The History Of Valley Stream
The Valley Stream Chamber of Commerce was incorporated in April 1955 by a prominent group of businessmen. One of those men was Arthur Hendrickson, the namesake of Hendrickson Park on Merrick Road. The seven others were A. Richard Howe, Louis Forant, John Muller, Joseph Enright, John Lake Jr., Alonzo Mills and Ralph Fisher Jr. all residents of Valley Stream. The original incorporation papers were notarized by Robert M. Blakeman , an attorney who remains a member of the chamber.
Since 1990, past presidents include Dan Lehrner (deceased), Noreen Carro, Carol Gallo, Rosemarie DelGrasso, Boris Klerer and Frank DeMita, Debbi Gyulay. The current president is Dominick Minerva.
Valley Stream is located in Nassau County, Long Island New York. It is situated on the Nassau – Queens (NYC) border just minutes from JFK International Airport. The area known as Valley Stream is comprised of the Incorporated Village of Valley Stream, North Valley Stream, South Valley Stream and the Gibson and Mill Brook communities.
Valley Stream acquired its name from Robert Pagan who settled in the area in 1840. At that time, the area was mainly large tracts of farmland and relatively few families. Robert Pagan named the area for its geography of hills and streams. He established the post office and opened the first general store. The Pagan home is now an active museum known as the Pagan Fletcher Historical House.
In the mid 1800’s, Merrick Road was a plank road creating a direct connection from Jamaica (Queens, NYC) through Valley Stream and continuing further east. It was travelled by stagecoach back then. Decades later, the railroad came to Valley Stream, making it one of the major train lines. Today it is just a 30 minute ride to Penn Station or the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn.
By the turn of the 20th century, Valley Stream was an active, bustling center of commerce, boasting a variety of stores and businesses serving the growing population and the many visitors who utilized the mass transit options of the day. Among the various nicknames that sections of Valley Stream enjoyed and perhaps the most descriptive was Rum Junction describing the area around the railroad station. Long delays between train connections offered a perfect opportunity for enterprising businesses to offer hospitality to the travelers.
Valley Stream was established in 1843 and the Incorporated Village was formed in 1925. The community that was once mostly farmland became a suburban community after World War II, with a great influx of families moving here. Valley Stream remains a suburban community, with many attractive assets. There are more than 100 acres of parkland within the village as well as Valley Stream State Park. Residents of the Village and school districts are also able to enjoy the pool complex and well maintained sports fields.
The original commercial area of Rockaway Avenue has grown to include Merrick Road, Central Avenue, Sunrise Highway and the Green Acres Mall.
Today, our chamber has well over 100 members representing varied businesses, organizations, schools and houses of worship.
Barbara DeGrace and Debbi Gyulay, contributers