Historical Views of the Rockaways
From The Rockaway Museum
by Emil Lucev, Curator
Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke
Many thanks to Mildred Fischer of Far Rockaway for today’s Historical Views. This rare 1900 photo was first published in a small history of the Rockaways, written by William S. Pettit, to help defray costs of his college education. Pettit went on to become a lawyer and a Far Rockaway real estate agency proprietor.
The photo was most likely to appear on a picture postcard in the early 1900s, as trolley suspension wires for power cables, and the poles to hold these items up are washed out for clarity. This practice was very common for postcards in the old days, and just a glimpse of the original photo shows why the spider’s web had to go. Even the power arm from the top of the trolley car to the electrified overhead cable has been eliminated.
The trolley appears to have been on Central Avenue, where the line crossed Cornaga Avenue (behind the trolley) and the uniformed operator appears to be getting back on to complete the trip to the Long Island Railroad Station at Mott Avenue, a block to the left or north. The horse and carriage is going the wrong way on Central Avenue, which was al-ways one-way south towards the beach. Perhaps the trolley car and the horse drawn wagon had a fender bender. I wonder if they called 911 for a police response. Look at the ambulance-chaser lawyer looking out his window. He said he would be right on the scene in a minute.
On the northeast corner of the intersection is the Lowe Brother’s Drug Store and Soda Fountain, and F.W. Toleman’s shoe store, with the offices and printing plant of the Far Rockaway Journal and the Nassau Daily Herald.
The Ocean Electric Trolley, owned and operated by the Long Island Railroad, traveled between the Far Rockaway Station at Mott and Central Avenues and the Far Rockaway beachfront.
The single-track line went down to Brookhaven Avenue where it turned east to Beach 19 Street, and continued south to the beachfront. On the way back, the line went up to Newhaven Avenue and turned west to Central Avenue, and from there up to the station.
With this arrangement, trolleys could pass each other with no obstruction, within that safety square.
In more contemporary times, old-timers may remember Harvey’s Children’s Shop and Toy Store on the site shown today.