LITCHHULT SQUARE, Queens Village

Here’s a look east at the junction of Jericho Turnpike and Hempstead Road in a postcard view between 1900 and 1910. Long Island Electric trolley tracks seen in the roadbed supported service until 1933. These two routes were narrow two-lane roads at the time. Look carefully and you can see a railroad crossing signal at right: this is the main line of the Ling Island Rail Road, which was placed on an elevated trestle in 1923.

At this point Jamaica Avenue from this point east was still known as Jericho Turnpike, for the mid-Nassau County town where it originally ended; it has since been extended to Middle Country Road in Smithtown, Suffolk County. From the early 1800s, Jamaica Avenue and Hempstead Avenue were known as the Hempstead and Jamaica Plank Road and was a toll road paved with wood planks. From the point today’s Hempstead Avenue diverged from Jamaica Avenue, the latter was called Jericho Turnpike.

About 1920, these roads received their current names, with Fulton Street in Woodhaven and Jamaica as well as the Hempstead and Jamaica Plank Road becoming Jamaica Avenue, and also Hempstead Avenue in Queens and Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County.

From 1920 to 2005 the stretch of Jamaica Avenue between 225th Street and 257th Street that existed halfway in Queens County (the north side) and halfway in Nassau (the south side) went by two names: Jamaica on the north side, Jericho Turnpike on the south. After some years of pushing by the local organizations such as the Bellerose Community Civic and Community Board 13, the NY City Council decided to rename the north side Jericho Turnpike, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed the bill June 5, 2005; street signs were changed within a couple of months, giving NYC its second modern-day “turnpike” (after Union Turnpike.) The turnpike attained its present width in 1962.

 

Today Hempstead Avenue continues to diverge from Jamaica Avenue at the same point, and you can see the elevated LIRR trestle on the right. Hempstead and Hempstead Turnpike form NYS Route 24 and runs out to Route 110 in western Suffolk County. The triangle formed by Jamaica Avenue, Hempstead Avenue and 213th Street is now known as Litchhult Square, likely for a local personage; thus far, the world wide web is quiet on which one.

2/17/16


Categorized in: One Shots

9 Responses to LITCHHULT SQUARE, Queens Village

  1. The Litch is back,as Sir Elton would say. According to Parks records, the city acquired this land in 1929 by condemnation as part of the widening of Jamaica Avenue. It was designated Litchhult Square in Local Law 55 of 1938 passed by the City Council. Unfortunately, the Municipal Archives do not have any further information on this legislation, nor does Queens Historical Society.
    There are three possible namesakes for this site:

    -Hollis resident Gilbert A. Litchhult, a local Freemason who died on December 31, 1930.
    -Mrs. M. Litchhult served as the local American Legion Commander in the 1930s.
    -War veteran Andrew S. Litchhult also lived in Hollis at that time. Died in 1936.

    • Tom Litchhult says:

      Thank you for filling in some of the blanks to my family’s story.

      Tom Litchhult, previously 100-44-205th St, moved to Mattituck LI, Suffolk Co, now
      5410 Forest Bridge Way Houston Tx 77066
      281-536-3807

      Tom Litchhult
      Litchhult@aol.com
      Also Facebook

  2. Steve Smith says:

    I wonder if the trees in today’s Litchult Square are “living descendants,” of the trees in the early 1900’s photo?

  3. John F says:

    I grew up in Queens Village in the 1950s through 1973. In those days, the sign on this triangle read “LT Litchhult Square.” I never could find any info on a LT Litchhult. He/she could have been military lieutenant or a heroic first responder lieutenant. From the three brief bios of possible Litchhults provided by Sergey, the war vet, Andrew, is the obvious most likely candidate, although either of the other two are possibles considering the timeline.

  4. Geoff Heins says:

    I also grew up in Queens Village and live there from the early 1940s through the late 1960s. I lived on 212 Place 2 blocks up from Jamaica Avenue. That triangle was always “Lt Litchhult Square”. We understood that Litchhult was a military vet.

  5. Tom Litchhult says:

    This is my Great Uncle. Litchhult Ww1 Vet.

    We lived on 205th St off Francis Lewis Blvd near Hollis Ave. 100-44-205th Street.

    We later moved to Mattituck LI where my Dad , Edward, was President of North Fork Bank & Trust.

    We would go by the Sq as a child.

    I got it rededicated in the early 2000’s by the NY Parks & recreation Dept. they replaced the sign & gave me one duplicate. Never to be renamed.

    Tom Litchhult
    5410 Forest Bridge Way
    Houston Tx 77066
    281-536-3807
    Litchhult@aol.com

    • John Wiger says:

      Litchhult Square was named after my grandfather–Lieutenant Andrew Slover Litchhult (March 1895 – October 8, 1936). He was a WWI veteran who fought in France. He died of complications from the encephalitis he contracted while fighting over seas during the well-documented flu outbreak in Europe at the time. He was discharged honorably in 1919. I am fortunate to have his war diary and a few pictures, though I never had the honor of knowing him. My mother was only 9 when he passed away. His wife, Veronica Agnes Litchhult, was very active in the American Legion from the 1930’s until she passed away in 1955.

      • Tom Litchhult says:

        Thank you for the context to this post. Was always a little vague in my Family Tree gatherings.

        A couple of Litchhult branches. Jamie/Mary Litchhult in the Dix Hills, LI, NY area & still live there.

        My branch moved from Hollis Queens to Mattituck, LI, NY around 1960. 5 Litchhult Boys, born to Madeline & Edward F, Litchhult(President North Fork Bank & Trust) till he passed in 1978. Madeline passed in 2009 at 90 yrs of age.

        Ive lived in Houston Tx since 1980 & have a boy & girl. My Brother Bob still lives in Mattituck & had 2 Boys( Suffolk CountySoccer Phenoms, Matt & Kevin)

        One other brother lives in Upstate NY, one in Maui & one Brother Ed (Downs Syndrome) passed a few years ago.

        I undrrstand there are other Litchhult Branches in Michigan & Missouri.

        Dr J Wiger, DDS is a decendent of Lt. Andrew Litchhult, name sake of the Square in Queens.

        Thanks again. Please share any additional Litchhult family tree info.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.