The Schuetzen Park and Hotel, located on Myrtle Avenue near 88th Place in eastern Glendale, were opened in 1892 by Charles Deckelman. He improved it at a cost of $80,000 and operated it himself for two years. Beginning in 1894, Deckelman leased the property to Bernard Koenig, who had run other successful parks and beer gardens.
The park was a draw for the many German people residing throughout the area at the time. It also hosted some major celebratory events. The Plattedeutsche Volksfest was an annual shooting contest and German festival, and it was held at Schuetzen Park beginning in 1895. While there were many picnic parks throughout Queens and Brooklyn at the time, few were authorized as shooting ranges. This is where Koenig’s venue had an advantage.
Of course mixing beer with guns can lead to tragedy, and in 1895, the first such event happened at the park. A Manhattan hotelier named John Baumann had been talking with a friend near a target when he was hit in the chest with a stray .22 caliber bullet. A newspaper article from the time stated that he was taken to the hospital in a grave condition, but whether or not he survived was never reported.
Another unsavory incident happened in 1898 when a violent fight broke out at the park. It was labelled a “riot” by the press as that was the charge levied against 3 Brooklyn men who were arrested for their involvement in the melee. The newspaper reported that “a number were wounded” in the skirmish.
July 1899 saw a grand celebration at Schuetzen Park of the one year anniversary of Admiral Winfield Scott Schley’s defeat of Cervera’s fleet at Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish-American War.
This was arranged and attended by the men of his ship, “Brooklyn,” docked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Unfortunately, the guest of honor was unable to shake off a previous commitment and could not be there in person. But all reports indicate that he was thoroughly feted and his crew had a wonderful and well-behaved time.
Bernard Koenig passed away at his home at Schuetzen Park in 1908 and was laid to rest at Lutheran Cemetery. In 1909, his property was sold to John Gerken, who continued to run it as a German beer hall and shooting gallery. Unfortunately, by that time the popularity of picnic parks was on the decline. By the 1920s, the property had been purchased by Brooklyn brewers Welz & Zerweck. The buildings were demolished prior to 1929. The Jackie Robinson Expressway now cuts through the property.