Two of Great Neck’s most noted philanthropists will be the focus of the next presentation by the Great Neck Historical Society on Wednesday, Feb. 22, when the group continues its series on famous local residents.
Free and open to the community, the program will look at the lives of Louise Udall Skidmore Eldridge, the first female mayor in New York State and a founder of the Great Neck Library and Great Neck Park District, and William Slocum Barstow, an inventor and the first mayor of Kings Point.
Historical Society President Alice Kasten and board member Mary Dehn will present an in-depth look at the two philanthropists and answer audience questions at the program, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at Great Neck House, 14 Arrandale Ave.
Eldridge was born in 1860 and lived in Saddle Rock, which her husband, Roswell, incorporated as a village in 1911. He became the first mayor of the village and, following his death, his wife succeeded him. Louise was the last private individual to own the Saddle Rock Grist Mill, which had been in the Udall family for many years. She was also an active member of the Nassau County Horticultural Society and won many awards for her roses and other hothouse flowers.
Barstow entered the field of electrical engineering when it was brand new and began by working as an apprentice for Thomas Edison. He went on to patent a host of inventions all dealing with electricity. He served as president of 30 electric light, power and gas companies. His home is now the museum of the Merchant Marine Academy. He and his wife, Francoise Melanie Duclos, donated generously to numerous charities. In Great Neck they funded the Women’s Club and Girl Scout House, and paid for the lowering of the railroad tracks in Great Neck Plaza.
For more information, visit www.greatneckhistorical.com or call 516-288-6124. The following Historical Society program, to be held on Feb. 26, will discuss efforts to preserve the Stepping Stones Lighthouse and the Saddle Rock Grist Mill. On March 23, Robert Sturm, an expert on the history of the Long Island Railroad, will discuss how the railroad, originally a private business, developed and later collapsed.