BY LYNN EDMONDS
One hundred and some-odd years ago, before Flushing Bay and Powell’s Cove suffered from ailments like combined sewer overflows, College Point was a summer resort area that offered sporting facilities and bathing areas. Alongside that, it was also something of an industry town, with hundreds of workers employed at Conrad Poppenhusen’s Enterprise Rubber Works. The town, complete with its own school, water and sewage system, as well as a train, was more or less built and designed around the factory, and the majority of residents were workers and their families. Many of them were of German descent. That factory provided supplies for the union army during the civil war before it closed in 1877.
Previously, College Point had a small population. It got its name from a small college, St. Paul’s, which closed less than 10 years after it opened.
Some of the historical buildings from the Poppenhusen years are historical landmarks today, like the Poppenhusen Institute, at 114-04 14th Road, which held the first free kindergarten in the country, as well as a jail, a firehouse and a village hall, at various times. Residents worked hard to preserve the building from being knocked down, and it not serves as a community center. Another important building is the Poppenhusen branch of the Queens Library, built in 1904 with money from the steel-industry giant Andrew Carnegie.
Today, College Point is a working middle class neighborhood. Its main boulevard, College Point Boulevard, is busy with small businesses, especially between 14th and 20th Avenues. Other parts are residential, industrial or big box stores.
The new, state-of-the-art Police Academy housed in the area had its ribbon cutting ceremony on Dec. 15, 2015. Nearby is the Department of Motor Vehicles and a large movie theaters, alongside with Target and other big box stores along 20th Avenue. The College Point Corporate Park is another trademark area that was once home to Flushing Airport, a small airport that closed in 1980. The corporate park also houses Crystal Windows and Door Systems, one of the biggest manufacturers in Queens, as well as the Pepsi Cola bottling company.
The neighborhood does have some great Parks including Frank Golden Park, the Poppenhusen Playground and Powerll’s Cove Park.