Bowne House Annual Meeting
Dear Members and Friends of Bowne House:
On May 21st 2013 at 6:00 p.m. the members of the Bowne
House Historical Society will hold their 2013 Annual
Meeting. This year, while our preservation project
is underway, we will meet at the nearby Voelker Orth
Museum and Gardens. 149-19 38th Avenue, Flushing 11354.
We are very grateful to the museum for hosting us and
hope you will join us for this event.
We have much to report. Preservation work began early
this year; asbestos has been removed from the 1661
house and from the garage, the majority of the windows
have been removed to be preserved, preparations are
starting for some structural stabilization in the kitchen
area, and roof and siding repairs or replacement. Other
repairs to the exterior of the structure will be made
Work is being performed by the firm of AAH Construction,
under the supervision of our project manager, Steven
Foxworth of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation
Capital Division and Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, our
preservationists who prepared the plans for the project.
The preservation is guided by our historic structures
report (HSR), prepared in 2006 for the Bowne House
Historical Society. The HSR is a detailed document
which describes the acquisition of the property by
John Bowne, the social history of the occupants and
of the Flushing area, the stages of construction of
the house, and repairs and refurbishments made during
various periods of occupancy. The report includes many
illustrations and photographs documenting the appearance
of Bowne House and the surrounding area over time,
including a number from the 1936 HABS survey done by
the US government.
This phase, the exterior preservation, is expected
to take approximately 14 months. When completed, the
both the structural condition and appearance of the
house will be vastly improved.
Additionally, planning is underway for construction
of a new education and visitor center which will replace
a garage now on the property. The visitor center will
contain offices, ADA compliant restrooms, additional
display space and climate controlled storage for our
many collections which cannot be exhibited in the main
house, as well as a meeting / gallery space. The visitor
center is approximately 1000 square feet and its appearance
will be compatible with our 17th century house. After
various approval processes needed for a landmarked
property, construction is expected to start later this
Capital funding for the preservation and for construction
of the visitors center will utilize public funding
allocated for that purpose; these funds are being administered
by Parks. To date, over $7,000,000 has been raised
for these projects.
We would like to acknowledge the generosity of our
elected officials, Queens Borough President Helen M.
Marshall, Comptroller John Liu, and former senator
Frank Padavan for their support of these projects.
Without their commitment, and the generous support
of our membership, this restoration would not have
In addition to preparing for the preservation, the
Society has had another busy year of programs and activities.
This past October, we hosted a benefit in Manhattan.
Our Historic Preservation Award was presented to Queens
Borough President Helen Marshall. In her 8 years in
office, Borough President Marshall has been a great
benefactor of cultural and educational institutions
in Queens, including Bowne House.
The Bowne House Museum was highlighted in the Godwin-Ternbach
Museum, Queens College, CUNY exhibition, RE-FORMING
THE IMAGE IN NORTHERN EUROPE IN THE DUTCH GOLDEN AGE,
February 4, 2013 – April 27, 2013, an exhibition
curated by Christopher Atkins, Queens College, Art
History & Dutch Art seminar students. Donald
Friary, chair of our museum advisory committee, leaded
a tour of the house March 5, focusing on the unique
architecture of the house. James Moore a professor
at QC Anthropology presented in conjunction with the
exhibition a lecture: “A Survey of the Bowne
Historic House: the Anglo-Dutch Context in Perspective”.
We have continued our student internship and mentoring
programs; students from local schools work at the museum,
learning about American history while acquiring a variety
of skills. Some work in the gardens, learning about
horticulture and sustainable gardening techniques. Other
interns learn office and research skills, and are scanning
our archives for material, such as paint analysis studies,
which will help guide the preservation.. Last summer
an intern documented the archeology work, where an
approximate 20’ x 10’ cobble stone area
was uncovered. Currently, interns are working
to document preservation work underway at the house. The
interns have been photographing the process and provide
pictures for our archives, our newsletter, and our
website and Facebook page. Please check our website
at www.bownehouse.org for
Our horticulture program is benefiting from the donation
of a new garden shed, provided through a grant from
Councilman Peter Koo. Our former shed was demolished
during a storm. The new shed will provide storage and
a staging area for our gardening efforts.
We once again joined in the annual Flushing Historic
House Holiday tour, welcoming visitors to our 17th
and 18th century parlor, which was decorated for the
season. We were happy to see a number of descendants
visiting the house for the first time. We are continuing
to take part in It’s My Park Day, a volunteer
effort to beautify the downtown Flushing area. Over
6000 daffodils have been planted around the Bowne House
property and in the Daniel Carter Beard Mall adjacent
to the 1694 Flushing Meeting House and the 1862 Flushing
We have many groups to thank this year: John Bowne
High School Agriculture Program, Flushing International
High School, Flushing YMCA, Tsi Chu Foundation, CPC
Youth division, Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Queens College,
CUNY, Latimer House Museum, Queens County Farm Museum
and the Volker Orth Museum
We would also like to thank those individuals and
foundations who gave so generously: the Bowne Family
Foundation, Colonial Lords of Manors in America, the
Gerson Family Foundation, New York Community Trust,
Octagon Foundation, Queensboro Hill Community Church,
Valley Charitable Trust, as well as many individual
donors. We are deeply appreciative of your support
for Bowne House and its mission.
If you are a current member or Life Member, please
review the enclosed forms and sign and return the ballot.
If you would like to join or make a contribution to
our operations and education fund, or to our endowment
or restoration funds, we would be particularly grateful.
All donations are fully deductible for tax purposes.
Thank you again for your support of Bowne House, and
we hope to see you at the Annual Meeting.