Brookville, New York

Brookville is located in Nassau County.
Approx. Population 2,126

Brookville's two centuries as a farm and woodland backwater changed quickly in the early 1900s as wealthy New Yorkers built lavish mansions. By the mid-1920s, there were 22 estates, part of the emergence of Nassau's North Shore Gold Coast. One was Broadhollow, the 108-acre spread of attorney-banker-diplomat Winthrop W. Aldrich, which had a 40-room manor house. The second owner of Broadhollow was Alfred Gwynn Vanderbilt II, who was owner of the Belmont and Pimlico racetracks. In 1931, estate owners banded together to win village incorporation to head off what they saw as undesirable residential and commercial development in other parts of Nassau County.

The federal government in 1958 built a Nike guided missile installation in Brookville for use in case the nation was attacked. The site later became a nature preserve.

Upper Brookville Beginnings

As the official village history says, ``It might have been Lower Brookville.'' The new village founded in 1932 was, after all, downstream in the area's little valley. When Hope Goddard Iselin, the doyenne of the millionaires and socialites who were behind the incorporation, heard the name Lower Brookville proposed, she is said to have haughtily replied: ``I refuse to live in lower anything. If you must call it something, and I suppose you must, call it Upper Brookville.'' They did. And in a way, she set the tone for a village long known to protest anything that would threaten its sylvan solitude.

Old Brookville Beginnings

Like the rest of the Brookville area, what is now the Village of Old Brookville was part of mid-17th Century land purchases from the Matinecock Indians by Oyster Bay Town and early settlers in the Cedar Swamp territory east of Hempstead Harbor. English and Dutch farmers were the first white inhabitants. By the mid-1800s, their descendants were selling much of their corn to a starch factory in nearby Glen Cove, where the manufacturing residue was excellent cattle fodder coveted by farmers from miles around. Another occupation was the breeding of trolley car, brewery and delivery horses for New York City. The Rushmore house on Glen Cove Highway is the oldest house in the village. It dates in part to 1690 and retains its original handmade shingles and nails.

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