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Woodside is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Queens. Although it was inhabited by European settlers in the early years, it did not grow substantially until the 1800s because it was a dangerous and isolated area of snake-infested swamps and wolf-inhabited woods. In the1860’s, the first developers, Benjamin W. Hitchcock and John Andrew Kelly, moved in and the Community of Woodside was formed. Kelly built a home that he called “Woodside” after the nearby forests. The name also became popular from a series of newspaper articles he wrote from his home. In 1869, more than one thousand lots were laid out by Benjamin Hitchcock, generating the first massive building of the new village Woodside.
The completion of the Queensboro Bridge and subway tracks allowed more people to migrate into Woodside and the population reached 6000 by 1910. Eventually the city of New York and other developers began building in the area to accommodate the influx of people. Woodside has since grown as a mixed residential, commercial, and manufacturing suburb for working class people.
Public library service didn’t arrive in Woodside until 1908 when the Woodside Improvement Association succeeded in converting Mr. H. Wikters’ General Store into a public library, known as a “traveling library station”. On June 19, 1910, the city-funded branch library opened to the public with Anna Burns as librarian. The library was housed on the first floor of a two-story frame building on the southwest corner of Roosevelt Avenue and 58th Street. During World War I, the library served as a community activity center. The branch later temporarily relocated to a newly built store at 59-12 Woodside Avenue until 1932 when it moved to its permanent location on the southwest corner of 55th Street and Skillman Avenue. In 1963, after the building underwent extensive renovation and rehabilitation, it reopened to the public with a new entrance on Skillman Avenue. The branch building was again updated in 1999, improving access to the building for those with disabilities. The Woodside Community Library primarily serves the area bounded by Northern Boulevard to the north, Maurice Ave to the south, 50th St. to the east, and Brooklyn–Queens Expressway to the west. Among the residents of Woodside, most are immigrants. Chinese immigrants are the largest group. Ecuadorians are the second largest group. Koreans, Colombians, Bangladesh, Filipinos, Asian Indians, Guyanese, Peruvians and Irish are also well represented in Woodside.
More information about the Woodside community is available from the following sources:
Woodside at a glance:www.maxhome.netfirms.com/
Woodside: a tour through the past, present, and culture of a historic urban community:http://users.bestweb.net/~brouwer/
Catherine Gregory: Woodside, Queens County, New York : a historical perspective, 1652-1994.
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately one of two American men and one of three American women will have some type of cancer at some point during their lifetime. Queens Library HealthLink seeks to increase access to cancer screening and cancer treatment among medically underserved communities in Queens. Queens Library HealthLink is a partnership between Queens Library, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Queens Cancer Center of Queens Hospital and the American Cancer Society.