|| Our Little Town
Until a few years ago, the
our little town was documented in print media only twice in the
Story of Oceanside was written by Dr. Walter S. Boardman,
a name that should be familiar to all of us.
After serving 20 years as our Superintendent of
Schools, Dr. Boardman retired early in 1960.
Prior to that, Dr. Boardman was Principal of
Oceanside High School from 1927 to 1940.
Dr. Boardman's scholarship and his 33 long years of dedicated and inspired
service to and love of our community certainly qualified him to write our
little town's story. The work served as his parting gift to our community
upon his retirement.
The school that now bears Boardman's name (No. 9, built in the southeast
part of town in the early '60s after his retirement and after our
graduation, originally as a second junior high) is now an elementary school,
but the same building also houses Oceanside's middle school (there is no
longer any junior high).
The Story of Oceanside was completed in 1960, it was
distributed locally in typewritten, mimeographed form (without pictures) and
bound with a single staple. As noted, the cover you see illustrated above at the
left is from a reprinted edition of Boardman's booklet, issued in 2000. The
reprinted edition remains essentially Dr. Boardman's work, without update, but
it includes some photographs, maps and a little bit of other additional material
not contained in the original. For example, it includes the following,
which appeared originally in the Boardman Elementary School's Newsletter:
community, Dr. Boardman has been admired and respected as one who might be
called upon on any occasion and never be found wanting. Without thought of
self, he has been available to organizations and individuals on an almost
round-the-clock basis and has always been willing to offer his services if
he believed that in doing so he might promote a worthy cause.
schools he has been the spark and the inspiration which makes the difference
between mediocrity and greatness ..."
Click on the thumbnail
image at left for information as to how to purchase a copy of
Story of Oceanside
(1960), by Dr. Walter S. Boardman.
The second volume illustrated
at right, above,
History of Oceanside, also unpublished, was distributed
only locally and copyrighted in 1975 jointly by a youth group
sponsored by the local branch of the Jewish fraternal organization,
B'nai Brith, the Oceanside AZA (for the Hebrew letters,
Aleph Zadik Aleph), and the First United Methodist Church of
Oceanside. It was the work of a joint committee of those organizations. Among the committee members who prepared the
history were now late Bea Danziger (the mother of one of our classmates, Sabin Danziger,
and the mother-in-law of another, Mike Brozost)
and one of our OHS guidance counselors you may remember, Susan Braca. The 1975
history contained substantially all of the Boardman material,
but it was expanded and updated through the mid-1970s.
More recently, a lifelong resident and now
retired OHS teacher,
Woodss(or "Richie," as
we know him) authored two widely published, histories of
our little town,
one in 2004 and the second in 2013. Then first tells the story of
our little town
with annotated photographic images from its early beginnings through about
1960, and with some more recent information appended. The
second is comprised of thumbnail biographies and
photographs of over 150 of
our little town's
most notable personalities.
Click separately on the images, below, of the covers of these works for
detailed information about them and how to get copies for yourself. You will be glad you
advertising material from an auction of new
homes, some only partially
completed, that was
to be held April 30, 1930 (only six months into
the Great Depression).
The selected excerpts
below are derived primarily from the 1975 history (much of
which, shown below in regular typeface, are attributable, in turn, directly to
the Boardman piece) have been reproduced here with the kind
permission of Rev. Janet Porcher, Pastor of the First United
Methodist Church of Oceanside, New York; they relate primarily to our time in school in
our little town ―
the 1950s. (Your website editor's annotations are shown italicized in brackets.)
As you can see (if you don't remember), the dominant theme
during our time as kids in Oceanside clearly was
growth. According to census information included
in The History of Oceanside, the population of our little town grew 78%
(from 17,111 to 30,448) between 1950 and 1960. (And
our great class
of 500+ to be 43% larger than the previous recordbreaking class of 1959.
Oceanside in the 1950s
end of the war ushered in new and overwhelming growth. ... Houses
were put up by the hundreds.
end of the war
[World War II]
ushered in new and overwhelming growth.
The population which was approximately ten thousand at the close of
hostilities doubled by 1950. Houses
were built on garden plots, in back yards and other unanticipated
places. New and easier Township regulations regarding building as
wall as new techniques for filling in land made it profitable to build
on the marshes. Houses
were put up by the hundreds.
Ocean Lea, built in the early 50ís [sic]
in south Oceanside, was the first large development. Wedgewood Park,
along South Park Avenue, was built in 1956-57.
Preston Park was built south of Wedgewood in 1958-59.
The Madison Homes were put up in the Oceanside Beach area and were
followed by Ocean Harbor.
a result of this building, about one third of the population of
Oceanside moved here after World War II. As had happened many times before in the history of Oceanside,
the arrival of newcomers brought problems to the town.
During this particular period of rapid growth, many problems
centered around the school facilities which could not accommodate the
vastly increasing school population.
... about one third of the population of
Oceanside moved here after World War II."
1950 it became apparent that the secondary schools would require more
drastic expansion than the adjoining sites would permit. After consultation with real estate people, the Board concluded
that a new large site for a senior high school must be found at once.
The matter was studied and a thirty-five acre golf course that
lay west of Skillman and north of Waukena Avenues
[originally part of the site
of the Middle Bay Country Club, which then built a new golf course
south of Waukena]
was selected. It
also seemed necessary to secure land in the southwest area for a new
elementary school. A ten-acre tract of marsh land south of what
is now Moore Avenue was chosen; however, there was some objection to
this site for it seemed to be at the very edge of habitable territory.
A special election was held on December 11, 1951. The purchase
of both tracts was approved by a wide margin, although a substantial
number of citizens felt that the land would never be needed.
rapid was the enrollment growth that even those close to the situation
began to differ on their ideas of where it would all end. To check on
its own estimates, the Board hired the Governmental Statistical
Corporation to assist with the school census and to present estimates
on population trends and potential limits.
On the basis of these findings and all other available data, a
series of proposals ware presented to the voters.to (1) increase the existing high school building to
63 classrooms and convert it to
junior high use, (2) overhaul the old
junior high school and adapt it for elementary children
[Central School No. 1],
(3) erect a new modern high school (School #7) [our
on the 35-acre site
[purchased in March 1952 for $201,000], and (4) construct a new
elementary school (School #8) on Fulton Avenue
for residents of
Ocean Lea].This, the Board stated, would provide adequate classroom space unless
houses were built on the marshes, an idea then regarded by many as
quite out of the question
[but which subsequently occurred in the
southeast part of town, where the Boardman School was built in the
when it opened in 1936 (expanded in 1954 by adding
the south wing )
Central School No. 1, built
as the original Oceanside High
(no longer standing)*
opened in 1955
(expanded several times since)
* The interior
of the building was gutted in May 1921and reconstructed. See the
account by Seth Blau (at this writing a member of the school board and
president of the Oceanside Kiwanis Club) published by the Long
Island Herald, August 3, 2011. See another
account by Seth Blau of some long forgotten early Oceanside history
also published by the Long Island Herald, September 25, 2017.
The foregoing proposals were approved; by 1954 the new
high school and School #8 were
built. [The year is an error in Dr.
Boardman's account; while the south wing of what was to
become our jr. high was, in fact, opened in
here for more about this), our
high school building, designed by architect, Andrew R. Fritz,
of Rockville Centre, wasn't completed until August 1, 1955, (opened
in September) at a total cost
(including the land purchase from the
Middle Bay Country Club) of $3,451,000.]
During this time, the need for an elementary
school lunch program had evolved, for some students lived a great
distance from their schools. In
1953, a pilot program was initiated at School #1
a jr. high]; a complete lunch was served
for 25Ę. The program was successful and eventually was extended to the
reported on August 7th.1955, on the front page of
a Alabama newspaper (strangely enough),
The Mobile Press Register
(article shown at right), that on September 13
holy days services held at
our little town was
distinguished when, "amid wordwide controversy,"* 31-year old Betty Robbins (Mrs. Sheldon Robbins) became
the world's first officially ordained woman cantor in 5,000
years of Jewish history
saw an end to the era of community
harmony that had existed during the previous decade. As more and more housing developments were built, schools
quickly became inadequate for the large numbers of students being
enrolled. The increased
costs for education led to increased taxes which, in turn, led to
divisiveness in the community. The newcomers in town wanted mere and
better schools for their children; older residents resented the large
amounts of money being spent to build and expand schools.
By 1957 the school enrollment was
well over 8,400 students and children were being bused out of Schools
#4 and #8 to alleviate overcrowding.
the mounting pressures of the Cold War, precautionary measures were
taken. The Boy Scouts delivered Handbook for Emergencies, a
Civil Defense publication, to the Oceanside residents. The handbook provided basic first aid references and vital home
precautions to take in case of natural disaster or nuclear attack.
twenty-five years, Levinís Pharmacy, a popular landmark, was razed
by fire in 1959. It was immediately reopened at a
new location which was formerly the site of another drug store.
In September 1960,
Hurricane Donna struck Oceanside bringing a heavy toll in damages to
many houses. There were no personal injuries, but cellars were
flooded, trees and shrubs uprooted and windows were broken by gusts
that reached up to ninety miles per hour.
people rowing boats down Windsor Parkway, Mott St., and some others?]
After all the students
were sent home, the
junior high school was used as a shelter.
Also in 1960, Oceanside honored an OHS
varsity pitcher, Howie Kitt, who Boardman called her "star athlete"
Artie Heyman was
not one of Dr. Boardman's favorites;
both were of the class of 1959]. Howie [who
was signed after graduation by the New York Yankees for what was then one of
signing bonuses in baseball history
― reported at various amounts up to as much as $100,000]
was presented with the
key to Oceanside.
Locals of Oceanside, (Charleston, SC, Arcadia Publishing,
2013), p. 51
conspicuously absent from both
the original Boardman work and the later 1975 account of our little town's history is
any mention of Nathan's Roadside Rest,
unquestionably, its most well-known landmark and business enterprise. (It
was, however, featured in
Richie Woods' 2004 pictorial history, Oceanside).
More than anything else, the
put our little town "on the
map." If you haven't already visited our Nathan's
page, click on the hot dog logo or the photo above for a
tribute to and brief
history of the world famous hot dog
emporium in our little town.
According to the preface to The
History of Oceanside:
"Oceanside, unlike many
other towns on Long Island that sprung up out of nowhere during the real
estate boom that followed World War II, has a history that goes back to the
But despite its richness, the only known
documented account specifically of Oceanside's history that pre-dates the
Boardman work was a manuscript, also unpublished, written between 1936 and 1940
Weaver Heinley, an Oceanside High School teacher (still on the faculty during
our time), and entitled, A History of the
White Man in that Part of the Town of Hempstead, Long Island, that Became the
Village of Oceanside (soon to be made available online by our historical
society, the Oceanside Educational
Foundation). Among other things (including interviews
of long-time residents), Dr. Boardman relied upon this work for his research and also upon a mimeographed history of the Oceanside schools entitled Fifty Years in
Union Free School District #11, prepared in 1949 by George V. Lascher,
then a school district employee.