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Fresh Meadows, Queens

Fresh Meadows

The neighborhood of Fresh Meadows was named Black Stump during the 19th century. The name Black Stump came from the practice of marking property lines with blackened stumps at respective property lines. Some stumps still remain, such as in portions of Cunningham Park.

Cunningham Park is a 358 acre park that was purchased and assembled in many parcels of land from 1928 to 1944. The park was originally named Hillside Park. In 1934, Hillside Park was renamed for W. Arthur Cunningham who served during World War I as a major in the 69th Regiment. As the years went on and development increased in the area, roads were created through the park including Oceania Street in 1944, Horace Harding Expressway in 1951, and the Clearview Expressway from 1957 to 1960.  Also, in 1952, Junior High School 74 and it's playground was built on parkland.

General Benedict Arnold drilled his troops in Fresh Meadows during the Revolutionary War, at the current location of MS 216.

The Utopia Playground at Utopia Parkway and 73rd Avenue was once the location of the Black Stump School.

The Fresh Meadow Country Club, opened 1923, was designed by A.W. Tillinghast and the site of the PGA Championship in 1930. The U.S. Open was held at the country club as well, in 1932. However, the Country Club, fearing increased development, purchased the defunct Lakeville Golf & Country Club in Lake Success, New York. The former land was sold in February 1946 to the New York Life Insurance Company and became the Fresh Meadows Housing Development in the late 1940s. The Development totals 140 buildings across 147 acres. It was built to house World War II veterans and, initially, had a Whites-only policy.

Fresh Meadows Housing Development on September 1, 1962
Museum of the City of New York
St. Francis Preparatory School, the largest Catholic high school in the United States, is located in Fresh Meadows.

The last surviving commercial farm in New York City was located in Fresh Meadows until 2004.  Klein Farm was located on 73rd Avenue between 194th Street and 195th Street.

50th Avenue-once named Lawrence Road for the wealthy Queens family of former Mayors and military men.

164th Street-once the right-of-way for a trolley line from Flushing to Jamaica (until 1937).

Kissena Park

Kissena Park-Kissena Lake within is named for "cool water" or "it is cold." Named by Samuel Parsons who died in 1906. Kissena Park featured the Parsons' family nursery. Upon Samuel's death, the Parsons family sold the portion to the City. In 1942, the streams were filled in and Kissena Lake was bordered with concrete.
Kissena Lake

Memorial knoll is a six ton boulder in tribute of World War I. It was dedicated June 5, 1921 and unveiled by the Boy Scouts. The boulder was unearthed during construction of the Flushing Country Club on Jamaica Avenue.

Kissena Park's Korean War memorial was installed in 2007.

The Kissena Park corridor clashes diagonally through the street grid due to a long abandoned railroad right-of-way. The Central Railroad of Long Island built by Scottish immigrant Alexander T. Stewart in 1872 as a means of connecting western Queens with a new development of his, Garden City. The railroad however was a failure and survived just a few years.

Kissena Park & Lake June 2,1926
New York Public Library
The former Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, built in 1906, is also within Cunningham Park. The nation's first automobile highway was built by William K. Vanderbilt Jr. It was built as a race track and later a private toll road that once extended to Lake Ronkonkoma, 48 miles long. The expanding public highway system put the Parkway out of business in 1938 and was donated to the City as parkland.

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