Born and raised in Valley Stream, author Bill Florio, 32, is due to publish his second book on May 29, which covers the history of Elmont and Rosedale, Queens.
“There’s been very little written about either of these areas,” Florio said, adding that gathering information for the book took him about a year.
After majoring in history and political science at Hofstra University, Florio decided to take his passion for history a step further by writing his first book in 2015 — a Valley Stream-specific edition of the Images of America series.
The book includes collections of photos and information from local historical societies, as well as old photographs from longtime residents in the area. Some of the pictures in the book are original photos Florio took himself, as well as a few hand-drawn maps of the area.
In addition to the Elmont and Rosedale area at large, the book features an in-depth focus on the families of the Fosters Meadow area in Rosedale. Florio said the book documents immigrants’ experiences and a history of the suburbs as far back as 1603, when Christopher Foster came to the Fosters Meadow area — a German farming community established in the 1850s that encompassed present-day Queens and western Nassau County. Fosters Meadow was named after Thomas and Christopher who used the western tip of the Hempstead Plains as a sheep pasture in the 17th Century.”
“People will be attracted to that fact that there are photos and history that people don’t know about,” Florio said. “There are historic buildings that are still standing today.”
Many of the buildings located in the Elmont-Rosedale area, however, do not have historical markers. A historical marker is an indicator or sign that commemorates an event or person of historic interest.
Florio is currently working with St. Johns United Methodist Church in North Valley Stream to help get the site a historical marker. Located on the property is the old church building that dates back to the 1840’s as well as a cemetery where all the old families are buried. Florio is working with the church and the county to get the location both a Hempstead and State Landmark. Historical Markers have different qualifications depending on the state and town. Each municipality has forms that need to be filled out where specific historical information needs to be provided.
“Markers are important because they allow people just driving or walking by to find out about the history of a site easily,” Florio explained. “An old building isn’t really out of place or even notable, but an old building with a historic marker in front of it catches attention.”
The book can be purchased at Barnes and Noble, Amazon or the Arcadia Publishing website for a retail price of $21.99. Florio will also be hosting a book signing at Sip This on Rockaway Ave in Valley Stream on June 1 from 7-9 p.m.