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Cambria Heights was originally a farming community which supplied produce to Brooklyn and Manhattan. It began developing in 1923 on 163 acres of land bought by Oliver B. LaFreniere, a real-estate agent. It acquired the name Cambria in about 1924 from its owner the ‘Cambria Title Savings and Trust Company’ a coal concern located in Cambria County, Pennsylvania. “Heights” was added because of the area’s high elevation.
First populated by Jewish, German, Irish and Italian residents, the community became a predominantly Black, middle-class suburb after the Second World War. Present demographics reveal a community comprised predominantly of African Americans and West Indians.
Library service for the community began in 1930 with the establishment of a bookmobile stop on Linden Boulevard for one hour a week. The following year, the bookmobile moved to PS 147 where it provided service to the children for a few hours each week. Service expanded as demand grew leading eventually to the need for a regular library.
Campaign efforts by a committee of the Civic Association resulted in the opening on July 15, 1949 of a sub-branch in rental quarters on Linden Boulevard. In 1964, the rental facilities were expanded and upgraded to a new location, 220-20 Linden boulevard, where it remained until 2006.
The latest incarnation of the Cambria Heights library is a state-of-the-art facility located at 218-13 Linden Boulevard. Opened in 2006, the library offers computers, WiFi, programs and materials of all types for all ages.
Cambria Heights before it was Born by George W. Winans (Pamphlet)
The Origin of Community Names in Queens Borough. (Pamphlet)
The Encyclopedia of New York City ed. by Kenneth T. Jackson