An abandoned war memorial on 48th Street in Maspeth will now be receiving some attention thanks to State Senator Serphin R. Maltese.
JPCA Historian Christina Wilkinson noticed that the base of a flagpole in a small city-owned park south of the Long Island Expressway features an inscription dedicated to those who died in battle serving our country. The monument was erected by the “citizens of Laurel Hill.” Laurel Hill was at one time a sizeable working class community near Newtown Creek in an area now considered to be part of Maspeth. There are few residences there now as the land has been taken over by industry.
“I had no idea that there was even a memorial here until I stumbled across it accidentally one day while researching the area,” Wilkinson said. “There aren’t any wreath-laying ceremonies here on Memorial or Veterans Day that I am aware of.”
Senator Maltese was notified and seemed both fascinated and concerned about the memorial. “We don’t want any service members who gave their lives defending this country to be forgotten,” he said. He contacted the Veterans of Foreign Wars chapters in Woodside and Maspeth and they are working together to remedy the situation. Local boy scouts will also be attending to the monument.
When you look at the monument, you can tell that it was erected just after World War I, because it is identified as ‘The World War.’ Of course, back then they had no idea that there would be another world war starting just about two decades later.
The inscription appears to have been changed later on, adding World War II, Korean and Vietnam veterans to the honor roll.