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Lynbrook Celebrates Its LIRR Roots With New Markers

Two plaques placed underneath train trestle to commemorate village's railroad history.

It would be impossible to talk about Lynbrook's history and leave out the Long Island Railroad. In fact, it was the LIRR that gave the village its name afterall.

In 1984, Lynbrook was just a hamlet called Pearsall's Corner, but there was dissension among residents over whether to change the name, explained village historian Art Mattson. 

"One of the people that stimulated the change and really created the name was the station master for the LIRR, Thomas Brennan," Mattson says. "Brennan put the name 'Lynbrook' - 'Brooklyn' with the syllables transposed - on the train schedules and platform, so now if you wanted to go to Pearsall's Corner ... you couldn't find it."

Lynbrook doesn't just owe its name to the LIRR, but also its growth from a small hamlet to a thriving commuter community. 

"Back when the railroad came in 1867, just after the Civil War, we were a tiny hamlet, not much of anything. The railroad made Lynbrook what it is," Mattson says. "Lynbrook village has a stronger connection to the LIRR than any small community."

Mattson shared this brief synopsis of Lynbrook's history Friday with village leaders, Sen. Dean Skelos, Nassau County Legis. Fran Becker, LIRR President Helena Williams, members of the East Rockaway and Lynbrook Historical Society, the press and residents, who gathered at the local station for a special dedication ceremony.

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There, they unveilied two new markers, one placed outside the station, which offers a timeline of Lynbrook's LIRR history, and another, located two blocks east under the trestle at the southwest corner of Atlantic and Stauderman Avenues. The second plaque pays tribute to John Monahan, who raised and lowered the railroad gates at this site during the 29 years before the tracks were elevated in 1938.

"John Monahan. What a guy!" stated Mattson. "In those 29 years, he saved seven lives and won several awards including a hero's medal."

"The two plaques commemorate important events and personalities associated with the long relationship between Lynbrook and Long Island Railroad," LIRR President Helena Williams added. 

Mattson called the plaques themselves "historical," as they were mistakenly made 20 years ago even though the village and the society did not have the funds to purchase them. The casting company that created them has been holding onto the markers ever since and recently the Historical Society acquired the funds to buy them through a grant obtained by Becker from the county's Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums.

"I was very happy to be able to get this grant from Nassau for the historical society so they can continue the great work they are doing," Becker said.

The society then worked with the LIRR to have the "attractive and informative" plaques mounted at these locations.

Williams added, "I'm always very delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate our history, why we are an important part of Long Island ... its history and why we will continue to be an economic engine."

Brian July 31, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Meanwhile, the storefronts underneath the trestle 1/2 block away continue to be abandoned, despite promises that they would to be developed for a lifetime. Same could be said for the feather factory and the movie theater that a fair share of people now avoid at all costs, despite the inconvenience caused by traveling further to see a movie. And Fran Becker thinks he's a job creator..
Tom Miccio July 31, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Congratulations to Art Mattson and the Historical Society for preserving our history. Art has demonstrated tremendous devotion to our Village for many years and his book is a great read.
whalepoop August 01, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Now if they can get a "Left turn Only" sign southbound, that would be nice.
Lauren Welden August 01, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Just think of all that parking under the tracks that Tom Miccio lost for this village years ago.
Tom Miccio August 01, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Nice try Lauren. If you knew all the facts your opinion would be quite different. As to the old Pickers and MurLees buildings, I advocated that the LIRR demolish them years ago. The buildings have been in terrible condition for quite some time . No business owner is going to invest in a build out and history has proven that the railroad has no interest in a renovation.Looks like I was right, demolish those dinosaurs.

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