Maspeth, NY History

hist1Maspeth is the site of the first European settlement in Queens county. In 1642, the Reverend Francis Doughty obtained a charter from the Dutch authorities in New Amsterdam for a tract of land at the head of Newtown Creek at what is now Maspeth, but the outbreak of an Indian war in 1643 scattered the colony.

Settlement thereafter was by individuals who found their way from Bushwick in Brooklyn and from Long Island City shore and the Dutch Kills area.

The present-day village of Maspeth grew up as a result of the Maspeth Avenue and Toll Bridge Company (1836) and the Newtown and Maspeth Plank Road Company’s (1801) building through the area and creating traffic – farmers’ wagons and stage-coaches. In 1852, two farms were cut up into streets and building lots, opening the area from 59th Place to 69th Street and from 55th Drive south to the Plank Road, now Grand Avenue.

Mount Olivet Cemetery bought up seventy-two acres in 1851. Maps show 56 houses in 1852, 135 in 1859 and 166 in 1873. Development thereafter was rapid: 1,449 residents in 1875 and 4,300 in 1898.

Maspeth today is a busy shopping center, with stores lining the length of Grand Avenue. Private houses predominate on the side streets but on the west end toward Newtown Creek, there is much light industry. The population has traditionally been Polish and Italian and has remained relatively stable over the years.