2006-09-08 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

The Mexican Bandit Pancho Villa Kidnapped a Rockawayite On Vacation
From The Rockaway Museum by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

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

Back in 1915 my grandfather, Mike Louis, borrowed $500 dollars from his Rockaway Beach employer at the time, bought a horse and wagon, and began delivering ice to summer bungalow and tent dwellers in Edgemere. Over the following years the Arverne Hygeia Ice Company flourished and became the largest on the peninsula. The home ice delivery business all but ended when refrigerators came in, but some family members carried on in the mechanical refrigeration trade and still do to this day.

The Rockaway employer who loaned money to Grandpa for the venture into the ice business was Jacob Rosenthal, who since 1906 ran a large butcher shop and grocery on the northwest corner of Beach 86 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The family patriarch drove a horse and wagon for Rosenthal to make deliveries to homes and hotels as well as picking up meat stocks and groceries for the popular store.

As fate would have it, a year or so later Mr. Rosenthal and family went to Mexico on vacation. Rosenthal was subsequently kidnapped by Mexican bandits headed by Pancho Villa...pictured in Views today.

It was reported that a ransom was called for and paid, but Rosenthal was found murdered anyway. A conflicting report stated that $50,000 was paid and Rosenthal was released. Apparently the former was true for the store changed hands and ads no longer appeared in The Wave. In 1916 war with Mexico was feared due to the fact that Bandit Villa was raiding American cities by coming over the border into the states. The U.S. Army went into Mexico after Villa and his band with mixed results. After this the U.S. Seventh Cavalry was given the job of protecting our southern border.

Do it again- Uncle Sam!!

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I AGREE DO IT AGAIN UNCLE SAM GUARD ALL OUR BORDER'S


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