2008-06-27 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

The Very First Far Rockaway Boardwalk - 1897 to 1903
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

A fter the first outer beach (Hog Island) located off the mainland shore at Far Rockaway was destroyed, by a direct hit hurricane in

September of 1983, it took several years for Hog Island Two to develop. The new outer beach was close enough to shore for bridges to give access to it, whereas the old Hog Island was reached by steam cable ferries!

For the season of 1897, the new beach and bathing pavilions on the Far Rockaway outer beach shore opened for business.

The first Hog Island did not have a boardwalk as such, but had wooden sidewalks or end planks laid out on the sand. The second Hog Island sported an end to end elevated walk about six feet wide and about four feet high.

Built between the beach and the bath house complexes and pavilions, the elevated structure allowed those who did not want to bathe free access to the walk for that pleasant stroll in the fresh sea air and sunshine. Many visitors rented chairs and umbrellas to sit on the beach and soak up the rays!

Today's view shows the pavilions, baths, and fully clothed patrons on the beach.

William Caffrey of Far Rockaway owned all the facilities on the new Hog Island, as he was the only one that did not give up when storm after storm wrecked Far Rockaway's oceanfront. However, another direct hit by a storm in September of 1903 washed away the whole of Hog Island two - forever!

Caffrey opened new facilities on the mainland shore, but finally gave up and sold out in 1907.

In 1908, the famous Roche's Beach opened on the oceanfront of Far Rockaway.

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