History: At the Crossroads of Farmingdale
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Prior to attending law school at Fordham University, the Judge worked at the Title Guarantee & Trust Company in Manhattan. It was there, at the title company, that he first acquired his substantial knowledge of real estate.
He began his practice of law in the Village of Farmingdale in 1928. He rented an office in Mr. Watkins' building at 280 Main Street, which he later purchased and called the Carman Building. In 1964, he and Marjorie renovated the building and installed Farmingdale's very first elevator. The firm still retains offices in the Carman Building and the Judge maintained his active law practice there until his death in 1985.
The Judge served his community in many ways. He first ran for Municipal Judge of Farmingdale Village in 1929. Marjorie worked tirelessly on Willis's campaign. Ironically, she was too young at the time to cast a vote for her husband. Willis won the election and served as Village Judge for 30 years.
By virtue of his expertise in real estate, he was able to organize other leaders in the Farmingdale community in founding the Sunrise Federal Savings and Loan Association where he served on the Board of Directors and as the Bank's legal counsel for 50 years. This affiliation played a central role in the growing real estate practice of the firm.
Robert Callahan graduated from St. John's Law School in 1948 and joined the firm in 1949. Mr. Callahan recalls the Judge as skillful in real estate and a forceful, persistent and thorough attorney who would yell, “Stop everything and get this out!” Bob also served as Village Justice and as a long-term Trustee of the Farmingdale Public Library.
Willis (Bill) Carman Jr., graduated from Fordham Law School in 1957 and served in the Nassau County District Attorney's office. Bill joined the firm when the Judge was appointed District Court Judge in 1960. Bill served on the Farmingdale Village Board for 30 years with the last eight as Mayor of Farmingdale.
Gregory W. Carman, Sr. graduated from St. John's Law School in 1960. After spending time with the Judge Advocate General's Corp, he joined the family firm in 1967. Greg was an Oyster Bay Town Councilman (1972-1980), United States Congressman (1980) and is currently a Federal Court Judge on the International Court of Trade in New York City.
The third generation became part of the firm history when Michael Ingham, son of Marcia Joan Carman and Fred Ingham, left Wall Street to join the practice in 1981. He graduated from St. John's University Law School in 1978. The firm was renamed Carman, Callahan & Ingham in 1986 when he became partner. Michael has built upon the municipal law practice started by the Judge. In the 1940s, the Judge became counsel to the South Farmingdale Water District. Today Michael also represents the Jericho and Massapequa Water Districts and serves as special counsel to the Suffolk County Water Authority.
Gregory W. Carman, Jr. graduated from St. John's Law School in 1992. After spending a year in the Town of Oyster Bay's Town Attorney's office as an Assistant Town Attorney and he joined the firm in 1993. Greg's practice focuses on Real Estate, Trust and Estate Administration, Elder law and Estate Planning and Matrimonial and Bankruptcy Litigation.
James M. Carman graduated from St. John's Law School in 1992 and began his legal career working for a Manhattan litigation firm. He joined the firm in 1995 and expanded the firm's service base by creating a defense litigation practice designed to offer legal services to Corporate clients.
With the new millennium, the firm stood at over 20 attorneys. The Carman Building could no longer accommodate all of the attorneys and staff who were now part of Carman, Callahan, & Ingham. In 2002, the thirteenth generation, Michael, Greg and Jim joined together to purchase the former EAB bank building at 266 Main Street. After a year-long renovation project they moved into the stately building on the corner of Main and Conklin Streets - at the Crossroads of Farmingdale.
The property on the northwest corner of Main and Conklin has a long history. It is recorded as owned by Charles S. Powell back in 1873. In 1906, Brown's Hotel was erected on the site. One year later, in 1907, the Bank of Farmingdale was formed and opened its first office in a nearby Main Street storefront. Mr. Martin Meyer, a widely know brick manufacturer, was the first president of the bank. (Farms to Flights, 1956).
In 1912, Brown's Hotel was moved north from the corner to make room for the Bank of Farmingdale. The second floor of the new brick building was occupied by the administrative staff of the newly formed New York State School of Agriculture on Long Island, now known as Farmingdale State University.
In 1930, Conklin Street was widened and the old brick bank building was demolished. According to the Farmingdale Post (January 1931), the new building was touted as the newest and best. Limestone was effectively used in the construction of the exterior of the building. The entire structure is fireproof. A door weighing more than six tons guarded the new vault which was in full view of the patrons. The other features praised included space for ladies and customers of the institution. Also of note, the new building included a daylight hold-up alarm system, a modern depository at the entrance for late deposits, tellers quarters and cages of the modern low type.
The 1930 limestone building with its distinctive large arched windows still stands today at 266 Main Street. The original Mosler safe of the Bank of Farmingdale remains on display in the lower level despite the fact that several different banks have occupied the building. Mr. Frank Bondietti, the long-time Manager of the European American Bank in Farmingdale, was widely credited for preserving those magnificent windows during a renovation of the bank many years later.
On May 9, 1952, the Bank of Farmingdale consolidated with the Franklin National Bank. In 1956, Franklin National added a new wing on the Conklin Street side. This space housed the bank's Mortgage Department, Installment Loans and Bookkeeping Departments. Later the Better Business Bureau occupied this space for some time.
In 1974, European American Bank purchased Franklin National Bank. In 2001, Citibank purchased all of EAB's offices and decided to close the branch at 266 Main Street. In 2002, the building was purchased and combined with 280 Main Street to house the law firm of Carman, Callahan & Ingham. The grand opening of the building was celebrated on September 18, 2003 making it the third official opening of the building. The first occurred at the dedication of the original building on January 30, 1931, and the second took place at the opening of the Conklin Street wing on July 14, 1956.
In its conversion to a large law office the interior of the building underwent substantial renovations. The main EAB vault was removed, an elevator was installed and a second floor was constructed. Despite the dramatic internal transformation, Mike, Greg and Jim were committed to maintaining the integrity of the edifice and preserving the beautiful arched windows that graced the exterior of the building.
Finally, as a small footnote in the history of both the family and the building, life has come full circle. In 1952, when Franklin National acquired the original Bank of Farmingdale, the Judge was on the Board of Directors (Farms to Flights, 1956). Little did he know then that fifty years later three of his grandsons would purchase the building to house the growing firm he founded 75 years ago.