55 Maple Ave
Rockville Centre, New York 11570
Tel: (516) 764-3242
Fax: (516) 764-3362
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Rockville Centre, commonly abbreviated as RVC, is an incorporated village located in Nassau County, New York, in the United States. At the time of the 2010 census, the village had a total population of 24,023. It is in the southwestern section of the Town of Hempstead.
Rockville Centre has been occupied by humans for thousands of years. Generally speaking, the people of the prehistoric Woodlands period East River culture are believed to have been the Algonkian-speaking ancestors of the historical Indian tribes of western Long Island. The historical territory of their Lenape descendants, the Canarsie, Recouwacky (Rockaway),Matinecock and Massapequa, included present-day western Long Island’s Queens and Nassau Counties.
By the year 1643, there were roughly thirteen Algonquin bands (then referred to as tribes) living east of the Dutch-English settlements: the four or so Lenape chieftaincies in western Long Island, and Metoac descendants of the prehistoric Woodlands period Windsor culture living on eastern Long Island, considered by some to be branches of the Pequot: Merrick, Nissequoge, Secatoag, Seatauket, Patchoag, Poosepatuck (also called Uncachogee), Corchaug, Shinnecock, Manhasset and Montaukett.
Imported diseases had decimated the natives in 16th century. While disease was still a major factor during the decades of the 17th century, native mortality in western Long Island due to disease was similar to that of the settlers. Most Lenape were pushed out of their homeland by expanding European colonies; the colonies received many emigrants while the Munsee-speaking Indian communities did not. Their dire situation was exacerbated by losses from intertribal conflicts.
The Reckouakie tribe (the Reckonhacky chieftaincy) had left their original land in present-day Rockaway and its surroundings in Queens County to Dutch Governor Kieft in 1640 because he wanted it for better defense of New Netherlands. Most settled to the east in what was to become Rockville Centre on the traditional land of the Matinecock (or of the Massapequa), with whom they had ties of kinship. Dutch and English settlers declared the 1639 treaty meant no Indians would remain in western Long Island (so they could sell it to emigrants), in contrast to the exact terms of the treaty which meant the Native Americans were willing to share the usufruct of unoccupied land, with the Dutch leadership having eminent domain superior to their sachem‘s eminent domain. This led to many conflicts then four years of open warfare. The Reckonhacky / Rockaway were party to a peace treaty dated May 24, 1645 following the devastation of Indian communities by Dutch soldiers. Violent expropriation dislocated them with the arrival of additional Dutch and English settlers.
The hamlet was named “Rockville Centre” in 1849, after local Methodist preacher and community leader Mordecai “Rock” Smith. It was incorporated as a village in 1893. Rockville Centre emerged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century as a commuter town connected to New York by the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). In 1915, the New York Tribune went so far as to declare that Rockville Centre was a place in which “the average mortal could live happily.”
On February 17, 1950, two LIRR trains collided near Rockville Centre station, killing 32 and injuring more than 80.