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A BRIEF HISTORY OF STEARNS PARK

Stearns Park is named after Hugo Stearns (1866-1942) who came to the United States from Germany in 1888 and began a business career which culminated in his control of the ostrich feather market.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle March 25, 1925

Provided by Regina Feeney, Freeport Public Library

The Daily Review. July 23, 1921

Provided by Regina Feeney, Freeport Public Library

He purchased a large tract of land in Freeport along Pennsylvania Avenue in or about 1905.  It is reported that the land was originally comprised of 8 farms including the Dykeman abd Chabolt farms. His plan was to create one of the finest and most exclusive residential parks on Long Island.  No expense would be spared to achieve this goal.  He laid out many streets and residential plots with extensive landscaping.  He did not uproot the existing trees and shrubbery.  Long driveways were also part of his plan, and spacious lots of land so the houses would not be crowded together.

Exclusive Stearns Park Ad.png

Provided by Regina Feeney, Freeport Public Library

Eventually, his friends convinced him to sell them some of the property.  By 1925 there were 35 expensive and stylish homes in Stearns Park. This "club colony" was one of the show places of Freeport.  Gabriel Heatter lived in several homes and broadcast his radio show from some of them. In 1933, Lou Gehrig had his wedding reception at his wife's aunt house who lived at 435 Pennsylvania Avenue.

 

About 1916, Stearns laid a 9-hole golf course on 100 acres on the west side  that extended almost to Grand Avenue in Baldwin from Brookside Avenue and Milburn Creek. Originally, the golf club was supposed to be called the Naussau County Club or the South Side Country Club, but when the deal fell through, the course was purchased by golf enthusiasts for $250,000 and then called the Manhattan Country Club, and later the Milburn Country Club.

 

The entrance to Stearns Park was about two blocks north of Seaman Avenue on Pennsylvania Avenue. Hugo and his wife Erna (1885-1968) lived at 426 and later, 378 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Hugo Stearns put the last 48 lots up for public sale on October 21, 1939.

Stearns died in the early 1940s. His wife died on July 28, 1968.

2 Pillars on Prince.jpg

Stearns Park pillars on Prince Avenue

Paul Kaplan • 2023

All residents of Stearns Park live in the portion of the Incorporated Village of Freeport, which falls in Baldwin School District 10.

 

The Stearns Park boundaries are Seaman Avenue to the South, Putnam Avenue to the North, Brookside Avenue to the West and Long Beach Avenue to the East. 

Portions of text from Cynthia Krieg, Freeport Memorial Library

Pennsylvania Ave 1911.jpg

Colorized photo of Pennsylvania Avenue in 1911 looking north from Mt. Joy Avenue.

The house on the right belonged to Hugo Stearns

Source: Freeport Historical Society

Pennsylvania and Prince.jpg

The same view of Pennsylvania and Prince Avenues in 2023.

Paul Kaplan

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