In this undated photo, likely from the early 1970s, two ‘mini maids’ pose for a photo at Bellerose Station. (Courtesy of Dave Morrison)

History Blooms In Bellerose

Over the past year, Nassau Illustrated News has taken a tour of the Long Island Rail Road stations in our area, from their artwork and upgrades to their local history and legends.
With the 190th anniversary of the founding Long Island Rail Road falling on April 24, we find it more than fitting to wrap up our series this spring with a look at the past and present of Bellerose Station, tucked near some of Nassau County’s geographically smallest but historically robust neighborhoods and communities.

Planting seeds in Nassau County
According to the Joint Bellerose Business District’s history page: “There are a number of conflicting theories as to how Bellerose was named. One long-standing theory states that in 1906, when Mrs. Helen Marsh of Lynn, Massachusetts, purchased 77 acres of gladiola fields in Floral Park and set out to create a model community adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road, she convinced the LIRR to build a station, and call it ‘Bellerose.’ While some say the name derives from the nearby rose farm and from the name of her daughter Belle, Mrs. Marsh explained years later that she chose the name because it sounded ‘euphonious.’ However, that’s not the final word… Some say the name actually came from the Belle Rose, a variety of flower advertised in the seed catalog of local grower John Lewis Childs, in the early 1900s. Yet another theory states that in 1893, the Citizens Real Estate of Brooklyn, which planned a development that never got off the ground, picked the euphonious name and got the LIRR to build a station which was listed in the LIRR timetables as early as 1898.”

“Whatever the origins of the name and the railroad station,” the JBBD continues, “it is certain that the development of Bellerose Village is to be credited to Helen Marsh. She supervised the construction of the first house in 1910 and lived in it until a buyer was found [and] went on to reside in each new construction prior to its sale, ultimately living in 22 of the homes. By 1924, Bellerose was incorporated as one of the smallest villages in New York State.”

The village’s companion community, Bellerose Terrace, was founded in 1926, according to the Bellerose Terrace Civic Association.

The late journalism professor Solomon R. Kunis noted in a 1986 New York Times profile of the area, “Both Nassau communities severed their one tie to Bellerose, Queens, in 1982, when the residents succeeded in having their zip codes changed and their mail handled through the adjacent Floral Park post office. The areas had previously been served from the Jamaica station, which continues to handle mail for the Queens portion of Bellerose.”

“Despite their differences,” Kunis noted, “each segment of Bellerose has its distinct charms, and all provide a feeling of small-town serenity just a half hour from the bustling city. Bellerose has plenty of green trees and beautiful flowers in the springtime, and lots of leaves to rake up in the fall.”

A station grows in Bellerose
First opened in 1898, Bellrose Station has been in service for more than 125 years, though it’s undergone a few changes along the way.

In 1909, the station was rebuilt a second time, according to the indispensible local researchers and documentarians at

In December 1960, the stop was briefly out of service while a third, slightly more streamlined depot was under construction, with temporary facilities being located a bit to the south.

By 1962, the station had evolved into its current format, with a single elevated island platform between tracks and and a pedestrian crossunder.

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