woodmere, and Rosedale (a neighborhood in Queens in New York City).
There are many different sections of Valley Stream:
Mr. Pagan’s wife, Ellen, also played a significant role in village history. Tired of traveling to Lynbrook for religious services, she began holding the services in her home. A Methodist minister was hired for periodic stops in the Pagan home, and the first congregation in Valley Stream was founded. She also pushed for her husband to change the family to Payan, seen now in Payan Avenue.
In 1853, Hempstead Turnpike was the only route that connected Valley Stream to Jamaica and New York City. The main streets in Valley Stream that connected the small village to the turnpike were Mill Road (which is Corona Avenue today) in the west, Sand Street (Central Avenue) in the south, and Dutch Broadway in the north. That year Merrick Road, a planked, one lane road came through Valley Stream, connecting the village to Merrick in the east, and Jamaica to the west. With the new thoroughfare in the area, Valley Stream residents and industry began to move southward.
In 1869, the South Side Railroad began stopping in Valley Stream and a branch of the railroad was constructed that connected the main line with the Rockaways.
The new branch is still in existence today as the Far Rockaway line of the Long Island Railroad, and, just like over a century ago, the line still splits at the Valley Stream Station.
The new railroad, combined with the emergence of Merrick Road as a major artery, caused Valley Stream to grow into a substantial community, that many people came from far away to vacation at. During the turn of the century, Hendrickson Park became a prime vacationing spot for people in Queens and Brooklyn. Soon the Valley Stream Hotel was opened at the beginning of the 20th Century overlooking the golf course. Many tourists came to visit and wound up moving to Valley Stream. The Village of Valley Stream was incorporated in 1925 as a result of its growth.
In 1922, developer William R. Gibson came to Valley Stream after building more than 2,500 homes in Queens. He bought of land on Roosevelt Avenue and built homes on Avondale, Berkeley, Cambridge, Derby, and Elmwood Streets. Five years later he expanded his development to Cochran Place and Dartmouth Street.
Realizing that his development was perfectly designed for the new class of white-collar commuters he petitioned the Long Island Railroad for a stop. The LIRR agreed to stop in the area if Gibson would build the station himself. On May 29th, 1929, the Gibson station was opened. Gibson Hewlett, as it became known, still retains its homes, as they were when William Gibson, himself, first built them.
Robert Pagan was born in Scotland on December 3, 1796. In or about the late 1830s, Robert, his wife Ellen, and their children emigrated from Scotland. On the journey to America, one of their children died and was buried at sea. The 1840 U.S. Census for Queens County lists Pagan's occupation as a farmer. Two children were born to Robert and Ellen Pagan after they settled in the Town of Hempstead.
At this time, the community did not have a post office, so mail had to be picked up in Hempstead. Pagan petitioned the appropriate authorities for a post office. He was advised that the community needed a name. Pagan chose "Valley Stream" based on the topographical appearance of the area. In 1843, the U.S. Post Office formally accepted the name of Valley Stream. As a consequence, Pagan is credited with naming the community. Pagan died on March 25, 1870.
Ellen Pagan was a devout Methodist as well as a homemaker and mother. Prior to establishing Sinner's Hope Chapel, she had an itinerant minister conduct services at the Pagan homestead. She died on March 24, 1875. Robert, Ellen, and certain other members of the Pagan family have found their final resting place in the graveyard at St. John's United Methodist Church in Elmont.
In 1847, the Pagan house was expanded to a two-story farmhouse. Catherine Pagan, one of Robert and Ellen's daughters, was presumed to have married William Fletcher the same year and the house was expanded as a wedding gift. Both families had been very affluent. William died in 1883 and Catherine's date of death is unknown nor is it known where they are buried.
In February 1925, voters in the three Valley Stream Elementary Districts-13, 24 and 30-petitioned the state legislature to form a Central High School District, whose boundaries would be coterminous with the combined outer boundaries of the three component Elementary Districts. The creation of such a district-officially designated as Central High School District No. 1 of the Town of Hempstead - was made possible by an NYS Education Law provision in 1917, legalizing the formation of central high school districts by residents of two or more adjacent elementary school districts. The purpose of the act was to promote the federation of union free and common school districts in the state.
Only five such districts (three being in Nassau County) were created in the state before the law was revoked in 1944 and replaced by a provision for centralization on a K-12 basis. The other two Nassau County central high school districts formed were Sewanhaka and Bellmore-Merrick, both still in existence. The fourth and fifth, in Westchester and Erie counties, have since been dissolved.
Central High School District No. 1 remained the name of Valley Stream's Secondary School District until July 1973, when the state removed the numbers from school district names to clarify the locations and types of school districts (The exceptions were Valley Stream Districts Thirteen, Twenty-four and Thirty, whose numbers were changed from numerals to the spelled-out versions.). In clarifying the location and in removing the numeral, in 1973 the official name of Valley Stream's Secondary School District became the "Valley Stream Central High School District." However, the shorter version "Valley Stream High School District" has commonly been used over the years (and is inscribed on the exterior wall of the district office at One Kent Road) to avoid confusion with "Central High School," one of the District's four secondary schools.
Even before the formation of Central High School District No. 1 in 1925, Elementary District 24 began offering a high school education to some of its graduates, beginning in September 1923 at Brooklyn Avenue School. Principal was C.V. Ryan, with Harry W. Gross hired as an assistant principal and teacher for the fall of 1924.
In September 1925, after the formation of Central High School District No. 1, a wooden two-story clapboard building on Wheeler Avenue just east of Corona Avenue was refurbished and designated as the high school for the district.
Called Central High School or often “the old wooden school,” this eight-room building had formerly been used as an elementary school in District 13 from 1905 until 1925, when the present red brick Wheeler Avenue Elementary School opened.
The first principal of this first Central High School was Harry W. Gross, assisted by 10 faculty members. Eight seniors received diplomas in the first commencement, which was held June 22, 1927, in the new Wheeler Avenue Elementary School auditorium.
The first Central High School, which had become a cherished landmark in the community, was unfortunately demolished in August 1930, after the present Central High School on Fletcher Avenue had opened.
The members of the first Board of Education of the new Central High School District No. 1 were: seated, left to right, Henry Baumann, William L. Buck (President), Herbert Biddulph, Frank Kondla; and standing left to right, William Fare, Albert Dowdeswell, Frank Hendrickson, John Beresford and Walter Van Tassel. Buck Elementary School, built in District 24 in 1952, was named in honor of William L. Buck, who served on the District 24 Board for over 25 years and was the high school district board’s first president. In fact, Mr. Buck served 15 terms as president of the high school district board, covering the years 1925-38 and 1940-42. He was employed as an engineer for the Pennsylvania Railroad and later served as Deputy Sheriff of Nassau County.
Since Central High School District No. 1 originally consisted of only one school, the principal of Central High School functioned as the chief administrative officer of the district and eventually came to be called supervising principal or District Principal. The title Superintendent of Schools was not used in Valley Stream until 1978, when a new state law changed the title to conform to that used by most school districts in New York State.
Eight administrators have served in this capacity since the district was organized in 1925. They are “District Principals” Harry W. Gross (1925-41) and Paul T. Wohlsen (1941-46), who doubled as principals of Central High School; District Principal Richard M. Udall (1946-64); District Principal/Superintendent of Schools Dr. Walter D. Stille (1964-84); Superintendent of Schools Dr. Glenn E. Grube (1984-92); Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donald A. Howard (1992-97); Superintendent of Schools Dr. Martin G. Brooks (1997-2000); and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ronald D. Valenti (2000-present).
In 1941, Harry Gross left the District Principalship to be appointed to the wider position of Superintendent of the Second Supervisory School District of the Town of Hempstead, with jurisdiction over approximately 23 school districts that did not yet have superintendents. These included the central high schools of Valley Stream Central, Mepham in Bellmore-Merrick, and Sewanhaka. Mr. Gross held this position until his retirement in 1967. He also served terms as president of the NYS Association of District Superintendents of Schools and president of the National Association of County and Rural Area Superintendents.
With the wooden Wheeler Avenue high school building inadequate for the size of the student body, a bond issue for $750,000 was passed in April 1928 for the construction of the present Central High School on Fletcher Avenue.
The beautiful, imposing, orange-and-cream brick and stone building, labelled “this community’s monument to knowledge” by proud Valley Stream citizens, opened to students in September 1929. Still in existence from the December 17 dedication exercises is the program booklet which lovingly and proudly describes the features of the new high school and auditorium and lists members of the 1929 Board of Education and faculty.
Continuing as principal of Central High School in the new building was “District Principal” Harry W. Gross (1925-41), with W. Clinton Stuart as assistant principal. The faculty numbered 35, with a student enrollment of 298.
Soon the new high school was filled to overflowing, and in September 1935 a system of split sessions was initiated. This practice lasted for 17 years until Memorial Junior High School opened in 1952. For most of these years, the senior high grades 10-12 attended from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and junior high grades 7-9 from 12:45-5:15 p.m.
“District Principal” Paul T. Wohlsen doubled as Central High School principal from 1941-46, with Edward J. Kurfess overseeing the senior high and W. Clinton Stuart overseeing the junior high grades. Central’s succeeding principals have been Mr. Kurfess (1946-71), Dr. John E. Glynn (1971-December 97), Dr. Hildegarde Ziegler (1998-2001) and Joseph Pompillo (2001-present).
Central High School, bulging over capacity with students in grades 7-12, had been operating on split shifts for 15 years when a proposition for $2.5 million was passed on April 22, 1950, to build another secondary school in the community, north of Central High School, on the corner of Fletcher and Hendrickson Avenues.
For a while it was contemplated that Central would become a junior high, with Memorial the new high school in the community. Hence the name Valley Stream Memorial High School was inscribed on the front of the school, an inscription which remains today, perennially raising questions. Later, however, it was decided to open Memorial as a junior high school for grades 7-9, keeping Central as the senior high school for the district.
Memorial Junior High officially opened in December 1952, with the dedication ceremony held on November 11, 1953. Dr. W. Clinton Stuart, assistant principal in the old Central building and then head of the junior high grades at Central under the split sessions, became the first principal of Memorial (1952-55) and in 1955, district coordinator of curriculum and teaching. Subsequent principals have been James J. Evans (1955-68), Louis P. Schwartz (1968-78), Dr. Timothy M. Melchior (1978-96), Robert Kaufold (1996-2003), and Dr. Kathleen Walsh (2003-present).
Prior to World War II, much of the land within the boundaries of the Valley Stream High School District was still undeveloped. After World War II, the area witnessed a major residential construction boom and population explosion. Soon the need for additional secondary schools to serve students in the northern and southern parts of the school district became evident. Strongly backed by the parent/teacher associations, two referenda for $2.8 million each were passed on December 5, 1953, to build North and South High Schools.
North High School, with an architectural design practically identical to South’s, opened its doors on Herman Avenue in Franklin Square on October 31, 1955. Over the past 45 years, North has had four principals–Charles H. Wood (1955-79), a 1932 graduate of Central High School who had been the assistant principal at Memorial Junior High, Dr. Robert T. Alden from 1979- June 2001, Dr. Thomas Troisi from July 1, 2002 to June 2005, and Dr. Clifford O'Dell from July 2005 to present.
South High School opened approximately two months after North High School–on December 19, 1955. Since the building was not completed for a September opening, its 850 students and approximately 45 teachers remained at Central High School through December, on a split session basis. First principal of South was J. James Bergen (1955-77), who had worked at Central since 1933 as a language teacher and then assistant principal, also enjoying his role as a part-time scout for the N.Y. Yankees and Boston Red Sox baseball teams. Subsequent principals have been Dr. Steven R. Goldberg (1977-84), who later served as Business Administrator of the high school district (1984-95) and Assistant to the Superintendent for Administrative Services & Personnel (1995-97); Ms. Christine J. Cutting (1984-98), who started at South in 1966 as a science teacher; Dr. Stephen C. Lando (1998-2007); and Ms. Maureen Henry (2007-present).
Few high schools and communities today are graced with an architecturally-unique Art Deco auditorium dating from the 1920’s. The restoration of this community treasure had been contemplated for over a decade. Finally in 1986 through the efforts of State Senator Dean Skelos, a state legislative grant of $20,000 was obtained to initiate the project. During an approximately six-month period from June to November 1987, the extensive refurbishment took place, with the majority of work done by the district’s own maintenance staff. Auditorium seats were recovered in a burnt orange fabric, and the original wooden arms and metal frames were restored. Brass wall and ceiling lights were refinished, as was the bronze and marble clock on the balcony overhang. The giltwork on the proscenium arch was painstakingly repainted. The sculptured friezes on the auditorium walls, depicting “The Triumphal Entry of Alexander into Babylon,” were restored. All walls were repainted, electrical wiring was replaced, and the foyer was also completely refurbished. In July 1986 at the retirement of Central High School Assistant Principal H. Bertram Keller, the high school district Board of Education had officially named Central’s auditorium “The Bert Keller Auditorium” in his honor. Mr. Keller had been associated with Central for over half a century, entering as a student when it first opened in 1929, graduating in the Class of 1933, and returning after college in 1938 as an English, speech and journalism teacher, drama director, and in 1955, assistant principal. On December 11, 1987, the official dedication ceremony and unveiling of the dedicatory plaque took place at the Central High School holiday concert. As inscribed on the plaque, the auditorium was dedicated “in honor of and in appreciation for Bert’s extraordinary contributions to this school and the Valley Stream community.”
Central, North and South High Schools and Memorial Junior High each acquired additional corridor space through a $3.68 million proposition that passed on November 17, 1959.
It was not until nearly 40 years later on October 7, 1998, that voters passed a $37 million bond issue to revitalize the aging buildings with a major upgrade–to prepare students for the technological needs of the 21st century, to prepare them for the new New York State education standards and graduation requirements, and to provide for the rising enrollment.
Completed during the 2000-01 school year, the bond issue projects:
Added 15 new classrooms district-wide. Renovated libraries, guidance offices, science labs, career and technical (formerly called occupational) education spaces. Enlarged performing music and cafeteria areas; and created large group instructional spaces. Renovated the buildings’ aging infrastructures with new windows and boilers, bathrooms, hall and gym lockers, ceilings, fire alarm and public address systems. Provided greater handicapped accessibility. Reconstructed athletic facilities such as tracks, tennis courts and indoor and outdoor bleachers for school and community use. Added new wiring and hundreds of new computers to upgrade the district’s technology.
Nearly 50% of the bond issue work is covered by New York State aid. What a perfect time the year 2000 was to revitalize Valley Stream’s secondary schools–now 45-71 years old–as the school district and village both celebrated their 75th anniversaries, and the calendar turned to the new millennium in 2000-2001.
There were 12,484 households out of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.5% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.1% were non-families. 20.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.91 and the average family size was 3.37.
In the village the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.0 males.
The median income for a household in the village is $103,243, and the median income for a family is $110,585. Males have a median income of $80,094 versus $56,260 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $66,334. About 1.0% of families and 1.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.4% of those under age 18 and .4% of those age 65 or over.
The village is home to a significant Italian American population, with 30.6% of the population identifying themselves as being of Italian ancestry in the 2000 Census..