Frank Golden Memorial Park
This park is named for Frank Golden (1915-1968), a prominent labor leader and noted local politician. During much of the 17th century, the William Lawrence estate occupied this site. Lawrence’s descendants sold their vast estate to Eliphalet Stratton in 1790, and the region became known as Strattonport.
In 1835, Reverend William Augustus Muhlenberg purchased 134 acres of land in Strattonport. The cleric planned to found an Episcopal seminary, the centerpiece of which would be an elegant stone building. As a result of the financial panic that swept the nation in 1837, Muhlenberg abandoned the plan for the grand building. The reverend settled for a more modest accommodation to house St. Paul’s College. Although the institution survived for only ten years, the name College Point remained affixed to this region.
College Point’s development increased rapidly after 1854, largely due to the efforts of industrialist Conrad Poppenhusen. He built a company town for the employees of his rubber factory, replete with stores, restaurants, and the Poppenhusen Institute. The wide-ranging Institute housed the United States’ first kindergarten, as well as the community’s jail. Poppenhausen’s development attracted additional ventures, including a new rubber factory and a ribbon and silk factory.
In 1870, College Point incorporated the neighborhoods of Flammersburg and Strattonport and became a village. During the 1880s and 1890s, the village witnessed the opening of breweries, mills, and paint works. In addition, political clubs, steamboat excursions, and amusement parks made College Point a popular destination for day-trippers. However, Prohibition dealt a fatal blow to the region’s swinging resorts, bars, and restaurants, eventually setting the stage for the dominance of the burgeoning aviation industry by the middle of the 20th century. Today, College Point’s most famous corporate resident is the New York Times.
Bounded by 132nd and 137th Streets, 14th Road and a Whitestone Department of Sanitation property, the park provides recreational facilities for the predominantly industrial community of College Point. In 2000, Parks completed an extensive renovation of Frank Golden Memorial Park. Improvements included the paving of the park’s lower tier near the old handball wall, which allowed for the installation of a full-size basketball court. The property acquired two swing sets, new lighting, benches, drinking fountains, and modular play equipment located adjacent to the newly painted comfort station. The park’s four baseball diamonds, and its football and soccer fields serve the recreational needs of the community.