This article was adapted from Jackson Heights: A Garden in the City, by Daniel Karatzas.

To purchase a copy of the book from the JHBG, please contact us or send a note to our mailing address, along with a check for $15, made out to the Jackson Heights Beautification Group. Dan’s book may be also purchased at Espresso 77 (35-57 77th Street).

You may also enjoy joining some events during the Annual Historic Weekend, including tours led by Dan, a JHBG board member.

Farms and Fields: Before 1900

Jackson Heights does not appear on any map of Queens county prior to 1900 because it simply did not exist. The area we call Jackson Heights was, before the turn of the century, known as the Trains Meadow section of Newtown (which was later rechristened Elmhurst).

Prior to any twentieth-century development, Jackson Heights was farms and fields. An article published in the Jackson Heights News paints a picture of “barns and bee hives, carriage-houses and corn-cribs…dirt roads, packed hard by years of iron-shod hooves.” According to the article, a large racetrack along Northern Boulevard in the vicinity of 72nd and 74th Streets was built by the Barclays, for whom Barclay Street in lower Manhattan was named.