1600 – Pilgrims & Settlements
The following historical framework will put the local history of Saddle Rock into perspective: Just twenty years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock “Mad Nan” (Ann Heatherton) attempted to take over the northern part of the peninsula from the Native Americans inhabiting the area. The Mattinecock Native Americans for many hundreds of years had inhabited the area prior to the settlements established by the western Europeans. “Mad Nan’s Neck”, as it was known before 1700, became the present Great Neck peninsula.
From the late 1600’s to the end of 1910, Saddle Rock and the surrounding area on the northwestern part of the peninsula between what is now Beech Road and Cedar Drive, from the east side of Bayview Avenue to the shore of Little Neck Bay served as the estate and home to the Allen, Hubb, Udall, Treadwell, Skidmore and the Eldridge families.
The “saddle rock” is identified on a historical map compiled by George L. Whittle just off shore in Little Neck Bay, formerly known as Matthew Garretson’s Bay (see a photo of the Saddle Rock in the section About Saddle Rock).
1658 – Origins of the name
The name “Saddle Rock” was derived from a large “saddle” shaped rock located just a few yards off shore in Little Neck Bay, and is noted on a map of the peninsula dated 1658.
1700 – The Grist Mill
The Saddle Rock Grist Mill, c.1700, the Village’s symbol, is located in the Village just inside a small cove leading into Little Neck Bay. The Mill is listed in the Federal Historical Landmark Registry and it is the oldest continually operating tidal grist mill in the United States. The Mill is now owned and operated by Nassau County as a working museum open to the public. The last private individual to own the Mill was Louise Udall Eldridge, who was elected Mayor of the Village of Saddle Rock after its incorporation. Louise Eldridge is reported to have been the first female Mayor in the State of New York.
1860 – The Great Neck Library
The Eldridge family mansion was built on a site in view of the Saddle Rock Grist Mill and it served as the owners’ home from the early 1800s to sometime in the 1940s. In 1860, a daughter named Louise was born to Louisa Udall and William Skidmore at the family mansion. Louise was a community activist as early as twenty years old. She eventually became Great Neck’s “first lady”. Louise was the founder of the Great Neck Library, the Great Neck Park District, the original Great Neck Arts Center, as well as many other public institutions. The library, which is now located on Bayview Avenue on property once owned by the Village of Saddle Rock, was originally located in what is known today as Great Neck House. It was Louise, in 1927, who insisted that the library become a separate public taxing district for the use of all of the residents of Great Neck.
In 1910, at the instance of Louise Eldridge, the Eldridge family sold off portions of their real estate holdings to the Village of Kings Point to the north and the Town of North Hempstead to the south and east. The 77 family and servant residents then petitioned the State of New York to have the Village of Saddle Rock created with the newly set boundaries of the Eldridge estate.
1911 – Saddle Rock Incorporation
The Village of Saddle Rock is located on the northwest shore of the Great Neck peninsula, in Nassau County, Long Island, New York. Saddle Rock, incorporated in 1911, is the oldest of the nine Great Neck peninsula Villages. Saddle Rock’s history can be traced back to the 1600s.
1950 – Residential Development
The Village is exclusively residential. The private, single-family homes, originally developed in the 1950s, were carefully located on the hills of the Village in order to maintain open space and maximum views of the water and the New York City skyline. A public authority supplies drinking water from deep wells within the aquifer, and all homes are connected to a district sewer facility. The Village is served by the Nassau County Police Department. Fire and ambulance services are provided by the Alert and Vigilant Fire Companies.
Saddle Rock is only 22 minutes from Manhattan by Long Island Railroad; just minutes away from major north shore highways, and Kennedy and LaGuardia airports are easily accessible. The Village is part of the larger Great Neck community and the magnificent shopping areas, libraries, schools, and houses of worship located on the peninsula. The Saddle Rock Elementary, North Middle, and North High schools, as well as the Great Neck library, and many houses of worship are within easy walking distance of the Village of Saddle Rock.
1984 – Boating
In 1984, the Village of Saddle Rock was the first municipality in the state of New York to require boaters who use the Village marina to provide a certificate of having first taken a safe boating course prior to the issuance of a boating permit.
1998 – The Xeriscape
The Xeriscape, dedicated in June 1998, is located at the corner of Old Mill Road and Bayview Avenue in the Village of Saddle Rock. Xeriscape is a Greek word meaning “dry garden”. The garden, unique in Nassau County, is a conservation-oriented educational project created by the Water Authority of Great Neck North and Nassau County to protect our drinking water. Saddle Rock Mayor J. Leonard Samansky, a Director of the Water Authority and Chair of its Conservation Committee, was the originator of the Xeriscape project. The land upon which the Xeriscape is located was at one time overgrown, unsightly, and surrounded by a poorly maintained metal-linked fence. The garden is now a place for visitors to stroll or sit on benches and view the more than 50 varieties of identified plantings.
The Xeriscape is a formal garden designed much the same way as a homeowner might landscape. All of the plantings are indigenous to Long Island. The use of drought-tolerant grass, plants and shrubbery, landscaping design, and horticultural practices minimizes the need for irrigation and the need for the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. In the fall of 2002, to further conservation education, a section of the Xeriscape was dedicated as the “Saddle Rock Children’s Garden”. Children who attend the Saddle Rock Elementary School planted more than 100 bulbs.
Detailed Xeriscape information is available from the Water Authority of Great Neck North, www.waterauthorityofgreatnecknorth.com.
2001 – The 9-11 Memorial Bridge
Following the attack upon the United States of America on September 11, 2001, the “Saddle Rock Bridge”, from which there is a view of the New York City skyline, became a place of vigil and memorial. Many people came to the bridge on that day and on the days that followed as the tragedy unfolded. The community watched as the World Trade Center Twin Towers disappeared from the skyline, and family members, friends, and neighbors placed candles, messages, and drawings of hope and remembrance on both sides of the entire span of the bridge.
In addition to the view of the skyline, (see above photo of the Empire State Building taken from the bridge) there is a view of the Saddle Rock Grist Mill built circa 1700 (see photos of the Mill on this website). The bridge is within the Village and is owned and maintained by Nassau County. Together, the view from the bridge spans the history of the United States of America.
On December 27, 2001 the Village of Saddle Rock and Nassau County rededicated the bridge as the “9-11 Memorial Bridge”.
2011 – Centennial
On January 3, 1911, one hundred years ago, the Village Saddle Rock was created by the State of New York. Saddle Rock is not just a place to buy a house, it is our home and place to live in comfort and safety. It is a community of people from all walks of life living together, enjoying their homes, and raising their families. Yes, from time to time residents suffer sorrow, but we understand that the Village of Saddle Rock is part of life and living. The Saddle Rock Centennial represents the past 100 years, the present, and the bright future of in the Village. We look forward to a year of celebration.
The Eldridge family ancestors and relatives settled the area in the late 1600”s and the property later served as their estate. The Eldridge family resided in a mansion constructed on the shores of Udall’s Pond near the Grist Mill overlooking Little Neck Bay, Long Island Sound and the East River.
The Petition to create the Village, dated October 26, 1910, was filed with the State. Since there were very few roads in the area, except for “Bay View” Avenue and “Udall’s Mill Pond Road” the Petition generally described the boundaries of the Village as running from, to, and along with the lands of neighboring named landowners, and the shores of Little Neck Bay.
When the Village was initially incorporated in December 1910, Louise designated her husband Rosewell, “Acting Mayor” and all Village Officials, including the Trustees and Commissioners, who were of course relatives and employees.
In 1911, among the homes in the Village, were: the Eldridge mansion; a large home just to the east of the Grist Mill Lane (which later served as part of the Underground Railway in the 1860’s) and a large home set on a hill just off Bayview Avenue at the intersection of what is now Emerson Drive. That home was occupied by the Treadwell family, Louise’s cousins. The balance of the lands of Saddle Rock was open and wooded fields filling the very hilly terrain and flowing to the cliffs which bordered Little Neck Bay. Of course, the Bridges over the East River and skyline of New York which can be seen today did not exist.
The open lands of Saddle Rock were in sharp contrast to the Eldridge gardens which surrounded the mansion and were open to the public, to the objection of the local landowners. The Village has continued the tradition of public gardens as well as the open Village character.
The lands of Saddle Rock were purchased in 1950 by Samuel Berger who developed the Village. The plans included a million dollar recreational center, yacht club and ice skating rink. Although the expensive recreational facility was not built, a simple large park area was dedicated. Over the years various other facilities were added by the Village including, among other things, a pool, tennis courts, ball facilities, and dock.
May I on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Saddle Rock wish the Village and its residents a happy one-hundredth birthday. We look forward to continuing to protect the warmth, beauty, openness and character of the Village of Saddle Rock.
Mayors of Saddle Rock Since 1911
Hon. Roswell Eldridge 1911 -1926
Hon. Louise Udall Skidmore Eldridge 1926 -1947
Hon. Henry E. Treadwell 1947 -1950
Hon. Samuel Berger 1950 -1951
Hon. George Wolf 1951 -1952
Hon. Jacob W. Friedman 1952 -1954
Hon. Harold I, Glasser 1954 -1962
Hon. Jack I. Antokal 1962 -1968
Hon. Emanuel R. Bachner 1968 -1980
Hon. Leonard Eisenberg 1980 -1985
Hon. Allen Michelson 1985 -1991
Hon. J. Leonard Samansky 1991 – 2011
Hon. Dr. Dan Levy 2011 – present