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In 1642 the Dutch West India Company granted Reverend Francis Doughty 74,000 acres of land: a vast area which was mostly swampy with fresh water pools. This area was originally called “Fresh Ponds” and remained largely undeveloped for a long period.
As the Civil War came to an end, a land developer by the name of George S. Schott obtained a generous amount of this land, as a repayment of a debt owned to him. Schott is credited with giving this area the name Glendale, after a town in Ohio that he grew up in. During this period many German immigrants came to the area and established farms that were well known for their produce and dairy products.
By the late 1800’s, increases in the German immigrant population resulted in the appearance of many beer gardens and picnic grounds. When a city law was passed in 1852 that banned cemeteries from being placed in Manhattan, many looked to Queens. The area around Glendale became known as the “Cemetery Belt” because of its large number of graveyards.
After the end of World War I, farming ceased to be the majority occupation, as breweries and textile factories came on the scene. It was the beginning of the industrial period, which caught the attention of yet a new wave of German immigrants.
The eastern side of Fresh Ponds, where Forest Park is today, was called “Dry Harbor”, for it was said by many that the homes that rested there looked like they were sitting on top of the trees and hills; it looked as if there was a harbor but without any water present.
The German-American influence definitely lingers on in Glendale; the neighborhood boasts many different restaurants and establishments, such as Von Westerhagen’s and Zum Stammtisch
In the 1980’s Glendale attracted a new wave of immigrants from such places as Romania, Serbia, Croatia, and Poland, as well as many from Latin American countries. Like the rest of the borough Glendale has become a vibrantly diverse community.
Glendale is a quiet residential community of one and two-family homes near the Brooklyn-Queens border bounded on the south by Forest Park, the Jackie Robinson Parkway, and a chain of cemeteries, and on the north and northwest by the Montauk and Bay Ridge lines of the Long Island Railroad.
Since the early 1900’s, many of the locals had been interested in bringing a public library to Glendale. A small early library had moved from one spot to another, but by 1928 land for a permanent location was finally purchased by the city at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and 73rd Place. After a long period of pressure from the Glendale locals the Library finally opened its doors on May 29, 1936. Designed in the style of a Renaissance Italian castle, and built by the WPA during the Depression, the Glendale branch is one of the most beautiful of the historical branches in the Queens Library system. Recently, enough money was raised and planning began to have the branch completely restored.