Adapted from an article by Eileen Brennan, former editor of the Manhasset Press
Flower Hill is one village, but part of it is in Manhasset, part in Port Washington and part in Roslyn. It is not unusual to find a resident who pays school taxes to Port Washington, has a Roslyn mailing address and a Manhasset telephone exchange. Some of the long and winding roads in the village cross school district lines, so children living in adjacent houses may go to different schools.
The name of Flower Hill can be traced to the early documents recording dwelling places in the area. These records date back to the early 18th century when the village consisted of several residences and other buildings located where today Port Washington Boulevard, Bonnie Heights Road and Country Club Drive intersect. In those early days, Flower Hill included a general store, a tavern, a blacksmith shop, a village well and a cemetery.
This was a village that served farmers whose land was located along Port Washington Boulevard and extended down to Hempstead Harbor. Proximity to the water was important because those farms shipped vegetables, grain and fruits to New York City from docks in Roslyn or Manhasset Bay.
Three of the original farmhouses are still in existence. The Willets House, on the west side of Port Washington Boulevard, home of the Cow Neck Historical Society. The Williams House, also on the west side of Port Washington Boulevard and the Hewlett Homestead on the east side.
The Hewlett Homestead was built in 1713 and was occupied by eight generations of the family. It is currently the centerpiece of a group of homes called Hemlock Farms. The property was bought by Ivor Markovic who sold building lots of under an acre each.
Flower Hill is densely planted with flowering trees. In the spring many of the streets are lined with flowering cherry trees and wild violets abound along the roadsides. There are even some apple trees still standing that date to the days when Flower Hill farms sold the produce from their apple, pear and peach orchards.
One of the early Flower Hill developers is Walter Uhl. He began building in 1939 in the Country Club Drive area, constructing colonial style homes in keeping with the older houses, often using beams from old barns in the ceilings of his homes. North Hempstead Country Club is located in the Port Washington portion of Flower Hill with Uhl’s homes bordering the golf course.
The village government, headquartered at One Bonnie Heights Road, is made up of a mayor, six trustees and a village justice. The positions of mayor and trustees are unpaid.
St. Francis Hospital, located on Port Washington Blvd., is one of our nation’s premier heart care centers. In a history prepared for Manhasset’s tricentennial, a charming story was told of how the hospital came to be located there. In about 1900, one of the local farms was bought by Charles Munson, heir to the Munson Steamship Line. One summer evening, the Munsons took a walk into the village center. The Munsons saw “the carousing of drunken men, wasting away hours at the Inn.” Young Mrs. Munson was distressed and asked her husband what could be done. In response, her husband set about to acquire the land, although he had no need for it.
About this time, representatives of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary visited Mrs. Munson to sell some of their hand embroidered linens. A friendship developed and the Munsons decided to offer the property to the sisters. The offer was accepted and the sisters reclaimed the inn, a Victorian house, and made it first into a convent and later into a place where they could bring poor children from the city.
In 1936, Kings County Hospital began looking for a home for children suffering from rheumatic heart disease. According to Dr. Leo Taran, there was a need for a place in a rural setting where the children could be cared for to maximize their chances of recovery. Dr. Taran met the Superior of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, Mother Mary Kevelaer, a trained nurse. St. Francis Cardiac Sanatorium for Children was born. On February 8th, 1937, the first of the children arrived.
Today St. Francis Hospital, The Heart Center, has the highest cardiac case load in the Northeast and the second largest in the United States. St. Francis ranks number one in New York State in its care of critically ill patients. Mabel Munson did not live to see the fulfillment of her dream, “to bring goodness to Flower Hill.” but after her death, Carlos Munson took to visiting the hospital to read to the children.
Flower Hill Mayors
1931 -1937 W. JOHN LOGAN
1937 -1940 STEPHEN H. MASON
1940 -1944 JULIEN T. DAVIES
1944 -1950 EDWARD Q. CARR
1950 -1951 LAWRENCE R. BRADLEY
1951 -1957 RALPH B. MENKE
1957 -1962 HAROLD S. SHOUSE
1962 -1963 JOHN E. MAHONEY
1970 -1974 GEORGE B. HIGGINS
1974 -1981 LOUIS B. RESNICK
1981 -1988 RAYMOND W. TEKVERK
1988 -1996 JOHN W. WALTER
1996 -1998 DERRICK A. RUBIN
1998 – 2005 JAMES L. DAMASCUS
2005 – 2012 CHARLES W. WEISS
2012 – PRESENT ELAINE PHILLIPS