A Short Little Walk through a bit of Rosey Rosebank


So, Texas Sally (she knows who she is) was all like “You have to write another blog.” and I was all like ” I guess, but I’m busy, whine, bitch, moan…” and then my mom, who coincidentally lived in Texas for a while was nagging me too – WTF?!? So, fine, I suppose I can scribble up a little something to get you people off my back.

Lyric Theater, Rosebank 1931

Our first stop is on Tompkins Ave. near Clifton. This storefront currently for rent was once a hoppin’ joint called the Lyric with John Russo your friendly neighborhood blacksmith on the corner. He lived around the block on Clifton Ave. The Lyric was a movie house and from what I was able to figure out it opened around 1927.  On the Cinema Treasures website, someone said that in 1940 it had become a restaurant. When I moved to town it was an electronics place and it’s now up for grabs.

No more movies, sorry folks.

I searched and searched all my websites and haven’t been able to find any reference to it – sigh. If someone with better eyes than me can figure out what was playing when this pic was taken in 1931, please let me know.

Next we have 1364 Bay Street. This fine three-story home was once owned by John Larkin way back when Bay was called New York Avenue ( I like that name better, don’t you?). He was originally a stone mason who came here from Ireland when he was a wee lad of only 2 or 3.

The Larkin family house, April 1931

He and his wife, Elizabeth had ten kids, but by 1900 only seven were still alive. Still living here with them were Mary, William, James and Rose. John and the wife seem to have died sometime before 1910 and by 1930, William and sister Mary were the only ones left there. The building is still there, but as you can see has undergone some major changes. In the past year, it was purchased by the Chinese restaurant two doors down, which used to be at 1372 (you can see they didn’t change their awning). This picture taken from the opposite view shows the new storefront added to the ground floor and the stoop has been encased in some odd way.

Old Larkin home, November, 2011

Now, when you go the old pic it will say this is 1370, but the census’ from 1900 through 1930 say this is 1364 as do Bing and Google maps.

If you walk further down Bay Street on the same side, you will find number 1212. This very square edifice was once home to Rosebank’s very own Engine Co. 202 which opened in 1905. It was renumbered  to Ladder 152 in 1913 and the fire company moved to Hylan Blvd. sometime before the end of 1930.

Rosebank Fire House in 1930

Not a fire house anymore

 Hagstrom’s Atlas and Official Postal Zone Guide from 1966 claims that this address was the home of the Rosebank Post Office.  Today if you need to visit our local postal facility, you’ll find it down the block from the old Lyric Theater.

Now, that billboard next door  to the old firehouse is for Fahy Brothers Coal and they were over on Lyman Avenue (all private homes now) and if you were cold, all you had to do was “Fone Fahy for Fuel”. Well, you could have up until about 1944 or so when Mr. Fahy and another member of his firm were indicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the government. See, according to Aug 24, 1944 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle the diverted over 800 tons of government owned coal that was intended for Halloran General Hospital and sold it to their private customers, keeping all of the money for themselves. Well,  alrighty then.

Cuthbertson House and the Cuthbertson Cow 1924

As you walk further down, on the opposite side of the street you’ll get to a typical shopping plaza where you can get your nails done, a sandwich, some coffee and maybe some toiletries. But there was once a time where all you were gonna get here was the odd look from a cow or maybe a chicken.

This peaceful little place was once home to a merchant named William D. Cuthbertson, his wife Julia and their children Emily, Julia, Elisabeth, Marion, Alice, Frank & John. It looks like they moved to Rosebank from Castleton sometime between 1840 and 1850 – I figured this out from old census records, if you were wondering. I don’t just make stuff up. Go, check, if you don’t believe me. Anyway,  according to “Staten Island and it’s People: a  history , 1609-1929”, Vol. II, page 884, “This family have resided on Staten Island since 1852 or earlier. William D. Cuthbertson was in business at 110 Front Street, New York, in 1859, and his home in the northeast corner of Clifton Avenue and Bay Street was long occupied by the family.” By 1900, William, Sr., and Julia are gone, Emily, daughter Julia and Elisabeth have probably married  but the rest of the kids are still here.  By 1900, William is gone but Frank, John, Mary and Alice are just hangin’ on. In 1920 it’s just sisters Marian and Alice, 81 and 76. Both girls died after this picture was taken, Alice in 1925 and Marian in 1929 at the ripe of age of 89.

Where on earth did that cow wander off to?

I can’t even find the home on the 1930 census, I guess Marian was the end of the line. Unfortunately, I would think, the building fell into disrepair and eventually became what you see here, courtesy of Google maps:

So there you have it, a very short little tour of just a couple of blocks in Rosebank, originally knows as Peterstown and once part of Southfield. There are at least a couple more things I can write about, I suppose, but I’ll save them for the next time you people start nagging me. You people meaning Texas Sally and my mom.

And if anyone trips across this page and can add more stuff, please do. It’s nice to see that not everything from days gone by has vanished. If you look hard enough in your own nabe, I’m sure you’ll see it really hasn’t all been torn down and replaced, it’s just hiding waiting for someone to find it again.

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4 Responses to A Short Little Walk through a bit of Rosey Rosebank

  1. Anderson says:

    Hey let’s see something about Concord, it was more than the birthplace of Mafiosi. Fox hills in the 1940’s. Eib’ s Farm that delivered milk, and my first pony ride.

  2. Beth says:

    … and if I’m not Texas Sally, can I get a nickname, too?

    • wagnerowicz says:

      of course you are, and i’m glad it made you laugh. I can call you Texas Bertha or something, but it doesn’t have as nice of a ring to it. The next blog I had planned wasn’t gonna work because i couldn’t find any info about the picture but then it kind of led to something else – it’s weird, but you’ll see. i must walk my dogs now or they will do something horrible on my floor. they say the smaller the dog, the smaller the bag but that is a goddamn lie!

  3. Beth says:

    You literally had me laughing before 6 am on a Monday and before i even had caffeine (of the cold variety). You’re a miracle worker! … and I see there’s promise of another new post! YEEE HAWWW! 🙂

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