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The community of Maspeth was settled in 1642 by the Reverend Francis Doughty and has the distinction of being the first organized settlement in Queens history. First named Mespat after the Mespaechtes Indians who inhabited land at the head of the Newtown Creek, the region’s original name meant ‘bad water place.’ In 1643, the area was besieged by surrounding Indian tribes and destroyed. It was abandoned soon after, only to become resettled with the establishment of Middleburg (Newtown) in 1652.
With the development of roads in the 18th century, Maspeth emerged as an industrial and commercial district; residents labored in a variety of industries and trades, which included firefighting, truck driving, sanitation work, and shop keeping. Initially, the ethnic profile of the community featured peoples of a broad European ancestry; the Polish, Italian, Irish, and German communities numbered among the largest of these and provided a diverse workforce for the burgeoning area.
On July 27, 1911, library service in Maspeth began. Following nearly seven decades and a number of relocations, the Maspeth Branch library found a permanent site for operations in 1975, and remains there today. An ever-changing community, Maspeth continues to expand with the arrival of Hispanic, Indian, and Asian communities. Subsequently, the responsibilities and services of the library have expanded to meet the unique challenges of the Maspeth community and its citizens.