Yet, only one of the four did not have a dedicated plaque honoring the library’s namesake. Last Tuesday, library officials officially righted that wrong.
Parents, students and community members gathered at McGoldrick Community Library to unveil a plaque honoring Father Edward McGolrick, the founding pastor at St. Andrew Avellino Roman Catholic Church and a former member of the Queens Library Board of Trustees.
According to Queens Library CEO Dennis Walcott, McGoldrick served on the board from 1921 until his death in 1930.
He played a role key in establishing what was called the Broadway-Flushing Community Library at Roosevelt Avenue and Northern Boulevard. Three years after his death, the library was renamed to remember its champion.
“This library will no longer be the outlier of not having the plaque,” Walcott said.
According to Joseph Brostek, vice president of the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association and a historian at St. Andrew Avellino parish, McGoldrick came to New York City from Ireland. As a Catholic priest, he served churches in Brooklyn and Queens.
In 1910, Bishop Charles McDonnell of the Long Island Diocese tasked McGoldrick with building a new church for the residents of “Upper Flushing,” who then had to walk to downtown Flushing to attend the closest church at the time, St. Michael’s.
“That’s quite a walk, especially in the rain or snow,” said Brostek, who advocated for years for a plaque to honor McGoldrick. “In those days, there were no buses. There was a trolley car, but it was not very reliable.”
In 1916, a small, wooden church was dedicated on Northern Boulevard, then called Broadway, and 158th Street. McGoldrick was named the parish’s first pastor.
Brostek said McGoldrick loved reading and education, and wanted to establish a school. In 1925, he opened St. Andrew Avellino Catholic Academy, which he called a “thriving academy” today.
After McGoldrick worked with Queens Library to establish the Broadway-Flushing library and his death in 1930, the library moved a few times to other buildings, Brostek said. In 1974, it came to its current home, which was a brand new building at the time.
“Somewhere along the way, as the library moved around, the proper identification of McGoldrick was lost,” he said.
Brostek, who lives nearby, “began his mission” two years ago to have McGoldrick properly recognized. He contacted library officials, including Walcott, who agreed with the proposal.
“Now, when anyone asks who was McGoldrick, you would simply have to point to the plaque that will be proudly hanging in the entranceway,” Brostek said. “That is not the end of the story, it is merely the beginning of a new chapter.”
Reverend Joseph Holcomb, current pastor at St. Andrew Avellino parish, said his predecessor McGoldrick had an “incredible vision.”
“One of those visions was simply to educate our young people,” he said, “and to have everyone have the opportunity to read and be educated.”