2007-08-24 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

Bungalows In… Neponsit And Rockaway Beach- 1914-1924
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev,Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S.Locke

Summer bungalows began to sprout in the Seaside section of the Rockaways during the early 1900's, and it wasn't long before it easily led many to believe that the bungalow was the future of the peninsula!

But the sections known as Rockaway Park and Belle Harbor did not want cheap structures in their midst. In the rest of the Rockaways, bungalow colonies and courts were reaching the saturation point.

The Neponsit section opened up in 1908, but due to litigation pending over ownership of point lands, development really began in early 1911 after ownership of the 400 Neponsit acres was noted officially in the Neponsit Company. The company then began to build 25 houses in the $6,000 to $12,000 price range. Neponsit had 6,000 lots to sell. The location and size of the houses to be built determined their price. A $25,000 clubhouse was to be built on the bay front. Bungalow building was not mentioned in Neponsit ads at this time. Villa plots ranged from 100'x125' to 100'x157' in size. Company plans ensured that a variety of houses would be built, to eliminate a common look.

In 1914 a lot auction ad stated that 285 seashore lots were up for bids, and that building was restricted to one-family homes and bungalows, one each on 40'x100' lots. On most lots, garages were permitted, also.

These lots were said to be in the charming bungalow section lying between Belle Harbor and the city's seaside park, Riis Park. There were now many pretty bungalows in Neponsit already occupied by their owners.

An auction ad from August 16, 1919 stated that several hundred beautiful houses and tasty bungalows, costing all the way from $3,000 to $20,000, had been built at Neponsit. Bungalows suitable to the property were permitted.

There were covenants in Neponsit deeds stipulating that all homes erected were to be one-family only, to ensure Neponsit remained an exclusive community. These covenants were to be valid until January 31, 1940.

In 1924, it was stipulated that no bungalow courts were allowed in the section, and later on, no apartment houses, hotels, rooming houses, etc.

When millionaire spaghetti king Guissepe Callandro built his villa at 145 Beach 149 Street, he had a three-deck fountain installed, as well as a large statue close by. In 1926, the property passed to a new owner, who removed all and subdivided the villa into lots. Back in 1949, an idea was presented to build a firehouse at Beach 145 Street and the short Neponsit Avenue.

Today's View has our historical camera set up on Neponsit Avenue looking to the northwest up Beach 149 Street. These houses (bungalows?) were built in 1919, and the Laird home is on the corner spot. Riis Park is to the left, or west, and Jamaica Bay is to the north at the end of the street.

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