Declared a township in 1852, Grand Island in the half century that followed, changed from mainly farming country to an era that included exclusive clubs and elaborate summer homes.

Lewis F. Allen's Falconwood Club opened as a resort on June 19, 1858. Its design was of the "villa" order or what would later be known as "Queen Anne." Located on 45 acres overlooking the West River on Grand Island, its twelve foot verandahs ran the full length of the site that boasted an elegant bar, bowling alley, assembly hall and a number of guest rooms. Its wharf projected 110 feet into the river.

Lewis F. Allen, who owned a large farm at the head of the island, decided to build a summer resort on the south west side which he called Falconwood. He gave this name to the place because of the number of hawks and eagles who made the large trees near the river bank their home.

The first guests arrived at Falconwood on the steamer George O. Vail on Saturday afternoon, June 19, 1859. Falconwood later became a popular resort, open to the public. The steamers Cygnet and Arrow transported the vacation seekers the first year.

The Club House was designed by
Joseph Lyman Silsbee; the club house burned down in 1882.

Illustration source: Collection of C. LaChiusa