2018-07-04 / Features

Welcome to July 1903!

Presented By The Greater Astoria Historical Society From Pages Of The Long Island Star Journal


In the Long Island Daily Star, the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company offered a free 46- star American flag free to purchasers of 50 cents worth of merchandise. In the Long Island Daily Star, the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company offered a free 46- star American flag free to purchasers of 50 cents worth of merchandise. In July 1903, Catholics the world over mourned the passing of Pope Leo XIII, who was the oldest pope ever to serve in the Vatican, when he died at 93. Meanwhile, Evansville, Indiana erupted into a race riot as a violent white crowd demanded lynch mob justice for an imprisoned black man who had murdered a policeman. By the time the governor declared martial law and called in the state militia, 12 people died in the gunfire that ensued. Up in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, a tragic explosion at a gunpowder and dynamite warehouse claimed 26 lives and shattered windows miles away.

Here in Queens, the month began with locals planning to celebrate our nation’s 127th birthday.

In the Long Island Daily

Star, the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company offered a free 46- star American flag free to purchasers of 50 cents worth of merchandise. Out in Whitestone, some locals flocked to the long lost Duer’s Pavilion for the festivities, while others in College Point attended a festival with performances by neighborhood singing societies and great beer at Partenfelder’s Park. Over in Flushing, the Fourteenth Regiment band played a selection of rousing patriotic tunes in front of an appreciative crowd of some 2,000 onlookers. Selections included “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” and “Hail Columbia.”

As the fireworks and joyous celebrations of July 4 marked the arrival of another longawaited summer, New Yorkers from all five boroughs flocked to the amusements and sandy shores of North Beach.

Advertisements in the Daily Star that July 115 years ago trumpeted the vanished resort as “Just the Place Where One May Have an Enjoyable Day’s Outing,” and welcomed visitors of all ages with attractions including “Shooting the Chutes, Mammoth Carousels, Toboggan Slides, Pony Tracks, Bathing, Ferris Wheel, Miniature Railway and Board Walks.” Ferries from East 99th Street in Manhattan brought funseekers from the city’s crowded tenements to the resort’s Grand Pier, where they could also partake in picnics, nighttime bathing by electric lights, and enjoy vaudeville shows and dancing.

As locals celebrated the Fourth and flocked to nearby beaches to escape the summer heat, Queens was expanding. The New England Development

& Improvement Company offered free Long Island Rail Road tickets, as well as prize giveaways including an upright piano, for those who ventured out to the new neighborhood of Auburndale for the last auction of building lots. Named after the developer L.H. Green’s hometown in Massachusetts, the area was vast farmland when he purchased it just two years earlier.

That month, Queens also bid farewell to a treasured piece of its past with the razing of an old Colonial period landmark to make way for railroad construction. The old house stood on Middleburg Avenue, now 48th Street, near the Gosman Farm. During the War for Independence, British General Sir William Howe used the house as his headquarters, and gave orders to his officers from the front stoop each morning. The Daily Star described the historical dwelling as “hewn from logs and put together with wooden pegs. It was very firm and the task of tearing it apart was not an easy one.

…In some of the old houses in this section Dutch tiles of excellent workmanship have been found set in the chimneys, but so far as can be learned none was taken from this last victim of progress.”

That's the way it was July 1903!

Compiled by Dan McDonald, Greater Astoria Historical Society. For further information, contact the Society at 718-278-0700 or visit their website at www.astorialic.org.

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