Cow Neck Historical Society Sands Willets House Tours

336 Port Washington Blvd
Port Washington, New York 11050

Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society maintains the Sands-Willets House, part of which dates from the early 1700s, as a museum and educational center. The House is typical of the Long Island farmhouses that grew to fit the need of the families who lived in them.

The Sands-Willets House is located in the Incorporated Village of Flower Hill, in the Town of North Hempstead, Nassau County, on a peninsula known in earlier times as ‘Cow Neck’. That area roughly encompasses the Port Washington School District and parts of Manhasset and Roslyn.

The Sands-Willets House has 18 rooms, 11 of which are furnished and open to the public. The oldest portion of the house, the Colonial Kitchen, is believed to have been built by the Sands family around 1735. The Sands family were among the original settlers of nearby Sands Point. Seven members of this family served in the American Revolution. The property was purchased by Edmund Willets, a prominent Quaker and abolitionist, in 1845. He added the Greek-revival style addition to the house. The Society bought the Sands-Willets House from Miss Eliza Willets in 1967 and has since restored and renovated it.

The Sands-Willets House, which is typical of the prosperous Long Island farm houses of the 18th and 19th centuries, is one of the few buildings of its kind still standing in Nassau County and the only one open to the public in the Town of North Hempstead. The Sands-Willets House is a Village of Flower Hill Historic Landmark and is also listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

The Sands-Willets House is named for two distinguished Long Island families. The Sands family, merchants, farmers, and Patriot leaders, lived in the house from 1715 to 1845. The Willets family, prominent in Quaker affairs, owned the homestead from 1845 to 1967. Colonel John Sands II, served with George Washington’s army. Edmund Willets was active in the abolition movement prior to the Civil War.

The Sands-Willets House has been undergoing renovation and restoration ever since it was purchased by the Society. Much work has been done over the years with the c. 1735 bricked-over Sands kitchen hearth uncovered, the high-ceiling 1840 wing refurbished and furnished, the electrical system overhauled,the exterior painted and repainted. However, the preservation process is a continuing one, demanding constant attention if this historical treasure is to continue to be an educational resource.

Behind the Sands-Willets house is our Dutch Barn, worthy of a mention here.
General House Tours on the following Sundays at 2 PM Sharp!
July 20, August 3, August 17, September 7, September 21, October 5, October 19