Today’s Historical View is of a rare matchbook cover from Riis Park. The item was printed and manufactured by The Lion Match Company of New York, U.S.Pat. No.1.733.258, patented in Canada in 1929, and MADE IN THE U.S.A.!

The outside portion of the cover states Jacob Riis Park with Bathing, Dining and Dancing… Rockaway, Neponsit and Long Island.

The inside portion listed products SOLD at the Riis Bath’s:

  • Hortons Ice Cream.
  • Bordens Products.
  • Drakes Cakes.
  • Schneiders Beverages.
  • Ehleres Grade A Coffee.
  • Gobels Provisions.
  • Trommers Beer.
  • Gottfrieds Bread & Rolls.

There have been MANY ships that ran aground on the shores of Rockaway Beach since the early 1940’s. Some reasons were weather related and others were non-urgent incidents.

This week’s photo shows the Passaic Sun on the beach shores of Rockaway Beach, NY, between Beach 124th and 125th Streets. The year is 1966/67. The spectators appear to be in their church attire.

For this 1951 view of Riis Park Beach, our historic camera is perched atop the Riis Park Baths looking towards the southwest. Notice the coastlines of Staten Island and New Jersey have been washed out by the artist or the printer.

You can see the boardwalk and beach are well attended and all of the concrete jetties and bulkheads are still in their respective places. The storms of later decades literally destroyed Riis Park. “Sandy” was the worst one yet!!!


 The beautiful art-deco Riis Park Bathhouse opened in 1937 and was well received by anyone attending the New City-Run Bathing Facility. This was the only bathhouse left west of Arverne, as Robert Moses had destroyed all baths when he demolished Seaside facilities for his ‘Ribbon of Concrete’ that went from ‘nowhere to nowhere:’ his Shore Front Parkway.


Mike Louis (inset) and his brother-in-law, Sam Ortulan (standing), were founders of the Hygeia Ice Company in 1915. The family business lasted until after World War II when refrigerators began to replace the “Iceman in the Rockaways.” The horse was named Tony. The ice wagon was replaced by a Ford Model T - Truck in 1927. Mike Louis was my grandfather and Katie’s great-grandfather.

A “Belle” is a popular and attractive girl or woman whose charm and beauty make her a favorite. This is the only large letter postcard of Far Rockaway found thus far that features candid photos of ‘Far Rockaway Belles’ inside each letter. The short sentiment describes them as being ‘Gold Diggers,’ back in the day. The sender of this card stated that, “It’s No Lie,” and signed it using only his initials, “J.M.W”.  I wonder why?!?!?!?

Today’s view is a portion of a Jamaica Bay map featuring Broad Channel drawn in what I think was about 1895, give or take a few years. Records say it was drawn in 1901 as a transportation map. My opinion of it being earlier is due to the fact that Beach Channel Station (lower right) on the bay LIRR trestle was opened in 1888, and the proposed Jamaica Bay Trolley landfill was started in 1898 then completed in 1901. The fill is not shown on this map. The Bay Trolley was never realized, and the

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