Albert Voigt, born in Germany in 1863, immigrated to America in 1892 and landed in Brooklyn, New York. He quickly married and went on to have a son and three daughters. He became an inventor and manufacturer of hardware, soon opening his own factory. His wealth enabled him to buy a lone three-story home on a roughly 105-by-100 foot property on Park Lane South.
When the building boom in Queens started upon the opening of the Queensborough Bridge, there were duplications of street names. The Borough of Queens engineer, Charles Underhill Powell, in 1911 devised a numbering system similar to the one in Philadelphia. Street numbers would run west to east, from First to 271st. Avenues would run from Third Avenue in Whitestone in the north to as high as 165th in Howard Beach to the south. The plan was officially adopted in 1915.
Albert Voigt’s house at 85-04 Park Lane South has the famous distinction of being the very first one renumbered under the new plan. A handsome plaque saying so has boldly stood out front since the 1930s.
Most of western Queens complied with the numbering system. However, some farther east, in areas of Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Douglaston, fiercely clung to some of their old names and resisted numbering their streets.
After Voigt’s death, the house changed hands many times, being owned at different points by the Wagner, Bellafiore and Riggio families. Public records show today the proud owner of this historic house is Stanislaw Skumial.