Queens Historical Society’s 32nd annual #HollyTour 2019 opens doors to six Flushing landmarks

Photos courtesy of Queens Historical Society

Get your walking shoes on and enjoy a tried and true Queens holiday favorite known as Holly Tour.

This year, Queens Historical Society’s #HollyTour 2019 returns for the 32nd year as six Flushing landmarks open their doors to the public for an afternoon of family-friendly activities, performances, displays and refreshments.

On Sunday, Dec. 8, from 1 to 5 p.m., participants can walk or shuttle to Bowne House, Flushing Town Hall, Quaker Meeting House, Kingsland Homestead, Lewis Latimer House Museum and Voelker Orth House and see the venues outfitted in era-specific holiday decor.

General admission tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets are free for children ages 12 and under. Visit the Queens Historical Society’s website at queenshistoricalsociety.org to purchase tickets or visit its headquarters at Kingsland Homestead to purchase tickets in person.

Voelker Orth House, 149-19 38th Ave.

Visitors to this Victorian abode will view German-American style decorations, mimicking the style of women in the Voelker and Orth families. Built in 1891, it was the home of three generations of a family with German roots. The “original Voelker granddaughter” Elisabeth Orth donated the estate to be used as a museum in order to preserve a part of Flushing’s history.

Staff will treat Voelker Orth House patrons to seasonal decor and a display of beaded sculptural tableaux. Guests can also peruse a gift and plant sale while noshing on pfeffernusse — small spiced cookies — and sipping on hot mulled cider. Pianist Keith Gartman will lead visitors in a festive singalong.

Quaker Meeting House, 137-16 Northern Blvd.

The Quaker Meeting House dates back in 1694 and served as the first worship house in a town formerly known as Vlissengen. Today, worshipers still use it for religious purposes and it is New York’s oldest structure. The house is also one of the three oldest continuously active sites of religious activity in North America and the second oldest Quaker meeting house in the United States.

On the tour, visitors will be able to enjoy folk singing and hot apple cider and will also get the opportunity to walk the grounds and view the cemetery.

Lewis Howard Latimer House, 34-41 137th St.

Guests at the Lewis Howard Latimer House will enjoy STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) activities in the museum’s Tinker Lab, view an art exhibition and watch a video interview of Latimer’s granddaughter Winifred Latimer Norman, who worked to preserve the house and raise awareness for her grandfather’s scientific contributions.

Lewis Latimer lived in the Victorian-era house from 1902 until his death in 1928. The African American son of escaped slaves helped to develop the telephone and incandescent lightbulb. Latimer was also a poet, painter and musician.

Kingsland Homestead, 143-35 37th Ave.

Staff at Kingsland Homestead will lead guided tours of the new Flushing Garden Club exhibition and instruct patrons on how to make pressed flower scrapbooks.

The founders built Kingsland between 1774 and 1785 as one of the earliest surviving examples of area houses common in the 18th and 19th centuries. A British sea captain and the dwelling’s namesake, Joseph King, bought the property in 1801. Five generations of Quakers in the King and Murray families lived there until the 1930s. It now serves as the Queens Historical Society’s headquarters.

Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd.

At Flushing Town Hall, visitor can shop at the venue’s annual holiday market, where local artisans sell handcrafted goods like jewelry, paintings, ceramics, paper goods, greeting cards and clothes.

The Romanesque Revival Hall was built in 1862 and was the village’s epicenter of culture and politics in the late 19th century. Prior to the Civil War, FTH hosted swearing-in ceremonies for Union soldiers. Later, the venue served as an opera house, courthouse, jail and bank.

Bowne House, 37-01 Bowne St.

English-born religious freedom activist John Bowne built the borough’s oldest domicile in 1661. Nine generations of Bowne and Parsons families lived there until 1945 when it became a museum. The structure features a unique blend of Dutch and English construction and has landmark status on the city, state and federal levels.

Holly Tour patrons will discuss early holiday traditions and view demonstrations of Colonial crafts including an early dollhouse with mini furnishings. Refreshments include a treat typical of ones served in the region of the Bowne family’s ancestral English countryside home.

For more information, visit queenshistoricalsociety.org or contact Jeran Halfpap at 718-939-0647, ext. 14, or [email protected].

Bowne House
Lewis Howard Latimer House