Beginnings: West Hempstead, a 4-square-mile unincorporated area in the Town of Hempstead, was once a central meeting place for Long Island Indians. Later it was a flourishing farm community when President George Washington, a knowledgeable planter, passed through the area in 1790 and commented on the agricultural techniques. Farmer Joseph Gildersleeve built a house on Hempstead Turnpike in 1794. His farm was later purchased by Hiram K. Bedell, who built a larger house about 1835. The Bedell house has been moved to Nassau County's Old Bethpage Village Restoration.
Photo: Swimmers cool off in Hall's Pond, West Hempstead, around 1930. (Nassau County Museum Collection, Long Island Studies Institute)