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Voices of Diversity: Stories from Southeast Queens
Bring your family history to share, and expect to learn something new about the history of your neighborhood! Speakers who came to Southeast Queens from all over the world, will share the stories of their journeys. The Queens Memory team will be on hand to scan your photographs, postcards, and other memorabilia and save them to a free thumb ...
In 1905 the Laurelton Land Company purchased several farms in this area and developed these properties the following year. One theory for the name is that it was given because of the laurels that grew in the vicinity of the railroad station, but it is more probable that there were no laurels and it was simply given a name that seemed attractive.
The Laurelton-Springfield Gardens area was developed as a bedroom community, an area providing a welcome respite for people who worked in New York City and its surrounding areas. The Laurelton-Springfield Gardens area was typical of the many tranquil neighborhoods which offered single family homes and well manicured lawns; a comfortable alternative to the congestion found in Manhattan and other boroughs of New York.
From the 1920s to the 1930s, Laurelton's population expanded tenfold, from 3,000 to 30,000, fueled by Jewish, Irish, Italian and German immigrants seeking homes with backyards for their children. African-Americans with the same objective began arriving in the 1940s. There was some racial tension at first.
The 1960’s and early 1970’s witness a significant increase in Black home ownership in Laurelton. The movement of the black families into the Laurelton –Springfield community though, was accelerated by blockbusting practices. Here unscrupulous real-estate dealers engineered a panic in whites living in the area. By convincing white families that an influx of blacks would cause the value of their property to decline, many whites were persuaded to sell their homes and move to areas more remote with respect to New York City. With more houses available for purchase, a shift in the racial composition of the community was produced. Hoping to stop the blockbusting, Rabbi Harold Singer, leader of a synagogue, began a free real-estate service, employing volunteers to encourage white as well as black families to buy into the community. The experiment gained nationwide attention.
Hoping to stop the blockbusting, Rabbi Harold Singer, leader of a synagogue, began a free real-estate service, employing volunteers to encourage white as well as black families to buy into the community. The experiment gained nationwide attention. Laurelton's population is now predominately black. That is, there is a large presence of African Americans, as well as West Indian Americans. African immigrants are also represented. Hispanic and Asian-American residents are also present in Laurelton.
Ricard, Herbert F. - The Origin of Community Names in Queens. 1944
Jamaica Times 21 Date: FLBA www.lihistory.com
Library service in Laurelton began with two Book Bus stops in 1934. One of the stops moved to a public school in the community, followed by a Deposit Station which opened in April 1936. In response to increasing circulation, the library moved to a larger location on Merrick Boulevard in December 1937.
The branch opened at its current location on January 11, 1955. It was designed and constructed on an 80 by 90 foot site, under the supervision of the Department of Public Works. In 1968 the branch was expanded and in 1985 underwent extensive renovation. The branch’s most recent renovation was completed in the summer of 2004. At this time, two dividable meeting rooms, three self-check machines and nine more computers were added. In September, 2004, the branch celebrated its renovation with entertainment for children and adults. In the summer of 2005 a new roof was added to the library.
The branch’s most recent renovation was completed in the summer of 2004. At this time, two dividable meeting rooms, three self-check machines and nine more computers were added. In September, 2004, the branch celebrated its renovation with entertainment for children and adults. In the summer of 2005 a new roof was added to the library. The funds were raised by Queens Councilman James Sanders Jr., who secured $335,000.
The Queens Borough Public Library Bulletin, October 1939