Home About Us Email Us Find It What's New Back Next

Search this site - powered by FreeFind                        
In the Beginning
The Long Island Rail Road Station
Maple Grove Cemetery and Vicinity
Kew Cards
Homes of Kew
Lefferts Boulevard and Vicinity
Queens Boulevard and Vicinity
Metropolitan Avenue and Vicinity
Kew Garden Apartments
Kew Gardens in the News
PS99 Photographs and More

Read Guestbook
Post Message
Guestbook Archives
Where Are They?

Special Feature
Kew Gardens Improvement Association
Links to Other Web Sites of Interest





Pictures dated c. 1900
Images did not appear in the original article
Click images to enlarge
From top to bottom:

Looking south into Richmond Hill from the cornfield at Metropolitan Avenue and today's 116th Street.

The home of George Wick on Metropolitan Avenue just west of Lefferts Boulevard.

Crystal Lake, today the site of the Long Island Railroad Station.

The Richmond Hill Golf Club House located just south of today's Beverly Road between Audley Street and 83rd Avenue.
Kew Gardens Village Developed On Beautiful Rolling Woodland
Incidents in the Growth of Community Planned by Alrick H. Man

[Reprinted from the December 21, 1929 issue of Kew Forest Life]


Winds blew widely, carelessly filling with snow the deep ruts and hollows of the beautiful rolling woodland that was Kew Gardens not a great many years ago. Crystal Lake lay frozen in a little depression where we now have our railroad station.

Most of this territory was part of the Richmond Hill Golf Club. The club house itself stood on the highest spot of what is now Kew Gardens.

One of my early recollections is of the fireworks display held at the golf club on the Fourth of July. Scores of people came up from Richmond Hill to this remote spot (it seemed so then) for this annual and thrilling event. One year there was a baseball game in which the players wore their wives gowns. I can vividly remember some of our leading citizens running to base in trailing and entangled skirts.

Then there were the Ben Greet Players in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" on the Cornhill, or Cornfield, as the vicinity of Mayfair Road and Park Lane [South] used to be called. This performance was given out of doors on the edge of Forest Park with the trees and a real moon as stage settings. Some of us were in the cast as fairies!

We were taken quite regularly on Sundays to the top of the Corn Hill to see the view of Jamaica Bay. The coasting in the winter on the cornfield was famous.

I can still faintly remember the little red station at Maple Grove and later going to watch the construction of the new electrified railroad, the concrete bridges and the station at Kew Gardens.

For many years there were few houses farther north than Metropolitan Avenue, and those that stood there seemed outposts on the edge of civilization. The hill section of Richmond Hill, as it was called, was considered too inaccessible for residential purposes and it was very difficult to obtain a water supply there.

It was not until the Long Island Railroad decided to put through the new line from Sunnyside yards in Long island City to Jamaica that Kew Gardens came into existence. Mr. Alrick H. Man, who owned practically all the land lying north of Richmond Hill, agreed to sell a right-of-way to the railroad if the company would build a station in the vicinity of Crystal Lake.

In 1908 the development of Kew Gardens was started. Mr. Alrick Man and his brother, Albon P. Man, who was a surveyor, planned the town and laid out the streets. The first houses were built in 1910. Unfortunately, Crystal Lake disappeared with the laying out of the new development. The growth of Kew Gardens was phenomenal from the beginning and land values increased tremendously.

The Kew Gardens Country Club, whose house was built in 1916 and formally opened in February, 1917, was the natural outgrowth of the old Richmond Hill Association incorporated in 1891, and the Hillcrest Tennis Club, which had its courts for many years on what is now Audley Street. Most of the original members of the Kew Gardens Country Club had formerly been members of either or both of these clubs.

Four of the oldest houses in Kew Gardens were those occupied by Petersen, the florist, who came here forty-three years ago; by Budion, the stonecutter, whose house, on the present site of the country club, was built forty years ago; by the Hays family, who had a farm to the north and east of the country club property, later bought by the Man family; and by the Geibel family, whose farmhouse stood on the site of the Kew Gardens Inn.

Twenty years have seen a complete change in the aspects of Kew Gardens. Perhaps in another score of years we shall be surrounded by sky scraping apartment houses commanding splendid panoramas of the ocean to the south and of New York City to the west. But whatever may be in store for us, we will always have the delightful recollections of those early days of those early days of Kew Gardens.

Back  |  Next