Did you ever wonder what life was like 100 years ago? 200 years ago? As Middle Village’s bicentennial year comes to a close, we’re taking a look back at major events that happened both locally and throughout the world in the years 1816 & 1916, and recapping 2016.
At about 8pm on February 12, 1816, a fire broke out in a house in King’s Beach, St. John’s, Newfoundland, and quickly consumed 120 houses which were home to about a thousand men, women, and children.
The year 1816 became known as “18-hundred-and-froze-to-death” and “the year without a summer” across the world. Weather patterns were abnormal for many months, with large amounts of rain and snow falling throughout the summer and cold weather lingering through much of the northeastern U.S. and Europe. The world saw increased religious fervor and some areas suffered famine. The volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia is thought to have been the cause of the strange weather.
In the early morning of June 16, 1816, author Mary Shelley had a terrifying dream that inspired the creation of her novel Frankenstein. She along with Lord Byron, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Polidori, had gathered at the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva in a rainy Switzerland during the unseasonably cold June weather and spent the time telling each other tales. Polidori’s imagination produced The Vampyre which was not published until 1819.
The Williamsburgh-Jamaica Turnpike was officially opened on September 26, ushering in the development of Middle Village. The road later became known as Metropolitan Avenue.
The United States presidential election of 1816 was held from Friday, November 1 to Wednesday, December 4, 1816.Democratic-Republican James Monroe of Virginia defeated Federalist Rufus King of Jamaica, Queens in the electoral college by the wide margin of 183 to 34.
On December 11, 1816, outgoing President James Madison signed an act of Congress admitting Indiana to the Union as the 19th state.
Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, Boeing Aircraft, and BMW were all founded in this year.
An unattended hot iron ignited a blaze that ripped across 25 blocks of downtown Augusta, GA on March 22, 1916.
An armed rebellion in Ireland during Easter Week, April 1916, became known as The Easter Rising. The Rising was launched by Irish republicans to end British rule in Ireland and establish an independent Irish Republic while the United Kingdom was heavily engaged in the First World War. Almost 500 people were killed in the conflict.
The Chicago Cubs played their first home game at Wrigley Field on April 20, 1916.
It was announced in May that Brooklyn Rapid Transit (BRT) would soon be authorized to extend its trolley operations along Metropolitan Avenue from Middle Village to Jamaica. At the time, the trolley travelled from Brooklyn but ended at Middle Village. The Q54 bus line replaced the trolley mid-century.
Two tropical storms, one from the Gulf Coast in June and one from the Atlantic Ocean in July, converged on Asheville, NC resulting in “The Flood by Which All Other Floods Are Measured.” Dams failed and eighty people died.
Between July 1 and July 12, 1916, there was panic along the Jersey Shore when four people were killed and one injured by shark attacks. Experts believe the attackers were great white sharks or bull sharks.
On July 22, 1916, a massive parade was held in San Francisco, California to celebrate Preparedness Day, a pep rally anticipating the United States’ entrance into World War I. It was halted by the explosion of a suitcase bomb, which killed 10 and wounded 40 bystanders.
Black Tom was a major munitions depot for the northeastern United States in Jersey City, NJ. On July 30, 1916, German agents set off major explosions at Black Tom, resulting in damage to the Statue of Liberty and clock tower of The Jersey Journal building in Journal Square. The explosion was the equivalent of an earthquake measuring between 5.0 and 5.5 on the Richter scale and was felt as far away as Philadelphia.
On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, a new federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible for protecting the 35 national parks and monuments then managed by the department and those yet to be established.
The 1916 Summer Olympics were scheduled to be held in Berlin, Germany, but were canceled due to the outbreak of World War I.
The U.S. presidential election of 1916 was held on November 7 and resulted in incumbent Democrat Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey defeating Republican Supreme Court Justice Charles Hughes of New York. The electoral vote was 277 for Wilson vs. 254 for Hughes.
The World Health Organization announces an outbreak of the Zika virus on January 28.
North Korea launched a long-range rocket into space on February 7. This violated multiple UN treaties and was denounced by governments around the world.
Thirty-two people were killed and 250 injured on March 22 after three coordinated bombings in Brussels, Belgium took place. Islamic terrorists (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks.
On May 19, EgyptAir Flight 804 crashed with 66 people on board over the Mediterranean en route from Paris to Cairo. The cause has not yet been determined.
In a referendum known as “Brexit” (British Exit) held on June 23, The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.
Throughout 2016, Queens residents voiced concern over a new BRT – bus rapid transit – along Woodhaven Blvd. The addition of bike lanes along congested roads also served as cause for controversy.
ISIL claimed responsibility for a June 28 attack at Istanbul, Turkey’s Atatürk Airport which killed 45 and injured around 230.
The 2016 Summer Olympics were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil amid fears of Zika from August 5-21.
The Chicago Cubs, after a drought of 108 years, won the World Series in 7 games against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday, November 2nd. It was the first time that Wrigley Field had ever hosted a World Series that led to a victory for the home team.
In what has been described as the strangest presidential race in history, Republican businessman Donald Trump of New York defeated Democratic former first lady, senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Trump won a majority of the electoral college but Clinton won the popular vote, mainly due to large turnout in heavily Democratic cities. Two hundred years after Rufus King’s defeat, another man from Jamaica, Queens has made it to the White House.