Nov. 28, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
This holiday season take a look and see how the other half lived—in past decades.
The Queens Historical Society is hosting the 29th annual Historical Holiday House Tour through Corona and Flushing this year from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday December 11. The tour showcases seven historical sites that will be decked out for Christmas in antique fashion.
The participating sites, which include the Louis Armstrong House Museum, the Bowne House, the Flushing Town Hall, the Friends Quaker Meeting, the Kingsland Homestead, the Lewis H. Latimer House Museum and the Voelker Orth House, will be decorated as they were during early holiday seasons, and some will offer activities, crafts, and refreshments. Visitors will be able to walk or ride a shuttle between each location.
The first venue is the former home of jazz musician Louis Armstrong, which is now the Louis Armstrong House Museum, at 34-56 107th Street in Corona, where his wife lived until her death in 1983. The museum will be decorated for the holidays, and the tour will feature rare audio clips from the famous musician’s personal recordings, including him reading ’Twas the Night Before Christmas in 1971.
The tour will also include a stop at the Bowne House at 37-01 Bowne Street in Flushing, which was built in 1661 and is the oldest house in the borough. Visitors can also stop by the Flushing Town Hall at 137-35 Northern Boulevard in Flushing, which was built in 1862, and will have a craft market with goods including handmade clothing, jewelry, paintings, posters, figurines, and ceramics.
History buffs will also have a chance to stop in at the Friends Quaker Meeting House at 137-16 Northern Boulevard in Flushing, which was built in 1694 and is the oldest building in the City that has been continuously used for religious services.
The next stop on the tour is Kingsland Homestead at 143-35 37th Avenue in Flushing, which was built in 1795 and is now the headquarters for the Queens Historical Society. There will be live performances and an open gift shop at the venue throughout the day.
The Lewis Howard Latimer house at 34-41 137th Street in Flushing was home to the son of fugitive slaves who helped develop the light bulb and telephone, and will be open for a tour and holiday refreshments during the event.
The final stop on the tour is The Voelker Orth House at149-19 38th Avenue in Flushing, which was built in 1891 and will be decked out in traditional German holiday decorations. Visitors will be able to help build a gingerbread house, shop for gifts and plants, join in a sing-a-long, and enjoy cookies and hot cider.
Tickets for the event, which give access to all seven sites, cost between $13 and $15 and should be purchased ahead of time at http://bit.ly/2eWdjxz.
A MUST for lovers of Queens history!! I have been to 4 of these buildings on my own. My favorites are The Quaker Meeting House and Bowne House, both originals from the 1600s. Both were involved with issues of religious freedom in the early days of this country, when only The Church of England was allowed, by orders of England’s Queens Anne. There was no such thing as the United States when these were built. NY was a British colony.