Remembrances of Oscar Weiss, a Lifelong College Pointer

During this time when most of Poppenhusen Institute’s programs have been temporarily shut down- I have had time to delve into our historic collection. As a result, we’ll be posting memories of Long-Ago College Point, as well as quizzes about College Point’s history on our Facebook page 2x a week. I hope that you will enjoy them.  -Susan K. Brustmann

Written in March 1926 about his Remembrances of 1876.

“The Centennial year recalls to my mind, my boyhood home, its dirt roads, its orchards, the beaches with their diving rocks, scenes that have long passed, rise in review for recollection. 

College Point in 1876 was but a struggling village.  Even then it bore the air of smug respectabilities and dignity, which has ever characterized the community.  Just as at present, the Point was then in the throes (sic) of a land and building boom occasionally by the construction through the Point of the Whitestone branch of the LIRR . . .  The RR brought to C.P. the only rapid transportation it had up to that time, for travel to the outside world depended entirely upon the horse and buggy and every resident kept a stable.  There was however, some service by water to Manhattan.

The taxpayers of those days fared better than those of today for if they wanted improvements and made proper petition for them, they invariably received prompt attention from the village fathers and were not obliged to wait 15 years until the improvements were completed. (Oh but for the good old days.)

College Point of the (18)70s was very, very wet.  It was with entire justification classed as the wettest town on L.I. for its size.  It was estimated that there was a beer saloon for nearly every 100 inhabitants. Yet despite this, College Point was one of the most orderly and law-abiding communities in the entire state.  The Village’s fame as a picnic resort was already established and several of the large resort hotels, which have gone out of existence only in the last ten years were known to New Yorkers and visitors to N.Y. One of the most famous of the resorts, however, Point View Island, then known as Garvey’s Island, was still farmland and orchards.

. . .Socially College Point of those days was divided literally by a stone wall, which ran along First (14) Avenue,( the economic dividing line of the community) north of whom lived those whom fortune smiled on or substantial businessmen, most of whom came from Hamburg or its vicinity.( that is why they were known as the Hamburgers)   This northern section of the Point contained many fine homes and estates, several which were show places of Long Island.  South of the wall dwelt those who toiled in the factories, the small businesspeople. (they were known as Heidelberger’s) 

. . .The Point of 76 had an entirely different aspect form the building industrial Point of today along 3rd Ave. (15th Ave.) from 15th Street down past the Old Lawrence homestead, the oldest building in Point, large apple orchard flanked the road.  Orchards also covered Stratton’s Hall to Nostrand’s Woods in Grantville.

. . .The orchards were raided continuously, particularly those where trespassing was expressly forbidden.

. . .Winter sports were particularly enjoyable.  There was ample opportunity for bobsledding, tobogganing and skating.  FINK’S Pond, now covered by a group of buildings at Fourth Ave. and 16th Street . . .was a favorite spot for the skaters and Sixth Ave. hill from the Lutheran Church to the bay, was the best place in the world for sledding.

. . .The school on 6th Ave. (22 Avenue and 125th Street)), now known as P.S. 29 was erected in 1876, and I was among the first to be enrolled as a pupil. (that was the original PS29 .

Real sociology (sic) existed in College Point and has never died out.  There were many clubs and fraternal organizations and singing societies.

. . .College Point’s orchards and woodlands are now memories but the host of pleasant reflections of those olden days when pleasure cost so much less in nervous strain and material wealth will return often to color and mellow the remaining years of the boys of 76.

March 24, 1926

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