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Old 09-23-2007, 10:27 AM
 
9,341 posts, read 25,838,599 times
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At the time of the American Revolution, the Town of Hempstead, then in Queens County (and, since January 1, 1899 in Nassau County) ran from sound to sea and included all of the current Town of North Hempstead. Old Country Road followed an east-west path through the Town of Hempstead and divided the Town of Hempstead into two sharply opposing camps: those residing south of Old Country Road favored the King and wished to remain British citizens, while those north of Old Country Road favored George Washington and the fight to gain independence from England.

After the Revolutionary War, in April 1784, the New York State Legislature allowed the area north of the median of Old Country Road, the area of the Town of Hempstead where the residents favored the war, to gain independence from the English Crown, to secede and form the Town of North Hempstead. The unusual part of this separation was to chose the median as the normal practice would have been to make the new border between the towns either the north or south curb of Old Country Road.

The result of using the median of Old Country Road as the border between the two towns, rather than using either the north or south curb, is that the northern half of Old Country Road is the southern border of the Town of North Hempstead and the southern half of Old Country Road is the northern border of the Town of Hempstead.

The villages and hamlets that form the southern portion of the Town of North Hempstead have a different speed limit on their part of Old Country Road than do the villages and hamlets that form the northern portion of the Town of Hempstead. Hence, traffic going west travels at one speed limit through the Town of North Hempstead, while traffic going east travels at a different speed limit through the Town of Hempstead. (The difference is 5 mph, but I forget which is which.)

Wanting to completely separate themselves from the hated Tories in the Town of Hempstead, the patriots in the Town of North Hempstead changed the name of every north-south street that crossed Old Country Road from the Town of North Hempstead into the Town of Hempstead!
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Old 09-23-2007, 09:08 PM
 
Location: Wellsville, Glurt County
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Interesting -- I never noticed the difference going one way or another.
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