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Queens Chronicle

Shevlin Mansion in Jamaica

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Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014 10:30 am

Hillside Avenue is one of the longer avenues in Queens, starting in Richmond Hill and continuing over the city line in Floral Park.

For those who were well to do, a house up on the hillside was a sign of wealth and success. The prized north side real estate had some of the most gracious homes around — before there was a place called Jamaica Estates.

James J. Shevlin, born in 1863 and a son of Irish immigrants, joined the NYPD on Oct. 16, 1886. A rising star in the department, he advanced himself to captain of the old 279th Precinct in the Rockaways.

Shevlin built this mansion, originally numbered 453 Hillside Ave. With his wife, Mary, he raised eight boys — Thomas, Matthew, Eugene, Joseph, Gerard, John, Harold and Charles — in this home. His last child was a girl they named Mary. He even took in his mother- and father-in-law, Matthew and Nora Kett.

Once Hillside Avenue was zoned commercial east down to Hollis, these grand homes were doomed. Few remained when stores started to dominate the area. The price of commercial real state outweighed the value of these grand homes. But the Shevlin Mansion remained, though hidden.

First-born son Thomas Shevlin became a civil engineer, Joseph became an attorney and last-born Charles became a medical doctor with a practice on 153rd Street. Charles continued to live in the house until his death in the 1950s.

Today the grand old house is blocked from view by a building housing offices.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • CleanUpJamaicaQueens posted at 8:13 am on Sat, Feb 1, 2014.

    CleanUpJamaicaQueens Posts: 118

    When I took this photo of improper garbage disposal at this law office on Hillside Avenue (http://cleanupjamaicaqueens.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/garbage-5-18-13-005.jpg) back in May of 2013, had no idea what beauty was hidden behind it.


  • CleanUpJamaicaQueens posted at 7:58 am on Sat, Feb 1, 2014.

    CleanUpJamaicaQueens Posts: 118

    Wow, I have walked by here many times and even took pictures of this place for the way they disposed of garbage, but had no idea that the this beautiful home was behind it.

    And here is the difference from the immigrants of yesteryear and this new batch of third world immigrants that have come in the last 10-15 years. One group bring something to the table and builds, the other brings crap (as can be seen in the photo) to the table and destroys the essence of a community.