2009-12-04 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

The Old Fishing Pier at Beach 116 Street, Rockaway Park
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

When Kaiser Wilhelm led Germany into the First World War in 1914 and agreed to an armistice in late 1918, plans were made to build a night spot, dance palace, and restaurant on the Jamaica Bay shore. As a result, Claude Edgett opened his Harbor Inn in that area which included a pier 410 feet long out into the bay. The pierhead was rather large (approximately 80 by 60) and had provisions for boats to tie up and waterlevel floats. Presented in "Views" today is a picture postcard view of Edgett's dock at Beach 116 Street and the bay. Next door, to the west on Beach 117 Street was the Rockaway Park Yacht Club, and the neighbor to the east was Red Farrel's service station. In later years the Inn was remodeled, complete with a tall lighthouse at the front, which was considered a landmark. The Harbor Inn did well and featured top orchestras to play in the large dancehall/ dining room combination.

Many places fell from grace as new ones opened, and so did the old Harbor Inn. By the late 1950s the inn was closed, and was finally torn down in the early 1960s. It seems as though a plan was afoot to build a large marina from Beach 116 Street to Beach 119 Street. This plan died in the water!

The bay-front between Beach 88 Street and Beach 116 Street was bulkheaded and filled in the early 1920s. In the late 1930s, the present Beach Channel Drive was built, with the result that much of the dock and building were on dry land. A drugstore now occupies the site.

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