LIRR History (Valley Stream) and Surrounding areas.

Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.

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Re: LIRR History (Valley Stream) and Surrounding areas.

Postby EdM » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:12 pm

The small dam across the brook just north of VS Blvd was part of some kinda environmental thingy and was not installed, to the best of my knowledge, until the late 50's or perhaps early sixties.. It was not there in the late forties or early fifties when that entire brook from Hopples on Merrick to VS Blvd was woods, suitable for boys to wade, fish (!), and break Hoples' empty wiskey bottles in. I still have a scar on my forhead created by a hoe bounced off a floating wiskey bottle wielded by the son of a Dr Clarke who lived in the large red brick house on the s/w corner of south Franklin and (I think, Mineola... well , one south of Fairview..) I lived on the s/e corner of Franklin and Fairview (31)...
In the early fifties I was able to look down thru a grate at the south end of the small bldg, (about 20 ft north of the LIRR) to see the brook emerging from under the bldg and continuing under the LIRR. I don't know, but believe the building was meant to pump water from the brook to the pipe heading from (actually Freeport and points east) to Jamaica... I believe there was a drout in the forties sometime, as the Hempstead Lake St Park used to be a hugh lake which SS went south around before its route was modified to cross it.... Ed
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Re: LIRR History (Valley Stream) and Surrounding areas.

Postby feisner » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:53 pm

It is just so amazing to hear all about Valley Stream in the "old days." If you have any old photos, please post them too. And thanks...!!!

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Re: LIRR History (Valley Stream) and Surrounding areas.

Postby EdM » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:08 pm

the location of the "old trolley" brook crossing was, to my recollection, in line with Jamaica Avenue. I don't remember seeing rails, just evidence of stakes, and perhaps remains of ties... Was a long while ago... No doubt that it was graded though, and the grade continued both east and west of the brook, crossing the brook at I would judge meybe 4-6 feet above water level. This was, at the time, in the middle of woods, with nothing east to Hicks street and I believe a junk yard at the location of the present town hall.
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Re: LIRR History (Valley Stream) and Surrounding areas.

Postby workextra » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:52 pm

I don't recall seeing any brick building within 20' of the LIRR ROW where it crosses the brook.
Being that this is now the "village green" I also have never seen any signs of an old trolley route through there. Only way to tell would be to take a metal detector and look for any spikes, nuts and bolts that may be buried.

I had no idea that the lake by CHS was a reservoir, I knew it had man made features such as the cement wall, and I was told when it was a "beach" that the water was higher and the location where the handball courts and administration building are today were once under water. What is now "Nassau county" was once part of Queens county before Nassau was create, the year escapes me at this time.

So the bridge south of the old Hoples was indeed supposed to be a dam? Adjacent to it still a building which I believe houses a pump, for what I don't know. On the north side of this bridge there are grates and even a pipe If I remember correctly.
This bridge is supposedly getting rebuilt soon, I wonder if it will include the removal of this dam/concrete structure in the brook and allow the brook to flow freely.

By the "pool park" running under the pool deck at a location between the east end of the Olympic pool and kiddie play area is where the north end of this brook connects with the "lake" after it travels under the old folks home, the location of the old Hoples, and the pool and it's parking lot.
There is a mad made waterfall at this location, also with grates over it.However this waterfall is compromised by a culvert similar to a diverging tunnel to allow the water to bypass the fall and flow through it.
If the Lake at Valley Stream was originally a brook/stream, hence the name "Valley Stream" It appears it was dammed at this location immediately north of where the pool exist today. This would make sense with the statements I've heard about the lake being much higher, Almost inline with the incline of where the ground around the lake slopes down.

Today where the railroad crosses this brook, the ROW is elevated and has a concrete retaining wall, (don't know if there is structure or just fill beyond the concrete) but where it crosses the book it's 2 square tunnels with a concrete bottom.
South of which along the walkway there is a small "east-west" creek coming out of a pipe that connect to the larger north south brook. If I had photos Id' post them.
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Re: LIRR History (Valley Stream) and Surrounding areas.

Postby feisner » Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:04 am

These recollections are irreplaceable remnants of Valley Stream history, by my reckoning. I wonder... how many records exist of these details, and how many people alive still remember them? I humbly thank you for providing them.

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Re: LIRR History (Valley Stream) and Surrounding areas.

Postby EdM » Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:09 am

I have not been "on the ground" in VS for probably 30-40 years.. I have never seen the pool or whatever VS built north of Merrick. There was nothing crossing the brook south of its exit of the tunnel under Hoples parking lot/Merrick south as far as VS Blvd. [Well, usta be a tree over it, thanks to the hurricane of '48..] The "environmental dam built in about the late fifties was about 10' north of VS Blvd with a small 6x6 or so structure. The trolley grading was completely leveled to about <2' higher that the level of the brook when the village green was constructed, in the late fifties.. What stood out to me in the forties was this 'graded mound" if you will, running east and west thru the woods toward Jamaica Avenue and parallel with the LIRR with some evidence of stakes or whatever at the brook crossing.. About a 5' or so wide flat...... I would not know where to even look for b/w photos of the times, but I will anyway... SEmi-recently I did run across a 2 1/4 sq neg taken by my father in the early 40's of the "pump house" adj to the RR ROW. He was playing around with IR at the time and it is a wierd one taken at night.. Will search fer it// As far as looking down between the 20ft sq building and the LIRR, is was quite a way down to the brook, meybe 15 or so feet so that the building was probably constructed on the mound created by the e/w "Jamaica" pipe.. Ed
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Re: LIRR History (Valley Stream) and Surrounding areas.

Postby Sir Ray » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:28 am

Us kids in the 1970s kinds of knew the lake was artifical - and it would smell during the summer then, and I remember at least one die-off of fish which consequently washed up on the 'beach' shore of the lake. The lake has been since clean-up, as you may have guessed, but there was no swimming them (besides, they had the pools to swim in).

OK, bring it back a bit to the LIRR, I have read on the web somewhere that the stone/concrete facility on E. Hawthorne surrounding the West Hempstead branch (as it branches off the Montauk) used to recieve shipments by rail AFTER the branch was elevated, by parking the rail cars (hoppers I suppose) on one of the unused track of the W. Hempstead branch, and conveying (craning? pumping?) material to the facility below. Anyone have more info on this, maybe a description? (I wonder if anyone took pictures) - of course that all assumes this operation actually occured. Another aside, railfans are not the only ones with wonky pie-in-the-sky dreams (shocking, I know ) - aways back, decades ago, there was semi-serious talk in the village by those who should have know better - I mean those powers that be - about forming a Village power authority (like those of Rockville Centre or Freeport). Well, then we'd need a power plant, right (not sure if this was a requirement to form a power authority back then, but they thought so) - this power plant would have gone by the LIRR Montauk line, in the Fireman practice area/woods off East Hawthorne east of Satterie Avenue, AND recieved coal shipments by rail. A new micro-sized coal fire plant being approved on Long Island in the late 1970s?!? I told you they weren't thinking (I'm afraid that idea rates a 3-star razz :P :P :P).

EdM wrote:entire brook from Hopples on Merrick to VS Blvd was woods, suitable for boys to wade, fish (!), and break Hoples' empty wiskey bottles in.
Speaking of that fireman practice area off East Hawthorne, the woods behind it served as our hangout, and provided a cool way to get by bike from home to center Lynbrook via the backway (until they built those two homes on Horton). No swimming of course (unless you fell in the giant mud puddles in that area, but those woods held something far more important to 13 year old boys in the late 1970s - Woods-Pr0n! (I bet those 'mythical' High School boys are still looking for us...er, those young punks who raided their magazine stashes...)
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Re: LIRR History (Valley Stream) and Surrounding areas.

Postby feisner » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:30 am

That would be wonderful, Ed. I would appreciate it and will pass on any info you provide to other Valley Stream History buffs.

I will also take another walk over to the Pagan-Fletcher (Valley Stream Museum) Restoration some Sunday. The place opened around 1975, I believe, and I've been there 4 or 5 times. There are people in their 80s who act as volunteers and they grew up in this town, and are still here. If I ask the right questions about the trolley, the pipeline, etc. they will probably be able to answer them.

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Re: LIRR History (Valley Stream) and Surrounding areas.

Postby feisner » Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:37 am

BTW there is still a visible stream West of the senior citizen housing where Carl Hoppel's used to be and into the Village Green. It's tiny, and there are only a few trees left surrounding it. I've seen a couple of little Black kids there fishing, but there are "no fishing" signs there now. I think Valley Stream should have a "no fun" sign as you enter from various directions. It seems like that's what the powers-that-be want, although that's obviously not how things used to be.

There are some nice things in V.S. that are fairly recent, though. There are so many flowering cherry trees on the Village Green and Village Hall-Waldinger Library property it looks like heaven in the early spring. One of my erstwhile friends had remarked that it was too bad I couldn't see the cherry blossom festival in Prospect Park (I was too busy, finishing up my nursing degree) but I was pleased to tell her, "No need; we have our own cherry blossom festival here in Valley Stream."

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Re: LIRR History (Valley Stream) and Surrounding areas.

Postby Sir Ray » Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:51 am

feisner wrote:BTW there is still a visible stream West of the senior citizen housing where Carl Hoppel's used to be and into the Village Green. It's tiny, and there are only a few trees left surrounding it.

Do you mean the stream that forms the West side of the 'Vee' where the 2 streams come together in the Village Green (the East leg being the stream from Hendrickson Park which runs under the Senior Center/Strip Retail center and over the dam near V.S. Blvd)? That runs north, alongside the West side of Memorial JHS's athletic fields? I remember as a kid walking (at the time dry, of course) stream bed north of Merrick, and surprising not getting yelled at since I was in effect cutting thru peoples backyards (then again, maybe I was better at not getting caught back then). OTOH, when there's been lots of rain, man does that stream fill up (as does the other stream, submerging the vee of land where the two streams meet - I think I recall the walk-path bridge geting swamped sometimes, at least the approaches to it.
The third visible stream I know of forms the center median between Brookside and Brush Dr, goes underground to emerge briefly in an access well by the Dunkin Donuts, heads north underground until emerging north of Merrick, between Emerson & Cornwell (at Argyle I think) and north of that is part of the border between Malverne & VS. What's funny (well, sucky), is that because of this stream which runs underground between Sunrise and well north of Merrick, the homes even along the underground section are now on the FEMA flood maps (I was looking at the map one day to see if we were on it, noticed the blue hatching (not on our house luckily) which indicates you're hosed, and realize that this stream was the cause of it - good going, FEMA.

I think Valley Stream should have a "no fun" sign as you enter from various directions. It seems like that's what the powers-that-be want, although that's obviously not how things used to be. :

This applies equally to most areas of Long Island, not just Valley Stream...
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Re: LIRR History (Valley Stream) and Surrounding areas.

Postby feisner » Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:20 pm

If there is a "V" then I was talking about the Eastern part. It's not invisible, and it does run just West of the former location of Carl Hoppls. It's just very small and it runs under Valley Stream Blvd. and into the Village Green. They seem to be rebuilding the bridge right now; there are traffic cones all around. I'll take a few photos in the next few days and post them.

There is also a small stream that partly comes from the Northwest and runs behind people's houses just North of Valley Stream Blvd. and I have seen branches of it, in places utterly dry, when I go due West on my bike just north of the LIRR, which is South of Valley Stream Blvd. I'm not sure on what streets this is, but it is very close to the path on RR property that runs through the woods on the North side and West of the Valley Stream station. I think a branch of it does go behind Memorial, because there is a bridge there, on Kent, I think.

Brookside and Brush Drive are other branches. I can't remember where they end; I think it's close to Sunrise. I was just taking pictures there today, of the Fall foliage.

The "stream" that forms part of the border of Malverne & Valley Stream is not a stream, but a sump, that is supposed to absorb rainfall. But as I am writing I'm thinking about the stream that comes from above Southern State and runs parallel and very close to Franklin Avenue (not S. Franklin, but the one that goes to Hempstead Tpke.). That stream runs under Southern State, into the State Park, and of course through Hendrickson Park. I think the little stream West of the Hoppl's site and into the Village Green can only be a continuation of that stream.

To tell the truth, I feel a little foolish because if I just looked at a map I'd be able to see all of the waterways we're talking about.
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Re: LIRR History (Valley Stream) and Surrounding areas.

Postby Dump The Air » Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:04 pm

valley stream has pretty much sucked since slipped disc closed.
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Re: LIRR History (Valley Stream) and Surrounding areas.

Postby feisner » Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:41 pm

Oh, come on. One record store doesn't make a place suck or not. :(


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Re: LIRR History (Valley Stream) and Surrounding areas.

Postby EdM » Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:08 pm

dont understand the ref to artificial/manmade lake north of the brick/pool area..., not having been near the place since the pool was built... the lake was rectangular, and almost as wide as the brick buildings, with its southern outlet on the south east and its northern inlet at the bridge at the nothern end of the VSCHS property.. To my knowledge, it had this shape back to the twenties and beyond. I do not know how much it had been filled in since.. Maybe drive there fer a while before the wx gets cold.. the fence across the lake dividing the swimming from the boating was just north of St Marks Place, this was removed in the late forties or so... The swimmming area had a chlorine source area ( 5 ft sq pier ) in the south west corner... meybe 30 ft from both shores..., and literally hundreds of chlorine cylinders could be seen in a room in the brick building at the south west end of the lake... There were also lockers in that rectangular building, unused by us locals... Had two piers with slides/diving boards more or less in the middle of the swimming area. The lake also had a roped off spring, about 150 feet north of the southern outlet and about 20 feet from shore.. If you walked near it, the water was very very cold (that is how you knew why it was roped off) and maybe 4-5 feet deep there.....
North of Hendrickson Avenue, in what is still a State Park, two streams converged, one if you followed it came close enuff to see Corona Ave.. Another stream, probably still there, limited e/w passage from Cornwell to Emerson for many streets... Ed
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Re: LIRR History (Valley Stream) and Surrounding areas.

Postby Sir Ray » Fri Oct 22, 2010 7:03 pm

EdM wrote:North of Hendrickson Avenue, in what is still a State Park, two streams converged, one if you followed it came close enuff to see Corona Ave.. Another stream, probably still there, limited e/w passage from Cornwell to Emerson for many streets... Ed

No, the stream between Cornwell and Emerson is the one I described above - it forms part of the border between Malverne & Valley Stream (here's a bing aerial of it crossing Franklin Ave.), heads south between Emerson & Cornwell (and is only bridged by a few streets), goes underground (in a channel) around Argyle, proceeds south for about 15 blocks under Merrick (I guess about where Guys & Dolls is located) then under Sunrise, emerging South of Dunkin Donuts (where the little access area is) to flow south between Brush and Brookside and then thru Woodmere to the Bay - it merges with the stream that runs in the Median of Pennisula, and Hagstrom calls it Mott Creek at that point.
In Valley Stream State Park you're correct, 2 streams do meet in a vee, the Eastern stream does continue north under the Southern (State) Pkwy and Dutch Broadway (and a bit scary it was travesing that as a kid, even in a drought there were big puddles) - that stream continues North into Franklin Square, behind the Pathmark and further north. The Western stream also continues north, under the Southern State and continues along West Gate drive, I think where the old Salvation Army facility was located. Hagstrom also indicates the final stream of good ol' Rum Junction, West of Boden Ave. I guess where Bruce Plumbing Supply is? I don't ever recall seeing it, although I wasn't much in the West End as a kid (Heh - apparently it's one long block West of Clearstream Blvd).
OK, that said, anyone have any info on the concrete place unloading hoppers from the elevated West Hempstead Branch?
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