of the Rockaways
Broad Channel Station A Decade Later - 1905
From The Rockaway Museum
by Emil Lucev, Curator
Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke
Last week in Historical Views we saw a picture of the Broad Channel Long Island Rail Road Station in 1895, and the picture was taken from a moving train, which had just passed the old Broad Channel Drawbridge on the way to Hammels Station in Rockaway Beach.
A short time ago, in my last foray into the world of antique post card collecting, one of my most dependable providers surprised me with the image you see today – in a timely fashion, I might say – to give us a look at the same station ten years later.
Usually, in the world of old postals, a new photo card was printed and issued after a notable change had taken place in the area of the publisher. Such is the case of publisher S. Hirschberg, who sold the postcards at his Rockaway Beach store. Hirschberg did not know it at the time, but he has contributed much to Historical Views, and the history of the Rockaways, simply by selling his picture postcards.
The view was shot from the west side trestle in the area once called Shad Creek Flats, just to the southwest of the station proper. The old Broad Channel Drawbridge is to the right across Broad Channel, and on the Rockaway Beach side there was the Beach Channel Drawbridge. The card is dated 1905 on the back, in print. There was no postmark, as people mailed packs of the cards to friends and vice versa. They were put in albums and collected by all in the postcard era of long ago.
That big event in 1905 is that the Long Island Rail Road was electrified from Flatbush Avenue Station in Brooklyn to Rockaway Park. With third rails installed, the bay colony stations now had crossovers (the top section of which can be seen past the building on the left) and fences were put up between the east and west bound tracks, to get from one side to the other.
On the left side is Hoobs Hotel and Fishing Station (formerly of Isaac Carpenter and his wife) and on the other or east side is Edward Schleuter’s Delevan Hotel and Palm Garden. Before the high track crossover was built in 1905, Schleuter had built an underpass when he took over his place in 1903.
In between and behind the hotels and fishing stations shown are the old Enterprise and Dorman Hotels. In 1916, the LIRR was urged to build a foot walk along the entire length of the trestle, so stranded passengers could safely be removed from a stalled or broken down train on the bay crossing. The LIRR agreed to only a half mile from the stations.
Smitty’s Fishing Station and the IND Rapid Transit Railroad Station at Broad Channel occupy the site shown at present.
Twice a year, in May and Nov-ember of each year, an international antique postcard bourse (show) is held in Manhattan. Dealers come from all areas of the states, and from all over the world. No matter what your favorite subject or category…there are postcards to cover it! Rockaway history is my bag and my tag whenever I do attend….and I do all the time!
In November of 2002, nationwide dealers came from VT, NJ, MD, NY MA, OH, MI, CT, ME, FL, WA, and NYC, plus Las Vegas, NV!
World dealers came from Herenth-out in Belgium; Herzilla in Israel; York in England; Budapest in Hungary; Gentilly and Frejus in France; and Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.
Dealers were set up by the Metro-politan Postcard Club in the New Yorker Hotel on 34 Street in Manhat-tan. For the event, the Grand Ball-room, The Crystal Ballroom, and the large foyer between the two, were filled with 50 dealers in antique postcards. Visitors to the show kept the hotel’s Eighth Avenue entrance revolving doors spinning during the Vet-eran’s Day weekend.
The club was founded in 1946 by a handful of people and has grown and prospered since. Meetings are held monthly in the hotel and a mini-show is held in March to help shed the winter blahs! Club auctions and album competitions are also held during the year. Once an album of postcards about the Ole! Night Party won a prize. See, I told you there were cards for all subjects!
Today’s Historical Views presents photos of the international bourse of November 2002, and one postcard I found in the patriotic category. The card is white with a light blue border, and Old Glory is in the great red/white /blue colors with green leaf florals at the gold flagpole crossing God Bless America!
As all Wave newspaper readers already know, the history of the Rock-aways and Broad Channel has been well documented through the picture postcard, since they were first issued in the 1890’s. Artists’ drawings were gravured at first, followed by the black & white halftone printed photos, followed by color gravure photos, and then sepia-tone real photos; black & white real photos; and real color photos.
Yours truly got married, so to speak, to postcards at a small flea market style table in the second floor hallway of King’s Plaza Shopping Center in Brooklyn.
It was run by a fellow from Coney Island, Alex Stein, who happened to be a collector of Coney Island memorabilia! And a rabid one at that!
During a conversation I mentioned that I was into bottle collecting, especially Rock-away Beach and Far Rockaway. Alex then said that he wished he had a Coney Island bottle. I said that I had one… And at that…he grabbed my hand and filled it with Rockaway postcards, stating that if I brought him the Coney Island bottle, he would give me all he had of Rockaway postals.
I did, he did, and a friend at work told me about the metropolitan Post-card Club, which I joined as soon as possible.
My research on the old Rockaway bottles was well underway at the time, but the postcards showed me, and followers of my Historical Views column in The Wave, what old-timers talked about, but had no pictures of! The rest is history!