2008-10-10 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

The Popular Florence House Hotel Hammels, Rockaway Beach - 1908
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

John H. Hanley's Florence House Hotel and Bath House were the most frequented in the Hammels section of the Rockaways. The establishment had an excellent location on the beach end of Division Avenue (Beach 82 Street).

The view shown today was printed in a spring issue of The Wave in 1908, and shows a building now three stories high, up from two and a half as shown in an atlas of the previous year. The bath house had also been enlarged for the 1908 season. Hanley boasted of a well stocked café next to his open-air restaurant, and that his baths offered the finest flannel bathing suits for the younger crowd, plus woolen worsted suits for the older clientele.

St. Rose Roman Catholic Church is to the right (slightly northwest) and behind the hotel is Ocean Avenue, a block long, which fronted the building and connected Division Avenue with dodge Avenue (Beach 81 Street) and has long since been demapped.

Florence House was built in the early 1900s and was destroyed by the great winter storm of 1914, and rebuilt two blocks to the west on Beach 84 Street.

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