2006-03-10 / Columnists

The Old Rockaway Beach Was Host To The Inner City Children

Old Rockaway Beach and Far Rockaway were host, so to speak, to a great number of facilities for young children, in the interest of the children's health and happiness.

In 1879 The Long Island Times newspaper reported that the Seaside Sanitarium had already cared for 20,000 children and their mothers, which indicates a long existence. No exact location has been found, just that it was located in Seaside.

An 1886 map noted a Dr. King's Sanitarium on the shorefront at Beach 76 Street.

The Long Island Weekly Star reported in 1890 that the Hebrew Sanitarium was now located in Rockaway Park, and an 1891 atlas confirmed this as being located between Beach 110 and Beach 111 Streets.

Later reports indicated that St. Mary's Church has secured a building in Rockaway Beach on Beach 76 Street, formerly of the Hebrew Home. The Far Rockaway Church reported that the Sisters of St. Joseph were to run the home at the beach. Later, the sisters secured a larger place in Far Rockaway, and the Beach 76 Street building was sold to a hotelkeeper.

In 1898 the Hebrew Home was bursting at the seams, and an annex was opened in a nearby rented hotel. Additional fundraising led to the opening of an addition to the Rockaway Park building in 1906.

In 1947, the institution relocated to Far Rockaway, and the old premises was sold to the Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum, which opened St. John's Home in 1948. Other facilities mentioned were:

+ The St. George Seaside Cottages for Children, Beach 110 Street.

+ St. Malachy's Home, Rockaway Park.

+ The Gustav Hartman Home, Rockaway Beach and Far Rockaway.

+ The Evelyn Goldsmith Home, in Rockaway Beach and Far Rockaway.

+ The Wavecrest Convalescent Home.

+ The Maimonedes Home, Bayswater.

+ The Children's Haven, Far Rockaway.

+ The Hebrew Kindergarten, Far Rockaway.

+ The Seaside Home for Young Men and Women.

+ St. Bartholomew's Home for Children, Rockaway Beach.

+ The Surf House for Children, Seaside.

+ The Father Drumgoole Home for Newsboys, Edgemere.

+ Israel Orphan Asylum, Far Rockaway.

+ Brooklyn Convalescent Home, Far Rockaway.

+ Children's Summer Home, Far Rockaway.

Many organizations rented buildings throughout the peninsula, and space in several tent cities in the east and west ends during summer. The great campaigning by Jacob Riis and others, in the early 1900s, always sought places for inner city children and their mothers that were full of fresh air and sunshine. The Rockaways filled that requirement, and today's View expresses exactly that! The drawing is from an ancient steamboat advertisement.

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