An Italianate-style home built in 1874 is being torn down to make way for a driving range at North Hempstead Country Club.
“It’s sad to see it being torn down, but you know how it goes,” said Brandi Shaw, a trustee for the Cow Neck Historical Society.
The home, located just off of Port Washington Boulevard to the north of the country club, was built for Joseph Willets, a member of the Willets family. The Willetses were prominent Quakers who owned extensive property on the North Shore of Long Island and settled in the area in the early 1800s.
According to the historical society, the home was purchased in 1920 by A. Wright Chapman for use as a summer home, and he renamed it “Longlands.” He also sold much of the surrounding estate to the fledgling North Hempstead Country Club, which was likely the location of the 11th and 12th holes on the golf course. Over the years, a thick wall of shrubs and trees has hidden the house from view.
Toward the end of last year, the house was publicly listed for sale. The country club purchased the house to make way for a new driving range. The house is not designated as a historic landmark, so the club was permitted to demolish it.
Prior to demolition, the Cow Neck Historical Society went through the house to collect any historic items left behind.
Although disappointed to see it destroyed, Shaw said the country club’s actions were legitimate.
“It would appear that everything here is up-and-up and there is no sensational story to be told or created,” she wrote in an e-mail.
While the house was old, housed a notable resident and was beautifully designed, local officials determined that there were other, similar Victorian homes in the area that had been preserved and that nothing particular stood out about the home that the Willets family had called “Sunny Croft.”
The interior has already been removed and the demolition of the structure is underway. A post commemorating the home, with additional pictures from a century ago, can be found on the Cow Neck Historical Society’s website.