Beginnings: Elmont's vast fields were largely uninhabited until 1647. That's when brothers Christopher and Thomas Foster were granted a large tract of land in western Hempstead, stretching from modern-day Elmont all the way to the South Shore. They called it Foster's Meadow and used it to raise sheep and cattle. Before long, they sold off much of their holdings to other farmers. Unlike most citizens of Hempstead Town, a majority of Foster's Meadow residents supported the Revolution - a stance that prompted the British to rip down the community's church. After the war, the area developed slowly, with farmers moving out from Brooklyn and western Queens in search of more land.
Photo: Entrance to Belmont Park from Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont (Newsday / Julia Gaines )