Elected officials, representatives from city agencies and the Historic House Trust broke ground last Wednesday on the $3.2 million restoration of Flushing’s Bowne House.
“The Bowne House helped to shape our history and now it is time for us to take care of its future for a new generation,” said Borough President Helen Marshall.
The project will be managed by the city Parks Department and the Historic House Trust.
The funds were allocated by Marshall, the City Council, former Flushing Assembly members Barry Grodenchik and Ellen Young, and a grant from the state.
The work will include new roofing, gutters and leader pipes for drainage, wood wall shingles and weatherboard cladding; the restoration of the historic wood window sash, doors and associate trim and shutters, and new concrete footings to support new steel columns.
The first-floor framing will also be strengthened with additional wood joists and steel inserted into and around the existing frame.
The Bowne House is a mid-17th-century Anglo-Dutch home with a largely in-tact collection of furnishings and even pewter.
The house was built by John Bowne, a prominent Quaker and advocate of religious freedom, who emigrated from England to Boston in 1649 and eventually settled in Flushing. Bowne used the house as the first indoor meeting place for the Society of Friends while religious diversity was forbidden by Colonial Dutch law.
In 2009, the Bowne House Historical Society donated the house to the city’s Parks Department and it became the 23rd member of the Historic House Trust.
The three organizations are now working on a phased restoration of the house, construction of a visitor’s center, archeological investigation of the site and redevelopment of the surrounding park.
“The Bowne House, a historic City treasure, has been closed to the public for far too long,” said Comptroller and former Flushing Councilman John Liu. “This 17th-century home is a pride of Flushing and should be celebrated by visitors from all over New York City.”