Due to the Hicksville revitalization initiative, The Hicksville Archives have been getting a high volume of questions on whether we have either any property histories or architectural schematics of various buildings and/or private homes.
And the easy answer to those questions is…….no. The Archives does not have such material. Concerned primarily with the history of Hicksville, her residents and development as a community, specific real estate does not fall within our sphere of interest as such. For example; while we may have the address of the house that Billy Joel grew up in, we have such information because that it is house where Billy Joel grew up in…and our interest begins and ends there.
That said. The Archives does have several early maps of Hicksville that frequently show who owned a specific section of property. Such maps however usually all predate 1950 and it is, more often than not, farmland. The Archives has vertical files filled with clippings and brochures on a myriad of subjects. So if one was interested in the prices of real estate throughout Hicksville history and the various realtors who operated in the area, there are files on each. Post 1950, there was a boom of gas stations being built in Hicksville to the extent that a local wag opined at the time that a single match could destroy the entire town. So in a general sense, the Archives can assist.
Below however is offered several hints for property research.
- A careful examination of your deed can be very useful and should be your first step.
- Contact your realtor from whom you purchased the property.
- If you can discover who owned the property before you then searching the various newspaper databases linked on the library’s site can be VERY useful if labor intensive. Both Newsday and the New York Times used to announce real estate purchases. They would list both the buyer and seller by names rather than individual property. Sometimes they would refer to a street where the lot/s was but almost never a specific spot. Old newspapers predating the Second World War can be a wealth of information in their “gossip” column pages. Besides mentioning that Bob Smith has sold his cabbage patch to Sam Jones, there would frequently be such notices as Bob Smith adding an extension to his bungalow or paving a sidewalk in front of his property. News of fires can also be useful in this regard. The addresses where a crime took place used to be always given as well. If you know the street the property was on, the NY heritage Hicksville photograph collection just may strike pay dirt.
- What is the name of the street where the property is? For example; Field Avenue is called that because, before it was developed in the early 1920s, it WAS a field. If you go down that street you will see at least one house that is a converted barn. That is not an accident. Duffy Avenue used to below to the Duffy family and was part of their farm. Herzog Place used to be where Herzog lived. It was his place.
- If you do not have a basement, the property was probably built after 1949. Reading local papers during the post WW 2 building boom are a wealth of information about the various homes being built or sold or torn down. From around 1946 to 1962, homes were being built in Hicksville constantly until there was literally no space left. The majority of buildings built after 1962 therefore would be negative additions rather than positive. Which is meant that for the structure to be built something had to be destroyed first. The majority of structures built before WW 2 were built on empty ground or farmland. Hicksville was founded in 1836. No structures will predate that year. Before the First World War, addresses rarely if ever were numbered. Someone simply lived on Marie Street and it was assumed that would be enough. Be aware of spelling changes. Marie Street used to be called Mary Street. Alexander Road used to be called Alessandro road.
- Finally we have provided below a list of suggestions that one should explore for further research possibilities. The Hofstra location has a nice collection of maps.
Nassau County Land Records Viewer
Town of Oyster Bay—Town Clerk
Long Island Studies Institute Collection at Hofstra. (516) 463-6411