It’s in Queens
#NewsFlash | Visit Seven Historic Houses in One Fun Day During #HollyTour2018
Seven Queens landmarks will open their doors to the public during #HollyTour2018 — the new name for the Holiday Historic House Tour — on Sunday, Dec. 9, from 1 pm to 5 pm. The 31st annual extravaganza will feature time-honored, family-friendly activities, performances, displays, and refreshments. Tickets are $15 in advance, but $20 at the door. Children under age 12 can attend for $5. One ticket is good for all the sites.
Visitors will walk and/or take a dedicated shuttle to the different venues in Flushing and Corona. Most of the participating sites — Louis Armstrong House Museum; Bowne House; Flushing Town Hall; Quaker Meeting House; Kingsland Homestead; Lewis H. Latimer House Museum; and Voelker Orth House — will be decorated as they were during their first holiday seasons. Descriptions of the sites and their plans for #HollyTour2018 follow.
Louis Armstrong and his wife, Lucille, lived in what is now the Louis Armstrong House Museum (34-56 107th St., Corona) from 1943 through Satchmo’s death in 1971 and until Lucille’s death in 1983. The inside of this landmarked residence remains unchanged; a timeless snap shot of their life in the neighborhood that inspired Louis to write the classic song “What a Wonderful World.”
To honor the jazz trumpeter’s legacy and his international influence, the Armstrong House will present “Holidays around the World,” which will highlight the couple’s travels during holiday seasons and their intimate relationships with friends of the Jewish faith. Visitors will hear rare audio clips from personal recordings and Satchmo’s magical voice reading “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” The house will be brilliantly decorated.
English-born religious freedom advocate John Bowne built the Bowne House (37-01 Bowne St., Flushing) in 1661. It’s the borough’s oldest domicile and has city, state, and federal landmark status. Nine generations of the Bowne and Parsons families lived there until 1945, when it became a museum. The structure features a unique blend of Dutch and English construction techniques.
On Dec. 9, the house will present an exhibition on the history of Christmas, highlighting “Home for the Holidays.” It will also offer live demonstrations of food preservation and quilting in the kitchen area. Bowne personnel will also unveil the new “Legends and Lore of the Bowne House” display and describe family legends throughout the tour.
Built in 1862, Flushing Town Hall (137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing) was the village’s cultural and political focal point in the late 19th century. The Romanesque Revival building hosted swearing-in ceremonies for Union soldiers before the Civil War and later served as an opera house, courthouse, jail, and bank branch. Now the dynamic cultural hub presents “Global Arts for a Global Community.”
During #HollyTour2018, visitors will be able to attend “From Ecuador to the World,” a concert starring maestro Manuel Campos and the Ecuadorian troupe Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de la Prefectura del Guayas at 2 pm. ($10/Free for students and teens). They can shop at the annual Holiday Market (2 pm to 5 pm) for everything from handmade clothing and jewelry to paintings, posters, and ceramics.
Built between 1774 and 1785, Kingsland Homestead(143-35 37th Ave., Flushing) is one of the earliest surviving examples of area houses common in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Its name comes from Quaker and British sea captain Joseph King, who bought it in 1801. Five generations of distinguished Quakers from the King/Murray family lived there until the 1930s. In 1968, the dwelling was moved from its original Flushing site to its current location, where it serves as the Queens Historical Society’s headquarters.
Kingsland’s #HollyTour2018 program includes a poetry exhibition, Victorian-era period room, musical interlude, and winter-themed refreshments.
Lewis Howard Latimer lived in a 19th century Victorian house (34-41 137th St., Flushing) from 1902 until his death in 1928. The African-American son of fugitive slaves helped develop the telephone and incandescent light bulb. He was also a poet, painter, and musician.
The Dec. 9 guided tour will introduce his story along with his original lamps and art works, the Tinker Lab, Interactive Poetry Installation, and a video interview of his granddaughter, Winifred Latimer Norman, who fought to save the house and raise awareness of his contributions to science. Traditional holiday refreshments will be offered.
When the Quaker Meeting House (137-16 Northern Blvd., Flushing) was constructed in 1694, it was the first house of worship in a town that was then called “Vlissengen.” Now it’s New York’s oldest structure in continuous use for religious purposes.
The tour will end there with live performances, folk singing, and hot apple cider. Visitors will be able to walk around the grounds and view the historic cemetery.
Voelker Orth House (149-19 38th Ave., Flushing) dates to 1891 and provided shelter to three generations of a family with German roots. The Voelker granddaughter, Elisabeth Orth (1926-1995), bequeathed her estate to establish the museum, preserving a view of Flushing’s past. The garden contains popular plants and bushes from the 19th century. They’re maintained with time-honored gardening techniques (no pesticides) for birds, butterflies and honey bees to feast upon and pollinate.
For the tour, the Victorian abode will be dressed in a traditional German-American style much the way the Voelker and Orth women would have transformed it during the holidays. Guests can see a seasonal installation of miniatures and peruse a gift-and-plant sale. They can also join a sing-along with David Caldwell and enjoy pfeffernüsse (tiny spice cookies) and hot mulled cider. Storybooks and coloring for youngsters!
Top Image: Voelker Orth Museum; Kingsland Homestead
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