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Queens Chronicle

Built on sand, church is solid in the community

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Posted: Thursday, April 8, 2010 12:00 am

In the late 1930s the soft, marshy land of Middle Village was experiencing a building boom due to the opening up of Eliot Avenue as a roadway to the upcoming New York World’s Fair. Developments with names like Fair Estates Homes, Fairhaven Homes, Jess Homes and Boulevard Homes were all underway.

At the bottom of the hill leading to Woodhaven Boulevard a school and church were built in a massive sand pit to accommodate the large number of Irish and German Catholics flooding into the area. Located on 85th Street near the Middle Village-Rego Park line, it was named Ascension Church, with its cornerstone laid in 1938.

But by 1940 the building was already too small. It had to be redesigned, with a new wing doubling the size.

In 1951 the name was changed to Resurrection Ascension to prevent confusion and conflict with Ascension Church in neighboring Elmhurst.

By the late 1960s, the congregation discovered the church was built on swamp land and was sinking fast. The church was closed down for several years and services were moved to the auditorium while the foundation was rebuilt.

But it’s passed the test of time, having served the community for over 70 years. Today the school is still largely attended by new Catholic immigrants, many of Asian and Latino origin.

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