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Grand Slope

Grand Slope

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

In November of 1929 a resolution to officially build a park on this property was supported by the South Elmhurst Civic and Taxpayers Association, members of which wanted to prevent the construction of a gas station on the property. In October, 1930, however, proceedings to attain the park were delayed, and the city would not acquire the land for another eight years.

Grand Slope is located in the Queens neighborhood of Elmhurst. Elmhurst was first known as Middleburgh, and later as Hastings, when it was established in 1652. Colonists began to refer to Hastings as “new town” in order to distinguish it from Queen’s first and abandoned settlement of Maspeth (established in 1642, abandoned in 1644). In 1683, the name Newtown was officially given to the village and township. The area was developed in the 1890s, particularly by what would become the Cord Meyer Development Company.

Officially founded in 1899 by Cord Meyer Jr. and his brothers Christian and John, the Cord Meyer Company has a rich history in Queens. The three brothers shared a dream for the Newtown area. Cord Meyer Jr. recognized by the early 1890s that Queens had the potential to be more than just a rural area or an upper class residential retreat, and thus purchased a farm in Newtown from the co-founder of the Lord & Taylor Company, Samuel Lord. In 1896 Meyer successfully rallied to change the town’s name to Elmhurst (meaning “a grove of elms”) in an effort to disassociate his development with the notoriously polluted Newtown Creek. He and his brothers soon laid down streets, built a sewer system, and made ties with the trolley company. The family real estate business continued to expand, and by 1904 the company had officially become the Cord Meyer Development Company.

The Grand Slope Park underwent an $85,000 reconstruction in 1981. At that time ground cover was replaced and trees were planted to beautify the park and to prevent erosion on the steep incline. Additional repairs were made to the concrete stairs that link Grand and Kneeland Avenues, which bound the park. New fencing was erected, and the railings that line Grand Avenue were added. Grand Slope Park continues to provide an unspoiled natural haven for the Elmhurst area.

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