Corporal Frank F. Fagan Sq.
This square honors World War I veteran Corporal Frank Farrell Fagan, who was born on January 14, 1896 in Astoria, Queens and served with distinction in France during World War I. Broadway, Newtown Road, and 48th Street bound Fagan Square in the northwestern Queens neighborhood of Astoria. NYC Parks acquired the site by condemnation on June 18, 1915 and the square was named for Fagan by local law on May 3, 1932.
Fagan enlisted in the Marines in Philadelphia on May 2, 1917 and served overseas from 1917 to 1919 in the 43rd Company of the 5th Regiment. While serving in France, Fagan fought in a number of important battles including the Aisne Defensive in the Chateau-Thierry Sector, the Aisne-Marne Offensive, and the St. Mihiel Offensive, which was the first independent demonstration of American strength on the Western Front. Fagan was promoted to Corporal on January 1, 1918, and received the French Croix de Guerre with a gilt star for coolness and bravery. The French Croix de Guerre was created in 1915 to award all members of the Allied Forces for acts of courage in battle. He was discharged with excellent character on August 13, 1919.
Fagan Square is surrounded by several sites of historic interest. To the northwest, a small cluster of 18th-century homes from the historic hamlet of Middletown can be found at Newtown Road and 46th Street. In 1721, one of the first schools in Queens was built in Middletown, and during the American Revolution (1775-1783), British and Hessian troops marched by the school. Around 1820, a bag containing thousands of dollars in gold coins was found a schoolhouse wall. They had apparently been hidden there by Schoolmaster John Kearns during the Revolution and never reclaimed.
Across Broadway and south of Fagan Square, one can see examples of Mathews Model Flats. Some of the most innovative housing attempted in New York, the “flats” were simple, sturdy, and relatively cheap to construct. They are the models for the three-story six family buildings that fill the nearby neighborhoods of Ridgewood, Elmhurst, and Woodside.
Fagan Square is part of the Greenstreets program, a joint project of NYC Parks and the NYC Department of Transportation, began in 1986 and was revived in 1994 with the goal to convert paved street properties, such as triangles and malls, into green spaces.