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The English first inhabited Roslyn in the 1640’s and were closely followed by the Dutch. They discovered a sheltered, wooded valley opening to Hempstead Harbor. The settlement was founded as an entry port on Long Island Sound which linked cities and towns from Manhattan to Cape Cod. The Village attracted merchants, farmers, boat builders and sailors. In the 1700’s the Robeson - Williams Grist Mill was built which ground flour for local and international trade. The Mill exists today and is scheduled for restoration.
In the late 19th Century the small village welcomed prominent families of New York society who built magnificent country homes. In 1901Clarence H. Mackay had the famous architect StanfordWhite design Harbor Hill, a 648 acre French Renaissance estate house. It remained standing until 1947 when it was sold, demolished and developed as the current Country Estates.
In the mid-20th Century, Roslyn became the center of attention for developers, planners and zoning boards. Due to the efforts of Dr. Roger Gerry and his wife, an artist and local philanthropist, the Board of Supervisors for the Town of North Hempstead designated Roslyn as a Village worthy of preservation. In 1961, recognizing the need for a non-profit organization to oversee local preservation efforts, the Gerry’s established the Roslyn Landmark Society. Roslyn today showcases a collection of 18th and 19th Century homes, many of which have been restored, landmarked and are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Photo: Van Nostrand Starkins House (ca. 1680)