Baxter Estates display on loan from Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society. (Contributed photo)

Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society Display At Baxter Estates Village Hall

Beginning President’s Day, the Village of Baxter Estates is pleased to have on display in the Village Hall, located at 315 Main St. in Port Washington, four in a series of black and white pen and ink sketches of the Village, which were commissioned in the 1970s by William Kurz of Kurz Oil Company for its annual calendar. The sketches are part of a collection donated to Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society (CNPHS) by Donald Kurz and are on temporary loan to the Village courtesy of the CNPHS.

The sketches of lower Main Street created by Great Neck illustrator John Meola (1913-2002) depict scenes from this area circa the early 1910s and include Lower Main Street, Town Dock, “Cove Inn”, and Louie’s Restaurant. They represent the same period during which the 315 Main St. home was built by Mary Bird Baxter for her son Captain John J. Bird, an oysterman, and his family (circa 1913).

Residents are invited to stop by the Village Hall during regular business hours to view the sketches on display in the main hallway.

About John Meola (1913-2002):
John Constantino Meola was born Sept.19, 1913, in Brooklyn, New York, one of eight children born to Italian immigrant parents Nicola Meola, a tailor, and Caterina Letizia DeLeone.

John graduated from Alexander Hamilton High School in 1931 where he was awarded the Art Prize and the school’s Distinguished Service Medal. Upon his graduation, he is reported to have presented the school one of his paintings on behalf of the senior class. Because the prizes awarded him a scholarship, he attended the School of Art at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where he studied illustration. There he met, and later married, classmate Adele F. Cording.

Beginning in 1936, Meola drew pen and ink story illustrations for pulp magazines, such as Adventure, Argosy, Detective Action Stories, Sports Novels, and Knockout signing his work either Meola or “M”. In 1938, he moved to Great Neck where the couple raised four daughters. He was a member of the Society of Illustrators of New York.

Meola was an illustrator of children’s books for MacMillan Publications during the 1960s and his 1976 portrait of Theodore Roosevelt appeared on the cover of Time Magazine-Special Report-The American Presidents.

The Kurz Oil Company founder William Kurz hired Meola to take over the illustrations for the annual company calendar after the death of local artist and policeman William Galloway, who had done the earlier illustration work. Meola created more than a dozen illustrations for the calendar between the late 1960s through the early 1990s. He died in Maryland in 2002.

About the Village of Baxter Estates:
The Village of Baxter Estates, which was incorporated in 1931, has just over 1,000 residents, with homes nestled within a hilly, tree-lined neighborhood overlooking Manhasset Bay. The Barbara Johnson Park and Preserve lies within the Village offering residents and visitors alike a peaceful interlude in an idyllic setting. For more information, visit

About the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society:
The mission of the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society is to engage people of all ages in programs that highlight the lifestyles of the people and families that lived and worked on the peninsula throughout the years. Central to this mission is the preservation of the Sands Willets House (circa 1735) and the Thomas Dodge Homestead (circa 1721), which the Society operates as house-museums. For more information, visit

—Submitted by the Village of Baxter Estates

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