Newtown had a certain importance within Queens County and became a town seat in the 1680s. It was subsequently endowed with its own tax office, jail and town hall. Newtown began to grow more quickly in the mid 19th century after the introduction of a horsecar line in 1854. Further development came when the Long Island Rail Road opened a line through the town in 1876.
In 1896 a local landowner called Cord Meyer suggested that the district change its name to Elmhurst, which did indeed happen the following year. The new name came from the elm trees that were common in the area. It seems there was also a desire to distance the neighborhood from the notorious Newtown Creek.
But back to those unfortunate construction workers who had just unearthed a corpse in Elmhurst in 2011. The body was dressed in a white shirt and socks that came up to the knee. The men’s first thought when they saw the corpse was that they’d stumbled across a murder victim.