When old-time residents said “the village” or “the Upper Village” they meant not today’s entire Village of Great Neck, but a small section along Middle Neck Road, clustering mostly between Hicks Lane and Beach Road. Like the rest of Great Neck, the Village was almost exclusively farm and orchard from its settlement in the 1660's into the 19th century. In that century, it became a small center of commerce for all of Great Neck, either selling to farmers, or servicing farmer’s needs.
A single one room schoolhouse, located in the village, was adequate for all of Great Neck until after the Civil War. Until that time, residents had to travel outside the area to attend a church, mail a letter, or vote. Buildings were low and few, so that people could see the long curve of a roadbed. Along Middle Neck Road itself were several large farms belonging to Wooley, Baker, Allen, Ellard, Hicks and Reagan families.
In 1867, the first post office opened in Nehemiah Hayden’s General Store on Middle Neck Road near Beach Road.
From 1870 to 1880, large estates were assembled. In 1886, the first voting station was erected. The first telephone service came in 1892. In 1901, the Alert Fire Department was formed. Among its patrons were JP Morgan; William and Joseph Grace; Cord Meyer; William Brokaw; Roswell Eldridge, George Dodge and Walter Chrysler. In the 1930's, the Baker Hill, Vista Hill, Weybridge and Strathmore areas were added to the Village.
Many of the prominent families have been business families, Hayden, Hicks, Gregory, Gilliar, Bullen, Austin, Ninesling, Gutheil and many others.
As a business center, in time it naturally also became the social, civic, and population center as well. Most of the Village’s oldest stores and institutions were along a small section of Middle Neck Road near the present Village Green - Great Neck’s first four schools, the oldest church, its oldest Synagogue, first bank, library, telephone switchboard, post office, voting hall and fire house.
The Village experienced several real estate booms, especially after direct rail service to NYC was provided in the early parts of the century.
From 1922 to 1960, the Village’s population quadrupled, and the area experienced great real estate development.