Local officials and descendants of Jacob Hartmann gathered Sunday to honor the former Jewish resident and unveil a plaque at the pond in Peterkin Park in Amityville. NewsdayTV's Steve Langford reports. Credit: Newsday/James Carbone


An important contributor to Amityville's growth almost 150 years ago was honored Sunday with a historic marker to preserve his memory in the community.

Amityville Village officials and the Jewish Historical Society of Long Island erected a marker at the pond in Peterkin Park in honor of Jacob Hartmann, a former resident and prominent businessman. Hartmann, one of the village’s early Jewish citizens and a German native, moved to Amityville in 1877, said historical society president and founder Brad Kolodny. Although Hartmann was well known at the time, acknowledgment of his legacy has waned in recent decades. 

“There’s a lack of awareness of Jewish history on Long Island,” Kolodny told Newsday on Sunday, adding that the Island is home to America’s fourth-largest Jewish community. “It has been my mission to bring these facts forward.” 

Before Hartmann purchased the land where Peterkin Park now sits, a stream gushed through the property, which he enlarged to create a pond for his ice harvesting business. He owned Suffolk County Bottling Co. in Amityville, which was also known as Suffolk County Bottling Works and Amityville Bottling Company. Hartmann bottled beer from kegs shipped from Brooklyn and sold the bottles to Long Island saloons, along with mineral water, which at the time was touted for its health benefits. He sold both businesses in 1902. 

It was a bottle unearthed some 100 years later that was the impetus for Kolodny to spotlight Hartmann’s impact on Amityville. Mike Cavanaugh of East Rockaway, who patrols Long Island bays in search of antique glass bottles, discovered one of the defunct factory’s bottles. Kolodny said Hartmann’s descendants had preserved historical documents and artifacts from the businesses, including a saw that was used to slice ice. 

Hartmann also was a leader in the small Jewish congregation that existed nearby in Lindenhurst, Kolodny said. He was the chairman of the Breslau Hebrew Cemetery Association in Lindenhurst in 1887. With no synagogue in the area at the time — one was built in 1913 — Kolodny said the local Jewish community met in homes or businesses to practice their faith. 

Maps of Amityville show that as early as 1897 the pond was called Hartmann’s Pond, but after the 1950s Hartmann’s name disappeared from documents, Kolodny said. Hartmann's descendants attended the marker unveiling Sunday and said they were pleased their ancestor finally received the acknowledgment he deserved. 

“That was the original name when it was created and it’s going back to its original namesake,” said David Blumberg of East Northport, Hartmann’s great-great grandson. “Naturally, that’s an emotional and desirable thing for us.” 

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