14 AUGUST 19, 2021 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
Glendale neighborhoods that grew out of historic picnic parks
BY THE OLD TIMER
OUR NEIGHBORHOOD: THE WAY IT WAS
Before the early 20th century,
picnic parks dotted the landscape
of our neighborhood,
giving local families beautiful
places to enjoy spring and summer
days in nature.
These parks, however, faded away
as Ridgewood and Glendale became
developed. In fact, one portion of
present-day Glendale — Liberty
Park — is named for a picnic park in
the area south of Cooper Avenue and
west of what was then called Fresh
Pond Road and currently dubbed
Cypress Hills Street.
Before we go any further into Liberty
Park’s history, we should clarify
the history of Fresh Pond Road’s former
path along Cypress Hills Street.
It was actually an Native American
trail several thousand years ago
used by Indians going from the
land of the Canarsies on the bay to
Newtown Creek in Maspeth.
The area in the vicinity of Cooper
Avenue and Fresh Pond Road in the
1700s and early 1800s was called the
“Clam Battery,” as there were numerous
clam shells left there by the Natives
as they moved along the trail.
When European settlers came to
the area, a road was cut through
in 1680 enlarging the trail. It was
initially called “Kills South Path”
meaning the path that led south from
the kills, the Dutch road for creek.
It was also called “The Path to the
Hills,” meaning that it led south to
When the British Army occupied
the area in 1780, they cut a narrow
road 30 feet wide through the hills
to connect Fresh Pond Road to the
Kings Highway (present-day Jamaica
Avenue). After the British left, the
highway was renamed the Jamaica-
Brooklyn Ferry Road.
Fresh Pond Road remained when
the grid for Ridgewood was developed,
and the former segment that is
now called Cypress Hills Street was
previously called Snake Hill Road,
reflecting its curvy nature near the
As for Liberty Park, the 31- acre
picnic grounds where much of the
neighborhood was developed was
originally part of Jacobus Kolyer’s
farm, which he established in the
1800s. The 92 acre farm was on the
north by what is now Cooper Avenue
and bisected by present-day Cypress
Hills Street, with 47 acres to the east
and 45 acres to the west.
Kolyer died in 1819. One of his
surviving sons, Theodorus, bought
the farm from his father’s estate for
$6,000. When he died in April 1854,
he left his estate to his wife for use
during her lifetime.
Following her death, following
Theodorus Kolyer’s wishes, the farm
was divided among his sons John,
Jacobus and Ditmars.
After John Kolyer died in 1895,
his heirs petitioned the court and
auctioned off 19 acres of the farm at
Louis Dowling’s Hotel at the corner
of Fresh Pond Road and Myrtle
Henry W. Meyer of Glendale, former
owner of the Ivanhoe Tobacco
Company, was the highest bidder,
paying $18,228 for the swath of property
on the west side of present-day
Cypress Hills Street with 146 feet on
the north fronting Cooper Avenue.
Meyer leased the land to Charles
Zimmer for $400 per year.
In June 1896, Meyer purchased an
additional eight acres of the Kolyer
farm to the south of his purchase.
Subsequently, he purchased another
Henry Meyer died in October 1898,
and when Zimmer’s lease expired in
1902, a picnic park was built with an
entrance on Cooper Avenue between
Dill Place (now 61st Street) and Charlotte
Place (now 60th Lane). A lake
for boating was built on the property.
Subsequently, the Liberty Park
Amusement Company, a stock corporation,
was formed and held annual
meetings at the park.
In the early 1920s, most of the
Ridgewood Times archives/Courtesy of the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society
picnic park’s land was sold to Joseph
Hartman for $100,000. The developer
subdivided property and began constructing
the Liberty Park Homes,
erecting 800 structures, none of
which sold for more than $6,000.
On Aug. 25, 1925, the Ivanhoe
Company — which was owned by
the Henry Meyer estate — sold to
Alden Terrace Corporation, which
was owned by Hartman, land on the
southwest corner of Cooper Avenue
and Fresh Pond Road. Additional
land was sold to Alden Terrace in
The following July, Alden Terrace
— operating out of 78-20 Wilton Ave.
(now 64th Lane), began offering
detached one-family homes in the
area of Cooper and Wilton avenues
in Liberty Park for $7,800 and up,
with an $850 cash down payment
In 1927-28, Hartman operating under
Alden Terrace Corp. and McKinley
Homes, purchased additional
land from the Ivanhoe Company.
In January 1928, McKinley Homes
began selling one-family houses
erected at Edsall Avenue (present
day 70th Avenue) and Fosdick
Avenue (present day 69th Street)
in Glendale at $7,250 each, with a
required $750 cash down payment.
They were six-room houses with
city sewers, bathtubs, showers,
two-car garages, paved streets, cement
driveways, copper gutters
and leaders. By August, the price
increased to $7,650 as they had sold
200 homes in the previous eight
In the same month, Alden Terrace
Homes advertised their one-family
Liberty Park Homes and stated
they sold 550 in the past two years.
There were on Cypress Hills Road
(now Cypress Hills Street) south of
Cooper Avenue and priced at $7,950
with $850 cash down.
The homes included brass plumbing,
copper gutter and leaders, tiled
kitchen and bath, linoleum kitchen
floors, parquet floors, a cellar under
the porch, city sewers, paved streets,
and lots from 150 to 200 feet deep.
Hartman died suddenly on June 11,
1931 at his home in Neponsit. He was
buried at Mount Lebanon Cemetery
in Glendale. But his legacy lives on,
as he and his associates erected over
2,000 homes in the Glendale area
that remain to this day.
Reprinted from the Jan. 29, 2015
issue of the Ridgewood Times.
* * *
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The Way It Was” that you would
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