HENRY WALDINGER MEMORIAL LIBRARY
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Valley Stream Historical Society
143 Hendrickson Avenue
Valley Stream, NY 11580
Sun., 1:00-4:00 p.m. and by special group appointment.
A local history museum in a historic house.
The house is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Fee : Donations Accepted.
In 1962, the New York State Board of Regents granted a Provisional Charter to the Valley Stream Museum, and Louise LeJeune was appointed to the position of Director of the Valley Stream Museum. Several locations for a museum were considered over the ensuing years, but nothing came of the effort. So in 1984, the charter was terminated by the Board of Regents because it had not been extended nor had a petition for an Absolute Charter been made.
In 1977, the Village of Valley Stream under the leadership of Mayor Dominick Minerva authorized the purchase of the house that is now the Pagan-Fletcher Restoration on Hendrickson Avenue and entered into a lease with the Valley Stream Historical Society. The farmhouse, which was built about 1840 and enlarged in 1847, was in serious disrepair. From 1977 until 1992, a restoration committee toiled to repair what ever damage it could. A fund-raising committee raised the needed monies for the necessary repairs. Fortunately, the restoration committee, under the guidance of Theodore O. Libath, was able to cut back on expenses by having contractors donate their labor and by paying for materials only. Volunteers were used in other areas whenever possible.
The house was remodeled about 1900-16 in Colonial Revival style. It has three floors of furnished rooms including a sewing room with treadle machine, costumes and trunks, Victorian bedroom, living room and kitchen. The Valley Stream Historical Society maintains the restoration, giving tours, changing exhibits, etc.
The Pagans & The Fletchers
Robert Pagan was born in Scotland on December 3, 1796. In or about the late 1830's, Robert, his wife Ellen, and their children emigrated from Scotland. On the journey to America, one of their children died and was buried at sea. The 1840 U.S. Census for Queens County lists Pagan's occupation as a farmer. Two children were born to Robert and Ellen Pagan after they settled in the Town of Hempstead.
At this time, the community did not have a post office, so mail had to be picked up in Hempstead. Pagan petitioned the appropriate authorities for a post office. He was advised that the community needed a name. Pagan chose "Valley Stream" based on the topographical appearance of the area. In 1843, the U.S. Post Office formally accepted the name of Valley Stream. As a consequence, Pagan is credited with naming the community. Pagan passed away on March 25, 1870.
Ellen Pagan was a devout Methodist as well as a homemaker and mother. Prior to establishing Sinner's Hope Chapel, she had an itinerant minister conduct services at the Pagan homestead. She passed away on March 24, 1875. Robert, Ellen, and certain other members of the Pagan family have found their final resting place in the graveyard at St. John's United Methodist Church in Elmont.
In 1847, the Pagan house was expanded to a two-story farmhouse. Catherine Pagan, one of Robert and Ellen's daughters, was presumed to have married William Fletcher the same year and the house was expanded as a wedding gift. William died in 1883 and Catherine's date of death is unknown nor is it known where they are buried.
THE FIRST FLOOR : The front door opens into a foyer that was expanded circa 1910. To the immediate left is a desk where visitors are welcomed and asked to sign the guest book. To the right is a Country Store where various items reflecting the history of the Village and arts and crafts of various Valley Streamers are offered for sale. The east room, part of the original dwelling, is restored to a Victorian-era parlor. The library table, desk and chair located in this room were donated by the Fairchild Family. The Fairchilds were the last residential occupants of the house. The west room was used as a dining room by the former occupants. It is now used as an exhibit room. The rear of the first floor has a pantry and kitchen. The kitchen is equipped with a cast iron coal stove, an ice box and other items used in kitchens of long ago which have disappeared as a result of modern technology.
THE SECOND FLOOR : At the top of the staircase to the left, there is a restored bedroom. The bed was donated by the Fairchild family. This room also contains a rare closet. The other two rooms located on this side of the house are modern -- one a kitchen and the other a bathroom. The Society maintains a storage room and an office in that part of the house overlooking Hendrickson Avenue. The Valley Stream Historical Society Board of Trustees holds its monthly meetings in the meeting room in the west end of the second floor. This room, named for Theodore O. Libath, Chair of the Restoration Committee, was once two bedrooms.
THE THIRD FLOOR : On the way to the third floor, there is artwork on the walls which stretches to the hallway and bathroom of this floor. The artwork was done by a member of the Fairchild family and has been restored and conserved by a volunteer, Marshall Anderson, a long-time resident of Valley Stream. This floor contains a bathroom with a claw-footed tub. One bedroom, formerly occupied by the Fairchild artist, has been turned into a sewing room with vintage clothing. The other bedroom (formerly a storeroom and then a studio for the budding artist) now hosts a permanent display of artifacts belonging to the Valley Stream Fire Department.
THE BASEMENT : Many farm implements and items relating to Curtiss Field are on display in the basement. The tank and pump used to bring water into the house many decades ago are also located here. There is also a "mystery" room in the basement, with a metal ceiling and thick metal door.
Other Highlights of the Restoration
RAUSTEIN GAS STATION : Besides farming their land, the Raustein family also sold kerosene to residents. The pumps were located at 139 North Corona Avenue and the station was the longest operating one of its kind in Nassau County. Upon the sale of the property in 1984 by Dolly Raustein, the station was moved to the Restoration.
JOHN J. McKENNA MEMORIAL GARDEN : In July 1996, John J. McKenna (known as "Jay") passed away suddenly, just after the completion of his second term as President of the Valley Stream Historical Society. At a ceremony held on June 27, 1997, the garden on the grounds of the Restoration was dedicated in his memory. A plaque rests at the base of the birdbath as a testament to "a true Renaissance man."
COLUMBIA AIRCRAFT HANGAR EMBLEM : In June 1993, two hangars, formerly the home of Columbia Aircraft, were being demolished by Home Depot. Two hangar emblems were located at each hangar. Gabriel Parrish, a volunteer at the Restoration and the Cradle of Aviation in Mitchel Field, was instrumental in salvaging the last remaining emblem and arranging it to be moved to the grounds of the Restoration. With community assistance, the emblem was restored and secured, and a formal dedication was held in September 1993.
THE HERB GARDEN : Outside the kitchen door on the driveway side of the Restoration, the Garden Club of Valley Stream planted and maintained an herb garden.
(Information about the Pagan-Fletcher Restoration provided by Carol McKenna, Village Historian, Inc. Village of Valley Stream.)
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©2001 Henry Waldinger Memorial Library - Revised 10/25/2005