Community and Directions
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The first settlers were Dutch from New Amsterdam and Quakers from New England. The community began to take shape in 1676 with the transfer of more than 100 acres by John Smith, an original Hempstead settler, to his son, Jeremiah. The resulting farming community was called Little Neck until 1818 when a bridge was built to allow Merrick Road to span a creek. At that point the community along Merrick Road, which was where the early residential growth took place, was named New Bridge. When the railroad arrived in 1867, it named the station Bellmore although the surrounding community retained the name New Bridge. Between 1870 and 1880, as businesses began to sprout around the station, more and more people began to call the community Bellmore. That name became official when the first post office was established with the name Bellmore in the general store near the station in 1883.
What is now North Bellmore was initially called Smithville about 1850 because so many Smiths lived there. In 1867, when residents petitioned for a post office in that area, the government said no because there was a Smithville upstate. But it approved the name Smithville South. That name lasted until 1920, when the post office was renamed North Bellmore.
The Bellmore area experienced several spurts of growth. The first came with the arrival of the railroad. At the turn of the century, large farms in the Smithville South area were subdivided for housing. The construction of Sunrise Highway in the 1920s brought more residents, and a housing boom after World War II brought the biggest population boom of all.
Claims to Fame
Comic Lenny Bruce and former CIA director William Casey grew up in Bellmore. Actor George Kennedy is also a native and acted as honorary chairman of the community's tricentennial in 1976. Metropolitan Opera star Helen Jepson had a cottage in Bellmore during the 1920s.
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