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Historic Flushing site gets much needed makeover

A restoration of the Kingsland Homestead in Flushing will take place this fall in order to maintain the historic building. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

The Kingsland Homestead, a 226-year-old home in downtown Flushing, is getting a long-awaited face-lift this autumn, and its organizers hope the program will allow the site to continue its missions of historical education and preservation for many more years.

The funding for the project, which was secured several years ago by then-City Councilman John Liu and Borough President Helen Marshall, will restore nearly all of the historic property’s aging windows and replace some of its gutters.

The work originally was to include fixing the building’s peeling exterior paint and other damages, repainting its facade and completing other repairs, but Marisa Berman, executive director of the Queens Historical Society, said the money does not go as far as it would have when it was first allocated.

“We’re really excited that the capital project is about to start, but the paint is peeling off some of the wood, and water damage will eventually destroy the house if it’s not fixed, so we’re in the process of raising funds,” she said. “We just started a capital campaign to raise the money for that work.”

The Kingsland Homestead, at 143-35 37th Ave., is a member of the Historic House Trust of New York City and is now the headquarters of the Queens Historical Society, which grew out of the movement to protect Kingsland in the 1960s and now owns and operates the home.

In 1968, the Kingsland Preservation Committee, which later became the Queens Historical Society, saved the house from demolition by helping to ensure that it became the first landmarked site in the borough and facilitating its relocation to its present site in Weeping Beech Park to avoid demolition.

In the 19th century, that small Flushing park was the nursery of horticulturist Samuel Bowne Parsons, who planted the first weeping beech tree in America there in 1847. The park is currently undergoing renovation by the city, but parts of it reopened in recent months.

The historical society offers exhibitions at Kingsland and it has a collection of historical documents, books and other materials related to the borough’s 300-year past available to the public by appointment.

The Queens Historical Society regularly offers events for the public. It has a number of events planned for the fall and winter, including a Nov. 6 lecture at the Kingsland Homestead on the history of the Rockaways; a Nov. 17 lecture there on black Civil War soldiers and sailors; a historical movie matinee shown there every third Tuesday and geared toward seniors; and a Dec. 11 historic holiday house tour of Kingsland, Flushing Town Hall and the Bowne, Quaker Meeting and Voelker-Orth houses, all in the Flushing historic corridor.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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