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Freeport History Encyclopedia: W

Freeport History Encyclopedia includes authoritative information about Freeport's past. This guide is perfect for anyone wanting to know more about our village.

W. J. Haig, Inc.

W. J. Haig, Inc. was a pharmacy located at 23 West Merrick Road. The pharmacy was part of Rexall, a national drugstore chain.



Voyageur, 1929 (Freeport High School Yearbook).

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, March 4, 2017.

Wagner, Marie

Marie Wagner (1883-1975) was a six-time national indoor women's tennis champion between 1908 and 1917, and a four-time doubles champion between 1910 and 1917. She ranked No. 6 in 1913, when the U.S. Top Ten was established.  Wagner was in that select group every year through 1920. She ranked number three in 1914, and number nine at the age of 39 in 1922.

During World War I, Wagner played tennis benefits for the Red Cross. Wagner played tennis until she was well over 60. She entered the Hall of Fame in 1969.

Though Wagner was a native of New York City, she move to Freeport in 1964 to live with her niece Matilda Sandbrook at 48 Lexington Avenue. She died at Lydia E. Hall hospital at the age of 92 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Brooklyn.




"Marie Wagner." International Tennis Hall of Fame. Accessed June 24, 2016.

"Marie Wagner, 92, A Tennis Champion Six-Time Winner of National Indoor Singles Is Dead." The New York Times. April 1, 1975, 38.

Marie Wagner [obituary]. Newsday. April 2, 1975, 45.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, June 24, 2016.

Updated by Regina G. Feeney, August 30, 2022.

Wallace, Archer B.

Archer Bergen Wallace (1876-1931)  served as Village of Freeport justice from 1899 to 1903.  He was the son of George Wallace who was a justice of the peace in Hempstead, assemblyman from the 3rd District in 1897 and Village president from 1900-1902.

Archer, also known as Archie, attended the Freeport Schools and graduated from Claverack College and Hudson River Institute in New Jersey. He was the first in the county to enlist in the army to serve in Company K, 71st Regiment in the Spanish-American War and was serving in Cuba when he fell ill with malaria or yellow fever (depending on the source). He studied law and attended some lectures at New York University law school.

During his lifetime, he had a varied career. He owned a news store, was the manager and editor of the South Shore Observer (owned by his father), served as justice of the peace of the Town of Hempstead, coroner, auctioneer, census enumerator, collector of Freeport school taxes, and chief of the Freeport police, among other endeavors. He ran unopposed for Police Justice, and at 23 years old, was the youngest judge in the State. His cases dealt with tramps who were becoming a problem in Freeport because they were treated so well here. He sent them off to the penitentiary. The County had passed the Cock’s Law that prohibited both motorists and bicyclists from going over eight miles-per-hour. Freeport was zealous in enforcing the law and Wallace tried many of the miscreants in his own living room. One particular example concerned Lillian Russell. She was driven in a car by a chauffeur who always broke the speed limit. Caught in a speed trap, the car was ticketed; later the case was heard by Justice Wallace. He fined the driver. Because of this incident, Miss Russell referred to the Freeport officials as a bunch of ignoramuses.

Wallace was very involved in community organizations such as the Freeport Gun Club, the Odd Fellows, the Freeport football team, Court Iroquois Foresters of America, and the Junior Order of American Mechanics. His first loves were the Freeport Fire Department (Ever Ready Hose Company), and the Freeport Elks. He held many positions in both organizations and traveled extensively in the course of his work for them.

See Also:

​Russell, Lillian

Wallace, George


"A. B. Wallace Rites Tomorrow Night." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. February 9, 1931, 2.  Accessed June 16, 2016.


Researched by Cynthia J. Krieg, June 16, 2016.

Wallace, Elva M.

Elva Myrtle Wallace (1900-1980) (nee Bedell; later known as Elva Andriola) gained national attention in 1923 when got into an altercation with a man who she claimed sexually harassed her in Brooklyn movie theater.  While watching a movie at the Metropolitan Theatre, fellow movie goer Clinton K. Firth attempted to hold her hand.  Wallace slapped Firth and had him arrested.  The judge dismissed the charges claiming that Wallace's beauty was to blame for the encounter.  According to Judge Rayfield, "In your case, the temptation to the admiring, but weak, young men, is obvious and complete, and furnished offenders with an excuse. After all, as you yourself have stated, the accused only touched your hand. Perhaps he scarcely realized that he was offending, and did not know that although you are beautiful, you are also militant.  You were an unwilling victim on the altar of Amor, but the temptation to the prisoner here, I repeat, was great."

Wallace was featured in a syndicated articles that described how she dealt with "mashers" (a term used in the 1910s and 20s to describe men who annoyed women with suggestive/flirtatious language, roving eyes, leering expressions, and roving hands).

Prior to her national fame, Wallace was arrested for threatening her husband George D. Wallace (known as Donald) with a gun and knife in 1919.  According to newspaper accounts the couple had not been living together.  Their son George Donald Wallace Jr. was born in 1917.  She was denied an annulment in 1923 but was successful a year later, when someone testified Donald had been spotted with another woman whom he referred to as his wife.  In both cases, Donald did not contest the suit (it appeared he also wanted out of the marriage). Both Elva and George remarried.

Wallace made national news again in 1928, when she was a witness for the defense in the alimony trial of Letitia Brown and Carleton Curtis.

See Also:

Brown, Letitia E.



"Curtis' Dusky Queen Loses to Kiss Echo." Daily News. March 20, 1928, 31. Accessed June 10, 2022.

"Mrs. Wallace Wins Divorce in Mineola." The Daily Review. February 15, 1924, 1. Accessed June 10, 2022.

"O But the Woman's Beautiful; O But the Youth's Tried." Daily News. May 23, 1923, 18. Accessed June 10, 2022.

"A Plan to Protect Poor, Defenseless Men." The Buffalo Times. October 14, 1923, 6. Accessed June 10, 2022.

Rhodes, Gary D. The Perils of Moviegoing in America: 1896-1950. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group 2012.

"What to Do When a Chap Gets Fresh." The Pittsburgh Press. July 29, 1923, 95. Accessed June 6, 2022.

"Wife Charged with Threat to Shoot." South Side Observer. January 31, 1919, 1. Accessed June 6, 2022.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, June 10, 2022.

Wallace, George

George Wallace (1849-1918) served as the third president (mayor) of Freeport (1900 to 1902).  Wallace is credited with selecting the name "Nassau" for Nassau County.

Wallace was preceded by William G. Miller and succeeded by James Dean. 

Wallace was born in Elora, Canada, and came to Hempstead as a youth.  He worked as a teacher in Lawrence, Rockville Centre, and Freeport.  He received his law degree from New York University.  In addition to being mayor of Freeport, he was a state assemblyman, and served eight years as justice of the peace for the Town of Hempstead.  Wallace established the newspaper South Side Observer in 1869. He assisted in organizing the Freeport Fire Department and served as the first foreman of Hose Co. No. 1.

In the 1890s, Wallace represented Samuel and Elizabeth Cisco, residents of Jamaica, Queens who sued the local school board to end the practice of segregated schools.  At the time, Wallace had a law office in Jamaica. Wallace had been vocal in his opposition of "any discrimination whatever on account of color in public institutions." In 1896, while defending Samuel Cisco for failing to send his children to the segregated school assigned for Black students, Wallace's objected to the panel of jurors because it did not include any African Americans. Eventually during the course of the legal actions, an African American was chosen to sit on the jury, the first time a jury in Jamaica included a Black person. Wallace's newspaper, the South Side Observer was said to be sympathetic to the plight of the Black parents.  After the Ciscos lost their appeal in the highest state court, Wallace prepared a draft of a bill that would outlaw separate Black schools in Greater New York City.  Governor Roosevelt had the law amended so it applied to all of New York State (except in rural areas).  The law passed in 1900. [Note: in the 1890s, Freeport Public School were integrated].

Wallace lived at 80 South Ocean Avenue (today 249 South Ocean Avenue).  He named his house "Elora." Wallace died at the age of 69 and is buried at Greenfield Cemetery, Uniondale, NY.  He was survived by his wife, Marian (nee Raynor), daughter Harriett, and son Archer B.

Click here for images related to George Wallace.

Click here for picture of George Wallace's house (page 16).

See Also:

Daddy Bill's Ice Pond

Wallace, Archer B.

Wallace Street



"Is the Jury List Illegal?" The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. May 1, 1896, 5. Accessed July 23, 2021.

Maybee, Carleton. Black Education in New York State: From Colonial To Modern Times. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1979.

Maybee, Carleton. "Long Island's Black 'School War' and the Decline of Segregation in New York State." New York History. October 1977, Vol.58, No. 4. Accessed July 21, 2021. JSTOR.

"Nassau County Scheme Advanced." New-York Tribune. March 23, 1898, 4. Accessed June 8, 2016.

Obituary of George Wallace. Nassau County Review. May 10, 1918, 1. Accessed June 8, 2016.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Queens County (Long Island) New York Containing Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County.  New York: Chapman Publishing Company, c.1896.

Researched by Cynthia J. Krieg, May 29, 2016.

Updated by Regina G. Feeney, June 8, 2016.

Updated by Regina G. Feeney, July 23, 2021.

Wallace Street

Wallace Street was named for the Wallace family.  George and Charles Wallace were involved in real estate and publishing, and George was president (mayor) of Freeport from 1900 to 1902.

Wallace Street was originally named Randolph Street.

See Also:

Wallace, George



Zimmerman, Charles. "Strolling the Archives." The Northwester [newsletter of the Northwest Civic Association]. January 1991.

Researched by Cynthia J. Krieg, May 26, 2016.

Updated, by Regina G. Feeney, May 28, 2016.

Walter R. Smith's Boat Yard

Walter R. Smith's Boat Yard was located along the Freeport River in the 1900s. In 1914, the property was owned by C. H. Fredericks.

Smith was the son of pioneer boat builder William R. Smith.

See Also:

Frederick, Cadman Henry

Smith, Walter R.



"Boat Building at Freeport." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. March 13, 1904, 47. Accessed May 11, 2019.

"Village Trustees." Nassau County Review.  November 8, 1907, 1. Accessed May 11, 2019.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, May 29, 2019.

War Trophies / Cannon

Washburn Avenue

Washburn Avenue was known as East Lena Avenue prior to 1926.



Village of Freeport Board Minutes, December 12, 1926.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, July 19, 2017.


Washburn's Neck

Washburn's Neck was an early name for Freeport. The earliest recorded usage of this name appears in Hempstead Town Records dated 1659.  This same document also mentions a section known as Raynor's Neck.  Washburn's Neck was derived from William Washburn, an early settler in Freeport. Washburn's Neck was used less frequently after 1725 when the Freeport area was referred to as the South Woods or the Great South Woods. However, the Brooklyn newspaper,the Long-Island Star, continued to use the name Washburn's Neck until 1817. Daniel M. Tredwell, an early Freeport chronicler, claimed that due to the number of Raynors (or Rainers) who settled in this area, Washburn's Neck was absorbed into Raynor's Neck. 

A 1900 pamphlet published by the Freeport Methodist Church places Washburn's Neck in the area around the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Randall Avenue.  It was here that Jacob Bedell built a home in 1795. This pamphlet also states, "[a]bout the beginning of the nineteenth century the description of property on Washburn's Neck was changed in conveyances to Raynor, South Reighnortown or Raynortown--nearly the entire section of old Freeport being then in possession of this family."

See Also:




Freeport Methodist Church. Freeport: Past and Present, With a Prospect of Its Future. Freeport: NY, 1900. 

"To Be Sold At Public." The Long-Island Star. February 12, 1817, 4. Accessed December 17, 2016.'s%2BNeck%22.

Tredwell, Daniel M. "Raynortown--Freeport: Then and Now." Long Island Historical Bulletin. 1, No. 4, (October, 1913), 37-42.

Winsche, Richard A. The History of Nassau County Community Place-Names. Interlaken, NY: Empire State Books, 1999.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, December 17, 2016

Ware, Fred C.

Fred C. Ware (circa 1899-?) was engaged in the realty business, and worked with automobile insurance as well.  He had offices located at 26 Brooklyn Avenue, 21 Railroad Avenue, and 119 W. Sunrise Highway.

Ware served during World War I with the 107th Infantry.  His father, Frederick A. Ware, was a New York City alderman.



Fred C. Ware [advertisement]. Nassau County Review. October 29, 1920, 7. Accessed June 27, 2016.

"Frederick A. Ware Dies; Former City Alderman." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. May 31, 1921, 3. Accessed June 27, 2016.

"Our Boys in Service." Nassau County Review., October 25, 1918, 5.  Accessed June 27, 2016.

Researched by Cynthia J. Krieg and Regina G. Feeney, June 27, 2016.

Water Department

Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park was dedicated on July 17, 1954.  Auserehl and Sons Contracting Corporation of Freeport and Jamaica was awarded the contract to construct Waterfront Park and Northeast Park. 

In 1966, the Village of Freeport dropped a plan to build a five acre waterfront park north of the Florence Canal.  Though this project would have been federally funded, it would cost Freeport an additional $700,000 to secure ownership of the property.  Instead, the Village Board voted to rezone the area from industrial to garden apartment classification.  About 1969, the Town 'n Harbor co-op was constructed on this site.



"At Waterfront Park." The Leader. July 24, 1952, 1. Accessed May 13, 2021.

"High Cost Kills Plans for Freeport Park." Newsday. October 11, 1966, 23.

Village of Freeport Newsletter, July/August 1954, 2.


Researched by Regina G. Feeney, May 13, 2021.

Water's Edge

Watson Sanatorium

Watson Sanatorium opened in the 1920s and was located at 210 South Ocean Avenue (near Rose Street).  It was owned by Caroline Watson.  This facility was also referred to as the Freeport Sanatorium but was not connected to another sanatorium with the same name located in north Freeport.

See Also:




"Freeport Awards Contract to Install New Traffic Lights." The Daily Review. July 26, 1925, 1. Accessed June 10, 2016.

"Freeport Hospital Sign Ordered Down." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. September 26, 1925, 3. Accessed June 10, 2016.

Research by Regina G. Feeney, June 13, 2016.

Weberfield Avenue

Weberfield Avenue was name for Joe Weber and Lew Fields who ran the Weber and Fields burlesque theater.  John Stromberg, a Freeport resident, was the composer and musical director of this theater.  After Stromberg died, the section south of Grand Avenue was named Stromberg Park and many of the streets in the area were named after people involved with Weber and Fields.

Researched by Cynthia J. Krieg, May 28, 2016.

Wembleton Court Apartments

Wembleton Court Apartments are located at 22 Pearsall Avenue. Built in the English style in the late 1920s, the building featured four room apartments and five room duplexes. Units included a Kelvinator electric refrigerator.  In the early 1930s, West Division Corporation was the rental agent for the building and rents began at $47 a month.

See Also:

Apartment Buildings



Wembleton Court Apartments [advertisement]. The New York Sun.  September 2, 1933, 66. Accessed January 24, 2018.

Wembleton Court Apartments [advertisement]. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. March 10, 1935, 54. Accessed January 24, 2018.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, January 25, 2018.


West End Boatyard

West End Canal

West End Canal is located at Freeport's western border, south of Atlantic Avenue near Anchor Street.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, December 26, 2018.

West End Harbor

West End Harbor was developed in 1923.  It originally consisted of 125 lots located in southwest Freeport. This area included property once owned by A. W. Pearsall and Edward Bedell.  Hampton Place is part of this section.  Lots sold at $300 and up.

Researched by Cynthia J. Krieg, May 31, 2016.

West Indies / West Indians in Freeport

West, Pauline

West Wind Yacht Club

West Wind Yacht Club (also known as Bedell's West Wind) was a catering hall located at 104 East Bedell Street.  The facility, established in 1985 by Theodore (Ted) Gaeta (circa 1896-1989), included four separate dining areas that accommodated parties of 25 to 200. 

Many local civic organizations held meetings, fundraisers, and awards dinners at the West Wind Yacht Club. 

In 2010, plans to rezone the area to allow for condominiums to be built at this location stalled.

Click here images related to the West Wind Yacht Club.



Golding, Jim. "West Wind Rezoning Hearing Postponed Again." The Leader. February 11, 2021, 3. Accessed June 28, 2021.

West Wind Yacht Club [advertisement].  The Leader. September 12, 1985, 6. Accessed June 28, 2021.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, June 28, 2021.

West Woodbine

Wettlaufer, J. Maynard

Dr. James Maynard Wettlaufer (1906-1994) was the long time music director at Freeport High School.  Known as "Prof." to his students, Wettlaufer was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  He received his Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University and a Bachelor of Music from Sherwood Music School in Chicago. Later, Wettlaufer received a Master of Science degree in education from Hofstra University and was awarded a Doctorate in Music from New York College of Music.  Prior to coming to Freeport, Wettlaufer organized the first all state band in Pennsylvania while teaching at Williamsport High School, his alma mater.

Wettlaufer was with the Freeport School District from 1936 until his retirement in 1964.  During his tenure, Freeport began music education for elementary grade students.  Under Wettlaufer's direction, the Freeport High School band performed at various professional and semi-professional football games, one of the first high school bands to do so.  The Freeport High School band performed at Madison Square Garden, Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds, and Yankee Stadium. Another first under Wettlaufer was the appearance of the band in the film Hold that Ball produced by Warner Bros. in 1938 and concerts given at the 1939 World's Fair.  With the help of Bob Zellner, Newsday sports editor and community affairs promoter, Wettlaufer started the annual Newsday Marching Band Festival at Hofstra University.

In 1965, Wettlaufer took a position at the State University College at Fredonia, NY to teach classes on band pageantry while also directing the college's marching band.

On several occasions, Wettlaufer returned to Freeport to direct Freeport High School alumni orchestra members in concerts.  The alumni later formed the Congress of Members of the Band and Orchestra (C.O.M.B.O.).  Alumni members also created a scholarship in his name to be presented to a deserving Freeport High School graduate.

Wettlaufer died at the age of 87.  It was reported that he was buried in his band director's uniform.

Click here for books by J. Maynard Wettlaufer.

Click here for images related to J. Maynard Wettlaufer.


See Also:

Hold That Ball (movie)



"Dr. J. Maynard Wettlaufer With National Magazines. The Leader. April 29, 1965, 7. Accessed February 22, 2018.

"Dr. Wettlaufer A College Prof." The Leader. September 30, 1965, 1. Accessed February 8, 2018.

J. Maynard Wettlaufer [Obituary]. The Leader. May 12, 1994, 4. Accessed February 7, 2018.

"James M. Wettlaufer, Music Director, Festival Founder." Newsday May 13, 1994, A69. 

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, February 22, 2018.

Whaleneck Road

Whaleneck Road was renamed North Brookside Avenue.



Raynor Town Map, 1868 located at the Freeport Historical Society.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, May 29, 2016.

Whaley Street

Whaley Street was named for Captain James Whaley.  He and his family were long time residents, many of whom worked as baymen.

Click here for images related to Whaley Street.

See Also:

Flower Beds

Researched by Cynthia J. Krieg, May 28, 2016.

Updated by Regina G. Feeney, May 26, 2022.

Whaley's Lane

Whaley's Lane was renamed Atlantic Avenue (eastern section).



Raynor Town Map, 1868 located at the Freeport Historical Society.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, May 29, 2016.

Wheeler, Thomas H.

Thomas H. Wheeler (circa 1825-1911) was born in Connecticut and became a teacher in the Freeport School around 1858.  During the Civil War, Wheeler enlisted in the Union Army in 1862 and served in New York's 4th Heavy Artillery. He served as principal from the 1870s into the early 1880s. 

According to his obituary, his was an active member and elder of Freeport's Presbyterian Church.  He died around the age of 80 at the home of his son, John, in Bridgeport, CT.



The Alumni Record, 1911. Freeport Alumni Association. Freeport: NY.

"The South Side Observer Supplement." South Side Observer. October 5, 1877, 6. Accessed November 8, 2021.

Thomas H. Wheeler obituary. Nassau County Review. December 8, 1911, 8. Accessed November 8, 2021.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, November 8, 2021.

Whethers Luncheonette

Whethers Luncheonette,  located on Helen Avenue in Bennington Park, was owned by Leroy Whethers.



"Fuzzie Offers Top Theatrical Talent."  The Leader. January 9, 1964, 3. Accessed February 13, 2018.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, February 13, 2018.

White, Al B.

Albert B. White (1891-1975) was a vaudeville singer turned restauranteur.  White began his stage career at the age of 12 and remained a one-man singing act until the 1930s.  In 1918, he married his wife, Mertyl, who was a star in the Ziegfeld Follies.

In the 1930s, White left the stage and opened the Al B. White Chateau in Baldwin.  A few years later, he opened Al B. White's at 10 Brooklyn Avenue in Freeport.

White was a member of the LIGHTS Club, the Chamber of Commerce, Freeport Exchange Club, the Masons, and the Shriners.

When White died at the age of 83, he had been in the restaurant business for 38 years.  He and Mertyl had two daughters.

Click here for material related to Al B. White.



"Al B. White Dies." The Leader. April 24, 1975, 3.  Accessed September 27, 2022.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, September 27, 2022.

White, Frank O. (Bishop)

Bishop Frank Otha White (1940-2017) was the senior pastor of Zion Cathedral Church of God in Christ.  Born in South Carolina, While came to New York in 1948.  He attended Freeport Public Schools and was a member of the high school wrestling team.  White was a graduate of Hofstra University.  Ordained in 1967, White began his formal church service as an assistant pastor to the late Bishop O. M. Kelly at the Little Zion Church of God in Christ.  He was later appointed pastor, a position he held for the rest of his life.  White was appointed bishop on July 25, 1988.

Bishop White died in 2017 at the age of 76 and is buried at Pinelawn Memorial Cemetery in East Farmingdale, NY.  He and his wife of 56 years, Dr. Juliet White, had five children.



Schofer, Laura. "Spiritual Leader Dies." The Leader. January 26, 2017, 1. Accessed May 12, 2020.

Vincent, Stuart. "Parishes Developing Identities of Their Own." Newsday. January 10, 1989, 24.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, May 15, 2020.

White, William H.

William H. White was the thirtieth mayor of Freeport (1973 to 1985).  

White was preceded by Robert J. Sweeney and succeeded by Dorothy Storm.

See Also:

Freeport Timeline



Long Island Arts Council at Freeport


Researched by Cynthia J. Krieg, May 29, 2016.

Whitehead's Tavern

Whitehead's Tavern (also known as Whitehead's Bar and Grill) could be entered either from 23 Railroad Avenue or 34 West Sunrise Highway.  Its proprietor, Arthur Whitehead, was described as having a "warm personality" and as being "very witty."  

Click her for material related to Whitehead's Tavern.



Arthur Whitehead Bar and Grill [advertisement].The Leader. November 6, 1947, 8. Accessed July 9, 2021.

"Wining and Dining in Freeport's Finest and Friendliest Places." The Leader., December 22, 1966, 16. Accessed July 9, 2021.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, July 9, 2021.

Whitney Van Wicklen Co., Inc.

Whitney Van Wicklen Co., Inc. was a plumbing and heating business located at 66 South Main Street.



Voyageur, 1928 (Freeport High School Yearbook).

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, December 27, 2016.

Willa Hair Stylist

Willa Hair Stylist was located at 15 West Sunrise Highway.  In 1946, the hair salon was moved to 60 South Grove Street (now Guy Lombardo Avenue).



Willa Hair Stylist [advertisement]. The Nassau Daily Review-Star. March 29, 1946, 28. Accessed March 11, 2021.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, March 11, 2021.

William's Sweet Shop

William's Sweet Shop was located on Olive Boulevard (now Sunrise Highway) in the 1920s.  Homemade ice cream and candy were sold there.



Voyageur, 1927 (Freeport High School Yearbook).

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, December 23, 2016.

Williams Furniture Company, Inc.

Williams Furniture Company, Inc. was established in Freeport in April 1928 by William Lies, Sr. (circa 1872-1960) and his son, William Lies, Jr., after they purchased the furniture business of James McEnery, Inc.  The store was originally located at Grove Street (now Guy Lombardo Avenue) and Pine Street.  In September 1929, the store was moved to 73 South Main Street.

William B. Hald, Jr. was a partner in the business and served as the secretary-treasurer.  The Williams Furniture Company, Inc. had a business strategy that included never having a sale.

Lies, Sr. became engaged in the furniture business in 1890.  He was associated with the Greenport Metallic Bed Company for 27 years.  He also was a part owner in the three factories that manufactured furniture for his store.  

Lies, Jr. was active in the Freeport Chamber of Commerce, and served as its president. During the Depression he held executive board positions with the Freeport National Recovery Administration, the Freeport Board of Retail Code Authority, and the Freeport Unemployment Relief Committee.  He was affiliated with the Freeport Exchange Club.

Williams Furniture suffered a devastating fire on January 30, 1938.



Dutcher, Edward H. "Follow the Leader? -- Not Much Says Founder's Son." The Nassau Daily Review.  January 20, 1934, 3. Accessed August 7, 2019.

"Freeport Business Block Swept by $40,000 Blaze." Nassau Daily Review-Star. January 31, 1938, 1. Accessed August 7, 2019.

William Lies, Sr. [obituary]. The Leader. October 6, 1960, 6.  Accessed August 7, 2019.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, August 9, 2019.

Willow Avenue

Willow Avenue was called Russell Street before 1917.

Village of Freeport Board Minutes, 1917.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, May 21, 2016.

Willowbrook Estates

Willowbrook Estates (also known as Willow Brook Estates) is a residential development located in northwest Freeport near Brookside Avenue, which was developed in the early 1950s.  The development consisted of approximately 200 homes located on approximately 54 acres located adjacent to Stearns Park.  Henry and Herbert Gold were the developers. In 1952, home prices were estimated to be between $25,000 and $30,000, and ranch and split level designs dominated the new community. Model homes were located on Seaman Avenue and Brookside Avenue.

The name of the development was derived from the Willowbrook Golf Club (also known as the Milburn Country Club) that was previously located on this property.

Click here for images related to Willowbrook Estates.


See Also:

Milburn Country Club

Stearns Park



"Multi-Million $ Plans Highlight Long Island Real Estate Picture." Newsday. November 6, 1952, 53.

Willowbrook Estates [advertisement]. The New York Times.  May 3, 1953, R2.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, June 29, 2017.


Willowbrook Golf Club

Wilson Place

Wilson Place was known as West Lena Avenue or North Lena Avenue prior to 1915.



"Lena Avenue Properly Designated." Nassau County Review. November 19, 1915, 1. Accessed December 7, 2018.

"Village Trustees." Nassau County Review.  November 5, 1915, 1. Accessed December 7, 2018.

"Wilson Takes Lena on Official Decree." The Nassau Post. November 19, 1915, 1. Accessed December 7, 2018.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, December 7, 2018.

Wind Tunnel

A wind tunnel was opened in 1954 at 527 Atlantic Avenue by the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn.  Known as the Aerodynamics Laboratory, this facility had two supersonic wind tunnels capable of creating wind speeds ten times the speed of sound and simulating stratospheric conditions 28 miles above the earth.  The work done here played an important role in the development of ballistic missiles for the military and re-entry vehicles for NASA.  The laboratory was headed by Antonio Ferri (1912-1975), a pioneer of supersonic testing.

In 1955, an explosion at the laboratory sent thousands of burning aluminum oxide pellets into the air; these pellets caused $2,000 in damage primarily to parked cars and moored boats.

In 1959, project "Orbit," studied the feasibility of various shapes and orbits of spacecraft and satellites.  The aeronautical engineering department's expenditures for this project was $1,069,128.  That same year, the United States Army's Ballistic Missile Agency awarded a $70,000 contract to the Polytechnic for support research on the re-entry characteristics of various types of space vehicles and satellites.



"Antonio Ferri, Pioneer of Supersonic Testing." Newsday. December 29, 1975, 31.

"Blast in Wind Tunnel Showers White-Hot Pellets on Freeport."  Newsday. May 21, 1955, 5.   

Bookbinder, Bernie. "LI Lab Probes Outer Space." Newsday. February 7, 1958, 10C.

"Brooklyn Polytechnic to Dedicate Building at Freeport on Saturday."  The Leader. May 6, 1954, 1. Accessed January 9, 2019.

"Freeport Lab of Brooklyn Polytech  in Space Program." The Leader. September 24, 1959, 1.  Accessed April 23, 2019.

"LI Wind Tunnel to Test Stratosphere Speeds." Newsday.  December 24, 1952, 7.

"Polytechnic Institute Open Laboratory in Freeport." Freeport [Village Newsletter]. January 1954, 1.

Vincente, F.A. and Nancy S. Foy. Hypersonic Wind Tunnel Facilities in the United States. Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, CA: March 1963.

"World's Fastest Wind to Blow in Freeport." Newsday. May 3, 1954, 27.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, January 10, 2019.

Updated by Regina G. Feeney, April 23, 2019.


Winne, Worden E.

Worden E. Winne was the twenty-fourth mayor of Freeport (1941 to 1943).

Winne was preceded by Robert E. Patterson and succeeded by Clinton M. Flint.

Click here for images related to Worden E. Winne.

Researched by Cynthia J. Krieg, May 29, 2016.

Wissler, Richard

Richard Wissler was the thirty-third mayor of Freeport (1995 to 1997).  He served the remainder of Thompson's term after he died.

Wissler was preceded by Arthur Thompson and succeeded by William F. Glacken, Jr.

Click here for Mayor Wissler's State of the Village video from 1996.

Researched by Cynthia J. Krieg, May 29, 2016.

Updated by Regina G. Feeney, August 11, 2023.

Witmark Place

Witmark Place was a street that connected Parsons Avenue to Jackson Place.  The street was located where Northeast Park now stands.



"1929 Tax Map."  Village of Freeport.


Researched by Regina G. Feeney. February 20, 2018.

Woodbine Drive (East and West)

Woodbine Drive was named for John J. Randall's palatial home, "Woodbine."

Click here for images related to Woodbine Drive.

Researched by Cynthia J. Krieg, May 28, 2016.


Woodcleft (also known as Woodcleft Park) is a section of Freeport that was developed by John J. Randall.  It extended from Merrick Road on the north to Woodcleft Canal on the south.  In 1890, the section was opened up for building purposes.  This property was originally comprised of the farms of S. S. Carman, Elisha Raynor, Elbert Cox, D. W. Pine, and John Holloway, and was combined with the adjoining lands known as the Whaley and Southard sections.  It was said that the streets in this section were laid out five feet wider than other streets in Freeport. By 1900, Randall had constructed 50 houses in this section. Samuel R. Smith's home was identified as being located in Woodcleft Park.

Later, Woodceft represented only the area of Freeport located around Front Street and west of the Woodcleft Canal.  In 1914, this area was sometimes referred to as the "Venice of Freeport."  This same moniker would be applied to Meister Beach decades later.

According to a 1914 map, Woodcleft was identified as being part of an unincorporated section of Freeport.

Click here for images related to Woodcleft.

See Also:

Meister Beach

Randall, John J.

Woodcleft Avenue



"Church Societies." Brooklyn Times Union. May 19, 1894, 3. Accessed October 5, 2019.

E. Belcher Hyde. "Northwest Section." 1914 Map.

Freeport Methodist Church. Freeport: Past and Present, With a Prospect of Its Future. Freeport: NY, 1900. 

'Woodcleft As Seen From Brooklyn." Nassau County Review. May 29, 1914, 5. Accessed December 12, 2016.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, December 15, 2016.

Updated by Regina G. Feeney, Accessed October 5, 2019.

Woodcleft Avenue

Woodcleft Avenue was named for John J. Randall's development on land south of Merrick Road.  The section's name was given to the street and the canal. According to documents obtained from the archives of the Town of Hempstead, the road was laid out and opened in 1909.


See Also:

Nautical Mile


Researched by Cynthia J. Krieg, May 28, 2016.

Updated by Regina G. Feeney, May 18, 2024.

Woodcleft Beach

Woodcleft Beach is a residential section of Freeport that was developed around 1908 by the firm Pettit & Lamb.  In 1909, Charles A. Sigmond served as special agent for John J. Randall's "Woodcleft Beach."  

Click here for an undated map of Woodcleft Beach.



John J. Randall's "Woodcleft Beach" [advertisement].  South Side Messenger. January 15, 1909, 4. Accessed June 19, 2018.

"Woodcleft Beach." The New York Times. May 31, 1908, L3.

Woodcleft Beach [advertisement]. The Sun. April 12, 1908, 30. Accessed June 19, 2018.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, June 20, 2018.

Woodcleft Canal

Woodcleft Canal (also known as Woodcleft Channel) was constructed in the late 1890s by John J. Randall and William G. Miller.  It opened up a waterway directly into the South Bay.  In 1897, the Woodcleft Canal was deepened and widened by Babcock-Lary Dredging Company which used one of the largest dredgers in the world.  It was the first artificial waterway to the South Bay. According to early descriptions of Woodcleft Canal, the waterway was a third of a mile long, 100 feet wide and 10 feet deep.  The dredging also created a two acre basin which became the Freeport Bathing Beach.

Steamers from the beach found accessible dockage and owners of boats built boathouses along Woodcleft Canal's shore.  Several local boat builders had their boatyards on the canal.

On August 3, 1898, New York City Mayor Robert A. Van Wyck rescued three girls from drowning in Woodcleft Canal.  Mayor Van Wyck summered in Freeport for two seasons and stayed at the Woodcleft Inn which was located opposite the bathing beach.

In 2015, a roadside marker was dedicated on the Esplanade on Woodcleft Avenue by the Freeport Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Click here for images related to Woodcleft Canal.

See Also:

Canals, Ponds, and Waterways

Freeport Bathing Beach


Woodcleft Avenue

Woodcleft Beach



Krieg, Cynthia J. and Regina G. Feeney. Freeport. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2012.

"Saved from Drowning by Mayor Van Wyck." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 4, 1898, 13. Accessed July 17, 2020.

"Woodcleft Canal." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. May 16, 1897, 21. Accessed July 14, 2020.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, July 17, 2020.

Woodcleft Canoe Club

Woodcleft Canoe Club, Inc. was an authorized agent to sell boats and canoes and all standard makes of outboard motors.  In addition to selling boats, the Woodcleft Canoe Club stored and repaired boats.  It had a houseboat on Woodcleft Avenue and a store located at 37 South Grove Street (now Guy Lomabardo Avenue).  In March 1936, a winter storm destroyed the docks of the Woodcleft Canoe, Inc. The organization operated during the 1920s and 1930s.



Bailey, Merrill. On the Waterfront. The Nassau Daily Review. March 13, 1936, 13. Accessed May 4, 2021.

Woodcleft Canoe Club [classified advertisement]. The Nassau Daily Review. July 12, 1927, 13. Accessed May 4, 2021.

Woodcleft Canoe Club [advertisement]. The Nassau Daily Review. June 21, 1930, 14. Accessed May 4, 2021.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, May 4, 2021.

Woodcleft Cycle Company

Woodcleft Cycle Company was established in 1897.  E. A. Dorlon was president of the establishment, which included a bicycle factory and salesroom.



"Queens' Quota." South Side Signal. February 20, 1897, 2. Accessed December 15, 2016.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, December 15, 2016.

Woodcleft Golf Links

Woodcleft Golf Links was a golf course located in southeast Freeport in the 1920s.  Its boundaries included South Grove Street (now Guy Lombardo Avenue) to the west, Hudson Avenue to the east, and King Street (possibly Jefferson Street today) to the north.  The course was located just south of Playland Park  In 1935, after streets were constructed, plots of land were sectioned off and sold for residential development.

See Also:

Randall, Ernest S.



Comprehensive Sales Map of Lots at Freeport, L.I. Belonging to Estate of Ernest S. Randall, Woodcleft Realty Co., Jay Randall Corp., 1935.  Prepared by Joseph P Day, Inc., Auctioneer. [Located at the Freeport Memorial Library].

Map of the Incorporated Village of Freeport, Nassau County, New York. January 1925. Prepared by Smith & Malcolmson, Inc. [Located at the Freeport Memorial Library].

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, June 27, 2017.

Wright, Gordon

Gordon Wright (1943-2020) graduated from Freeport High School in 1961.  He attended Delaware State University.  Wright played offensive guard for the Philadelphia Eagles (1967) and the New York Jets (1969). 

Wright's father was Lyndon Wright, who operated Lenny's Esso Servicecenter on Merrick Road in Bennington Park.

Click here for images related to Gordon Wright and the Wright family.

See Also:

Ashley, Bill

Bennington Park



Voyageur, 1961 (Freeport High School Yearbook).

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, May 16, 2016.

Updated by Regina G. Feeney, May 19, 2020.

Updated by Regina G. Feeney, July 27, 2021.

Wurtzel, Hyman

Hyman Wurtzel (1895-1957) was owner of the Grove Dress Manufacturing Company.  Born in Ulanów, Poland (which was part of Austria until 1918), Wurtzel came to the United States in 1911 at the age of 16. He settled in New York, became a tailor and earned his American citizenship when he was 19 years old.  Wurtzel opened his first clothing factory in Roosevelt and later moved the business to Freeport.  Originally located on Grove Street (now Guy Lombardo Avenue) in the annex that was once part of the first Freeport Elks Club, the factory eventually moved to 75 Bennington Avenue.

Wurtzel was a former vice president and honorary trustee of B'nai Israel, a member of the Freeport Elks Club, and a member of a Masonic Lodge in Manhattan.

Wurtzel died of a heart attack at the age of 62 and is buried at Mt. Ararat Cemetery, Farmingdale, NY.

Wurtzel married Lillian Herbach in 1920. Their daughter, Dolores Cynthia Wurtzel [Siegel] was the valedictorian of the Freeport High School class of 1953.  Wurtzel's other children included Pearl Suna, Elaine Surnamer, and Leo Wurtzel.  The family lived at 163 West Seaman Avenue.

See Also:

Grove Dress Manufacturing Company



"Dolores Cynthia Wurtzel Bride at Wedding on Lawn." The Leader. July 4, 1957, 3.  Accessed January 18, 2020.

"Hyman Wurtzel Dies; Dress Manufacturer." The Leader. September 19, 1957, 1. Accessed January 18, 2019.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, January 18, 2020.