by Kevin Walsh

IT’S a rainy day and I was going through the Forgotten NY photo archive when I ran across this photo by the Somach photo studio of the Elmhurst RR grade crossing removal at Broadway, Elmhurst, which apparently happened in 1937 as the date on the picture indicates. I recognized the building immediately: it was constructed by department store magnate Samuel Lord in the 19th Century for a family member. Lord co-founded Lord & Taylor, which went out of business just a few years ago and had a flagship store on 5th Avenue. Lord was a British immigrant who bought property in Elmhurst (then called Newtown) and lived in Queens for awhile, but ultimately returned to England. I have the full story of Samuel Lord in Elmhurst on this FNY page.

The house was on a dead-end named Claremont Terrace, on Dongan Avenue just east of Broadway. The street was paved long ago, but never since and is now virtually unpaved and unlit by a streetlamp. Yet, it was once a suburban retreat when Elmhurst was Newtown.

When I moved to Queens in 1993 and took the railroad to Manhattan, the train would go by this decrepit hulk, the remnants of the last house that Lord had built. By 2006 the house had been razed and construction on a new apartment building had begun… but the money ran out and the unfinished windowless building has stood there since for better than 15 years.

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Tal Barzilai March 15, 2022 - 7:47 pm

Do you plan on putting a picture of what’s there now in the near future?

Aaron March 17, 2022 - 7:51 am

If you click on the link bolded in red you can see what is there now. It’s just an incomplete apartment building.

Aaron March 16, 2022 - 9:36 am

I knew that house as soon as I saw it as well! That original post on Samuel Lord is what got me in to FNY and NY history in general. Thanks for posting!

Guess Who March 26, 2022 - 1:45 pm

You should see it now – covered with tags. Way to go Queens!

Bill May 4, 2022 - 9:56 pm

I lived on Vietor and walked over to look at it every now and tehn. They applied for a Renovation Permit, then saved the entrance foyer and demolished the main building. Then the entrance vestibule was taken down. I dont think they were ever fined for destroying a fairly historic structure. STUPID!!!


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