February 19, 2015
Bowne House 37-01 Bowne Street, Flushing, NY
The Conservancy was pleased to offer its Professional Circle members an exclusive tour of the historic Bowne House, which is undergoing a three phase restoration plan. The exterior restoration and structural stabilization of the house was completed during the first phase. The second phase will include interior restoration, and finally, construction of a new visitor’s center. The 1,250-square-foot visitor’s center will be on the southeast corner of the property and will face the 17th-century house.
The tour was led by Paul Daley, Department of Parks and Recreation; Jonathan Mellon, Senior Architectural Conservator – Buildings Construction Unit /Historic House Trust; and Rosemary Vietor Vice President of The Bowne House Historical Society.
Built c. 1661, the Bowne House is one of the oldest surviving structures in New York City and the oldest in Queens. A fine example of mid-17th-century Anglo-Dutch architecture, the house was built by John Bowne (1627-1695), a prominent Quaker and advocate of religious freedom, who used the house as the first indoor meeting place for the Society of Friends, at a time when religious diversity was forbidden by law.
In 2009, the Bowne House Historical Society donated the house to the City’s Parks Department and it became part of the Historic House Trust. The three organizations are now partnering on the restoration of the house and redevelopment of the surrounding park.
The first phase of the restoration commenced in April of 2013 and was completed in November of 2014. A host of issues were addressed including the restoration of the exterior features, which were in an advanced state of decay, the sealing of the exterior envelope, and notably addressing the failing conditions in the house in order to make it structurally sound.
This collaborative effort included the design work of Jan Hird Pokorny Associates (Michael Devonshire) and Robert Silman Associates, the supervision of the project by the Historic House Trust of New York City and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the archaeological monitoring by Chrysalis Archaeological Consultants, and the completion of the work by the contractor AAH Construction.
Bowne House is a New York City Landmark, a New York State Landmark, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Are you interested in joining the Professional Circle?
Throughout the year, Circle tours go behind-the-scenes of some of New York’s most interesting historic properties. Some tours require hard hats to visit projects during restoration, while others showcase completed restorations of commercial buildings, residences, museums, churches, and synagogues. On occasion, conservators, engineers, and craftspeople open their studios to our Circle members.