2012-06-29 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

The Tack-A-Pou-Sha Hotel and Annex, Far Rockaway, New York…Built 1888
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

In 1888 David Roche, a contractor for roads and buildings, had the foresight and confidence in the future of Far Rockaway as an ocean resort, just as many earlier pioneers in the area had before him.

He tore down his small hotel located on the northeast corner of Grandview Avenue (Beach 17 Street) on the north side of South Street (Seagirt Boulevard) and constructed a giant hotel on the old site, and named it after the last ‘Machingwa Sachema’ or the last great chief of the Rockaway tribe …Tackapousha!

With the success of the new hotel, Roche was forced to build an annex, and this new construction was called the Dolphin Roadhouse and Hotel. In today’s historical view, the Roadhouse is on the left, the Tackapousha on the right, South Street in the foreground, and Grandview Avenue on the left of the Dolphin House.

The Tackapousha was four and a half stories high, with facilities for the horse and carriage, stables, and a garage for autos later on.

The Dolphin was only one and a half stories, and was later enlarged to two and a half stories complete with a wrap around porch, which covered the fronting sidewalks. Nice!

Those who wished to bathe in the ocean took the small ferry to the Hog Island or outer beach, which was about a thousand feet offshore. The body of water between the outer beach and the Far Rockaway mainland was known as Far Rockaway Bay, that was connected to Jamaica Bay by a man-made canal, and had an outlet to the ocean far to the east of Far Rockaway proper.

The grounds of both places provided rest and relaxation for guests, as well as the fun and games of the time; croquet and lawn tennis!

The hotels had room enough for a few hundred guests and transients, and the best of wines, liquors, and food were served, there was nightly entertainment, plus night or moonlight cruises on Far Rockaway Bay.

Son Edward inherited his father’s holdings in 1912, and he modernized the Tackapousha and garages, moved the Dolphin up further on Beach 17 Street and converted it to a rooming house, built four large hotels to the west between Beach 17 and 19 Streets (which later were taken over by the Hebrew Institute of Long Island), built an apartment complex nearby, and started the famous place known as Roche’s Beach – by building bath houses and the Colony Club on the beach side of the Roche property.

In 1922 the Tackapousha Hotel was destroyed by fire and replaced by an apartment house.

Three years later Edward Roche vigorously opposed the new boardwalk over his beach holdings at Far Rockaway, and won out!

However, he died intestate in 1931, and his estate passed to you know who! In 1963 Roche’s Beach was razed for the building of O’Donahue Park, and the Hi-Li buildings were demolished in 1980, for the Hartman “Y” complex.

With O’Donahue Park came a new concrete promenade from Beach 17 Street to Beach 9 Street.

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