2008-02-29 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

The Edgemere Club Hotel, Beach 35 Street, Edgemere
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev,Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

The huge Edgemere Club Hotel opened in 1895 near the ocean on Grand Avenue (Beach 35 Street) south of Sprayview Avenue. The magnificent and well attended hostelry survived storm erosion damage to its beachfront breakwater (which was totally destroyed once in the late 1890's and severely damaged by subsequent storms in later years); severe erosion on the building's west side where a new inlet to Jamaica Bay was almost accomplished by storm flood waters; and heavy erosion to the eastside area which destroyed many connecting boardwalks to other hotels nearby, and the railroad station.

What the hotel could not survive was change! As the older clientele dropped off, the newer generation's tastes changed, and by the beginning of the 1930's the hotel fell into debt, back taxes owed, and the threat of fire that had destroyed other large hotels in the Rockaways.

So to reduce the tax burden and the threat of fire, the owners had the place demolished in 1935. The demolition was said to have taken about one month, and plenty of secondhand lumber, sashes, molding, etc. became available at local lumberyards. A host of smaller cottages, apartment and rooming houses were built on the site.

In this view we are looking at the tennis courts on the east side of the building, and the west side was a carbon copy. The beach is to the left and Sprayview Avenue is to the right, as is the Edgemere LIRR station. In the early 1900's a stagecoach ran to the hotel from Garden City in Nassau County. Public School # 106 still stands where the tennis players are seen.

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