The Nassau County Archive website provides us with a historical timeline of Eisenhower Park from the early 1900s to today. Eisenhower Park on Long Island was a playground and “in spot” for the rich and famous. This would change as the economic and social climate across the globe would impact many lives; especially in the US as the Roaring 20’s was ushered out by the Great Depression. In it’s earlier years, Eisenhower Park was an exclusive piece of property frequented by privileged golfclub members and athletic celebrities that were well accomplished in the sport of golf. During the Great Depression, the elite owners were unable to meet their tax obligations and fell victim to a county takeover. Other land in proximity was also picked up by Nassau County and 24 years later this would become Nassau County Park at Salisbury. It was said that administrative powers were geared toward making the park the equivalent of Central Park by the time that it was dedicated in1949. Twenty years would go by and in 1969, once again, the political climate would greatly influence the decision of the rededication of the park to honor Dwight D. Eisenhower. Surely, as the country was going through the Vietnam War, to restore country morale, it was probably thought of as a major play to honor a great war commander and presumed hero. In 2013, the statue of Eisenhower that towers over the pedestrians and cars that enter and exit the park was presented at a rededication ceremony and appropriately stationed at the main entrance of the park. “Nassau County – Long Island, New York” (nassaucountyny.gov)
A thorough look at the history of Eisenhower Park can be found at https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/
4246/History-of-Eisenhower-Park. This site does a thorough job of revealing the circumstances behind the 820-acre park changing of ownership, as well as making the connection between the super-rich private owners and well know buildings, places, sports, and infrastructure such as the City Hotel, Roosevelt Airfield, Long Island Motor Parkway and the Central Railroad of Long Island, Newbridge Avenue, and the currently known East Meadow Avenue. The social and economic status and development of key individuals across much of Nassau County is documented on this site and gives a mental picture of how influential these individuals were to not only the area at hand but Nassau County as a whole. History of Eisenhower Park | Nassau County, NY – Official Website (nassaucountyny.gov)
The Salisbury Plains Railroad Station on the (former) Central Railroad line in 1955.
Even though Eisenhower Park started out as a private playground for the rich and later a place of fun and leisure for the middle-class residents of Nassau County, it is today an inviting place to individuals from either of the two Long Island counties, New York 5 boroughs, and individuals from almost anywhere. However, there are certain activities and privileges that are county specific. Nevertheless, this Park was developed to be the pride of Long Island and exist among the ranks of Central Park in comparison to beauty. Besides being a place of summer events and attractions (concerts, car shows, outdoor movies, and pools, and beaches), many athletic and physical activities are provided (tennis, baseball, soccer, football, basketball, individual or miniature or competitive golf, fitness trails, and outdoor theaters, and dining). On a more serious note, the Park pays homage to our war heroes with a spectacular Veterans Memorial and Wall of Honor, as well as remembers and pays respect to the firefighters of “911” with two memorials and displays one of the largest finished memorials to the victims of “911”. These displays are recognized for the ideals and sense of pride they promote and generate.
I have experienced Eisenhower Park on a personal level, as a child playing on the playground, as a teen running 3.1 miles on the high school cross country team, and as an adult taking walks or parking the car and eating lunch with my mom and puppies, Sanjae and Muffy. I have been shaped by this place by learning to take a moment to sit back and think and breathe in the fresh air, appreciate nature, and watch people coming together as a unit of friends and families. I have shaped this place by taking class trips so that my students will be exposed to more than the concrete, apartment buildings, the busy streets filled with people, cars, and noise, drugs, gangs, and fighting. I also bring visiting friends and family members so that they can see a place that greatly adds to the beauty of Long Island.