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Churches, Banks, Homes and More in Historic Hempstead Town

By: Kate Nalepinski
Quaker Cemetery Town Of Hempstead

Courtesy Town of Hempstead

America’s largest township, the Town of Hempstead, has not only more than three-quarters of a million Long Islanders living within its boundaries, but also an amazing collection of historical homes and buildings that speak to its rich past—and to the importance, as Hempstead Town historian Tom Saltzman says, of maintaining the historic integrity of these structures for the future.

Suburban growth, LIRR commuting, diverse houses of worship, families that go back generation after generation—the aspects of life on Long Island today have been building for hundreds of years in the buildings we celebrate here, and the many others awaiting visitors who will help ensure that they endure for years to come. Come enjoy this quartet of quintessentially Long Island landmarks.

Former Franklin Square National Bank

The Onetime Franklin Square National BankPhoto Courtesy Town of Hempstead

Franklin Square National Bank
925 Hempstead Turnpike, Franklin Square

What is now a Chase bank branch on Hempstead Turnpike was once, according to historians, the wellspring of suburban growth on Long Island. The Franklin National Bank financed approximately one-quarter of all homes built in the county between 1934 and 1970, and bankers claim the site was home to the nation’s first-ever drive-up bank window. The white building, which was expanded in 1939 and features American-Colonial architecture throughout, was operated by notable L.I. banker Arthur Roth beginning in the mid-1930s.

Bedell House

The Bedell HousePhoto Courtesy Town of Hempstead

Bedell House
2445 S. Saint Marks Ave., Bellmore

The oldest house in Bellmore, the Bedell House was constructed in 1689. The Bedell family were among the first settlers of the area, and town documents reveal that descendants lived in the house from the time it was built until 1950. The home serves as an example of architecture in the Federal Period, with additions that were made in 1778 and later in 1872. While the house is privately owned today, it contains an original fireplace, complete with its iron crane and kettle, that hearkens back to the days of the Bedells.

Quaker Meeting Hall & Cemetery Town Of Hempstead

The Quaker Meeting Hall Photo Courtesy Town of Hempstead

Quaker Meeting Hall & Cemetery
Wantagh Avenue and Twin Lane, Wantagh

In 1827, the Jerusalem Society of Friends (a codename for Wantagh Quakers, before they could meet openly) constructed a 34-by-28-foot structure that could serve as a place of worship for the local Quakers. A registered Town of Hempstead Historical Site, the building is now part of the First Baptist Church of Wantagh, located south of the Southern State Parkway. Hempstead Town Hall records indicate that roughly 60 years later, neighboring land was purchased by the Quakers, and the property was used as a cemetery, which contains the graves of three Civil War veterans: Lt. H.R. Jackson, Gilbert Seaman of the 139th Regiment of the New York Volunteers, and Charles Wilson of the 119th Regiment of the New York Volunteers.

United Methodist Church Hempstead

The Historic United Methodist Church in HempsteadPhoto Courtesy Town of Hempstead

United Methodist Church of Hempstead
40 Washington St., Hempstead

The United Methodist Church spire not only reaches higher than any other in Hempstead Village but is one of the tallest in Nassau County. This UMC was established in 1822 to accommodate the growing Methodist congregation, but by 1854 the congregation outgrew the structure and it was sold, which sparked the construction on the present building.

Related: Read the Town of Hempstead’s historic Wantagh Railroad Museum and Rock Hall Museum.