2004-05-21 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

From The Rockaway Museum
by Emil Lucev, Curator
Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke
The Holland Pier

Historical Views
of the Rockaways
by Emil Lucev, Curator
Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke
The Holland Pier – 1884 to 1922 – Beach 92, Railroad to the Bay

For the season of 1876, William Wainwright, a partner of James S. Remsen who founded the Seaside section in 1857, had buoys placed in Rockaway Inlet and hired pilots to bring sidewheel steamers into Jamaica Bay – through the often treacherous gut.

The Holland family, as well as other hotel owners in Rockaway Beach, began to extend and improve their bayside boat landing facilities into tidal stations – which reached the edge of the main channel. This would facilitate the landing of the steamers to bring patrons to their respective areas.

Fannie Holland, widow of founder Michael P. Holland, bought a small piece of her neighbors land under water on the bayfront (above Beach 92 Street) in order to build what became known as the Holland Pier or Holland Dock.

The Holland Tidal Station was noted on the 1879 bay chart, and the walk out to the dock or pier head stretched from the railroad out to the main or Beach Channel, for almost 900 feet. In 1884, a good part of the structure was carried away by ice during the winter. The dock was repaired and it wasn’t long before fishing clubs, boat and yacht clubs, and some summer homes were built on both sides with connecting walks to each, prior to 1898.

The Holland Pier was such a success that another was planned just to the east (Beach 91 Street). The plan was not approved by the city, as the Rockaways were now a part of greater New York City, which began on January First of 1898.

During the winter of 1922/23 the entire bayfront from Beach 88 Street west to Beach 116 Street was bulkheaded and filled with dredged sand from the bay bottom offshore. Much real estate was created, but all the boat clubs and docks were now dry land or landlocked.

Some time ago, yours truly was asked to try and identify all the clubs on the Holland Dock - which became Beach 92 Street – after the landfill in the early 1920’s. It took awhile, but I think I have "aced" it, and today’s Historical Views contains the results of my research into the Holland Pier story.

The chart seen today in Historical Views is from a city survey done before the landfill, and shows all the structures on both sides, but there are no house numbers or club names, only numbers assigned to lots; the rest has been compiled from my research notes and old atlas’ that were available to me at various archives, libraries, and repositories. I gave it my best shot, so hear goes! Please ignore the circled numbers, unless noted. If a space is blank, no name or house number was available.

Lot 7 – Old Grogan’s Restaurant; Lot 19, house #340 – Progressive; Lot 20, house #346 – Woodruff; Lot 28, Eckman; Lot 29, I.T.Y.T.M; Lot 31, Mickey D’s; Lot 37 – Pier 92, Bayview Hotel, Piech’s Hotel, Frey’s Hotel & Boats, Dreyer’s Boats, Bossard and Eckman’s Boats, Monte Carlo, Moulin Rouge; Lot 42 – The Wharf; Lot 50 – Susquehanna; Lot 51- Crescent; Lot 53 – Equity; Lot 55 – Patrol; Lot 58, house #353 – Oriental; Lot 61, house #341 – Jefferson; Lot 72, house #329 – Fairview; Lot 74, house #327 – Anchor; Lot 78, house #315 – Fin & Feather; Lot 81, house #301 - Dalcassian, American Legion; Lot 30 - Windsor.

From Beach 94 Street to the west was the property of the Jamieson-Bond Building Supply Company, and their dock. Desota Road (Old Brush Place) is in back of the police station and firehouse, and the LIRR right of way is now the Rockaway Freeway. #41 is the Holland Pier, now Beach 92 Street.

After the landfill, many adjustments were made on the block as far as electricity, water, gas, and sewage were concerned, and utility poles were put up. Sidewalks and paving finished the block – and ended the dock.

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