The History of San Remo, Kings Park
History by Roy Conforte
Photos contributed by Steve Weber
History of San Remo, Kings Park
San Remo was founded in the mid 1920's as the result of the purchase of several large tracts of woodland and farms, by the Smadbeck Corporation, who were N.Y.C. developers. The land was then subdivided into 20' x 100' lots, as was the custom for subdivisions in New York City.
During the 1920s, there was a rivalry between the newspapers for paid subscriptions. The amount of money a newspaper could charge for advertising was based on the number of paid subscriptions. At this time, the Smadbeck Corporation was having problems selling the approximately 5000 lots, which was the result of the subdivision and the Corriere D' America, an Italian newspaper, was having difficulties in increase the number of paid subscriptions.
A marketing plan was developed which targeted the Italian community in New York City. First, the area was named San Remo due to the similarly to a small coastal village on the Italian Riviera in Northern Italy. The land was sold through the Corriere Holding Corporation, located on Lafayette Street in lower Manhattan. To increase the number of paid subscriptions, the Italian newspaper, Corriere D' America, offered land in San Remo for sale at $250.00 per lot, for each year of subscription (i.e., 1 lot, one-year subscription; 2 lots, two year subscription; 3 lots, three year subscription). The subscription price was normally $10.00 per year.
Sales were aimed primarily at city residents seeking the healthy climate and recreational opportunities now more easily accessible to them on Long Island due to improved highways and the railroads of the 1920's. Most sales were to families who had only summer residency in mind, although there were some permanent resident's even in the early years.
As it was their policy, the Smadbeck Corp., deeded the waterfront land along the west bank of the Nissequogue River and six lots (Nos. 1367 -1372) of land back to the residents of San Remo. The waterfront land approximate one mile of waterfront (6.8 acres) was to be used as a “Park” and the six lots were to be used for the construction of a clubhouse, all for the residents of San Remo.
Sales continued for a few years, but with the arrival of the depression sales not only slowed down but also stopped. Many of the lots fell back into county ownership, due to non-payment of taxes. This resulted in years of public auctions during which time lots could be purchased for a fraction of their value.
In the early 1950’s the San Remo Civic Association built a community center or clubhouse on Rowin Street on land donated by Thomas Braile. This community center was used for voting, bingo, and on Wednesday nights during the summer they held dancing for all of the teenagers. The Community Center was sold in the early 1960’s and the money was used to setup a scholarship fund for the children of San Remo residents. It was during this period that the land set aside for a clubhouse fell back to county ownership and was lost.
This large organization began to deal with the problems now faced by the increasing number of year round residents; such as the lack of public water, permanent roads, poor drainage, and a host of other needs related to an increasingly concentrated community. At this time, there were no large home developments in the area and the San Remo community had a strong voice within the town of Smithtown.
History of San Remo Civic Association
The San Remo Property Owners Association was formed in 1926. It was their responsibility to manage the assets and to see to the interests of the community.
In the late 1940's, San Remo began to experience an increasing number of year round residences. In 1949, the San Remo Civic Association was formed. As the San Remo population continued to grow the need for a more civic type organization resulted. In 1956 the San Remo Property Owners Association was officially merged with the San Remo Civic Association, henceforth to be known as the San Remo Civic Association. This merger also added additional residents from Rappolo Park, a small area to the Southeast of San Remo, and many “second generation residents into the coalition.