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Queens Chronicle

Jackson Ave. and its namesake

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Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013 10:30 am

Jackson Avenue between Vernon Boulevard and Fourth Street in Long Island City was a major shopping hub early in the 20th century, with stores such as Snedeker Hardware, Hirshfield Jewelers and Willmark Baking Products, to name just a few.

At the time there were exactly 22 different Fourth streets scattered throughout Queens, making it a nightmare for emergency services, and the name was eventually changed to 50th Avenue.

Jackson Avenue was named for John C. Jackson (1809-1899), once one of the most respected and best-known citizens of Queens County. Jackson came to American from England in 1830, making his fortune by importing china. In 1834 he married the daughter of Capt. Andrew Riker and moved into Oak Hill, a once-famous estate in Long Island City.

Jackson, an avid breeder of cattle, served as president of the Queens County Agricultural Society and the Queens County Fair for many years. Queens was well-known for its farming before the opening of the Queensboro Bridge in 1909. Also serving as president of the Hunter’s Point, Newtown and Flushing Turnpike Co., Jackson had control over road construction.

He died 10 years before the opening of the great bridge connecting Manhattan and Queens, missing the development boom in his home neighborhood of LIC. In later years a new development to the northeast, Jackson Heights, was named in his honor.

Jackson Avenue today begins at Vernon Boulevard and terminates at Bridge Plaza, more often called Queens Plaza, where Northern Boulevard begins.

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