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The following newspaper article was published on October 10, 2002 in the Queens Chronicle
Doors To History Are Opened: 
Richmond Hill Archival Museum

By Kathleen Louis, South Queens Editor

Who still has that old maroon and gray beanie they wore to Richmond Hill High School in 1949? Who remembers when Kew Gardens was nothing more than a country club golf course for the recreation of Richmond Hill society?

Visitors at the RH Archival MuseumThe official opening of the Richmond Hill Archival Museum on October 5, 2002 gave visitors the opportunity to step back in time to a different era. Richmond Hill Historical Society members, (l-r) Susan Wetjen, Rita Gambardella, Rita Werner, Kay Carpenter and Julius Gambardella, discuss the 1920 diaries of Ella Flanders. (Photo by Kathleen Louis)

Enter the newly opened Richmond Hill Archival Museum and take a step back in time to the Victorian-era grandeur that once marked the community. See memorabilia. Peruse pictures. Leaf through diaries and journals that relive the days when horse-drawn carts carried children to the library at the corner of Lefferts Boulevard and Park Street, now Hillside Avenue. 

The historical society president, Nancy Cataldi, played hostess at Saturday's opening dedication and reception. Displayed were a collection of historic photographs, documents and artifacts that have been compiled through the donations of families and community members. Cataldi and local historian Carl Ballenas signed copies of their recently published book, "Images of America: Richmond Hill". The two were instrumental in collating and arranging most of the documents and photographs in the archives.

Descendant founder of Richmond HillLucy and John Junishian traveled from Old Greenwich, Connecticut for the opening of the Richmond Hill Archival Museum. Lucy is a descendant of the founders of Richmond Hill and Kew Gardens. (Photo by Kathleen Louis) 

Lucy Man Junishian and her husband John attended the museum opening. They were visiting from Old Greenwich, Connecticut, where they have lived for 50 years. Lucy is a descendant of Albon Platt Man, who began the development of Richmond Hill from farmland in the 19th century.

The couple pored over old photos and journals, reminiscing over scenes from their childhood. Lucy Junishian had donated many of the photographs to the Richmond Hill Historical Society.

Rita and Julius Gambardella, members of the society, were born in the community and continue to live there. A photograph of Rita's grandfather, who was a member of the Richmond Hill Volunteer Fire Department in 1901, is on display, along with his badge from Engine 239.

Books written by Richmond Hill novelists Amelia Edith Barr ("Remember the Alamo") and Anais Nin are shelved in the museum.

Ernest Ball, who wrote "When Irish Eyes Are. Smiling," was also a Richmond Hill native. Some of his sheet music and memorabilia are shown.

Visitors to the museum can see trophies won at the Richmond Hill golf club in 1903. Crystal Lake, once a water hazard on the golf course, is now the site of the Kew Gardens Long Island Rail Road station.

Hanging from one wall is a vintage Richmond Hill High School cheerleader's uniform, complete with pompoms. A collection of yearbooks from the school is slowly being compiled by Cataldi. She hopes to complete the set soon.

Yearbooks, old copies of newspapers, documents outlining the history of historic local buildings, journals, diaries and photographs are all available to members of the public for research or simply a stroll down memory lane.

However, at the present time, the Richmond Hill Archival Museum is only open by appointment Call 718-847-6070 for more information. Donations of letters, photos, other memorabilia or financial support are welcome. 

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