Destination: The Americas

Villages Helping Hands


College Point, New York (NY)
Archivist:  Susan Sanders

Early History of St. Fidelis
College Point, New York

by Susan Sanders

The parish of St. Fidelis was founded in 1856 when the bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn sent Reverend Joseph Huber to Strattenport, now known as College Point.

Rev. Huber found twenty German-speaking families and six English-speaking families.  These families had been attending Mass in Flushing provided of course the road was not flooded by the high tides of Flushing Bay.  Father Huber was a native of Alberschwende, Tyrol, Austria. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 21, 1853. 

The first Mass was celebrated in the home of Anton Kutger on Seventh Street (now known as 126th St.).  With the help of parishioners of Holy Trinity Parish in Williamsburg,  they erected a little frame church on four lots on Fifteenth Street, between High Street and Third Avenue (on 124th Street between 14th and 15th Avenue. The cornerstone of this original small church was layer September 1856. Two months later the first Mass was celebrated. Father Raffeiner preached the sermon in German; Bishop Loughlin preached in English.


click images below to enlarge

The first pastor, Rev. Huber, worked tirelessly for the people of Strattenport. When he died at the age of 60, the day was one of universal mourning – even the factories and stores of the town were closed out of respect for this priest whom everyone loved. 

While Father Huber was ill he asked that Father Ambrose Schumack come to College Point to assist him. Father Schumack was named the successor in 1889. 

Generous parishioners raised $15,000 and the parish school was moved across the street to make room for the building of a new, larger church to accommodate the needs of the growing congregation. The cornerstone of this church was laid in September 1894 and the completed church dedicated on October 6, 1895. 

Those of you who are descendants of the citizens of Glogowatz who settled in College Point may be trying to imagine exactly what kind of town and church your ancestors found. 

At the time the village was first settled as Strattonport the little town was composed of houses scattered here and there with much farmland and underbrush. The village is situated on the East River where the settlers sailed boats and swam. In the mid-1800’s the village was a thriving farm community with farmers making hay near Powell’s Cove.  By the 1890’s and early 1900’s when Banaters started arriving, the town was in the process of transformation. 

In 1853, Conrad Poppenhusen built his rubber factory where many of our ancestors found employment. The population of College Point grew from a few hundred in 1853 to over a thousand in 1855 and to 2,000 in 1860. People poured into the town to take jobs at the Rubber Factory. Along with the factory, Mr. Poppenhusen built homes for his factory workers.

He built a cobblestone road between College Point and Flushing. He drained the marshes, brought in pure running water, tree lined street and gas lines. In 1898 when College Point became part of Greater New York, it was the only village in Queens with paved streets and a budget surplus of $60,000.  Conrad Poppenhusen gave another gift to College Point – to commemorate his 50th birthday he built the Poppenhusen Institute, a school to educate men and women in the mechanical arts. In 1870 a free kindergarten was opened – the first of its kind in the country. It was open to children of working class people.    

The Poppenhusen Institute served many uses for many people. It was an institution of education, a village town hall, was the first home of the College Point Savings Bank and even housed a two-celled jail which can be seen today by visitors to the Poppenhusen Institute off College Point Boulevard and 14th Avenue. 

For me, the Poppenhusen Institute holds a special place in my heart. It is where the romance of my own parents, Frank Sander and Edythe Jedlicka began. Dances were held frequently but you had to be a student of the Institute to attend. I know Mom took typing and sewing classes.  My dad  may have taken drafting classes. One week before a big dance, Frank did not have a date for the dance.  His friends insisted he attend but Dad said he couldn’t attend without a date.   His friends at the Institute told him he should invite the first young lady of his acquaintance to come walking through the Main Hallway that night!  He agreed …. and along came Edythe Jedlicka! 

My dad’s parents were Michael Szander (Sander) and Sophie Reichert, both born in Glogowatz. They emigrated with their first three children in 1911. They were not the first to come – many had come before.  According to Dave Dreyer’s manifest,  the Pisa, arrived in New York on 30 March 1906 and

brought the following Glogowatz citizens to College Point:

Paul Begner, Johann Czallner with wife, Anna and Son, Anton.

Mathias Daneker, Josef Eder (Adler), Josef Erustein, Josef Gamber, Josef Gerhard, Andreas Hollich, Johann Kaiser,

Peter Keiher, Franz Kornacker (going to join cousin, Anton Kornacker), Franz Lorenz, Anton Reingruber, Peter Trehr, and Johann Zellner.  In all fairness, Since Franz Kornacker was joining his cousin, Anton, this man must have arrived first.

The following entry was made in Dave Dreyer’s list:

Anton Kornacker arrived 25 January 1906 on the Slavonia.

His departure port is listed as New York but now we know the rest of the story ….. he found his way to College Point. 

Other Glogowatz citizens arrived earlier and listed their destination as New York – these people may have come to College Point also.  What we do know is that it was the beginning of a new life for all Glogowatz emigrants --- and the chance for all of us, the descendants of Glogowatz, to be blessed with a life in the United States of America. 

Sources:  The Parish of Saint Fidelis of  Sigmaringen, Martyr 1856 – 1956
              A History of College Point, N.Y.
              Robert A. Hecht
              Copyright 1976 by Bicentennial  Committee of College Point, Inc.

The Pastors of St. Fidelis Church 1856-2004
College Point, New York 

by Susan Williams nee Sander

Reverend Joseph Huber
Founder-Pastor of St. Fidelis Parish 1856-1889

Right Reverend Monsignor Ambrose Schumack, V.F.
Pastor 1889-1930

Right Reverend Monsignor Francix X. Wunsch, V.F.
Pastor 1931-1944

Reverend Ignatius Endres
Pastor 1944-1953

Reverend Williams J. Osborne
Pastor 1953 - unknown

Reverend Arthur Minicello
Deacon Jack Reichert [a descendant of Johann Reichert and Anna Vegner of Glogowatz]

123-06 14th Avenue
College Point, New York 11356

Telephone: 718-445-6164
Fax:  718-445-1623

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