While doing research for Hixtory, I sometimes come across oddball or interesting items that I just file away, because by themselves they won’t make a real story.  This edition is a collection of such things.  I hope that they’re of interest to you.


Looking Down on Hicksville

In the New York State Archives Digital Collections, I found this 1951 photograph,

above: NYS Archives, Aerial photographic prints and negatives of New York State sites, 1941-1957
below: image created by the author, using Google Maps in 3D view

which you can compare to this current view.  Although we all know how much the town has changed, I still find it amazing to see so many differences in one pair of pictures – from Old Country Road School in the foreground, to the Expressway in the distance.  Many of us grew up on streets that did not even exist when the top photo was taken, back before there were any “Cardboard Hill” sumps down which to slide.


The High School’s Frolicsome Pole Dancers

Imagine having a Health Pageant when you were in school.  Such fun!

The data at New York Heritage indicates that the event shown below likely occurred in the 1930s, but it may have been slightly earlier.  According the Long-Islander of April 26, 1929, Hicksville’s schools were to mark Child Health Day on the first of May 1929 with various events, including a May Pole dance on the lawn of the high school.

Incidentally, a close look at the faces and the shoes worn by these May Pole dancers suggests that all of them were girls.

New York Heritage Digital Collections, Hicksville Historic Photographs


A Quiz (answer can be found at the end of this article)

What do the vehicles in these two pictures have in common?


William J. Rugen photo, as printed in “Steel Rails To The Sunrise ” by Ziel and Foster


Weird Animal Stuff

New York Herald, February 13, 1913

That’s the whole, would-be whimsical story.  Really, it just ends like that.


As Lincoln ’s birthday was probably a slow day for news, we should not be surprised that, like the story above, the following also appeared on a February 13th.  This one involves a member of Hicksville ’s noted Steinert family.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 13, 1921


Seeing the ad below, I think I understand why the Garden stayed with the Dog Show instead of the Poultry Show.  Imagine the handlers’ proudly exercising their chickens on leashes for the judges.

Huntington Long-Islander, January 5, 1923


The Kind of Advertising We No Longer See

This state-of-the-art range looks like a contraption invented by Jules Verne, something which can do anything that Captain Nemo commands, as long as the crew at the helm remembers which control is which.

Huntington Long-Islander, April 20, 1923


Best wife’s Christmas gift ever!

Huntington Long-Islander, December 17, 1909

Photo from Local History Room, Hicksville Public Library, as found in Richard and Anne Evers’ excellent little photographic book “Hicksville.”


Her glass may be dainty, but look at the size of that bottle!  How could a “tired woman” possibly lift it up to pour herself a glass?

Huntington Long-Islander, April 14, 1911


The latest fad, from back when telephone numbers didn’t have to be put on Speed Dial.

Huntington Long-Islander, April 29, 1927


The west side of Broadway near Marie Street , perhaps in the 1950s.  The old R.A. Esslinger store building is in the center, next to Vince Braun’s Meat Market.  Slightly newer buildings to the left include Ginger’s; on the right is the “new” Huettner building which opened in 1918.


It seems odd that plumber Charles Raynor had to place a series of ads in the Long-Islander to get people to splurge on indoor plumbing.  Were the people of Hicksville really that fond of their outdoor privies?  To persuade those who are concerned with their health, the first advertisement invokes a Classical goddess; the second appeals to those who simply cannot resist luxury.

Incidentally… I wonder what Mr. Raynor’s middle initial really was, anyway.

Huntington Long Islander, October 30, 1914

Huntington Long Islander, August 4, 1911


Answer to the Quiz


Long Island Railroad engine 401 was once on the leading edge of technology.  In the 1920s, it was the first diesel locomotive in the United States to be put into regular service by any railroad.  It was built by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO), in conjunction with General Electric and Ingersoll-Rand.  In the picture used in the quiz, the engine partially visible behind 401 was another ALCO.  ALCO locomotives served Long Isalnd constantly from the 1940s through the 1990s.

The automobile shown in the quiz was the car which raced through Hicksville to win the Vanderbilt Cup in 1909 and again in 1910.  Like the LIRR engines mentioned above, it was built by the American Locomotive Company!

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 9, 1910


Believed to be an October 1910 photo of Broadway, jammed with people looking for vantage points from which to view the Vanderbilt Cup Race.  One of these may be the car that parked on Old Country Road and was struck by Louis Chevrolet’s Marquette-Buick.

Nassau County Museum photo, from the Evers’ book “Hicksville”


The Errors of My Ways

In February’s Ancient Hixtory, I wrote that the Caruso #6 midget racer shown at the start of the article was powered by a four-cylinder Bugatti engine.  That’s all well and good – but contrary to what the article claimed, the motor had not been cut down from an eight-cylinder engine.  At birth, it had left the Bugatti works in Alsace with only four cylinders.

There was, however, a different Caruso midget racer that also was powered by a four-cylinder Bugatti engine.  It was this second car whose engine began life with eight cylinders.  The mistake was mine, and mine alone.

On the upside, next month I have the opportunity to make more errors.  April’s article will delve further into the story of Mike and Rose Caruso’s life with automobiles.

And now, to quote 1920s singer Annette Hanshaw,

“That’s All!”