The Huntington Station Community, from its founding in 1867 to its physical destruction
through the Urban Renewal programin the 1960's,to its ongoing Revitalization efforts.


PERSONAL INTERVIEWS



“. . . we strive to keep and preserve evidences of human continuity
in order to sustain remembrance. We strive not to forget how we
have become who and what we are in order to be mindful of where we began . . .

From THE PROMISE OF CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS by David Carr

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Live Interview with Dr. Alfred V. Sforza-2005

Local Author and Huntington Station Historian

by Kay Posillico


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Martha Dolciamore
“Your book, unfortunately, proves you can’t go home again. I returned in 1989 and was so shocked by the change . . .the town was gone. And that once comfortable feeling that I was safe was also gone. But through your book, I can go back to those days” “Our family is scattered, but we have one constant in our lives – we experienced, loved , and lived in a wonderful place called Huntington Station.”

Freddie (The Shoemaker) Sforza
Once the bond between a community and the people who served it has been broken . . . it is hard to replace!

Jean Sprague Ruland (April 16, 2002)
What made Huntington Station so great?
The buildings may be gone, but the spirit of Huntington Station will go on! I had five children and six grandchildren and the values, sense of responsibility, faith, and everything else that they learned came from my husband’s and my experiences of living in Huntington Station. Multiply that by all the residents of those early years!

Diversity? I often brag about my early years in Huntington Station and how I visited each friend’s house. I heard different languages from the Finnish of my own grandparents: Italian, Polish, Hungarian, Lithuanian. We celebrated all the Catholic holidays and were familiar with most Jewish holidays, so we had a knowledge of religions other than our own. I danced at the Polish-American, the Italian-American, and the German-American club with boys of each of those nationalities. When teachers called for a “Gene” to stand and recite, Eugene Hamilton and I both stood up not knowing which “Gene” or “Jean” she was calling. [ author’s note: Eugene Hamilton became a member of the Huntington Police Department and after the merger, the Suffolk Country Police Department. When he retired in 1981, he was the highest ranking African-American in the history of the Suffolk County Police Department( Inspector)].

I hope you will forgive me for this long reminiscence, but your book brought me so much joy in remembering that I wanted to share. Sadly, I have no relatives or friends left to share this part of my life. Your book will help bring to my children and grandchildren the flavor of what life was like in a small town of Long Island where their family lived so many years ago. I’ve lived in few States since leaving Huntington, but have always been homesick. . . not so much for the town itself, but for the people we were and that were, and the lifestyle that existed. And this over 50 years away.

Florence Bowes
What were the people like?
Huntington Station folks were “real people” They were friendly, loving, and caring, helpful and above all, good neighbors. Who could ask for anything more?

Leon Gimpel
Was it the “other side of the tracks”?
I came to Huntington Station just after World War II in 1946. House hunting was a problem. Banks, at that time, would give you a loan on a home only if the salary earned was 25% or less of the purchase price of the home. According to this formula, I could afford a home not exceeding $12,000. Decent housing was not available at that price in Huntington Village. I was advised not to buy in Huntington Station because it was the "other side of the tracks." The school system was judged to be "inferior," and I couldn't meet "the right people." However, I had been in the area for two years, and I liked the people I knew in Huntington Station. Contrary to the prevailing opinion, in 1948, I bought the house I lived in for the next 25 years in Huntington Station.( It was located on Stratton Drive off 17th Street, just one block from Depot Road.) I retired to Florida in 1974, but I made my life-long friends in Huntington Station and never regretted my decision to live “ on the other side of the tracks.”

Neena Zin Birch
Was it a perfect place to live?
In many ways, Huntington Station was the most perfect place to grow up. The neighborhood, though not fancy, was safe, lush with flowers and trees and enjoyed a view of Schoebels’s Dairy. We were a wonderfully integrated area, both racially and religiously. Columbia Street was a true melting pot and we all became richer for that. I remember “Freddie the Shoemaker,” Dr. Teich, my doctor, Dr. Milstein, my dentist, and Mrs. Baily, Roosevelt School principal. I always walked to Roosevelt School from my home. My teachers included Mrs. Scott, Miss Sheffield (who pulled you by your nose), Mr. Fitzgerald, Mrs. Smith and Mr. Travis. My best friend Geri Kuhn and I wore matching rose-covered pinafores and carried roses to class on our first day there.

Terri Rozzini
Gold Canyon, AZ
While the major devastation occurred when the businesses along New York Avenue were razed, there was another demolition that took place on Lowndes Avenue. Most of the houses, and Roosevelt Elementary school were acquired through eminent domain, and destroyed to make way for mostly low income and a small number of senior housing units.
I lived with my mother (Marie Popolizio) and grandparents (Loren & Irene Shultis) at 58 Lowndes Ave. which was one of the few houses to escape the wrecking ball. I attended kindergarten through sixth grade at Roosevelt, and walked there every day, accompanied by my grandmother, and then on my own when I was older. On the way I remember passing many grand old houses on both sides of Lowndes Avenue. Sometimes I would stop for candy or a comic book at Costa’s store located on the corner of Lowndes Ave. and School St. The owners name was Rocco Costa, and years later I became friends with his nephew Richie. Across the street from Costa’s was a very old abandoned gas station. It was the kind that had one pump and you drove under a small roof to get your gas. It was a tiny wooden building.
Our neighbors on Lowndes Ave. were the Boccio family, and others whose last names were Betts, LoGuidice, Koch, Fleet, Knutsen, and Ford. These families occupied the houses that were left standing.
I was in the sixth grade when Roosevelt School was closed. All of the students were sent to the new, modern Woodhull Elementary School. This was kind of ironic because years later, while I was attending R.K. Toaz Junior High School, it too was closed. The students from Toaz were sent to the new, modern Huntington Elementary School, which was built on the site of the demolished Roosevelt School!
My grandmother and I used to walk to the stores along New York Ave. almost every day. Once a week we would take the bus “down” to Huntington Village. I didn’t realize it until many years later that the Village was actually north of the Station! I suppose the “down” connotation came from the fact that it was downhill; a fact that is readily apparent if you are a kid riding your bike there and back.
Anyway, on our daily trips to the Station, I remember many of the stores and the people. I always liked to go to Ben Franklin 5&10 cent store. They had toys there! Freddie’s Shoe Repair Shop was located close to Ben Franklin’s and I remember my grandmother stopping to chat with him almost every time we passed by. He was affectionately known in my family as “Freddie the Shoemaker”. There was also an ice cream parlor which was owned by the Joost’s family. A real treat was bringing home a half gallon of their hand-packed chocolate chip or maple walnut ice cream. The last stop we would make was always at Sarrow’s (later Associated) Grocery Store. This would be our last stop because we would have to either carry the groceries home or wheel them in the cart that Nana had. I remember the S&H Green Stamps that she would let me paste in the book when we got home. It seems like we never had enough to redeem, though. I was always hoping to be able to get one of the toys that they had on display on the highest shelves around the perimeter of the store. Some of the other businesses that I remember are Tasman’s Glass, the bank, Whelen Drugs, Poncies Barbershop (where you would usually see a group of men playing dice!), and Concannon’s Feed Store. I also remember the Fire Station. We would always hurry passed so that in case there was a fire, the truck wouldn’t run us over! I remember Dr. Samuel Teich, who had an office in his big, beautiful, white house. He was the school physician and I remember that he had the craziest eyebrows! Those eyebrows were kind of scary to an 8 year old. I also remember the night that Paramount Glass burned down. It was a huge conflagration. They were located on the corner of Lowndes and New York Ave., the north end. Someone held me on their shoulders in order to see the fire better.
I remember when the Big H shopping center was built. Though I never saw it, my grandmother told me that a large mansion used to be there. She called it the Bellas-Hess House, and it was owned by a catalog company magnate. Later on it was nice to have Sears, Woolworth’s, and the other stores, but they never matched the “home town-y-ness” of the station.
I think that the notion of urban renewal and what it did to Huntington Station is very sad. I moved from the Lowndes Avenue house in 1974 to another house in Huntington Station. I moved from there to Arizona in 1998, and at that time the area that was the business section was mostly parking lots for the train station. I have always thought that they could have at least left the stores.