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A newly restored Kingsland Homestead was on full display over the weekend as the Queens Historical Society celebrated a new beginning in Flushing with the completion of its 2012 capital project. Members of the group joined with city residents and officials Sunday to celebrate the restoration of its old roots while also establishing some new ones.
On the heels of its annual meeting, the Queens Historical Society took to Weeping Beech Park, which surrounds the Kingsland Homestead, at 143-35 37th Ave. in Flushing, to plant a special Newtown Pippen apple tree and reflect on its historical significance. According to the society, the tree was first grown in the village of Newtown in Massachusetts in the early 18th century and was deemed the official apple of New York City in 2009 by a City Council resolution.
“It is a pleasure to present this wonderful tree to the Queens Historical Society,” said Wilhelmena Rhodes Kelly, of the Increase Carpenter Daughters of the American Revolution Chapter, which helped arrange the tree planting at the location. “The fruit from this tree is unique and we are wishing for decades of positive growth.”
Kelly said the apples grown from the special tree could be picked in September, but still taste the best come January. The long-lasting life of the fruit enabled it to become popular in the 1800s so that it could be shipped throughout the world.
“Given the history of this fruit, we figured there was not a more appropriate place to bring it than right here,” Kelly said.
Historical society members joined in with Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) to toss fresh soil onto the new tree outside of the newly restored Kingsland Homestead. The councilman spoke at the group’s annual meeting in support of its restored building and its historical significance in Queens.
“Flushing encapsulates the history of the entire city,” Halloran said, speaking of the rich history of both Flushing and the several historical buildings in Queens preserved by the society.
After the tree planting, QHS launched a special reception in support of a new exhibition, “Permanent Residence: Uncovering the Cemeteries of Queens.” Executive Director Marisa Berman introduced the new exhibit to the group’s members, saying she was happy to share the new perspective on the borough’s cemeteries.
“This is more than just a dark kind of display,” Berman said, acknowledging that cemeteries were not the most cheerful of talking points. “This new exhibition gives so much information about the history of Queens and the history of people who are still here.”
Berman said that by looking into the rich history of Queens’ cemeteries, QHS could delve into discussions on iconography, businesses that flourished because of cemeteries and notable people buried throughout the borough.
“It is a great example of what life was like in the past,” she said.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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