Photo: New York Landmarks Conservancy

Bowne House, Flushing, Queens

In 1661, John Bowne built a house for his family in Flushing. Today it is the oldest house in Queens, on the list of the National Register of Historic Places, and an official New York City landmark. Soon after he constructed it, Bowne allowed Quakers to meet in the house, violating Governor Peter Stuyvesant's ban on religions other than the Dutch Reformed Church. Bowne was arrested and successfully argued his case before the Dutch West India Company.

After serving as the home to nine generations of Bownes, the house was purchased by a private organization, the Bowne House Historical Society, which turned it into a museum in the 1940s.

It operated as such until 2000, when it was deemed physically unsound and closed to the public. The owners are in the process of joining the parks department's Historic House Trust, which will give the home's owners access to city conservationists and make the city responsible for maintaining the house. The Bowne House must raise $700,000, which both the city and state would match to total to $2.1 million. However, the society estimates that $4 million worth of restoration work is needed.

1 • 2 • 34567891011