2009-10-16 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

St. Rose Of Lima Roman Catholic Church - Rockaway Beach, N.Y.
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

Many of us are familiar with the present St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church on Beach 84 Street, near Shorefront Parkway. The gothic structure was erected in 1906, and the first mass and dedication was held on September 27, 1907.

With Rockaway Beach wanting a Catholic church of its own (the closest being St. Mary's in Far Rockaway) a local resident, Mrs. Serafina Magliola (who lived on Beach 84 Street, then Fairview Avenue, the building best remembered as O'Connor's Funeral Parlor) donated $150 and began a building fund for a church, this was in 1884.

On August 30, 1886 the first mass was celebrated in the new wood frame St. Rose of Lima Church on Fairview Avenue at the corner of Cedar or Barry Street (a driveway to Beach 85 Street) near the Long Island Railway. A small cul-de-sac in back of the Hammel project marks the old site at present.

The vintage picture post card view appearing today was mailed in 1906, and contains a splendid photo of the old church. The inset is of Father Henry F. Murray, who was pastor from 1900 to 1912, and Barry Place is on the right, with a glimpse of the old Hammel's LIRR station. Fairview Avenue is in the foreground, and the trolley tracks from the station to the boulevard (where the trolley turned west to Rockaway Park) are readily seen. The trolley stopped in front of the church - both ways.

After the new church opened, the old building became a shirtwaist factory, and prior to World War One, became a community center. The grassy plot in the foreground became the site of the Western-Union Atlantic Cable building around the same time. The old Magliola Home site is now occupied by the St. Rose of Lima School on Beach 84 Street.

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