Bits of History About Queens Before Consolidation 1898


Queens is the largest in area of any of the boroughs which enter the City of New York and still the most easterly point of its 79,347 acres (almost double the area of the entire City of Brooklyn), is but sixteen miles from the New York City Hall, or about as distant as the northernmost limit of the Borough of Manhattan. Its population is about 128,000 and the assessed valuation of its property is $85,000,000. The total bonded indebtedness of the various municipalities within its territory is about $12,000,000. The present p population of Long island City is about 50,000; of Newtown, about 26,000; of Jamaica, 25,000, and Flushing, 24,000, and that portion of the Town of Hempstead comprising the Fifth Ward of the borough, 5,000. The population of the Village of Flushing is 12,000; Jamaica, 8,000; Far Rockaway, 3,500, and Richmond Hill, 3,000; College Point, 7,500; Whitestone, 3,000. Jamaica has a fine town hall, built at an expense of $150,000, and Flushing has a commodious town hall. The Normal School at Jamaica is the only one in this section of the state.

The Borough of Queens comes into the greater city with a number of valuable improvements. it has a fine system of paved and macadamized streets. Every village and the rural districts have provided ample educational facilities and over forty handsome and commodious school buildings, several of them high schools, have been erected at a cost ranging $10,000 to $90,000 each. Long island City and the larger villages are provided with ample sewer systems and with abundant supplies of water and efficient fire apparatus. it also has a few small parks. its water front on Long island Sound and the East River available for wharves and warehouses is not less than thirty miles in extent and the water fronts of Jamaica Bay and its numerous islands can be made sites for thousands of beautiful homes. The magnificent stretch of Rockaway Beach affords a breathing spot on the ocean front unexcelled for its scenery and fine bathing facilities.

When the new charter went into effect on January 1 four justices of peace in each of the towns, two justices of peace in Long island City, a town clerk in each of the towns, and a mayor, a city clerk, treasurer, board of education, aldermen, police, fire and water commissioners and commissioners of public works in Long island City and two overseers of poor, three highway commissioners and a number of town constables in each of the towns all went out of office. The  powers of the supervisors was curtailed in that they have no power now to levy taxes or enter into any contracts for their towns and after the first Monday in April their terms of office will expire. All the officials of the several incorporated villages and school districts went out of office on January 1.

The town halls of Flushing, Jamaica and Newtown are all now the property of new York and will be used as municipal buildings for the holding of courts and offices for the various deputy commissioners. The principal borough building will be located at Long island City. The present City hall is not the property of Long island City, being leased from private owners, and it is unsuited to the purposes of a borough building. it will probably be used, however, until a more suitable building can be erected.

The principal officers of the borough are the president, the members of the municipal council and the Aldermen. These constitute the borough board and they will hold their meetings in the borough building at Long island City.

Among the various municipal officers selected for the borough and who will have offices in the borough, are deputy commissioners of highways, street cleaning, sewers, health, water, bridges, public buildings, parks, and of the Tax Department; chief of Queens Bureau of Elections, six marshals, nine members of School Board of Queens, borough superintendent of schools, two associate superintendents, deputy superintendent of school buildings, assistant sanitary superintendent and assistant fire marshals and a large number of clerks and lesser officials in these various departments. There are fifty-eight officials appointed in the borough, with salaries from $1,000 to $5,000 each.

The entire Police Department of the city will be managed at the headquarters in the Borough of Manhattan. The seventy-five patrolmen of Long island City and the patrolmen of the incorporated villages now become members of the city police where qualified for the position. Three police precincts will correspond with the municipal districts and mounted police will be employed in the thinly settled territory.

Three municipal justices for the hearing of civil causes are appointed, one for Long island City, one for Flushing and Newtown, and one for Jamaica and Hempstead. Three city magistrates are also appointed under the terms of the charter for the same territory, and one justice of Special Sessions has been appointed for the Borough of Queens. it is understood that the magistrate appointed for the Second District, Newtown and Flushing, will sit at Flushing in the morning, at Newtown in the afternoon, and for the Third District will sit alternately at Jamaica and Far Rockaway.

The three towns and that portion of the Town of Hempstead, included in the city limits, and all of which the combined territory now known as the Borough of Queens, have seen many vicissitudes of government since they were first granted patents by the old Dutch governor, Peter Stuyvesant, 1660 to 1662. Jamaica was the first to receive a charter. Later they all received charters from Governor Dongan and Governor Nicoll. They maintained their local courts and an independent magistracy under the various colonial governors, except during a portion of the Revolutionary War, and were among the earliest people to reorganize their town and county government after the war and to send their representatives to the Legislature of the free and Independent State of New York.

The Village of Jamaica was made the seat of justice for the North Riding of Yorkshire in 1665, and so continued after the division of Long island into counties and until the Court House was built on Hempstead Plains in 1788. The offices of the surrogate and county clerk were never removed from the village. The location of the court house was changed in 1872 to Long island City. That city was created from the territory of the Town of Newtown in 1870. The Village of Jamaica was incorporated April 15, 1814. The Village of Flushing was incorporated in 1838 and has been since that time the largest village in the county. The other incorporated villages in the borough were Richmond Hill, College Point, Whitestone, Rockaway Park, Far Rockaway and Arverne.


Website: The History
Article Name: Bits of History About Queens Before Consolidation 1898
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle January 2, 1898
Time & Date Stamp: