Historical Marker Placed on Hallock Street
An important piece of Farmingdale history was recognized recently when an historical marker was placed at the still-standing home of Miss Abigail E. Leonard on Hallock Street. Miss Leonard, who founded the Women's Club of Farmingdale (WCF) in 1913, was a prominent Long Island resident who became an outspoken advocate of women suffrage and encouraged women to join the suffragist marches in Port Washington, Garden City and Hicksville. She organized a local committee of 100 women to march to the Long Island White House in Oyster Bay and convinced Theodore Roosevelt to support this effort. Eventually Woodrow Wilson joined the fight and the 19th Amendment was passed. Once women gained the right to vote, Miss Leonard voted in every possible election as long as she was able to leave her home.
President Tina Diamond and Recording Secretary Lorraine Stanton spearheaded this movement last winter. They spoke with Mary Cascone, Town of Babylon Historian, who initiated the required procedures to acquire the marker. Mary Cascone was invited to speak at the Women's Club Executive Board Meeting on April 20, 2017, where she informed the members that she was able to find mention of Miss Leonard being a suffragette in the 1930 edition of the Brooklyn Eagle celebrating the 10th anniversary of the movement.
They also spoke with the current residents of the home, Diane Goldstein and her son, Louis, who knew of Miss Leonard's remarkable history in Farmingdale. They were very pleased to have their home so historically recognized. The home has been preserved much the same as it was in the past. Many rooms contain furniture and artifacts reminiscent of the arly 20th century. Miss Leonard had the house built in 1912 and lived there until her death in 1945. The next resident was the family of Doris Howe, a WCF long-standing member. Doris raised her family and resided in the home for over 40 years, after which it was sold to the Goldstein's.
On Friday, September 8, 2017, a beautiful historical marker was placed at her home (affectionately called "Aftermath" by Miss Leonard, who was a math teacher). On hand to mark this very auspicious occasion were: NYS Assemblyman Tom McKevitt; Nassau County Legislator Rose Walker; Town of Babylon Councilman Tom Donnelly; Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand and Trustee Cheryl Parisi (also a member of Women's Club); President of the Nassau County Historical Society Natalie Naylor; Farmingdale/Bethpage Historical Society President Theodore Dorfmeister, Jr.; Farmingdale Public Library Director Debbie Podolski and trustees Laurie Rozakis and Rosemary Trudden; Farmingdale School District Board of Education Suzanne D'Amico and Kathy Lively; Concerned Citizens of Farmingdale Rose Nicola Larsen; Long Island Federation of Women's Clubs Executives Dorothea Carson, Bernice Hayes, Edna Krug and Pat Pedley; former homeowner Doris Howe, her daughter Carol and friend Bob Vogelsang; current homeowner Diane Goldstein and son Louis.
WCF President Tina Diamond thanked everyone involved and introduced Mary Cascone who stated that she "was very proud to be a part of this project whichhas opened the door to many other worthwhile projects." Tom McKevitt mentioned that "there is so much to thank Abigail E. Leonard for and this marker is a wonderful way to do it." Rose Walker commented that she "is so proud to see all the things that women have accomplished in town and local governments and the contributions they have made because it really wasn't that long ago that women couldn't vote." While Tom Donnelly remarked on the importance of remembering history because "you don't know where you're going until you know where you have been." In closing, Dr. Naylor, President of the Nassau County Historical Society, read an excerpt from a book written by Dorothy Rutgers titled, "Long Island Women Activists and Innovators" which contains passages on activist and innovator, Abigail E. Leonard.
Each year since 1913, the WCF has honored Abigail Leonard by awarding a deserving Farmingdale High School student a $1,000 scholarship. Dr. Benjamin Giminaro was the first to receive this award after being interviewed at Miss Leonard's home. Dr. Giminaro became a life-long resident and a beloved and renowned physician in Farmingdale.
The marker was obtained through the Pomeroy Foundation and its representative John Newkirk remined everyone that this organization "believes historical markers play an important role inlocal historic preservation by educating the public and fostering tourism." T
Refreshments were served by the Women's Club of Farmingdale members on the home's beautiful front lawn. The Women's Club would like to thank NYS, county, town and local politicians, dignitaries and organizations, and especially the "Goldstein" family, for their support and encouragement in marking this auspicious mement in Farmingdale history.