Lydia Ann Bell and William J Ahles House, Queens

Ahles House

 Address: 39-24 – 39-26 213th Street

Construction. 1873

Builder: Robert M. Bell

LPC Action: Calendared 2009
This impressive Second Empire Style residence is a rare reminder of nineteenth-century Bayside, when it was a village of suburban villas and substantial farmhouses. This house was constructed around 1873 by farmer Robert M. Bell for his daughter Lydia (usually known as Lillie) and her husband John William Ahles, a prominent grain merchant and officer of the New York Produce Exchange and Queens County Agricultural Society.

Built only a few years after railroad service reached Bayside in 1866 and residential subdivisions began to replace farms, the Ahles house typifies the substantial Second Empire style suburban villas erected by wealthy businessmen during the 1870’s and 1880’s.  It retains the cubic form and dormered mansard roof typical of the Second Empire Style as well as such details as the molded cornice and hexagonal slate shingles.

When J. William Ahles died in 1915, his obituary in the New York Times indicated that his home was “one of the showplaces” of the town. Today this house is thought to be one of the oldest surviving in Bayside and is considered a significant reminder of the neighborhood’s past.