Homes for Sale in Laurel Hollow

The craggy terrain on the west side of Cold Spring Harbor in Nassau County wasn’t too attractive to farmers after English settlers bought it in 1653 from the Matinecock Indians. Saw mills and gristmills were an early industry, but the pace of life quickened with the start in 1836 of a whaling center on the Suffolk County side of the harbor: Cold Spring Harbor. Most whaling-support operations and the homes of employees were located on the west side, in Bungtown, named after the bungs, or plugs, used to seal the opening of barrels. St. John’s Episcopal Church was also erected in 1836, three years after the state had opened its second permanent fish hatchery, on present-day Route 25A. Both landmarks are in Laurel Hollow.

Turning Point:
By the start of [the 20th] century, well-to-do New Yorkers including Louis Comfort Tiffany, a world-famous stained-glass artisan and son of the founder of Tiffany & Co., and Henry W. de Forest, a lawyer and financer, established large estates. Oyster Bay Town fought, and finally won, bitter court battles with them over public access to the waterfront. De Forest’s Nethermuir, which was razed in 1960, was noted for exquisite gardens created by Frederick L. Olmstead, the designer of Central Park. Tiffany Laurelton Hall, completed in 1905, was destroyed by fire in 1957.

The Name:
The village incorporated in 1926 as Laurelton, after a local mansion. Because of confusion with a Queens County community of the same name, the village changed it to Laurel Hollow in 1935.

Claims to Fame:
Laurel Hollow (1997 population 1,766, in 2.9 square miles), is the home of the 107-acre Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an internationally recognized genetic and cancer research center that is on the National Register of Historic Places. The experimental stations from which it grew were established in 1893, predating the village. Three researchers at the center have won Nobel prizes for their genetic work: Barbara McClintock, Alfred D. Hershey, and Richard Roberts.

Where to Find More:
“History of the Incorporated Village of Laurel Hollow,” 1951, and local history collection at Cold Spring Harbor Public Library.


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