2007-07-06 / Columnists

From The Rockaway Museum

Somerville, North Arverne, Rockaway Beach
Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

Somerville, North Arverne, Rockaway Beach... 1913
Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

Courtesy: The Russell Family
Courtesy: The Russell Family

After the death of Remington Vernam in 1907, Louis J. Somerville of New Jersey continued to operate Arverne Realty and Development Associates to finish building the new Somerville section in north Arverne's newly filled marshes. Somerville was planned for the area north of the railroad, between Vernam and Somerville basins.

The Somerville Development was mapped out, and sales of lots began at the Somerville Realty Building Company offices located at street corners along Amstel Boulevard (Beach Channel Drive).

Long before the new development was completed and lots were sold for building homes, improvements to the LIRR were asked for, and begun by the railroad. Train service was updated and the two Arverne train stations were modernized. Both stations received new ticket offices and waiting rooms for trains and local trolley service. The Straiton Avenue station at Beach 59 Street was rebuilt and enlarged. The Gaston Avenue station was moved from Beach 66 Street, and an entirely new station was put up without the old station's classic clock tower. (See the Arverne section coverage in my book, The Rockaways, available online.)

Both stations now had an elevated platform for eastbound and westbound trains, plus a ground-level platform for a trolley on the north side of the triple-track right of way. The freight station at Straiton Avenue was enlarged at this time. The Gaston station had a two-block service street on the north side called Kelp Road. The road ran from Beach 67 to Beach 69 Street and became a park after the LIRR was fully elevated in 1943.

Today's view shows the Gaston Avenue station in 1913 with the separate LIRR and trolley line service buildings. Beach 67 Street is in the foreground. At the top left, the giant Majestic Hotel on the southeast corner of Beach 69 Street can be seen. The new Kelp Road is on the right.

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