Ferdinand Kaiser was a farmer in western Maspeth in the late 1800s. A widower from Germany, he raised 2 sons and 3 daughters in a classic saltbox type house on his property, which stretched from Andrews Avenue (59th Place) to Old Fresh Pond Road (61st Street) and from Mount Olivet Avenue (59th Drive) to Flushing Avenue.
By the end of WWI, the elder Kaiser had passed away and the property was divided into 93 lots and sold at auction, along with the frame house, on June 14, 1919. The assets from this sale were divided among his children in 1921.
The Ridgewood Terrace Construction Company (RTCC) purchased many of Kaiser’s Maspeth lots. Ridgewood was an up-and-coming “hot” neighborhood during this time, and builders were eager to take advantage of that. They frequently included the word “Ridgewood” in the names of their developments outside of Ridgewood. A perfect example of this practice is the Ridgewood Plateau, located miles away from the northernmost section of Ridgewood.
RTCC sold some of the lots to other developers, but built 20 new houses of their own on one section of the land. By 1922 the community was improved with new streets, sidewalks and sewers. At corner homes opposite each other at Mount Olivet Avenue (59th Drive) on the northern side of Collins Avenue (60th Street), 2 brick columns were placed to mark the development, which remain standing today. Let's hope the owners of these properties continue to maintain the columns as they represent an important part of Maspeth history.