While Mineola was designated the Nassau County seat when Nassau County seceded from Queens County on January 1, 1899, the county seat was actually built in Garden City as part of a real estate scam that began a long-standing Nassau County tradition.
In 1898, after Long Island City, the Towns of Flushing, Jamaica and Newtown and the Rockaway peninsula of the Town of Hempstead had joined New York City, the eastern 3 towns (Hempstead, North Hempstead and Oyster Bay) had to pick a location for the new county seat as the previous county seat was now inside New York City.
The choices put before the voters were: the Hamlet of Hicksville in Oyster Bay, the Hamlet of Mineola (Mineola was not yet a village) in North Hempstead and the Village of Hempstead in Hempstead. The residents of the two smaller towns, North Hempstead and Oyster Bay, did not want the county seat to be in the Town of Hempstead because of reasons dating back to the Revolutionary War when the residents of that area were loyal to the King. They voted for Mineola in the Town of North Hempstead. Mineola won.
However, A.T. Stewart's Garden City Co. which owned property just south of Mineola wanted the county seat built closer to their property to increase its value. They offered land in Garden City free of charge to the new county government. This land was accepted, and to cover up this real estate scam, the Mineola postal zone was dragged down across the town line to cover this part of Garden City in the Town of Hempstead.
The County Executive building, Supreme Court and the County Court the 3 key elements of a county seat are all inside the Village of Garden City in the Town of Hempstead and all have a Mineola mailing address.
Meanwhile, the Garden City Co. owned all the land surrounding the county seat like a doughnut surrounds its hole and profited very nicely, thank you.
CONTRIBUTED BY WALTER GREENSPAN
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