One Room Schoolhouse Park

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One Room Schoolhouse Park is a small park located on the southeast corner of Astoria Boulevard and 90th Street. Its name recalls the site of Queens’ last one-room schoolhouse, demolished in 1934. The schoolhouse was built only five years after New York State required compulsory education for children in 1874. The school's last official name was P.S. 10. Emma Fagan headed the school from 1879 to 1910.[1] The school was also known as the Bowery Bay School, after an earlier school established in Steinway in 1734, and as the Frogtown School, Frogtown being a poor community located in a swampy area north of Astoria Boulevard, near the present-day LaGuardia Airport.

The 15 by 28 foot classroom had capacity for fifty-two students divided into six classes. The six rows of desks were arranged according to the age and ability of the students.[2] Beginners were seated at the smaller desks in the front, while the more advanced students occupied the back rows. In the center of the classroom, a stove with a pipe extending to the roof kept the space warm during winter.

By 1910, the expanding needs of immigrant populations and the reform movement that created the public education system had rendered one-room schoolhouses obsolete. The schoolhouse closed in 1925, but a temporary school building was still in use at the site when Parks acquired the .14-acre property from the Board of Education in 1934. Increased population in the neighborhood necessitated the construction of a new playground that opened to the public in December 1935. Subsequent decades saw the playground transformed into a sitting area.[3]

Queens’ last one-room schoolhouse occupied this site from the time of its construction in 1879 until its demolition to make room for a public park in 1934. The park was named under a local law introduced by Council Members John D. Sabini and Helen M. Marshall, approved by the City Council, and signed into law by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in 1996.

For many years the Jackson Heights Neighborhood Association oversaw the care of the park.

In 2015, the City Council allocated funding for the park's restoration. The redesign will commence following informational sessions to incorporate public input on the park’s features.[4]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Queens Historical Society Newsletter, Fall 1996
  2. “City’s Smallest Schoolhouse Doomed” Brooklyn Daily Eagle June 28, 1910
  3. Erickson, Charles “Rekindling Memories” Newsday November 30, 2004
  4. Honan, Katie “Park at Site of Last 1-Room Schoolhouse in Queens Gets $400K BoostDNAinfo July 17, 2015