By Jon Cronin
Glendale is one of the quietest low-crime areas of Queens. It was founded in the mid-1800s by real estate agent John Schooley who named then settlement Glendale after his hometown of Glendale, Ohio.
The area was settled in the 17th century and named Fresh Ponds after all the swamps and ponds that litter the land.
Glendale became home to a large German community in the mid-1800s and known for its rowdy picnics. Taverns were an important characteristic of the community as were the picnic parks where residents played sports, sang, danced and drank with frivolity.
After Schooley purchased land in 1869, he laid out plots measuring 25 by 100 feet and sold them for $300 each.
When prohibition started in 1920, the partying was curtailed and by 1930 the last of the picnic areas were paved over to make room for what is now the Jackie Robinson Parkway.
Today half of Glendale’s township is covered in cemeteries that were founded because of a ban on cemeteries in Manhattan during the mid-19th century.
There was once a silent film studio on Myrtle Avenue in Glendale in the 1920s. Today, Glendale has Broadway Stages, which films many current Netflix and major network television shows on Cooper Avenue.
In 1869, a railroad stop at 73rd Street (then named Wyckoff Avenue) was opened by the South Side Railroad, which was sold in 1874 to the North Side Railroad and later merged with the Long Island Rail Road in 1876 to become part of the Montauk Branch. In 1927, the station burned down and was never replaced.
From the late 19th century and until the beginning of World War I, Glendale was renowned for entertainment; there was a bowling alley and many popular bars, as well as a trolley along Union Turnpike that ran to Schutzen Park.
As Myrtle Avenue developed, the trolley became popular for transportation along that main thoroughfare. After the first World War, Glendale took part by changing their economic infrastructure from agriculturally based to primarily textile manufacturing and breweries.
During that time a large industrial park called Atlas Terminal consisting of 16 factories. And as a result the town manufactured large part of the industrialized mechanisms for World War II and for the Manhattan Project, which created the first atomic bombs.
In the mid 1930s the Jackie Robinson Parkway was designed and built by Robert Moses, and displaced hundreds of plots in the Cypress Hills Cemetery. As with many large roadways making their way through communities, the parkway construction was vehemently opposed by residents.