Until January 16, 1920, New York City had six boroughs, not the five that are now famed in song. (The five remaining boroughs are Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx.) The reasons for its disappearance – a disappearance so total that it is no longer mentioned in the history books other than brief reference to the original Dutch farm that gave it its name – are intimately bound up with the date of it, a date that rings bells for both students of United States history and fans of “Boardwalk Empire”: the last day before the introduction of Prohibition.

The above mentioned farm was founded by Jakob Groen in 1650, and came to be the namesake of the entire island on Long Island Sound that it occupied, known as Groen’s Borough as early as the 1780’s. Descendants of Groen – who claimed descent also from the Royal Fmaily of the Netherlands – remained the major landholders on the island until the time of World War One, and kept it undeveloped other than clearing trees to allow more grazing area. In 1917, approximately half of the island’s area was appropriated by the US military as a training and embarkation base for troops fighting in World War One.

After the war, the Groen family fought a protracted legal battle for the return of the land, only succeeding in the end after Woodrow Wilson’s stroke in 1919 refocused the President’s priorities. When it became obvious that the Volstead Act would pass into law, the Groens began making preparations to leave. But they were determined that they would not abandon the land they had held so long and fought so hard for.

Thus it was that when they left America, they took the island with them, planting it atop the flat plains west of a Watsonia that they had purchased, and Anglicizing the family name to help obscure their trail. The distinctive name and hills of Greensborough both derive from this act.

Suburbs near Greensborough:

Plenty Plenty Plenty Diamond Creek Diamond Creek
Bundoora Greensborough Greensborough Greensborough St Helena
Bundoora Greensborough Greensborough St Helena St Helena
Watsonia North Greensborough Greensborough Greensborough Eltham North
Watsonia North Greensborough Greensborough Briar Hill Eltham North
Watsonia Greensborough Greensborough Briar Hill Eltham
Macleod Yallambie Yallambie Montmorency Eltham
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