Add Add to Quick Collection

Full Text of Source



LEGEND OF THE MURAL 

The Mespachtes Indian - Shortened to Maspet or 
Maspeth. Located at the head of the Newtown Creek. 
The hunter, squaw, fisherman and bark canoe. 

Wampum Worker - Wampum, first form of currency 
made from the clam shell. 

Jackson Mill - On Jackson Creek, now marked by the 
stone bridge on parkway. Originally owned by Hendrich 
Harmensen, deed dated September 5, 1645 from the 
Indians. The original mill was erected in 1656. It was 
purchased by Thomas Birdsall Jackson in 1824. 

Jackson Homestead- Near the mill. 

The Original St. James Church - Part of which is 
still standing on the southwest corner of Broadway and 
Maurice Avenue, Elmhurst. The old tower and weather-
vane were removed several years ago. The oldest 
structure used for religious purposes in the old town of 
Newtown. Built in 1735. Received its charter from King 
George III. 

The Armen Bouwery or the Poor Farm - Owned by 
the Dutch Church of New Amsterdam as early as 1654 
and kept under cultivation for the benefit of the poor. 
Obtained from director Van Stuyvesant. 

Redcoats - Depicting Newtown as the headquarters of 
the British Army during the Revolution. 

The Lent Rapelye House - The original deed for this 
property dated New Amsterdam September 5, 1645 and 
given to Hendrich Harmensen. In 1797 passed to the 
Rapelye family. It was built in the year 1656 and is still 
standing in fair preservation near the New York City 
Airport. The oldest private dwelling in Long Island 
City. 

The Old Blue Line Horsecar - From 34th Street 
Ferry to Astoria passing the present site of the bank 
building. 

Old Type of Factory Building - Belching smoke, 
dark and dingy. 

New Type of Factory Building- Concrete, glass and 
sunshine. 

The Queensborough or 59th Street Bridge 

East River Tugboat 

Transatlantic Flyer 

The Borough of Manhattan - In the distance. 

The Electric Subway Train - On the 59th Street 
Bridge. 



The Mural may be viewed 
at the Long Island City 

Office of the Long Island 
Savings Bank 

Painted by Vincent Aderente 
1939 



Original office of the Long Island 
Savings Bank founded in June 1876, 
located in Long Island City. 



It seems only fitting that the Long Island Savings 
Bank, founded in Long Island City in 1876, 

presents this pictorial history of Queens to you. 
It is a tribute to those people who worked hard to 

establish their roots here, built their homes, 
raised their families, and strived to make Queens 

a better place to live. 

The Long Island Savings Bank is very pleased to 
have played an important role for more than a 
century in the history, development, and proud 
tradition that is the heritage of Queens today. 

We are proud to present this pictorial history 
of Queens as part of the celebration of its 

300th anniversary. 

We dedicate this commemorative book to those 
people whose courage, strength, and deeds built 
the solid foundation for our borough's future and 

to the faith and vision of 
their sons and daughters 
who will elevate Queens to 
even greater heights. 



I 

I 

/. 
-,./ 

·--; 
-------/I -



' I 
l \ \ 





Commercial advertising completely blots 
out a building in this vintage photo of 
the northwest corner of Jamaica Avenue 
and 160th Street in 1916. The corner 



.. 
0 
0 ., 
" 

i' 

Copyright © 1982 by Vincent F. Seyfried 

All rights reserved, incl4ding the rig'fn 
to reproduce this work in any form whatsoever 
without permission in writing from the 
publisher, except for brief passages in 
connection with a review. For information 
write: 
The Donning Company/Publishers, 
5659 Virginia Beach Boulevard, 
Norfolk, Virginia 23502 

Library of Congress in Publication Data 

Seyfried, Vincent F. 
Queens, a pictorial history . 

Bibliography: p. 
Includes index. 
I. Queens County (N.Y. )-History-Pictorial works . 

2. Queens County (N.Y.)-Description and travel-Views. 
I. Title. 
Fl27.Q3S48 1982 974.7'243 82-22192 
ISBN 0-89865-296-0 

Printed in the United States of America 

This is Queens Councy as seen chrough ihe 
eyes of che Queensborough Chamber of 
Commerce. This Lime there are 
forty -five communities, and, in 
addition, the commonly -accepted 
boundaries of the different neighbor-
hoods are skecched in, along with the 
two big airports, LaGuardia and 
Kennedy Internacional. Courtesy of 
Queensborough Chamber of Commerce 

l_m:c ISLAhD 01VISION 
t/ :J(){, lb 



_l..(Ut::t11s Bo;-ough PULliiC L1u1.11; 
'-......_ j..ong Island Division 

Contents 
Foreword . .. . . ...... . .. . . 
Preface . . . .. . . ...... . .. . . . 
Chapter One 

The Settlement . .. .. .. . . .. . . 
Chapter Two 

9 
10 

13 

Revolution in Queens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 
Chapter T hree 

Revolution to Consolidation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 
Chapter Four 

Queens as Part of New York City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 7 
Chapter Five 

Transportation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 
Stage and Rail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 
Aviation and Airports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 
Bridges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 

Chapter Six 
Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... . ... .. . . . . . 
Schools and Colleges . .. . .. .... . . . .. . . .... . 
Fire Companies ...... ... . .. ... .. . . . ..... . 
Hospitals . . . . . . . . . . .. .. .. .. . . . . 
Cemeter ies . .. . ..... ..... ... ...... . . .. . . . 

Chapter Seven 
Leisure . .. . . . . ... .. . . . . ..... .... .. . . ..... . 
Theaters and Movie-Making .. . . .. .. . . . . . . . 
Race Tracks .. ........ . .... ... . . .. .. .... . 
Social Life . ... . ..... . . . ... .. . .. . ... . ... . 
World 's Fair . . . .... .. . . . .... . . . . ... . .. .. . 
Memorable Storms . . . . . .. .. .... . .. . ... . . . 

Chapter Eight 
The Communities . . ... . .. .. .. .. . ... ... .. .. . 

Flushing .... ..... .. . . . . ... . . . . .... ..... . 
Jamaica .. . ... . .. .. .. . .. .. .... . . . .. . . 
Woods ide . .. . . . .. .. . . .... . .... ... . . . ... . 
Elmhurst . . .. .. ... . ... . . . . ... .. . 
Richmond Hill . .. . . ... . . .. . . . . .. . ...... . . 
Bayside .. . . . ........ .... .. . . . . ... ... . .. . 
The Alley . . ..... . . .... .. ... . . .... . ..... . 
Jackson Heights .. . . .. . . . ... . ...... . ... .. . 
Forest H ills .. .. . . . . . .. . . .. . . . . . .... . . .. . 
Long Island City . ... . ... . . . .. .. .. .. . .. .. . 
College Point ... . . . .. . . . . .. . . . . .... . . . .. . 
North Beach ... . . . . ... . . ......... . . ..... . 
Rockaway . . .. ... . .. . ........ .. .. . ..... . 

Bibl iography ... .. . .. . . .... . .. . . . .. . .. . ... . ... . 
Index ........... ..... . .... . ......... .. .... . . . 

91 
92 
104 
110 
114 

119 
120 
128 
130 
142 
148 

155 
156 
164 
174 
178 
182 
188 
193 
196 
201 
208 
215 
220 
224 
237 
239 





Foreword 
To study the history of Queens is to study the 

history of many different communities. In this book 
Vincent Seyfried helps you explore the history of 
Queens by looking at the development of its 
communities-chronologically and thematically. He 
presents many different kinds of documents to tell this 
history, most of which are from his personal collection. 

While these documents can be read for information 
about social change and the forces which shape a 
county, I hope you will also find in them some infor-
mation about the nature of history itself. Reading 
Mr. Seyfried's narrative and the documents about 
Queens shows that history is not simply about the 
famous, rich, or powerful. History is not a series of 
"facts" to be memorized. Rather, history involves 
"interpreting" the documents and objects left behind 
by all types of people. 

Mr. Seyfried asks you to become a historian 
rather than merely a consumer of facts. With the aid of 
his categories and narrative you will be able to uncover 
the rich and complex story of Queens. 

I hope you will use this book as a starting point 
for locating and interpreting documents, objects, and 
recollections about your own family and community. 

-Richard K. Lieberman 
Associate Professor of History 
and Director of the Community 
History Program 

LaGuardia Community College of the 
City University of New York 



Preface 

Queens is not only the biggest of the five 
boroughs but it contains more communi-
ties than any other borough. This map 
shows sixty-/ our distinct neighborhoods, 
some recognized by the U.S. Post Office 
and some not, but you can be sure that 
the identity of each is stoutly def ended 
by its loyal residents. Courtesy of 
Kenneth Dinin, Queensborough Public 
Library 

When Mayor Gaynor early in the century 
was pressed by a Queens councilman to approve a local 
improvement measure, he is reported to have snorted, 
"Cornfield borough!" Queens has come a long way 
since then; the factories of Long Island City and the 
residential towers of Jackson Heights would make 
Gaynor rub his eyes in wonderment. This book is a 
nostalgic tribute to the Queens in which I was born 
and grew up and an attempt to present visually my 
own heritage and that of thousands like me. 

Because of the sheer size of Queens and the great 
diversity of the different communities within it, the 
usual chronological presentation had to be abandoned 
in favor of one that would do better justice to the 
varied social, economic, and topographical forces that 
have shaped Queens into what it is today. With this in 
mind, I concluded to present the story of Queens 
under three broad headings: a historical section 
sketching the highlights of four momentous eras; a 
larger section devoted to some specific aspects of the 
borough; and, finally, some highlights of the larger and 
more populous communities. 

The selection of the "right" picture was an ever-
present challenge; how does one capture in text and 
pictures all the aspects of this many faceted mini-city? 
The photos that appear here were chosen to show the 
successive phases in the changing face of Queens from 
rural farmland to village, to suburb, to the present 
urban blend of metropolis and residential neighbor-
hood. Besides conventional photographs I have 
ventured to use a number of old-time real estate ads 
because their texts tell us so much about the daily life, 
the values, and the aspirations of our father's and 
grandfather's day. For the pre-photographic era I have 
relied on maps, manuscripts, and paintings. The early 
ambrotypists, daguerreotypists, and itinerant 
photographers scanted Queens, and we are much the 
poorer for it. No photo of the 1850s is known and only 
a handful for the 1860s and 70s. Queens really came 
into its own photographically thanks to the postcard 
fad which shed belated light on many dark corners of 
the county. 



Queens is not only the largest borough of New 
York City but is unique in one other respect. One can 
speak of New Yorkers, Bronxites, and Brooklynites, 
but the word Queensite does not exist. The Queens 
resident has a strong loyalty to his own community and 
never thinks of himself as a New Yorker. A Queens 
resident, if asked, will say he or she comes from 
Maspeth or Bayside or Richmond Hill, and to this day 
Queens is the only part of New York City where letters 
are still addressed-and delivered-to the individual 
villages. 

Despite this loyalty to community, Queens 
residents have had little in the way of written material 
on local history. It is exactly 100 years ago this year 
(1882) that the last comprehensive history-Munsell's 
History of Queens County -was offered to the public. 
Perhaps this photographic walking tour through the 
length and breadth of the county will satisfy a long-felt 
need for modern residents and give to a newer 
generation a sense of "roots," of how people looked 
and dressed and acted and the atmosphere in which 
they lived. 

I owe thanks to a whole galaxy of persons and 
institutions who have contributed to make this book 
possible. William J. Madden has tirelessly copied and 
printed for me hundreds and hundreds of photos and 
illustrations from old and often difficult sources, and 
without his help I could never have undertaken this 
book. My profound thanks goes to the staff of the 
Long Island Room of the Queens borough Public 
Library, Davis Erhart, head, Nicholas Falco, and 
William Asadorian, all of whom allowed me the fullest 
use of the collection and humored my most unreason-
able requests. Robert C. Friedrich, my long-time 
friend, has given me valuable counsel in the art of book 
assembly, clued me in to desirable items in various 
collections, and placed his own treasures at my 
disposal. Dr. Richard Lieberman of LaGuardia 
Community College has given me fresh insights and 
points of view in the field of social history and has 
made wise suggestions in the picture selection 
process. 

I am indebted for material from the following 
official sources: President, Borough of Queens, 
Historical Collection; Topographical Bureau of the 
Borough of Queens; Flushing Historical Society; 
Bayside Historical Society; Queensboro Chamber of 
Commerce for illustrations from Queensborough maga-
zine; Rockaway Chamber of Commerce; LaGuardia 
Community College; Queens College Historical 
Documents Collection and Public Relations; St. John's 
University; William L. Clements Library, Ann Arbor, 
Michigan; Brooklyn Library for Daniel B. Austin 
Collection; Nassau County Aviation Museum; Suffolk 
County Historical Society; Museum of the City of 
New York; Library of Congress; Fairchld Aerial 
Surveys; Eldon Aerographics; Ridgewood Lutheran 
Church. 

Finally, my thanks goes to the following 
individuals, all of whom have come forward with 
photos and other material: William Asadorian, Joseph 
R. Brunelle, A. Buttler, Gene Cafaro, William 
Christensen, Robert Cobaugh, Henry Dehls, Kenneth 
Dinin, Robert Friedrich, Dora Geipel, Frank Gold-
smith, Gary Hammond, Richard Lee, Joan Mandleur, 
Michael R. Miller, Robert Miller, Charles Pilnacek, 
Josephine Pokorney, Robert Presbrey, Sidney B. 
Silleck, C. Leslie Smith, Gildo Spadoni, John Stein-
way, Mrs. Waiting (Flushing Cem.), Edward B. 
Watson, and Ron Ziel. 

Finally, for bearing with all this effort, my thanks 
to my wife, Constance, for reading the manuscript 
copy and making valuable suggestions. 

-Vincent F. Seyfried 



King James II, Catherine's brother-
in-law. Portrait by an unknown artist;-
photo courtesy of Queensborough 
Public Library 



The first provable discovery of New York harbor 
was by Hendrick Hudson, an Englishman in the employ 
of the Dutch East India Company. He sailed from 
Amsterdam on March 25, 1609, in the ship Half Moon 
and sighted Manhattan Island and the shores of 
Brooklyn on September 3, 1609. In 1614 Adrian Block 
and Hendrick Christiance, under instructions from the 
East India Company, landed on Manhattan Island and 
built a fort and a few houses. Captain Block passed 
with his vessel through Hell Gate and thus was the 
first European to see Queens and to realize that Long 
Island was not part of the mainland. No one knows 

. who the first actual settler on Long Island was, but it 
is known that over the succeeding years the Dutch 
expanded into Brooklyn and Flatlands (1636), 
Flushing (1645), Flatbush (1651), New Utrecht (1657), 
and Bushwick (1660). The earliest settlement in 
Queens County began in what is now Long Island City 
between 1637 and 1656, when individual Dutch 
farme'rs secured grants from the Dutch authorities to 
tracts in Astor:ia and Ravenswood. Appropriately, these 
were called "out plantations." 

At first the Dutch got along well with the Indians, 
but a few individuals, greedy for land and property, 
killed some Indians in February 1643 and provoked 
the First Indian War. In 1655 a second conflict broke 
out, and this time the Dutch governor, Peter Stuy-
vesant, issued a proclamation ordering all settlers to 
give up their farmsteadi; and to return to the shelter of 
the town. Several Dutch cGlonist.S gave up their grants 
completely and never returned to Queens, 

While the Dutch were expanding from Man-
hattan, a different breed of settler was filtering in 
from eastern Long Island and New England. These 
were English colonists, and as they moved westward 
into the lands under Dutch control, they applied for 
grants from the Dutch authorities. They received 
township governments modeled after the Dutch form, 
and the villages were given Dutch names. The earliest 



English settlement by an individual was probably that 
of Richard Brutnall, who, on July 3, 1643, received a 
grant of a little over 100 acres on the east side of Dutch 
Kills and near the junction with Newtown Creek, 
embracing all of modern Blissville and one-half of Old 
Calvary Cemetery. Although Brutnall obtained his 
patent only in 1643, he had already been located at this 
spot for several years, had cleared a portion of it, and 
had it under cultivation at the begining of 1642. 

The first sizable English settlement was that of 
the Reverend Francis Doughty and his associates in 
1642 at the head of Newtown Creek in today's 
Maspeth. The Dutch issued a patent for this colony 
in the same year, but the settlement was destroyed in 
the following year during the disorders of the First 
Indian War. 

In 1644 Heemstede (Hempstead) was settled by 
Englishmen from the New England towns of 
Watertown, Wethersfield, and Stamford. In 1645 
Vlissingen (Flushing) was settled by a small band of 
English colonists attracted by the meadows and fertile 
lands around Flushing Bay; the Dutch authorities 
again issued a patent and set up a village on the Dutch 
model. In 1652 the Maspeth colony was revived, but 
for safety's sake the colony was moved inland from its 
former vulnerable position on Newtown Creek to the 
present junction of Queens Boulevard and Grand 
A venue in Elmhurst. This became the village of 
Newtown. The final settlement within the present 
limits of Queens County came in 1656 when Rustdorp 
(Jamaica) was founded by Englishmen from Hemp-
stead and Flushing. These men started a small 
settlement on Old Town Neck on Jamaica Bay but 
after a year .or so removed to a new site north and 
east of Beaver Pond in the vicinity of the present 
160th Street and Jamaica Avenue. During these last 
years of Dutch rule many Dutch families settled in the 
English villages, while others migrated out of Brooklyn 
into the wilderness of southern Queens, carving out 
farms for themselves in the forest and meadowland 
bordering Jamaica Bay. 

14 

In Europe, meanwhile, events were occurring that 
were destined to affect profoundly the destiny of the 
Queens colonies . King Charles II of England, whose 
father, Charles I, had been beheaded by the Puritan 
government of Oliver Cromwell, and who had been 
forced out of England into exile in Holland, returned 
to the throne of his father in 1660. He repaid the 
Dutch for the aid and hospitality they had extended to 
him by patenting all of the Dutch possessions in the 
New World to his brother James, Duke of York. In 
August 1664 four English vessels with a force of 
several hundred land troops commanded by Captain 
Richard Nichols appeared in New York harbor and 
demanded the surrender of the city and province. 
Faced with this military force and the threat of a 
possible rising among the English villages on Long 
Island probably in collusion with the invading forces, 
Governor Stuyvesant angrily yielded New Amsterdam 
and the province to the English. 

Captain Nichols, interestingly, was the 
representative of a personal proprietor, James, 
Duke ·of York and Albany, and the surrender was thus 
to a private party, the king's brother, and not to the 
English government. In 1666 the Dutch fleet sailed up 
the Thames and burned part of London in retaliation, 
but by 1667, when the Treaty of Breda was signed, 
Holland agreed to cede New Netherlands to England 
in exchange for Surinam in South America. Old Peter 
Stuyvesant died in New York City in 1672 and lies 
buried in St. Mark's churchyard at 2nd Avenue and 
10th Street. 

The new English masters of the city renamed 
everything. New Amsterdam became New York, and 
Long Island became Yorkshire. In imitation of the 
English Yorkshire which was divided into "ridings" 
(i.e. thrithings or thirds), Long Island was divided into 
three jurisdictions . Suffolk County became East 
Riding; Brooklyn, Staten Island, and western Queens 
became West Riding; and Jamaica, Flushing, and the 
present Nassau County became North Riding. 

Six months after the surrender a convention was 
summpned to meet at Hempstead to which each of the 
sixteen villages on Long Island and the town of 
Westchester were bidden to send two delegates. At the 
meeting an English administration of sheriffs, 



overseers, and a court system was substituted for the 
Dutch setup. The English social laws and penalties 
were promulgated. Captain Nichols, now the governor, 
assured the delegates that the most liberal policy would 
be pursued on the part of his master, the duke. Under 
the designation of the Duke's Laws, all the changes of 
name and office were codified and proclaimed. There 
was one disagreeable feature: all the town land grants 
were required to be renewed on the pretext that the 
Dutch never had any right or title to New Amsterdam. 
Henceforth, no title would be recognized unless 
conferred by the legitim~te ggvernIIJrnt. Of course, the 
duke imposed a fat fee for the renewal of each Dutch , 
patent and so recouped the' cost of-his expeditiqn. 

The Duke's Laws were, for that day and age, 
very liberal and paternal, and the delegates, who had 
expected worse, expressed their gratitude in a 
memorial signed by all the members in March 1665. 
When they returned h6me, however, they found 
their constituents were not pleased. The laws provided 
for no expression of the popular will, and all officers 
were appointed by the duke or his representatives. 

Four years after the acceptance of the Duke's 
Laws, there was a concerted movement on the part of 
the villages of Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Flushjng, 
Jamaica, and Newtown to express their 'grievances. On 
October 9, 1669, they addressed a memorial to the 
current governor, citing the points in the laws they 
objected to and the provisions they wanted in their 
place. Restrictions on trade were bad enough, bµt the 
most unendurable was the e'xclusion of the people from 
any share in the legislation of the province. Nothing 
happened for a while, but in 1674, when John 
Burroughs, clerk of the town of Newtown, reminded 
the governor of the petition, he was arrested and put in 
the stocks. 

The surge of resentment that this incident 
provoked caused the Duke of York to send Governor 
T4omas Dongan with instructions to summon a repre-
sentative assembly. The assembly met on October 17, 
1683, and in the Charter of Liberties adopted by it 
occur the provisions which drastically altered the map 
of the province. Yorkshire and its ridings were 
abolished, and the province was divided instead into 
ten counties from which delegates were to sit in a 
permanent annual legislature or Provincial Assembly. 
The ten new counties including Queens came into 
exJ.~ten5e oi;i Nove\11.ber 1, 1683. The ,~e~ Kings . 
€ounty was
Open in Browser 246 KB