A House with a History
Built between 1795-1810, possibly by William Valentine, who owned the paper mill and was the father of William M. Valentine (born 1809) a prominent local merchant. Members of the Valentine family operated the paper mill until 1891. William M. Valentine lived in the house and built the first brick store in Roslyn on the corner of Main Street and Tower Place, facing the Clocktower.
The Valentine family lived in the house for over a century. In 1882 it achieved a certain fame when William M. Valentine was assaulted as he rowed across Silver Lake after closing his near-by store on Main Street. He died two years later as a result of the attack. After his widow Lydia died in 1912, the house became home to groups bringing activities to Roslyn.
1915: Valentine House and 2 1/2 acres acquired by the Roslyn Neighborhood Association. The Association was organized to "promote the recreational, industrial, intellectual, moral welfare of Roslyn, Nassau County, New York, and vicinity." The Neighborhood Association became the prime civic organization serving the Roslyn community.
The Valentine House served as the headquarters of the association and was known as the "Neighborhood House." It was used by the Roslyn Visiting Nurse Association, The Red Cross, the Roslyn Boys Club and other community groups. The Neighborhood Association offered a wide variety of programs, including English classes for new immigrants, a hot lunch program, the first garbage pickup and disposal program in Roslyn, and during WWI a canning kitchen was in operation. During this time a library was established.
1916: Neighborhood House used as hospital during the infantile paralysis (polio) epidemic.
1919: Neighborhood Association begins campaign to erect a War Memorial Building adjacent to the Valentine House.
1920: Cornerstone laid for War Memorial Building (now Bryant Library).
1924: Trustees of the Roslyn Neighborhood Association vote to merge the Neighborhood Association library with the Bryant Circulating Library Association.
1935- early 1940s: Headquarters for the WPA theater at the War Memorial Building.
1951: The Neighborhood Association gave the Valentine House and War Memorial Building to Bryant Library.
1955: A meeting place for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
1963: Headquarters for Roslyn Village Hall.
1968: Valentine House moved across Paper Mill Road to make room for Bryant Library (Memorial Building) expansion.
1995: Village Hall relocates to new home on Old Northern Blvd.
1998: Valentine House becomes Bryant Library Annex, housing library administrative offices, Friends of the Library used bookshop and a computer training/meeting room.