The home of Alrick Man at 245 Church Street is presently
the site of an apartment building.
(Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Man Sarcka)
These two homes above believed to have been among the
first five built by Albon Man.- Belongs to private home owners
The Lefferts Farmhouse is located north of Jamaica Avenue
and 115th Street- Belongs to private home owner
The Briggs Farmhouse is located south of Jamaica Avenue
and 117th Street- Belongs to private home owner
This early home is located north of Myrtle Avenue and
115th Street- Belongs to private home owner
Photos by Blaise Tobia
About The Man Family
Founding Family of Richmond Hill
by The Richmond Hill Chapter of The Queens Historical Society ©1980
THE MAN FAMILY
Elizabeth Man Sarcka points quickly to her daughter's photograph on
a shelf and proudly announces that her only child Ann is a highly-placed
government official in Vermont where Elizabeth Man Sarcka lived for
forty years after leaving Richmond Hill. Elizabeth Sarcka is the daughter
of Alrick Hubbel Man, the first mayor of
Richmond Hill and president of the family business which developed Richmond
Hill and Kew Gardens.
Mrs. Sarcka, 88 years old, lives quietly now in a Queens apartment not
far from Richmond Hill where she spent her childhood. She recalls that
her grandfather, Albon Platt Man, who founded Richmond Hill, first became
interested in the area because of its beautiful views. When he rode
his horse and carriage to his summer home in Lawrence, Man always stopped
at Richmond Hill to rest his horse and enjoy the view.
A New York lawyer, Man was related to many famous Long Island families
such as the Smiths of Smithtown, the Howells of Southampton and the
Hewletts of Lawrence who owned Rock Creek, now a Nassau County museum.
He lived in Manhattan at 106 East 30th Street and summered at the Rock
Creek House in Lawrence.
He would later tell his granddaughter about how he loved to gaze northward
from Richmond Hill to Long Island Sound and south toward the Atlantic
Ocean. (Not surprising since the first settlers, The Rockaway Indians
also regarded this area for wonderful views). It was then he decided
to invest in the area.
According to Hazelton's Index, he purchased the Lefferts farm in 1868
and then proceeded to buy the Welling farm which ran west of the Lefferts
farm. He also bought the Bergen farm which ran east of the Lefferts
farm, and the Robertson, Hendrickson and Welling holdings which ran
north to White Pot Road (now Kew Gardens Road). Altogether the purchase
amounted to 400 acres and predated Stewart's purchase in Garden City,
making Man a pioneer tract developer on Long Island. Man called his
purchase Richmond Hill.
Building in Richmond Hill was slow to start because of a nationwide
recession prompted by the failure of Jay Cooke and Company in 1873.
Problems in developing a satisfactory water supply for the area also
hindered development until a reservoir was built just north of Metropolitan
Avenue. Man's assistant, Edward Richmond, died unexpectedly but he had
painstakingly laid out landscaping plans for the area. Finally, with
the help of a new assistant, Oliver Fowler, Man built his first five
homes in 1884 and tract development of Richmond Hill began in earnest.
By 1920, the First National Bank of Richmond Hill reported resources
of $1,924,000 and deposits of $1,733,000 according to a Queens Borough
Chamber of Commerce Report in 1920.
Today, remnants of the original farms are still visible including the
Captain Briggs farm which Man didn't buy.
At the time, the Briggs farmhouse was on Jamaica Avenue, but it soon
was moved to its present location on 117 Street south of Jamaica Avenue
on what used to be known as Briggs Avenue. The Bergen farmhouse is also
on Jamaica Avenue just east of Lefferts Boulevard and presently houses
a pizza restaurant. Some of the Bergen farm outbuildings just north
of Jamaica Avenue belong to private homeowners. A large stable with
several stalls near the Bergen farmhouse was demolished in 1977 because
the owner feared the structure would collapse. The Lefferts
farmhouse is now a private home and is in good condition at its
present location on 115th Street just north of Jamaica Avenue. Originally
this house was located on 114th Street and then was moved to 115th Street
to make way for St. Johns Lutheran Church in 1903.
There are also other buildings and homes which were built before Albon
Man began his housing 'boom' which are still in Richmond Hill today.
Albon Man never did live in Richmond Hill. He died on March 30, 1891
and his son, Alrick Hubbel Man, continued
building homes in the community and became one of the community's noted
residents. Today, Elizabeth Man Sarcka is the only survivor of the Man
family to have actually lived in Richmond Hill. Her memories are precious
ones, of happy times spent as a child of one of the most important men
in town. She had her own pony, took French from Miss Pettit on 112 Street,
later traveled to Brearley in Manhattan for high school and to Barnard
for college. Living in Richmond Hill for her was like living in the
country, and she was the daughter of the country squire.
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