Charles Paulson/Jacob L. Van Wicklen Store

117-19 Jamaica Avenue
c. 1868

1868 was an exciting year for Richmond Hill. Man and Richmond began their suburban development that June and the South Side Railroad commenced commuter service to Brooklyn and Manhattan in July. Hoping to capitalize on this energy, Charles Paulson purchased a lot on “The Triangle” opposite the train depot in September, erecting this small commercial building that he leased to Jacob L. Van Wicklen as a grocery store and post office. In subsequent decades it went through many different owners and uses, including hotel, restaurant and saloon, as well as names, including the Wheelman’s Restaurant (a reference to the increasingly popular bicycle), Doyle’s Triangle Hotel and the Triangle Hofbrau Haus. Composer Ernest Ball wrote “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” (1912) in one of the hotel rooms, and celebrities such as Babe Ruth and Mae West are rumored to have frequented the restaurant in the 1910s-30s. The Tudor Revival style storefront extension is a 20th century addition, but the bones of Richmond Hill’s most famous commercial building are intact and visible above the ground floor.