Thursday, May 15, 2014

Midland Railroad Company Trolley Tracks - Van Duzer Street - part 1

I haven't posted much on this site over the past few years because it's become hard to find the sorts of things that interest me. I've used up most of the decent pictures on the NYPL site pertaining to the North Shore, and I'm too lazy busy to spend time going through the microfiche at the St. George Library of the WPA pictures.

That said, I've become invigorated lately to try and do more (thanks, Mr. Cancemi!). I don't want this site and it's attendant facebook group to die, so I was hit by a strong urge to do some research today.

I've discovered that entering a street name into the NYC Archives can lead to some exciting things. Today, I uncovered a huge cache of pictures showing the track of the Midland Railroad Company's Midland Beach Line along Van Duzer Street. They're from between 1921 and 1925 and show some remarkable stuff.

I'm going to put up the first batch today and the rest over the next few weeks. Zoomed in, there's some incredible detail and I want highlight that. I think one of them shows the German Club that I've read about but never actually seen before. Another has the original Staten Island Academy/Elk's Club. This is some great stuff.

Looking at Water Street from the foot of Wright Street

In the 1926 photo on the left you can see the bulk of the original PS 14 rising up above the library. It's interesting how much remains. In the contemporary picture you can't seen the abomination wrought on the Stapleton Library. Forget the hideous glass extension. The beautiful columned entrance with its heavy wooden door has been closed off. The disregard for the original structure is astonishing.

Looking up Wright Street 1. 1926   r. 2014

This is one of my favorite discoveries today. I had no idea what Wright Street looked like whatsoever. Even when I was a kid none of these buildings in the foreground existed. The left corner was occupied by an ugly box of a building that upstairs housed, first, the Golden Cue pool hall, and second, Wright Toy & Hobby. Later Ross Cosmetics used the space.

Van Duzer Street 
looking north from the top of Wright Street. l. 1926 r. 2014

The mansion on the left and many of the storefronts on the right still exist nearly unchanged. I wish the block didn't look quite as shabby as it does, but it's still one of my favorite. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention the trolley tracks visible in the roadbed in each of the old timey photos. 

So that's part one. The next posts will take us north along Van Duzer with stops at most of the cross streets along the way. I hope you enjoy the trip.

No comments: