Homes for Sale in Upper Brookville

As the official village history says, “It might have been Lower Brookville.” The new village founded in 1932 was, after all, downstream in the area’s little valley. When Hope Goddard Iselin, the doyenne of the millionaires and socialites who were behind the incorporation heard the name Lower Brookville proposed, she is said to have haughtily replied: “I refuse to live in lower anything. If you must call it something, and I suppose you must, call it Upper Brookville.” They did. And in a way, she set the tone for a village long known to protest anything that would threaten its sylvan solitude.

Gatsby Days:
Upper Brookville was the kind of place master builder Robert Moses had in mind when he lamented all the villages that were incorporating on Nassau’s North Shore between 1929 and 1932. Together, he asserted, they were “the wealthiest, most snobbish and most reactionary community in the United States.” Perhaps Moses was right. The official village history describes its first 20 years as its “baronial” period — even the butlers had their own country club, set up by J.P. Morgan’s man. Opposed to Moses’ brand of encroaching development, Upper Brookville annexed hundreds more acres the same year it incorporated, notably what is now the state’s Planting Fields Arboretum. In 1950, the village fought creation of C. W. Post College, part of Long Island University, in nearby Brookville. In 1952, it battled to keep members of the Russian United Nations mission from living tax-free in the village, but lost that one, too. But there were victories: against sand-mining in the ’50s and the bridge that was never built across Long Island Sound between Oyster Bay and Rye in the 1960s. And in a case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court, the village’s five-acre zoning was upheld in 1981.

How to Run a Meeting:
The second mayor, Morris W. Kellogg (1936 – 1940), held village board meetings in his home. They would start promptly at 6 p.m. and Kellogg instructed his butler to serve a tray of martinis exactly a half hour later. At other times, meetings were held at officials’ private clubs in Manhattan. Arthur H. Dean, the fifth mayor of Upper Brookville (1952 – 1958), missed a lot of meetings; He was U.S. ambassador to South Korea during the Korean War — the same time he was mayor.

Where to Find More:
“History of Upper Brookville, 1932 – 1982,” by village historian John L. Rawlinson, Jericho Public Library.


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