There are over two hundred large black and white photos across three bound books, two envelopes, and two folders in this well preserved construction archive. Photos are process and finished construction photos of buildings across New York – primarily Queens and Long Island – built by Frank A. Droesch, Inc. construction firm, as well as two folders compiling documents, budgets, brochures, ads and photos of finished work to be delivered to “United States Government Agencies” seeking construction contracts. Photo sizes vary but are generally large, around 8”x10” on average. The Queens based firm built a wide range of building types – from modest and medium sized single family homes to McMansions on Long Island, to churches and schools (and Catholic schools), to factory buildings and 5 & 10 cent stores. Some identified buildings and sites photographed in the archive include: St. Boniface School (Long Island), Sacred Heart Academy (Long Island), Sheffield Farms bottled milk distribution buildings (Long Island), Elmont School (Queens), Jamaica Storage Warehouse (Queens), and St. Thomas the Apostle Church (Long Island), among many unidentified residences and other buildings. There are a few shots of marvelous finished and furnished period interiors, presented in stark contrast to the interior shots of concrete and dirt piles in warehouses mid-creation; as a collection, it is a broad and fascinating one to sift through.
A Google search found that Frank A. Droesch had a hand in constructing buildings in Addisleigh Park in the St. Albans section of Queens, an important and apparently little-known neighborhood for African American New Yorkers. It is unclear if any of the photos in this archive are of homes in that neighborhood per-se, but the firm’s activity and photos date to the same period of active Addisleigh Park construction mentioned in the paper, and to Queens, so it is plausible. An interesting element to this company’s history for sure! The photos are well preserved, well exposed, and with the activity of workers sprinkled throughout shots as well as materials, job-site and construction styles revealed of the time, it serves as an intriguing visual history of a period of great construction in the story of New York.