Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Rudolph Stutzmann's home: 109-50 Park Lane South, Richmond Hill/Kew Gardens, Queens, NY

Now that you've read through that long-ass post title, hopefully you'll keep reading the actual post! :)

Rudolph Stutzmann is my great-great grandfather on my dad's side (his mother's grandfather). He's your typical child-of-an-immigrant-inherits-an-entrepreneurial-spirit American story. Because he was fairly well off and a prominent member of local society, he's probably the ancestor I know the most about, at least public-life-wise, since his comings and goings are well-chronicled in local newspapers. He's the rare family member that history in general helps us recall - for the majority of us, the majority of our ancestors are only noteworthy to our own families (which is all the more reason to make sure somebody writes and keeps the records!)

Anyway, Rudolph lived and worked in Brooklyn and Queens, not more than half an hour from where I live and for years I've been dying to visit the home he lived in during his later years in life - 109-50 Park Lane South (just from the name you can tell its an upscale neighborhood). It's sometimes listed as being in Richmond Hill, Queens and sometimes as Kew Gardens, Queens - its right on the border and I'm not sure which is actually right. But my fiance works in Kew Gardens, so when I went to meet him there last week, I brought my camera and made a quick stop at the Stutzmann homestead. If you Google the property, you can find out the house itself, a two-story brick building, is about 2700 square feet and worth (today) $660,000. I think it's very cool that the house is still standing - It's a beautiful, neat building, nice sized but not the home of a wealthy person by today's standards - by far not the most beautiful nor the biggest house in the neighborhood (in my dreams, I'll have a house one day like the ones in that neighborhood!) But the location itself is beautiful - located right across from Forest Park, established in the 1890s, the third-largest park in Queens and partially designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. It's not many places in Queens or the city that the view outside your windows is one of trees and nature!

The Stutzmann house was built in 1925 and Rudolph and his wife Augusta Lindemann Stutzmann were living there by 1930. Not too shabby of a home to live in during the Great Depression of all times. That's what I can't get over. How many people were hanging on by a thread, if at all, during that decade, and Rudolph, a banker and business owner, was doing well enough to purchase (he owned the house) a nice home in a nice neighborhood (he was very active in giving back to the community and helping those in need during those years, by the way, at least according to the newspapers, which makes me feel better).

109-50 Park Lane South was still his address when he died June 26, 1946.

Photo taken Dec. 14, 2012 by Mary Ellen Gorry.
View of Forest Park from the sidewalk in front of the Rudolph Stutzmann home at 109-50 Park Lane South, Queens, NY. Photo taken Dec. 14, 2012 by Mary Ellen Gorry.

Photo taken Dec. 14, 2012 by Mary Ellen Gorry.
The home of Rudolph Stutzmann & Augusta Lindemann Stutzmann from 1930-1946. 109-50 Park Lane South, Queens, NY. Photo taken Dec. 14, 2012 by Mary Ellen Gorry.

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