Mar 19 2011

Then & Now: Bulls Head Hotel on Northern Boulevard and Glen Cove Road in Greenvale

The small community of Greenvale is centered around the bustling intersection of Glen Cove Road and Northern Boulevard and is known for its fine shopping at the Wheatley Plaza. Almost lost in history is the role of Greenvale in the 1905 and 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Races.

Belcher-Hyde Map 1906


Before the Civil War, Greenvale went by the name of Bull's Head for the hotel/tavern that was a favorite of cattle traders heading to New York City. The hotel and its "auto & wagon shed" were located on the northeast corner of the present-day intersection of Glen Cove Road and the Flushing and North Hempstead Turnpike (now Northern Boulevard).

Then: 1905 Bulls Head Hotel and Auto & Wagon Shed


The proprietor of Bulls Head Hotel was Aloysius Huwer who had moved his family from Brooklyn to live and work in the country. As seen in this photo, a real bull was kept south of North Hempstead Turnpike across from the hotel. Ironically, this is the current location of Ben's Deli !

Then: 1905 Headquarters for the White Steamer




Bulls Head was the headquarters for racing teams for both the 1905 and 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Races. In 2005, Fred Blumlein, great-grandson of Aloysius Huwer, wrote:

Greenvale’s Bulls Head Hotel, located smack-dab on the corner of that tough turn, played an important role in the 1905 race. Aloysius Huwer, proprietor of the hotel (and the writer’s great-grandfather), rented his “Auto & Wagon Shed,” to race driver and car owner, Walter White. White and his mechanics bunked in the Hotel and used Huwer’s Shed to ready his steam-driven racer for the event. White’s machine was the only steam racer ever to be driven in the Vanderbilt Cup Races. He received an “A” for trying, but had to abandon his car in the fifth lap because of engine and tire troubles. During the 1906 race, the Bulls Head Hotel and Shed became the base camp for the Pope-Toledo car group. They were the last race team to use the site during the races.


Update: As submitted by Hugh Nutting, the car in front of the Bull's Head Auto Shed was a 1904 White Model D Steamer.

Then: October 14, 1905 during Vanderbilt Cup Race


The corner at Bulls Head was part of both the 1905 and 1906 courses and a favorite spectator location. Fred Blumlein described the action:

“CAR COMING” shouted the flagman in an effort to get the crowd off of North Hempstead Turnpike when he spotted Vincenzo Lancia rocketing westward in his Fiat racer towards the hairpin turn at Bulls Head Corner. Lancia’s engine screamed as he downshifted into the turn, dirt billowed into the air, his on-board mechanic leaned mightily to the left to maintain balance, and the crowd cheered as Lancia gunned his machine, straightened his wheel, and sped off south on Glen Cove Road to cross the Mineola-finish line in 4th place.

It was Saturday, October 14, 1905 and this was the second Vanderbilt Cup Race, staged by William K. Vanderbilt, Jr., to take place on Long Island. In those days, Northern Boulevard was known as North Hempstead Turnpike and Lancia, that young dare-devil driver, still has his name imprinted on one of the most desired automobiles in the world (another driver in that race was the memorable Louis Chevrolet). The route of the 1905 race also tracked along I.U. Willets Road (West), Lakeville Road (South), Jericho Turnpike (East), and Rt. 106 North; a 28.3 mile circuit driven in ten laps. These contests were the first international-road races to be held in America and were key in establishing the automobile as a fixture in American culture.

Then: 1936


The northeast corner of Glen Cove Road and North Hempstead Turnpike was seen in this 1936 photo courtesy of the Bryant Library Historical Collection. Officer Harry LaRue was directing traffic in the "North Roslyn" intersection. The Bulls Head Hotel had been apparently replaced by a Socony gas station.


But, take a closer look at the building behind the gas station. It is the Bulls Head Hotel turned 180 degrees!


Fred Blumlein confirmed to me that indeed the hotel had been moved and turned around to make room for the gas station. Note: The distinctive patio roof of the hotel was now located in the "rear" of the building.

Then: 2005




One hundred years after the 1905 Vanderbilt Cup Race, the Bulls Head Hotel was very worn down but still standing!


As described by Fred Blumlein below, the property was sold to developers in 2005 and torn down for a new building.

Then & Now: March 2011


Then: 1905


Now: 2011


Then: 1936 (Note: The building on the far left behind the gas station.)


Now: 2011


Fred, thanks for the information on your family and the 2005 photos of Bulls Head Hotel.

Links to related posts on and the Internet:

History of Greenvale by Fred Blumlein-

History at the Crossroads by Fred Blumlein

The Huwer Family Tree

The Vanderbilt Cup Race Courses (1904-1910)

Archives: Then & Now: Vanderbilt Cup Races

Archives: Then & Now: Long Island Motor Parkway

Archives: Vanderbilt Cup Races

The Vanderbilt Cup Race Courses (1904-1910)


Mar 20 2011 Howard Kroplick 2:03 PM

From Ann:

“Hi Howard!  Another great blog!  I enjoyed David Greenlees new web site - what I had time to view.  More to look at later. 

Glad you are taking and including recent pictures, of today.  We do not realize how quickly we forget!  Thanks,  Ann”

Mar 20 2011 Howard Kroplick 2:08 PM

From Hugh Nutting:

Hi Howard,  Nice bunch of photos this week.  The white runabout (near the Bulls Head Auto Shed) looks like a Model D White steamer.
thanks,  Hugh Nutting

Mar 20 2011 Howard Kroplick 2:21 PM

Hugh, thanks! I added your photo above.


Mar 20 2011 Bob Thomas 5:53 PM

A tough corner in 1905; still a difficult corner in 2011. i remember working briefly wth NYS Traffic division of the Transportation Dept on ROW for revised traffic lights for that corner a dozen years ago. i am not sure that it helped the traffic.

Mar 21 2011 p wilson 1:19 AM

My cousin lived a few blocks from this intersection back in the early 60’s. There was a big old place called The Chrystal Ship located right about there. I think it was a restaurant/bar type of place. I was just a kid.

Mar 21 2011 Howard Kroplick 5:09 PM

From Sam Berliner III:

“In those days, Northern Boulevard was known as North Hempstead Turnpike”; it is STILL very much “North Hempstead Turnpike” in Muttontown, at the very least.  The legal street address of the tiny Muttontown Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is 6090 North Hempstead Turnpike and that of the neighboring Hunter’s Hook Farm (formerly Calumet) is 6080 North Hempstead Turnpike!

Further, re “Before the Civil War, Greenvale went by the name of Bull’s Head”: William “Wild Bill” Whittendale, Mill Neck police officer of the ‘50s - ‘70s always referred to Greenvale as Bull’s Head.

So, as you so well know, history has a way of living on.

Sure wish I’d realized that the building in Greenvale I passed twice every weekday for many years from 1956 to 1968 and quite often afterwards was the old Bull’s Head Hotel, relocated!

Keep on truckin’!

Mar 21 2011 Howard Kroplick 7:53 PM

From Fred Blumlein:

Hi Howard,

It’s really good to hear from you and I thank you for creating and sharing the Bull’s Head story with me.

One thing to clarify in the piece is the statement in the 2005 section - “Alas, a fire struck the building in 2005 and it was soon taken down.” In actuality, the firemen and trucks shown in the photo were practicing firefighting techniques on my cousin’s (Agnes Reinhardt, a grand daughter of A.H.) abandoned house that was directly adjacent to the hotel. The hotel and Agnes’ house were purchased by a developer who tore both structures down in 2005 to build the brick store a parking lot shown in your contemporary photos.

Stay well and keep “racing.”


Mar 24 2011 tom 3:22 PM

Great to see the Then and Now photos. Shame though as some parts of history should not be torn down.

May 19 2011 Michael Murtagh 8:02 PM

Great pictures! My family has lived in Greenvale since around 1910 and I’ve always been curious as to what the intersection and the Tavern looked like when my grandfather was a child. Thank you for posting them. I think your dates may be off for your pictures listed under “Then:2005.” I remember watching that fire department drill in the house next to the tavern and that had to be in like 1999 or earlier based on the age I was at the time. By 2005 the tavern building had been gone for a number of years and the brick building that replaced it had went through several occupants including Lester’s and Rockaway Bedding. I’m pretty sure in 2005 it was a Duane Reade. The link below is an aerial shot of the area in the year 2000 and shows that the brick storefront that replaced the tavern had already been built.

May 20 2011 Howard Kroplick 10:18 PM


The tavern building was actually still there in 2005. It had been moved from the corner and turned around 180 degrees! It was torn down sometime after 2005 for the current brick building.


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