2009-01-02 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

What Happened To The Old, So To Speak, "Gas House Gang"
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

This old badly produced photo from a 1929 issue of The Wave shows a few members of the old Rockaway Beach Gas House Gang, composed of the residents living around the old gas producing plant, and the large gas holding tank. Both belonged to the old Queensborough gas and electric company, which became LILCO in the 1950s. Then years later came LIPA and Keyspan, plus a bigger bill — both ways.

On the left hanging clothes is Mrs. William Cook, then Bertha Spiro with Rosemary Driscoll in the carriage, followed by Mrs. Thomas Driscoll with Jean Zimmerman in the Stroller.

The subject of the main picture caption was that Seaside residents have become indignant over dirt which they cast as soot from the gas plant.

The company, after protests, made tests to ascertain if the dirt/soot was coming from the plant. The company stated that the plant cannot run without making some airborne dirt, and that it would do its best to stop the nuisance. Also stated was the fact that there are many unpaved streets in the vicinity and increasing auto and truck traffic could be causing the problem.

Is anybody still around who lived near the gas house, which was located north of the railroad and west of Beach 108 Street, in Rockaway Park? I could not find any follow-ups to this problem.

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