2012-07-13 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

A Short Story About Beach 9 Street, Far Rockaway, Queens
From The Rockaway Museum by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

The present Beach 9 Street in Far Rockaway runs from Central Avenue in a slight southeasterly direction, to the beachfront below Seagirt Boulevard. At about the halfway mark, Empire Boulevard crosses from the east and becomes Cornaga Avenue heading west. This intersection is like a ‘crossroads’, for in the old days, all the main drags to Far Rockaway came to this point. Rockaway Turnpike, Broadway, Central Avenue, and part of Cornaga Avenue gave access to the beachfront on Beach 19 Street. Broadway or Rockaway Turnpike was the official ‘moniker’ for the road. The lower part of Beach 9 Street first appeared on a map drawn in 1852, and ended at the Cole House, located at about the present Hicksville Road. The marsh area of east Far Rockaway had not been filled in as yet. In 1869 the Southside Railroad’s first plan to build a railroad to Far Rockaway, was to have the track come down what is today the north portion of Beach 9 Street, cross Cornaga Avenue along the same line as the railroad planned to use. In 1888 the lower half of Beach 9 Street was continued over the marsh to the beachfront, and named Jarvis Lane, after Nathaniel Jarvis who owned land on both sides.

As a promotion for land development, Nameoke Lane was placed as the name, after the peacemaker of the same name in James Fenimore Cooper’s novel, “The Last of the Mohicans.”

But in 1891 a newly published atlas showed the whole length as Oak Street. Two decades later the south portion was shown as Jarvis Lane again, and the road became Beach 9 Street in 1920, when numbers were given to all streets in the Rockaways. To this day, only an experienced cab driver can find his way around in Far Rockaway without getting lost. Developments on both sides of the street were known as Oak Hill, Cedar Lawn, and Nameoke Park.

Today, Historical Views presents a view of the north end of Beach 9 Street in 1912 as Oak Street. The camera is near the present Dinsmore Avenue facing north towards Central Avenue. The cathedral-like Russell Sage Memorial Presbyterian Church is on the north side of Central Avenue at background center, and if you go one block to the west you are on Beach 12 Street!

The postcard was mailed in mid January, and the writer stated that it was like summer in Far Rockaway, and the snow was melting very fast. In 1912 there were 32 buildings on the whole of Beach 9 Street.

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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