As I was doing some research on historic places in Bellmore I came to one that is still standing today. The Bedell Family Farm House located on South St. Mark's Avenue is a nice step back in time. It is the oldest house in Bellmore and has been here since 1689. That's a good 321 years ago! Just try to imagine how this area was back then. Life was much simpler back in those days. It makes me wish that today was more like yesterday.
The Bedells were among some of the first settlers of the area. Robert Bedell came to New York from England with his wife Blanche in the 1600s. They were married in 1643 and gave birth to their son John in 1648. Years later in 1690 he married Sarah Southard. They both lived in this home and had a family of four sons and three daughters, some of which were born before they wed. Sarah passed away at age fifty four on Feb. 26, 1716 and John died two months later the same year at the age of 68.
Born in 1662, Sarah was the oldest daughter of Thomas Southard and Annica Jansen. She had four brothers and sisters. The Southards were a big family in the area and they were a big part of the economic changes in Bellmore. I have mentioned them in a previous article on the Baldwin-Southard Cemetery. The Southard genes go way back when they held the name Southworth in England.
A 1906 map it shows that David Bedell was the owner of the land. By this time the railroad was built and the area still consisted of farms, housing, and a few hotels and stores. A 1914 map it has John J. Bedell's name listed for that land. Later in 1927, there was much change to Bellmore and the surrounding areas. There were more highways and occupied land as well as commercial property.
The Bedell family members are said to have lived in the historic house until 1950, making additions to the building in 1778 and 1872. However, it still contains the original fireplace as well as the barn, which was rebuilt in 1810, and the carriage house, which was constructed 10 years later. Today the house is for sale. When I made my visit to the historic site I must say that the building needs some love. I admired the federal style architecture and its unique characteristics. This type of design focused on balance and symmetry and was inspired by ancient Greece and Rome.
I am sure you have passed the Bedell House many times and may have even known families that have lived there. The next time you come across it, just think of the history behind the building, the land it stands on and the memories that it holds. So many families have shared moments and days with this area of Bellmore and its important to never forget that. Holding on to the past may never push you forward, but remembering our history and keeping it alive will allow big leaps into the future with a new view.
(Editor's Note: A New View is a bi-monthly column that will be featured on Bellmore Patch. We welcome Melissa O'Connor's superb photography skills and informative history lessons.)