The land now known as Mineola was originally part of Henry Hudson's original claim in the name of the Dutch East India Company dating as far back as 1609. By the 19th century the Dutch and English settlers worked to clear land for farming to start their life on the Hempstead Plains. It was in 1858 when this land became known as Mineola, named after an Algonquin Indian Chief, Miniolagamika meaning, "Pleasant Village." The name was later shortened and altered to "Mineola."
Mineola was legally incorporated in 1906 and run by a president. The president and Trustees worked to meet the needs of the growing community and later became the judicial and legislative heart of Nassau County. The County Seat found it's home in Mineola on Friday July13, 1900, Governor Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Nassau County Court House. A celebration was held to commemorate this momentous occasion on the barren five-acre site at the corner of Old Country Road and Franklin Avenue. Many dignitaries were present to witness this history-making event such as, Fredrick Hicks, Congressman Townsend Scudder, Colonel William Youngs and Supervisors William Jones and Edwin Willits.
Winthrop-University Hospital, originally founded in 1896 by local physicians and residents as Nassau Hospital, was Long Island's first voluntary hospital. In 1897, it admitted 91patients, performed 27 operations, and reported two births and eight deaths during the first year. The original hospital was constructed in 1900. Today, Winthrop is a nationally recognized award winning hospital and in 2004 was ranked among the Top 5 Percent of Acute-Care Hospitals in the Country.
Mineola was also a familiar place to many of the most famous pilots in history. The Wright Brothers, Igos Sikorsky, Captain Rene Fonac, and the famed duo of Clarence Chamberlain and Bert Acosta, dubbed "twins of derring-do," all spent time in Mineola taking advantage of the rolling grasslands and favorable winds. On May 20, 1927 at 7:52am, Charles Lindbergh started his historic flight from nearby Roosevelt Field. Thirty-three hours later he landed in Paris and became the first person to complete a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
Main Street was the center of village business as well as a popular meeting place for farmers and the business community alike. The general store offered an array of goods that would fulfill most everyday needs, such as hardware, toys, wool, dry goods, clothing and food. The small glass-fronted mail and delivery boxes filled the existing six-foot post office. As the Mineola population grew, the post office was relocated to the Meyer Building on Mineola Boulevard and then twice more to 3rd Street and 2nd Street. It eventually found it's permanent home on 1st Street and Main Street.
Mineola's first theatre named Allen's Hall drew in many early moviegoers to see "the flickers." Motion picture success drew in other theaters to the area, the most lavish being the Century Opera House. Most theaters had a showing in the morning and in the evening, usually featuring a live pianist who kept up with the action of the movie while playing music that suited the story.
As years passed, Jericho Turnpike was turning into the "main street," farmland was being sold off and homes and offices were being built. Mineola has continued to be a community of growth and development.
The Village of Mineola has a history of which to be proud. It has become an outstanding residential suburban community that is home to more than 20,000 residents and enjoys a strong local economy.
For more information, please contact the Mineola Historical Society at 746-6722.