HISTORY OF MASPETH
Courtesy of the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce
The name "Maspeth" is derived from the name of "Mespeatches"
Indians, one of the 13 main Indian tribes that inhabited Long Island. It
is translated to mean "at the bad waterplace" relating to the
many stagnant swamps that existed in the area. The original Indian village
was located on rising ground east of Mt. Zion Cemetery.
Settlement began with the Dutch West India Company fur traders between 1621
and 1638 along Newtown Creek. The first formal colonization began in 1642
with the "Newtown Patent" which granted over 13,000 acres of land
to those wishing to settle and develop the land now represented by all of
Western Queens County. Twenty-eight English settlers, mostly of the Quaker
religion, began the village of Maspeth.
Maspeth served as the center of the water trade with New Amsterdam and as
the center for milling. Tide mills, that ground grain into flour, were established
along Newtown Creek, Maspeth Creek, and their tributaries.
The first storekeepers to serve Maspeth were Nathanial Hazard and Francis
T. White. Their foodstuffs and clothing stores were located at the Maspeth
Town Dock, at 56th Terrace and Rust Street, during the late 1700's.
Great developments and growth of Maspeth took place after the Revolutionary
War. Colonial roads were resurfaced with crushed oyster shells or with wooden
planks. Early businesses included Peter Cooper's Glue Factory, Lawrence's
Rope Works, Cord Meyer's Animal Carbon Plant, Sampson Oil Cloth Factory,
James Inglis' Shirt Factory, A. Fisk Metal Casket Company, Mt. Clivet Cemetery,
Laurel Hill Chemical Works, Haberman's Tin Factory, Gimpel Brothers Dairy,
Beyer's Dairy, Gruebel Plumbing, Griff's Hardware, Maspeth Press and K-Ting
Today the population of Maspeth exceeds 50,000 people and the area provides
employment for over 20,000 people.