2007-01-11 / Little Old Canarsie

Little Old Canarsie

A Stroll Down Many Canarsie Lanes

My memory turns back to the days of the year during about 1912. Let us start to stroll at a point on Kings Highway and Canarsie Lane, where a frame house stood - occupied by Sam Lott and family. In front of the house was a wooden stand from which was sold homegrown vegetables. This lane was one of the only two ways to get into Canarsie in those days - the other being Rockaway Avenue.

As we walk along, we pass on the left a yellow house occupied by the workers for Jill Brothers, big farmers in the Canarsie area. Then, on the right, we see the old Wyckoff homestead, one of the oldest remaining houses in the U.S., then standing under the arch of the Long Island Railroad.

Down on the left side of the lane, we pass the home of Schenck Lott and just as we turn at the beginning of Varkens Hood Road, we come to two large mansions. On the left is that occupied by the Schreifers. We then pass the home, on the left, of Ryan's Coach and Livery Stables and next door we see Sam Giles hammering away on the anvil as he shoes horses, which are quiet numerous in Canarsie.

In front of the blacksmith's shop is the store and home of the Bullwinkle family. Across the way is the home of the hay, grain and feed business of Julius Popkin (father and mother of the Popkin boys who later were in business in the auto line).

As we walk down from there on East 92 Street, then known as Main Road, we come to the store, on the left, of Carl Hube and, further down on the right hand corner of School Lane, the Hager James Candy and General Store, where all the kids from P.S. 114 came to buy candy and cake on their lunch hour.

Now we continue our stroll and pass, on the left, the beautiful mansion of Uncle Bill Van Ahenen. We also pass the saloon of Hy Krier on the opposite corner and then we come to the grocery store of Josephy Krier.

Across Flatlands Avenue, on the left corner, stands the drug store owned by Louis Chrome; his family lived upstairs. Across the way is a big tract of land which is fenced in and which bears a sign saying 'This is Campbell's Manor,' owned by Frederick and William Campbell who lived on the land facing what later was to be East 91st Street.

A little further down we come to St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, while across the way is the butcher and vegetable store of Ben VanHouten. Then, on the corner of East 92nd Street and Skidmore Lane is a building occupied by Fritz Straussner and used as a grocery store.

This is the building where all the Canarsie boys volunteered to serve in the Civil War when called by President Abe Lincoln. These boys who served in the union Army were from Canarsie, which according to voting population, produced more enlisted men than any other comparable town or village in the U.S.

We proceed again and a little way down we pass the home of Gosline family. Next door is a small building which houses the Canarsie Wheelmen, consisting of about 25 bicycle riders. We then pass the Methodist Church on the corner of East 92nd Street and Church Lane, better known as the "Road to Lott's House." Just before we reach the Church (I forgot to mention) is the ice cream parlor owned by Joseph Trent who made all his own ice cream. He was also the Superintendent of Canarsie Cemetery.

Now we pass by the home of Al Skidmore, who was one of Canarsie's leading blacksmiths and horseshoers. Then we come to the candy store of the Fortmeyers. The next to loom in sight is the old wooden school, P.S. 115. After that we start to the place where we hear the croaking of the bullfrogs. As we near the shore, we can hear the familiar sounds of Murphy's Carousel and the strains of "Sweet Dardanella." We finally reach the White House Hotel and Picnic Grounds where so many good times were had.

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