The hamlet of West Hempstead was once a dense woodland used by the Algonquin Indians for a gathering place because of its central location. Close to three Long Island Rail Road lines and with its own exit on the Southern State Parkway, West Hempstead’s draw as a centralized location has always attracted a diverse group of people.
In the fall of 1643, the Rev. Robert Fordham and John Carman crossed Long Island Sound by rowboat to negotiate with the local Indians for land which they desired to build a new community. It is said that the settlers paid a mere $100 for the 64,000 acre tract of land that is now called West Hempstead.
Historians claim West Hempstead got its name from the Long Island Rail Road. In 1891, the Rail Road built a station on Hempstead Turnpike west of Hempstead Village. The train station was originally called “West of Hempstead” and eventually became the hamlet’s namesake. It was during this time that inventor and aviator Orville Wright lived here.
Over the years, West Hempstead has been visited by some of history’s great leaders including President George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt and Walt Whitman. During the 1830s, poet Walt Whitman was the schoolmaster of the Trimming Square school district for three months. This area was located at the meeting point of Franklin Square, Garden City South and West Hempstead.
For more information on the community and its
events, contact the West
Hempstead Chamber of Commerce:
P.O. Box 174
West Hempstead, NY 11552