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Explore historic Flushing landmarks during the 36th Annual Holly House Tour

Nov. 29, 2023 By Iryna Shkurhan

Four historic landmarks in downtown Flushing will be decorated for the holidays for the 36th Annual Holiday Historic House Tour hosted by the Queens Historical Society on Sunday, Dec. 10. 

Guests will be able to walk to and tour the landmarked houses – The Bowne House, Friends Quaker Meeting House, Kingsland Homestead and Voelker Orth Museum Bird Sanctuary and Victorian Garden –  all less than a mile of each other. The annual event gives visitors a glimpse into Colonial and Victorian era Queens through festive tours, with a provided holiday refreshment in hand.

“This much anticipated event will allow guests to tour four historic locations in downtown Flushing including Kingsland Homestead, one of the last remaining examples of a post-Revolutionary era farm house in Queens and also visit the historic Weeping Beech Tree located right behind the homestead,” said Jason D. Antos, executive director of the Queens Historical Society. “The tree is 176 years old and its seeds were brought to Flushing from Belgium by Samuel Bowne Parsons, Jr.”

The Friends Quaker Meeting House, also known as the Old Quaker Meeting House, has been used as a house of worship for over 300 years and is considered the oldest house of worship in the state. It was built in 1964 by John Bowne and was visited by George Washington at one point.

The Kingsland Homestead in downtown Flushing also has a historic Weeping Beech tree on site.Photo courtesy of Queens Historical Society

“Bowne House visitors will enjoy a holiday themed tour of the home’s historic rooms and learn about early-American holiday traditions,” said Elise Helmers, executive director of the Bowne House.

The Bowne House was opened to the public as a museum in 1947, and is considered the best-preserved example of Anglo-Dutch vernacular residential architecture in the country. It is also the only site in Queens to be a member of the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom

The Voelker Orth Museum gives visitors a look inside where a family that immigrated from Germany in the 1890’s lived. The Voelcker family purchased the home for $4,500 in 1899, just one year after Queens officially became part of New York City. The landmarked site also preserves the horticultural heritage of Flushing with a bird sanctuary and victorian garden.

“The Holly House Tour is one of New York’s historic treasures, and we have a special appreciation for this rich history as we commemorate our 200 years of service,” said Richard David, Director of Queens Regional and Community Affairs for Con Edison. “We encourage all New Yorkers and their families to participate in this Queens highlight.”

The event, sponsored by Con Edison, is on Sunday, Dec. 10 from 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets cost $20 per person, with discounts available for students, seniors and members of the Queens Historical Society. Admission includes access to all four sites which are conveniently located near mass transit. 

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