By Greater Astoria Historical Society

In conjunction with the Greater Astoria Historical Society, TimesLedger Newspapers presents noteworthy events in the borough’s history

In December 1937, descendants of pioneer Flushing families take part in a pageant of Flushing Centennial. Women who are leaders in social and civic life are in the cast of the historical fete.

The first performance, at the Flushing Armory, draws 1,500. Dazzling costumes, brilliant singing, and suburb stage sets, including a full-scale replica of Bowne House, mark Flushing’s 100th anniversary as an incorporated village. The effort is under the direction of the WPA Federal Theater Project and the Flushing Historical Society.

Is Miss Bertha Parsons, residing at historic Bowne House, considered for a postage stamp? Postmaster Farley suggests that a portrait of Miss Parsons sitting before the house’s ancient fireplace is a fitting entry for a new stamp series honoring the World’s Fair. Bowne House, built in Flushing about 1661, was the oldest house in the country still occupied by the same family. Miss Parsons modestly suggests the stamp should only show the house’s exterior.

“Uncle” Dan Beard, founder of the Boys Scouts of America, is honored by the Scouts on his 88th birthday. The former Flushing resident, symbol of woodsmen, pioneers, and frontiersmen to boys throughout the nation, accepts a silver buffalo statue and honorary vice presidency from the Scouts for a lifetime of outstanding service to that organization.

Two big housing projects are planned with FHA funds. One development is near the Queensborough Bridge, another in Jackson Heights near the Holmes Airport site and will include a yacht basin, playgrounds, parks and a bathing beach. A low-rent federal housing project is sought in Flushing at a mass meeting called by the Tenants League. The rally, held in Flushing Town Hall, demands passage of a bill to prevent discrimination based on nationality, color, creed or religion in housing as well as an emergency law to control rent increases.

Queens motorists may buy tickets for Midtown at reduced prices. The $58 million Queens-Midtown Tunnel will charge only 25 cents instead of the 50 cents collected by the NY Tunnel Authority on the Holland Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge. Heavy traffic on the Triborough Bridge at a quarter and a million cars over the Henry Hudson Parkway at a dime prove that low tolls are just the thing to encourage the public to use highways, tunnels and bridges.

Robert Moses maps parkways for new bridges. The Parks commissioner is planning the route of Cross Island Parkway. The mayor and Board of Estimate voted to provide funds to acquire rights of way for a comprehensive parkway system linking the Whitestone Bridge and Triborough Bridge with the parkways of the Bronx, Westchester and Long Island. When these routes are complete, it will be possible for motorists to follow fast roadways without traffic lights from Westchester to Long Island.

The cost of the World’s Fair will top $150 million with large portion going into permanent improvements for Flushing Meadow Park. The president of the World’s Fair, Grover Whalen, reported that $60 million will be spent on a central mall with statues, lagoons, fountains and landscaping. It will contain the largest statue in modern times, a 65-foot monument showing George Washington at his inauguration, the largest sundial ever constructed, the largest sphere ever built and the largest triangular shape in the world [Trylon and Perisphere], scores of sculptures, hundreds of fountains, five lagoons, five waterfalls and over a thousand trees.

A centerpiece will be a group of four sculptures showing President Roosevelt’s famous “Four Freedoms:” Freedom of Press, Religion, Speech and Assembly.

For further information, contact the Society at 718-278-0700.

or visit our website at www.astorialic.org.

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