Welcome To KEY TO THE CITY's Page For
Nassau County, New York
Chamber of Commerce.
Though the area was discovered as early as 1609 by the Half Moon ship of Henry Hudson, it was more than 250 years before any significant settlements took place. It was first known as the Great Sand Beach. In 1870, Hampstead Town gave a small strip of land to a development group. Long Beach was founded in 1880 when the first hotel was built. Once the railroad came to town in 1882, the area rapidly grew as a vacation spot for city dwellers. The weather here is warmer in winter and cooler in summer than other inland areas. The ocean is on one side and the bay on the other making it the ideal seaside spot. The 2 plus mile long boardwalk was built in 1914 and is a popular attraction year-round. A portion of the boardwalk has been set aside for bicycles. The area is lighted at night, making it an attractive place both day and night. The beach is 3.5 miles long and open to the public year-round.
The renowned hotel was a popular place until it burned down in 1907. It was around this time that William H. Reynolds, a young senator, came into the picture. He had already build Dreamland, Coney Islands largest amusement park in 1903 and he saw potential in Long Beach. The channels and canals were widened and deepened and the sand used to fill in the wetlands. Then he designed a new fireproof hotel. He even used some of the elephants from his Dreamland to help build the boardwalk.
Long Beach was incorporated as a village in 1913, though still part of the Town of Hempstead. Many wealthy people made Long Beach their home or summer residence. Many new businesses and hotels began opening. Finally, in 1922, Long Beach was declared an official city. As with many areas, the depression dampened the frivolity and gaiety of the wealthy. Some of the hotels were closed and sold and many more people moved away. It was at this time that the community began its transition to a more residential community.
Return to Index
A unique fact about Long Beach is, due to its proximity to water, no home is more than a few hundred yards from water. In fact, the widest point in the city is just ½ mile. The architecture of the area varies greatly with new and modern condos to beach bungalows built in the early 1900s. Many of these older homes were former summer homes but are now used by residents on a permanent basis. The business area of Long Beach is also growing with redevelopment occurring in many areas. The historic train station has been restored and many older businesses are being revitalized.
Return to Index