The Name Game – Middle Village Street Origins - JuniperCivic.com
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Originally published in the December 2003 Juniper Berry Magazine

The Name Game – Middle Village Street Origins

In the early twentieth century the Queens Topographical Bureau established an alphabetical series of street

names for existing and proposed roadways in Maspeth and Middle Village. These roadways generally ran east-west (parallel with current Eliot Avenue) and intersected with Juniper Avenue (now 69th Street).

The following are key roadways in Middle Village and Maspeth culled from the large list and we present them here with the thought that this information will be interesting to read. So often we can think that our predecessors just threw a dart at a map and named a street. This article shows the amount of thought that went into all the namings. Also we are aware that many school children use the Juniper Berry for history, so legacy is a key word that we keep in mind, always. Let's not forget, we have the Juniper Juniors grooming themselves for future leadership!!

Eliot Avenue – This roadway extends from

Metropolitan Avenue northeast to Queens

Blvd. The oldest portions of the roadway are

in Middle Village, from Fresh Pond Road to

Mt. Olivet Crescent and in Maspeth

between Metropolitan Avenue and Fresh

Pond Road. The roadway is named for

Walter G. Eliot, an engineer of the Queens

Topographical Bureau, who in 1910 was temporarily

placed in charge of the Bureau.

Although planned for many years to extend

to Woodhaven Blvd. and beyond to Queens

Blvd., the roadway was not completed until

the 1930's, in time for use as an important

access road from Brooklyn to the 1939-40

New York World's Fair. Much of the roadway

in north Middle Village is laid across the

ancient Juniper Swamp. Causing much of

the delay was the refusal of the cemeteries

to permit a roadway to be cut through from

Mt. Olivet Crescent east. After years of planning

and negotiating, the City was permitted

to open a narrow two-lane road through the

burial grounds. This two lane section is still

in use, while the portions of Eliot Avenue on

either side of the cemeteries are

much wider. In mid-1925 Eliot

Avenue (sometimes seen spelled as

Elliott) was renamed 61st Avenue,

but the Eliot name was again adopted

in the 1930's. The roadway is still

designated as 61st Avenue for house

numbering purposes only.

Juniper Blvd. South – was Marion

Avenue and became 63rd Avenue

Penelope Avenue – was Penelope

Street and became 63rd Drive

Juniper Valley Road – A portion of

this roadway, from 69th Street east to

75th Place was part of the old

Juniper Swamp Road, dating to the

early 18th century. Current

Furmanville Avenue was also part of

the Swamp Road and today's 75th

Place was originally a curve in the

roadway. During the colonial period

and into the late 19th century, a

roadway existed west of 69th Street

in what is now Lutheran Cemetery,

extending to Mt. Olivet Crescent.

This was part of the Juniper Swamp

Road also but by the mid-nineteenth

century, this segment was known as

Wayland Avenue and then as Way

Avenue (named for the Way family

who lived along this road). Cemetery

authorities closed Way Avenue,

apparently without authorization, as

Newtown residents for years stated

that the cemetery had no authority

to close a public road. As late as the

1920s the City of New York continued

to map this road through the

cemetery and in 1925 it was renamed

to 63rd Avenue. Eventually it was

dropped from the official maps.

The Juniper Swamp Road, including

today's Mt. Olivet Crescent and the

closed Way Avenue, was also known

as the Road to Fresh Ponds and the

Road to the Methodist Meeting

House (erected 1785 at which is now

80th Street and Furmanville

Avenue).

Until 1919 Juniper Valley Road did

not exist from 75th Place east to 79th

Street. Between 79th Street and 80th

Street, a roadway had been laid out

in 1852 on the Carhart & Pullis tract

and it was named Cross Street (it

was the only road in the subdivision

cutting across from east to west).

Cross Street became incorporated in

the new Juniper Valley Road in 1919.

Beginning in that year and extending

into the early 1920's, several tracts of

land were subdivided in this area of

Middle Village and a major east-west

thoroughfare was needed. For purely

cosmetic reasons, the name of

Juniper Swamp Road was changed to

Juniper Valley Road. The extension

of Juniper Valley Road from 80th

Street east to Woodhaven Blvd. was

closed in the 1930's when St. John's

Cemetery purchased the land

between Juniper Valley Road and

Furmanville Avenue.

The sole remaining colonial period

building on Juniper Valley Road, the

historic Morrell House at No. 71-09,

was demolished several years ago to

make way for multi-family housing.

Metropolitan Avenue – This main

thoroughfare was constructed as a

new turnpike road in the early

1800's, known as the Williamsburgh

& Jamaica Turnpike, a toll road. The

original owners were the

Williamsburgh Turnpike Road &

Bridge Company. By an Act of the

Legislature on March 11, 1814, the

company was authorized to construct

a new toll road from the Village of

Williamsburgh in the Town of

Bushwick, through Newtown in

Queens County, to the Jamaica

Turnpike (now Jamaica Avenue) in

the Town of Jamaica. The route

finally selected for the 66 foot wide

road was almost a straight line from

Bushwick Crossroads opposite North

Second Street (now Metropolitan

Avenue) to the Jamaica Turnpike

immediately west of the corporation

limits of the Village of Jamaica at

current Van Wyck Expressway.

Within Queens County, the turnpike

owners had been unable or were

unwilling to spend money to maintain

the road. Development along

the turnpike and the opening of

numerous roadways resulted in large

numbers of travelers avoiding tolls.

In October 1871 the Town of

Newtown published a notice that the

turnpike company was ousted from

possession and that the road was now

considered a public highway. It wasn't

until June 2, 1873 that legal matters

were completed, with Newtown

issuing $15,000 in bonds to the heirs

of the owner (James A. Herriman)

and receiving a deed for the road.

This resulted in an odd situation,

with the Town of Newtown then

owning the entire roadway, including

that portion running through that

Town of Jamaica. The town renamed

the turnpike to Metropolitan Avenue

after gaining possession of it. There

was, however, some unofficial use of

that name during the 1860's within

Queens County.

The existence of this turnpike road

led to the establishment of a very

small settlement in the vicinity of

the Juniper Swamp and Dry Harbor

Road (80 Street). By the 1820's this

was known as Middle Village, as it

was approximate midway between

Williamsburgh and Jamaica.

Pleasantview Street – This roadway

extends from 74th Street near

Juniper Blvd. South to Metropolitan

Avenue, east of 71st Street. The segment

from Juniper Valley Road north

to 74th Street was laid out in 1909 as

part of the Ridgewood North subdivision

and was named Stone Avenue.

The Stone Avenue name is believed

to have been selected because of the

stoneyards and monument works in

the vicinity catering to Lutheran, St.

John's and Mt. Olivet cemeteries.

Within a very short time, the Queens

Topographical Bureau proposed that

this roadway and other nearby roads

be discontinued as they failed to conform

with the proposed and

approved road network for Middle

Village. Prior to the first World War

the residents began to agitate for

retention of these roadways as they

actually existed. After a series of

public hearings they were restored to

the City map. In 1919, Stone Avenue

renamed Pleasant View Avenue was

extended south from Juniper Valley

Road to Metropolitan Avenue. This

was accomplished when the

Monteverde Gardens subdivision was

laid out south of Juniper Valley Road.

When the Philadelphia street numbering

system was implemented in

Greater Ridgewood in 1925, the

name of Pleasant View Avenue was

changed to Pleasantview Street.

Because of the layout of this roadway

in relation to other roadways in the

area, it could be assigned a number.

Furmanville Avenue – This roadway

forms part of the old Juniper

Swamp Road and is an old colonial

road. At one time it extended from

Fresh Pond by way of today's Mt.

Olivet Crescent, through Lutheran

Cemetery, along current Juniper

Valley Road to 75 Place, north on

75th Place to current Furmanville

Avenue and east along Furmanville

Avenue to Trotting Course Lane

(Woodhaven Blvd.). The road was

also known as the Road to Hempstead

Swamp (Rego Park/Forest Hills), the

Road from Fresh Ponds to the

Methodist Meeting House. Although

the 1852 Carhart & Pullis map used

the name of Furman-Ville Road, that

name did not come into common

usage until about the turn of the century.

In 1925, the name of Furmanville

Road was changed to Furmanville

Avenue. The name honors the

Furman family. In 1759 Jonathan

Furman settled along Dry Harbor

Road, just north of Furmanville Ave.

Fresh Pond Road – is an early colonial

roadway dating back to 1680,

when the settlers improved an Indian

footpath. The old Fresh Pond

Road extended through Maspeth,

along current 61 Street, through

Ridgewood, and through Glendale

along current Cypress Hills Street. It

was named for the large fresh water

ponds in the vicinity of Mt. Olivet

Crescent and Mt. Olivet Cemetery,

east of Fresh Pond Road. The 1680

improvement to the ancient footpath

coincided with the assignment of

large lots of the hills (near Evergreen

Cemetery, Highland Park, Cypress

Hills Cemetery, etc.) to citizens of

the English Newtown settlement in

current Queens County.

Over the centuries Fresh Pond Road

has been known by several names.

In addition to Fresh Pond Road,

Fresh Pond Lane and the Highway

to Fresh Ponds, it has been called

the Newtown Road, the Kills Path,

the Highway to the Hills, the Road

from the Friends Meeting House (at

Maspeth Avenue) to the Hills, and

the Road to Maspeth.

Article compiled by the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society