Richmond Street
North of Atlantic

Part of the Rapelje Homestead, Richmond Street was formerly known as Rapelje street.


Click on thumbnails to enlarge

I pushed this to the top since it reflects a major change. The city is building a new school on the site of the old Roberts Numbering Company at Jamaica and Richmond. They also tore down two homes, 26 Richmond and 34 Richmond. Peter Stango recalls; "34 was always a beautiful house with at least a double lot and a big vegetable garden. I also love the screened in porch like room on the left side upper floor. It was owned by Michael (Mickey) Perini. He passed away about a year ago and was in his 90's". Mickey apparently left Blessed Sacrament a significant endowment after his passing.
Charles Brenner writes; "I lived at 30 Richmond St., just about a half block from Jamaica Ave...My father worked for Heller Roberts, whose factory was right behind our house, and indeed, owned the house we lived in...30 Richmond St. was demolished about a year after my family moved (1966.)" Charles sent in this 1963 picture of his brother Joe, looking across to 25 Richmond Street. I slipped in an update picture of that house today.
The first factory in this location was built by Villiard and Osswalt in the 1890s. They went bust and the Bates Numbering Company took over the property. Bates was a Thomas Edison company located in Orange, New Jersey. William C. Roberts was President of the Brooklyn operation and for reasons that are not clear he buys the operation on May 2, 1910. (Bates continued to operate in NJ). He gives the company his name but passes away less than a year later. George S. Hice led the company for many years. This envelope from 1919 gives a fine example of one of its products, but the engraving on the back is a pretty idealized version of the factory; it was only 2 stories and nowhere near as large as it is portrayed here. In 1956 the company was bought by Heller Inc. and eventually became the Heller Roberts Instrument Corp, and by 1989 it was known as Leibinger- Roberts when they sold the building.
They are working quickly; on the left is Peter's shot of the factory in August, 2007. On November 1st we swung by and the factory and both houses are gone.
Update, September 2008. Peter Stango swung by and provided us with an update shot. Tom Hammond sent over a shot in May 2009 of the progress. The city decided to make this the new P.S. 65 and uses the old building to house a charter school.
Richmond St., looking north
Maker: unk Dated: 1913 Status:need
Looking north towards Etna Street. Andrews Methodist is visible on the right. Andrews Methodist has its own page here.
Embassy Theater, Richmond and Fulton
I finally found the tax photos, but the images are not great. A sharp eye has noted that the movie on the marquee is "Citizen Kane", thus dating the photo as 1941. Located on the southwest corner, the theater lasted until the 1970s. Neil sent in the photo of the senior center which now resides in its place. Tim O'Reilly provides recollections of both the theater and the senior center under the second stories button.
Concord/Embassy Theater
Now for some history. The first theatre to appear on this corner was the Concord Theatre, built in 1914. Note in the 1916 map on the left it is listed as a "Vaudeville" Theatre. A Brooklyn Eagle article noted it was built to Theatre Law specifications, which was not the same as movie-house specs at that time. The building had 52 feet of frontage facing Fulton Street; the remaining 60 feet was open-air theatre known as an airdrome (essentially an empty lot). I guess in the days of silents the elevated line did not present a problem. The Concord closes in 1926, and is demolished. The Embassy Theatre opens in a new building occupying the entire lot, designed by architect Harrison G. Wiseman. What is interesting is that the Embassy, wired for sound, features exclusively newsreels. In the days before television, this was the public's chance to "see" the news.
Embassy Theater
This is actually the tax photo of the southeast corner property, but it captures the worker in the process of changing the marquee on the Embassy. On the right is actually a 1930s view west down Fulton from Euclid (thanks Tim), showing the BMT-LIRR connection; I included it here because you can see the Embassy in the distance.
Peddler's License, 1947
A neat historic tidbit sent in by Peter Stango. Its his father's 1947 Peddler's license. "He used to sell wind-up toys outside the Embassy Theatre. He used the money to buy his first movie camera."
Embassy Theater Bills, 1953
Two advertising fliers from 1953. The theatre was closed in 1968.
Fulton Street, Looking East, East New York
Maker: Unknown Dated: unknown Status: Need
I've had this intersection misidentified as Norwood and Tim O'Reilly has convinced me it is Richmond and Fulton. The tracks curving to the right off the Jamaica el were a short lived connection between the BMT and the LIRR on Atlantic. The tracks curved off between Chestnut and Euclid and went down to grade level on Atlantic. A shot of that can be seen here. I managed to track down some details and they can be found on the LIRR page here The shot on the right is from 2006.
Goldberg's Jewelry
Sitting on the northwest corner of Fulton and Richmond was Goldberg's Jewelry, seen in this 1941 tax photo supplied by Tim O'Reilly. Above the shop was Dr. Slupson, a local dentist. On the right is a 2006 view.
Northeast corner Fulton and Richmond, 1941
Swinging over to the northeast corner, Tim supplies the tax photo and raises a question about the wires on the roof. My aunt suggests it was a radio antennae but we do not know for sure. The image on the right is from 2006.
3209 & 3211 Fulton, 1941
On the northeast corner of Richmond and Fulton, this 1941 tax photo supplied by Tim O'Reilly shows 3209 and 3211 Fulton, the location of Gray's Clothing Store in the 60s and 70s. Notes Tim: "In 1944, all the girls from my mother's 8th grade class in 108 had to come to this store on Richmond & Fulton to buy the fabric to make their own graduation dresses. The women who owned this place had some type of agreement with the school(s) for supplying fabric."
Mom's Ice Cream Parlor
Joe provided this interior shot of "Mom's", which sat on 3205 Fulton Street between Richmond and Logan. Joe is third from the left. A big thanks to Joe for a terrific job. Tim O'Reilly comes up with the 1941 tax photo; it's unclear what the name was of the establishment then. Tim also points out Goldberg's on the right, and to the left, the evolution of those stores in the 1960s- the deli became "Tony's", the vegetable store became "Embassy Carriage", and the dairy became Fay's Lamp Store.
Phil Santella sends over this 1959 picture of Joseph Santella near the northeast corner of Fulton and Richmond. That's the Glass House Bar in the background. On the right a view of Richmond Street off the northeast corner of Fulton and Richmond in 1957, again of Joseph and mother Doris.
P.S. 65, Richmond St.
Maker: Wm. Fick Dated: 1911 Status: Own(BG)

A slight reorganization of this page as I try to orient the photos to run from Fulton up to Jamaica. P.S. 65 is an historic landmark located on the west side of Richmond St. and now has its own page here. On the right is a 1957 image taken in front of P.S. 65 sent in by Kathleen Mauro, of Diane Bourlet and Henry Barette on Graduation Day.
This 1873 map showing Richmond St. (then Rapelje) and the surrounding area has a lot of interesting details. Note it displays P.S. 65 before the additions were built. The school is a simple rectangle possibly confirming our view that the center part was the original and the front and rear were additions. Note that Etna, Ridgewood, and Arlington (then Division) Avenue do not pass through. Note how few houses are actually present! Further north, note the existence of "M.E. (Methodist Episcopal) Church". It appears the original Andrews Methodist sat in the very same spot of the current church.
172 Richmond St.
172 Richmond has an unusual history; it doesn't appear until 1927, after the rest of the block has long been developed, and disappears after the 1970s to become part of the schoolyard again. Tim O'Reilly provided the 1941 tax photo of the house. The 1930 census lists Umberto Visone, a builder, and his family at this address and in 1940, though the owner is listed as Briggs). We were contacted by Sal Romeo who was born there in 1967 and whose grandfather bought the house in 1947. He corrected us on the address as 172 Richmond, not 174 as we had thought. One additional note- it appears the city took possession of the property in 1982. Sal also recalls in his time, across the street at 153 Richmond, " was owned by my Uncle Benny and Aunt Anna Wolensky and the upstairs appartment was rented by Mike and Ann Cimino. The photo of the baby was taken in a spot where my carriage had occupied many times during the late 60's." (Joe Sadauskas amends- "I would like to make a slight correction regarding Mr. Romeo's recollection of his aunt and uncle's house number. We grew up alongside one another so that house he refers to as 153 Richmond St. was actually one house to the south of 153. The number was probably 157 as my grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. Salerno, owned two lots at 153 at that time. I believe it is still the same today.")
153 Richmond Street
On Richmond St. near the school comes this wonderful contribution from Robert Jefferson. This 1952 shot is from his backyard looking east; you can see the Blessed Sacrament tower in the background. Rob's story triggered a response from Joseph Sadauskas, who filled in the background information, and supplied the picture he refers to in the story. Tim O'Reilly's 1941 tax photo is on the right.
153 Richmond
Joe Sadauskas sends over a great series of photos of Richmond St., including the house in the stories above, 153 Richmond. These shots from about 1947 give a good view of the porch. That's Joe with his mother and her sister on the left and on the right Joe woth step-dad Euguene, his mother Dorothy and "Fuzzy". I subsequently heard from Anne Marie Wolensky; "My parents (Benjamin and Anna Wolensky) bought the house (153) sometime in the mid '50s (55,56,57) and my family lived there until 1974 when they sold it. It was a two-family house and many family members lived upstairs (Margie & Nick) and then Mike and Ann Cimino lived there until the early 70s."
Richmond St., 1940s
That's grandma Maddalena Salerno (referred to in Rob's story above) in a view across the street from 153 Richmond. Joe believes that is the Hake house in the background. The shot is probably early 1940s. On the right, a shot of Joe circa 1947 looking north up the block. The wall with the stone planters is now gone.
157 Richmond Street
1941 courtesy of Tim O'Reilly and 2010 from Google maps. Joe notes above that this may have been owned by the Salernos at that time; the residents in the 1940 census are both listed as renters- a Milton Werner, an Assistant Vice President at a savings bank, and a Carl Noll, listed as a college professor.
161 Richmond Street
Thanks to the generosity of Tim O'Reilly, we have a plethora of tax images of the block, and I will have to create a special display at some point. In the meantime I am cherry picking ones with architectural detail, like this one at 161 Richmond with an odd side bay window. I wonder if it was built before the house on the right and had a view at one time. The towers of Blessed Sacrament peek out in the background.
176 Richmond St.
Actually the first shot is the view across from 176 Richmond St., which sat on the same side as P.S. 65. That's Joe's cousin George Cecere in the photo. On the right in front of 176 Richmond is George's sister Joanne and Maryellen Williams. I'm guessing both shots are early 1960s.
Richmond St. houses, 1941
We have a treasure trove of tax photos of Richmond St. thanks to Tim O'Reilly. I picked these shots for their quaintness. The one on the left shows two of the houses in the background of Joe's shot above, 181 and 183 Richmond. Note the flagpole. On the right is a house across the street, 184 Richmond. Tim notes that most of those wood fences did not make it to the 1960s. Tim even IDs the residents of his time; at 181 (with the flagpole) was the O'Brien family and the grandmother Mrs. McDonough. Mr Haber lived in the other unit. Next door at 183 was Mr. and Mrs. Shaw and their daughter Claudia and Mr. and Mrs. Lear. We have more of these shots but I need to grab some update photos to complete the picture.
175 & 177 Richmond St., 1941
Tim is pretty much reconstructing the block for us! These shots are of 175 and 177 Richmond. Tim recalls the porch at 175 was enclosed in his day.
175 & 177 Richmond St., 2007
I will have to work on getting better update shots. 175 was for sale at the time I was taking this shot, and I was interrupted by a guy jumping out of a truck to call the realtor about the house. Nice to see it in demand!
189 Richmond St., 1960, 2009
Thanks to Anna for sending in these shots of 189 Richmond Street in 1960 and 2009.
Richmond St., north of P.S. 65
I matched a 1990 shot taken by Tim O'Reilly with a 2006 photo of the west side of Richmond, just north of P.S. 65.
125 Richmond,corner of Ridgewood
I tracked the 1939 tax photo down for Neil Sullivan, who contributed numerous updated photos for this site as well as the 2005 photo on the right. It's the former home of his wife, who informed us that the upstairs porch was still there in the mid 1970s, though it was enclosed with storm windows.
Richmond St., Cypress Hills N.Y.
This photo is actually a reproduction of a postcard postmarked 1914. It is looking north up Richmond towards Jamaica Ave. Tim O'Reilly points out the house on the right is in fact 125 Richmond, in an earlier incarnation! From the Brian Merlis Collection. Robert Jefferson spotted the steeple of Andrews Methodist Church in the old photo, where he was a Cub Scout, Pack 196, in 1961 and 1962. On the right, Peter Stango supplied us with a shot of his sister Diane in front of Andrews circa 1955. Andrews Methodist has its own page here.
Richmond St, 1983
Peter Stango took a number of shots of the area after a blizzard in 1983. The first is a view south down Richmond from Etna, with Andrews visible on the left. The second is a view north from the same spot, looking across Etna.
Richmond Street Mystery Driveway
Peter Stango sent over a mini mystery from his childhood. In front of 76 Richmond St. has always been a driveway to nowhere. Peter was told it belonged to a house that used to sit on the corner but was moved to Etna St. We've done some research, but you have to visit the Etna St. page to see what we've found so far.
80 Richmond Street
Peter lived just a couple of doors down, and he supplies the 1941 tax photo of his house along with an update shot.
80 Richmond Street, rear
I don't use many backyard shots, but Peter's 1983 shot of his yard after a blizzard pairs up with a shot he believes is from the late 1950s- a shot of his grandfather and uncles playing cards on a weekend in the backyard, an apparent tradition.