2011-11-04 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

The Rockaway Hunt Club, Bayswater, Far Rockaway
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke


The Rockaway Hunt Club was founded in the Bayswater section of Far Rockaway in 1878, on land leased from the Aunt Sally Mott Homestead. One Steeplechase event (a horse race) was held each year, as were fox and hound hunts. A rough course was built east of the clubhouse, which was near the intersection of Mott and Bayswater Avenues. There were about 60 members by 1883. After negotiations for more land failed, the Rockaway Steeplechase Association secured land and moved to Cedarhurst, in the Five Towns. Purchased were 50 acres, where a turf track was built and the LIRR constructed a siding to the track for the Association, which now had 100 members. Two races a year were held up until 1889. The new venture was not a financial success and the clubhouse burned down in 1893. A few years later, laws were passed to ban betting at horse race tracks in New York, and all the tracks on Long island were closed. The Rockaway Hunt Club carried on hunting with the hounds until 1899, when home building in the neighborhood took hold. The Rockaway Hunt Club held on, and by 1918 had 350 members, 90 acres of land, an 18-hole golf course, 18 tennis courts, a polo field, squash courts, and a trap shooting area. The Club is still going strong, and a 1930s postcard photo of the Clubhouse appears in today’s Views. The Rockaway Hunt Club was founded in the Bayswater section of Far Rockaway in 1878, on land leased from the Aunt Sally Mott Homestead. One Steeplechase event (a horse race) was held each year, as were fox and hound hunts. A rough course was built east of the clubhouse, which was near the intersection of Mott and Bayswater Avenues. There were about 60 members by 1883. After negotiations for more land failed, the Rockaway Steeplechase Association secured land and moved to Cedarhurst, in the Five Towns. Purchased were 50 acres, where a turf track was built and the LIRR constructed a siding to the track for the Association, which now had 100 members. Two races a year were held up until 1889. The new venture was not a financial success and the clubhouse burned down in 1893. A few years later, laws were passed to ban betting at horse race tracks in New York, and all the tracks on Long island were closed. The Rockaway Hunt Club carried on hunting with the hounds until 1899, when home building in the neighborhood took hold. The Rockaway Hunt Club held on, and by 1918 had 350 members, 90 acres of land, an 18-hole golf course, 18 tennis courts, a polo field, squash courts, and a trap shooting area. The Club is still going strong, and a 1930s postcard photo of the Clubhouse appears in today’s Views. If You have Any Old Photos or Historical Information About The Rockaways
Please Send It To: HISTORICAL ROCKAWAY
C/O THE WAVE P.O. BOX 930097 ROCKAWAY BEACH, N.Y. 11693

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