The Grand Colonial Story
It is situated on a slightly elevated corner lot measuring ten thousand (10,000) square feet in size with portions of the well manicured lawn facing each quiet street to which it has ingress and egress. The seven bedrooms plus three and a half full baths might in most other homes betray the existence of multiple units (a duplex or even triplex), but this detached grand colonial houses a single family; legally and practically.
It was constructed circa 1930, a time when homes were built naturally large and spacuous, with lots of living space, including basements, attics and exterior decks; when some homes were constructed of solid brick, and some were of frame (even before vinyl and aluminum siding) and still others were constructed of stucco, as with our grand colonial. Yes, a stucco exterior and 2-car garage with a private driveway, in-ground sprinklers, porch and deck.
However, as with any other property, its location helps to make the home everything that it is and purports to be. Would this grand colonial be just as grand had it been located any place other than a quiet estate area in Laurelton? Perhaps. But the location would certainly have to be one of equal or greater standing. Laurelton is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens.
It is now a largely middle class neighborhood. In the 1930s through 1970s and beyond, this neighborhood was populated by many Jewish Americans, but succeeding generations have been home to people of diverse backgrounds, including African-Americans who moved up from the South, and migrated from the West Indian islands in the Caribbean.
Laurelton is part of the former town of Jamaica. It is better known today as part of the larger community of Southeastern Queens. Merrick Boulevard, which bisects the community in a generally east-west direction, forms its commercial spine, and the Belt Parkway and Conduit (service road to the Belt Pkwy for the most part) can easily be accessed. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community Board 13 and the School is Community District 29.
There is more to this quiet neighborhood that makes it as unique as any the long established residents will tell you it is.
History of the grand colonial neighborhood
Laurelton was developed from 1906 to 1908 by the Laurelton Land Company, a group of Brooklyn investors, according to Richard Hourahan, the collections manager for the Queens Historical Society. The company hired the prominent landscape architect Carl Pilat.
“Its roots were very middle class, the idea of a desirable and convenient place, lovely to live in, with a country atmosphere,” Mr. Hourahan said, adding that he was not aware of evidence to support the common belief that an abundance of laurel trees gave the neighborhood its name.
FROM THE “WELCOME TO LAURELTON” Web Page, Located on the Web at: www.Laurelton.net/LaureltonMemories
‘Where are all the train riders? Where are those of us who stood on the platforms of Laurelton and Rosedale stations and waited for the Long Island Railroad to take us to school? Where are those of us, who had our own culture, the culture of P.S. 156, and Merrick Road, later to become Merrick Blvd?
What happened to those of us who made the choice to go to Far Rockaway and opted for the train instead of the bus to Andrew Jackson High School, thus sublimating ourselves to the overwhelming culture of the Rockawayites? Even now, as I log onto the site, it is overwhelmingly of the Rockaways, the public schools they attended, the shops they frequented and the friends they made.’
The grand colonial is located in a part of Laurelton, from where you can look down tree-lined, seemingly endless streets, with homes that are each unique from the other; unlike the English Tudors which are mostly attached and appears to be a collection of brown stoned rectangles complete with pointed roofs, some rust/orange colored shingles and others of slate.
Whether separated by side yards or joined as row houses spanning the length of entire blocks, they create a repetitive, geometrical skyline, and when you enter one you are most often greeted with a wood-burning fireplace in the corner of a sunken living room complete with beamed cathedral-like ceilings (in some cases).
Councilman James Sanders Jr., of the 31st Council District is quoted as saying, “Mine is the eighth-wealthiest district in the city, and a large part of that is Laurelton.” He goes on to say “One of the things that make Laurelton unique is that it sits in the only census tract where blacks make more money than whites. So you’re talking about a very unique community.”
The median household income is $59,007, versus $43,020 in Queens over all and $38,518 citywide, according to census data. Owners of the grand colonial fits neatly into this income range. They are self-employed, middle class folks who owned and maintained this great looking detached home since the mid-nineteen nineties and continue to make full use of the space afforded by this, their home. The grand colonial in a neighborhood known for its English Tudors.
This writer is a former resident of the part of Laurelton referred to as the Estate area, and still have very fond memories of that community.