Developed from farmland south of Woodhaven in 1882, Ozone Park was the brainchild of two land developers, Benjamin Hitchcock and Charles C. Denton. It was named for the “ozone,” the clean, fresh air of the ocean and bay. Purchasers of tracts of land sold by Hitchcock and Denton enjoyed the new area along the New York, Woodhaven and Rockaway Railroad leading to Howard Beach and Rockaway Beach. Ozone Park earned its own railroad stop on this train route, south of 101st Avenue. Early residents were the first to experience the thrill of riding the elevated train over the water to spend the day at the beach. Hitchcock and Denton then expanded the area of Ozone Park south, east and north till Ozone Park was double its original size. In 1889, Ozone Park was given its own post office with Enos H. McArthur as the first postmaster. 1896 brought the development of Ozone Park Heights as far south as Rockaway Blvd. The area was popular for housing development because of the easy and inexpensive train commute into Manhattan.
Ozone Park’s claim to fame is the largest thoroughbred racing track in the United States, Aqueduct Racetrack. This developed out of the Centerville Race Track and the Union Race Track of the 1880’s. Man o’War and the Seabiscuit of the book and movie were among the famous horses that raced in Aqueduct.
Seyfried, Vincent F. The Story of Woodhaven and Ozone Park,
Queens Community Series, Woodhaven, NY 1985, pp. 61-63
The first library service in Ozone Park began as the Ozone Park Free Circulating Library. It was founded in 1896 by the Women’s Club of Ozone Park and one year later was funded and supported by annual membership dues from a new library association. On January 1, 1901 the library united with the new Queens Borough Public Library. Its first recorded circulation was 7023 books and 385 borrowers. The library’s location was moved many times over these first few years but every location remained close to 101st Avenue near the present Woodhaven Blvd.
In 1929 the library took over the auditorium of the hall owned by the Woodhaven Exempt Volunteer Fireman’s Association on 101st Avenue. Firemen’s trophies adorned the building and added to the excitement. In 1953 this building was sold to the Catholic Church and the library moved to a former supermarket. Its current location was erected in 1975 and established as a branch library in 1976.
SOURCE: “Survey of Ozone Park, December 1962,” Ozone Park, Region IV. Unpublished data retained by branch.