Whenever the history of Forest Hills is discussed, the names Cord Meyer and Frederick and Ascan Backus always come up. Relatively few people remember another major player in the area’s history — the Springsteen family.
The Springsteens were farmers of Dutch descent who owned a large portion of land on the south side of Queens Boulevard, unlike the Backus family, which was dominant on the north side. Springsteen’s holdings started at Ascan Avenue and extended to 77th Avenue.
The Springsteen homestead was labeled 112 Queens Blvd. when it was custom built in 1898. The house had three indoor bathrooms and a wood-burning fireplace. Standing on the south side of the boulevard at 71st Road, it was later renumbered as 108-36 Queens Blvd.
Azariah and David Springsteen, aware of their proud Dutch history, joined the famous Holland Society in 1913. Howard Springsteen owned a garage on Austin Street. Nelson Springsteen opened a firm that specialized in appraisal and mortgages in Jamaica. He was elected vice president of Jamaica Savings Bank in 1950. He and his wife, Gwendolyn, lived at 110-27 70 Road on the north side of Forest Hills.
The old Springsteen mansion was torn down in the late 1940s and in its place the Stratton Bar and Restaurant was built, becoming a nightlife haunt for decades. TD Bank has now claimed this corner space.
Both the Springsteen homestead and the Stratton are gone, and no members of the Springsteen family can be found anymore in Queens County. Some might suggest looking in New Jersey.