Tag Archives: queens history

House bill looks at Flushing’s connection to religious freedom

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

File Photo

There’s more than just tennis and the World’s Fair in Queens. U.S. Rep. Grace Meng wants to add the roots of American religious freedom to Queens’ list of accomplishments.

A bill, sponsored by Meng, would require the government to look into funding Flushing sites like the Bowne House and Quaker Meetinghouse, according to the Library of Congress. These sites are associated with the 1657 signing of the Flushing Remonstrance, the document recognized as the forerunner of religious freedom in America.

Her bill won a majority in the House of Representatives on Monday night.

“The passage of this legislation brings us one step closer towards many more Americans learning about the important role that Queens played in the history of religious freedom in America,” Meng said.

If the bill passes the Senate and is signed by President Barack Obama, the Flushing sites would receive federal funding and, according to Meng, result in increased tourism.

“Not only would the two facilities become more well-known, but the sites would stand to receive many more visitors each year, and more tourism translates into more dollars for the Queens economy,” she said. “It’s time for more people across the country to know about the Flushing Remonstrance, and putting these sites on a national stage is a sure way to accomplish that.”

Rosemary Vietor, vice president of the Bowne House Historical Society, was “thrilled” to hear the news and said that the study would help lift the Flushing Remonstrance signing out of obscurity.

“The 1657 Remonstrance triggered events which established the principle of religious freedom in the colony of New Amsterdam,” she said, “which led to the guarantee of religious freedom in the First Amendment more than 100 years later.”


A history of Bayside in pictures

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Photos and Captions Courtesy of the Bayside Historical Society

Melissa Chambers Bell (right) and her children are seen in front of the house that was originally built by her grandfather-in-law Abraham Bell I. The home was situation on the northwest corner of Bell and Warburton Avenues.






Abraham Bell II built this home in 1870 as a wedding present for his bride to be, Melissa Chambers. The home was located across the street from Abraham Bell I on the southwest corner of Bell and Warburton Avenues.



Known as the “Cypress Lumber King,” William L. Burton purchased 54 acres from H.W. Leavitt in 1906 and built this 15-room mansion at an estimated cost of $200,000. The property is now the current site of the Baybridge Condominium development.




Pictured here is Bayside and its connection with Little Neck Bay before and after the construction of the Cross Island Parkway. Initiated by the city’s Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, work to build the parkway began in 1934 with sand that was dredged out of the Ambrose Channel, towed up the East River, and pumped onto the shoreline from Willets Point to just past Northern Boulevard. The parkway was officially dedicated in 1940 and included a bridge extending over the highway at 28th Avenue to a pier and launching facility that replaced one built by the Bayside Yacht Club.