NY1's Ruschell Boone wraps up her What's in a Name? series for Queens Week by looking at how Richmond Hill and Kew Gardens came to be.
The hustle and bustle of the neighborhood is a far cry from the days when Richmond Hill was a village and a popular country retreat for the wealthy.
The farmland was developed by a prominent New York attorney named Albon Platt Man who would see it on his train rides through the area.
"He looked down and he saw the beautiful hills going down toward the shore of Jamaica, and he said, 'What a lovely place this would be to build a community,'" said Helen Day, vice president of the Richmond Hill Historical Society.
Man purchased the Welling and Lefferts farm in 1868 and hired an architect to design a Victorian village and garden community. Richmond Hill grew rapidly with the addition of streets, schools and a railroad stop.
"We have lovely old Queen Victorian houses that are in the Queen Anne style, and they have lovely architectural details and lovely wrap-around porches and beautiful trees lining the streets," Day said.
For much of its history, many thought the neighborhood was named after architect Edmond Richmond. But in reality, it came from Man's ancestral home.
"It was actually named after Richmond Hill in England," Day said.
In 1908, Man's son, Alrick, built a neighboring town on the hilly terrain of Richmond Hill. He called it Kew Gardens.
"First, it was called Kew because it was the sister town to Richmond Hill in England, and there were some complaints. They said 'Kew? Sounds like stew.' So he added the Gardens to it," said Carl Ballenas, author of "Images of America: Kew Gardens."
Before its development, the land was a playground for the people of Richmond Hill.
"We had glacial ponds for skating, for fishing, for boating, we had forests for hunting, we had grounds for picnicking, and it was a golf course," Ballenas said.
There are no traces of any of that today, but Kew Gardens still looks like an English village. Most of the Queen Annes in Richmond Hill have been altered or replaced, but quite a few remain.