In 1850, Phillip and Joseph Hirsch established a grocery and seed store on Metropolitan Avenue. They also had a saloon on the corner of 80th Street and Metropolitan Avenue. Peter Hirsch was born in 1849 in Manhattan. When he was 5 years old his father moved the family to Middle Village.
A few years later the saloon was rebuilt and it became the St. John’s Hotel. Peter was manager for many years. St. John’s Cemetery was opened in 1881 and it was a long trip from Manhattan. So many of the people wanting to visit the cemetery would have a meal and spend the night at the hotel before making the trip home the next day.
Peter was active in the real estate business and contributed to the growth of Middle Village probably more than any other man.
For several years he was a member of the Board of Education and it was through his influence that PS 87 was erected on Dry Harbor Road.
The commencement exercises for the Class of 1905 of Newtown High School took place Tuesday evening, June 27, 1905. There were 14 graduates and the presentation of diplomas to the graduates was made by Peter Hirsch.
As a member of the Metropolitan Avenue Board of Trade he worked hard for the development of Middle Village and brought about many improvements.
Peter was an active worker in St. Margaret’s Church. He was President of the Holy Name Society and Treasurer of Hieronimus Council No. 422, Catholic Benevolent Legion. After three days of pneumonia and pleurisy Peter Hirsch died in 1910.