Tom Stock

Poet, Essayist, Photographer, Naturalist

Interview With Darrel Ford – The Hempstead Plains

What he remembers of his visits to the Hempstead Plains
May 14, 2015

85 year old Darrel Ford, of Babylon Village, recalls his experiences exploring the Hempstead Plains in the 1940’s. He was a young teenager during the early 1940’s:

“There were several horse liveries at the edges. I’d hire a horse and ride for miles. Sometimes the grass was three feet high. I had the feeling that I was out west. There was no Levittown so to me as a young boy the area seemed huge.I was told that there were a lot of cattle before I first visited. I remember prairie warblers, bobolinks, upland plovers, there were hardly any people. I rarely saw another person. There were panoramic views of the sky with no buildings what so ever. I was told that the Indians burned the area and that led to the exclusion of trees and shrubs. The place was untouched by plow. One of the strangest comments I read is: “It ceased to excite the wonder of residents and travelers.”

He recalled black eye-d Susan, wild indigo, blue vervain, blueberries and blackberries, and birds foot violets.

“I used to see smoke in the distance.” It meant that there were brush fires on the plains in the early ‘40’s”


Beauty – Sampawams Creek


Estuary – Sampawams Creek: Fresh and Salt Water Meet

1 Comment

  1. My grandmother lived on the plains as a child. That was during the late 1800’s. She would tell me that it was very lonely there, but beautiful. She talked of the flowers and tall grass. I wish I had asked her more questions about her experience. Eventually she moved with her family to Brooklyn. Hearing what Darrell Ford had to say helped me picture what life must have been like for my grandmother, even though her time there was 40 plus years earlier. Thank you Tom for doing this interview and posting it here.

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