In the summer of 1930, nine friends from Brooklyn and New York City met often for luncheon and shared their love of gardening and the natural beauty surrounding their summer homes in the Huntington Bay area. It was here that the conception of an organized garden club began to take root. Influenced by the bucolic placement of a large rock at the end of George Taylor’s nearby property overlooking Huntington Bay towards Connecticut, the founding ladies decided upon the name of the club. The rock commemorated Captain Nathan Hale, a Revolutionary patriot and teacher from Connecticut who was captured locally by the British and then later hanged.


Click image to read inscription on rock


By September, “Nathan Hale Garden Club” had a constitution and drafted by-laws. The name reflects both the spirit of our history as a budding nation and beauty of the bay area that is intwined with that history. The original nine ladies became the first board of governors with Mrs. Warren as president. The first regular meeting was held the following month. In two month’s time, the membership had risen to 44 members. Meetings were held twice a month at members’ homes from late April through early October to coincide with the “Summer Season”. Within one year, it became joined with the Federated Garden Clubs of New York State, Inc. which was part of the National Council of State Garden Clubs (now National Garden Clubs, Inc).

The club’s early members enthusiastically campaigned for the beautification of Huntington. They held seed exchanges and plant sales to fund the club. Learning about floral design, non-chemical growing techniques, canning of produce, and landscape design were foremost agenda topics. The large flower shows held in Philadelphia and the Waldorf in New York during the winter months, inspired local summer flower shows in barns, homes, churches, firehouses and even Knight Brothers Furniture Store in downtown Huntington inspiring new members to join the fun. These civic-minded members also campaigned against billboards on 25A, held board positions on the Roadside Committee of the Chamber of Commerce of Long Island, hired unemployed men to clean up the village green and plant thirty trees along New York Avenue. They held Front Door Beautification Contests, Tent Caterpillar Destruction Contests and planted a Christmas tree in the Village Green for their 25th anniversary. That tree, now called the “Peace Tree,” has been lit for the Christmas season ever since.

Over the years, the club has decorated just about everything in Huntington, from railroad stations to store fronts window boxes and even parking meters! The hanging baskets along the village main streets were once funded and planted by members before the town absorbed the maintenance. Other large planting projects are still visible today including: the dogwoods by the armory at Park Avenue, moving of the Nathan Hale Rock to the island location by the American Legion and now by the traffic circle, the Oakwood triangle planting, town hall, the D.A.R. house plantings, and Kissam House plantings.

Today Nathan Hale Garden Club is an energetic, friendly club that embraces new possibilities with the enthusiasm cultivated by the founding members’ sensitivity to local history and appreciation of the natural beauty of this coastal environment and then nurtured by the commitment to learning and conservation of over ninety years shared experiences.