Monday, February 28, 2011

Pastoral Rego Park Treasures Unearthed!

Shortly after our January 27th posting on Rego Park's Lutheran Church of Our Saviour, showcasing our historic find... a 10th Anniversary publication from 1936 (1931 church cornerstone), a congregant named Jackie Kilberg discovered us, and invited the board members of Rego-Forest Preservation Council on a tour of the charming Colonial frame church, slated for this spring. Jackie is an active congregant since 1969. At the request of fellow congregant Ruth Mueller, she provided scans of her rare photos of Rego Park. We greatly anticipate meeting Jackie Kilberg, Ruth Mueller, and staff members of this classic Rego Park church, within a pastoral setting on bustling 63rd Dr.

If you speak with Ruth Mueller, who was fortunate to grow up in Rego Park in the 1920s, you will feel as if you witnessed how it evolved from a pastoral scene with farmland, dirt roads with steep hills, and porch-fronted frame houses, to the development of 525 8-room Colonial homes off the south side of Queens Blvd bounded by 63rd Dr/Remsen Ave & Eliot Ave ($8,000 each), to the development of its late 1920s apartment houses along Saunders St, the 1939 & 1964 World's Fair, and the era of Howard Johnsons and the Trylon Theater, and all years between. The 1920s was the era when the Rego (Real Good) Construction Company coined Rego Park for real estate purposes, and initiated mass development which grants Rego Park its historic character. Ruth Mueller attends Our Saviour Lutheran Church to this very day, and takes pride in knowing that her photos are being featured.

The Ruth Mueller Collection offers scarce views, which depict 63rd Rd towards 108th St in the 1920s, and a more recent photo from 1937. That vicinity is now largely developed with apartment houses dating to the 1950s and 1960s. The final photo features a 25th anniversary dinner celebration of Lutheran Church of Our Saviour from November 1951.

Lutheran Church of Our Saviour's 25th Anniversary celebration - School Dedication Fellowship Dinner, Nov 9, 1951


  1. This fascinating set of photos fully captures the enormous changes to the landscape in Rego Park since the early 20th century. I have viewed dozens of similar photos of the area on the New York Public Library's excellent Digital Gallery, which holds many thousands of archival photos taken in NYC during the first half of the 20th century. Included are many amazing pictorial views that show areas such as Rego Park, Corona, East Elmhurst, Whitestone, and other Queens sections in rural and early suburbanization stages. Unlike other such collections, though, the NYPL Digital Collection's photos are backed with detailed notations regarding the residence hame, location, property ownership, and history.

  2. Yes, the NY Public Library's collection is fantastic. The notations on back can be valuable. Due to one such notation my church, First Presbyterian of Newtown, was able to confirm that our 1822 former manse still exists, moved a block and a half away in 1924, and much remodeled. The city took great pains to preserve photos of old places, particularly in regard to the widening of Queens Blvd. in 1924 and other road construction requiring destruction of old buildings.. I am so glad also that Ms. Mueller preserved the photos of Rego Park.