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Queens Chronicle

Holiday house tour adds a new site

See seven historic buildings, now to include Louis Armstrong Museum

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Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:27 am, Thu Dec 12, 2013.

The Queens Historical Society is jazzing up its 26th annual holiday historic house tour on Sunday, Dec. 8 with six buildings in Flushing and the addition of the Louis Armstrong Museum in Corona.

The open houses will run from 1 to 5 p.m., with each facility offering activities, refreshments and a little history thrown in. Participants will be able to access a free trolley that will take visitors to all the sites.

Tickets are $12 and free for children 12 and under accompanied by an adult. They can be purchased at any of the buildings.

Here’s the rundown:

• The Kingsland Homestead, located at 143-35 37 Ave., was built circa 1785 and was occupied by the same family until the 1930s. It was moved to its present location, inside Weeping Beech Park, in 1968. The homestead — named after Joseph King, the son-in-law of the original owner — is the headquarters of the Queens Historical Society. During the tour, there will be musical performances throughout the day and a special holiday gift shop sale.

• The Voelker Orth Museum, at 149-19 38 Ave., is a house museum with a bird sanctuary and Victorian garden. It was built around 1891 and was left to several nonprofit groups that restored it a few years ago. There will be piano performances during the tour. The Victorian house will be decorated for the holiday period and there will also be a gift and plant sale.

• The Lewis H. Latimer House, located at 34-41 137 St., was the last residence of the famous African-American inventor. He lived in the circa 1889 residence from 1903 until his death in 1928. Latimer was the son of fugitive slaves, was self-educated and was instrumental in the development of the telephone and incandescent light bulb. The house was moved to its present address several years ago and underwent a major restoration. Holiday refreshments will be served.

• The Quaker Meeting House, at 137-16 Northern Blvd., built in 1694, is considered the first house of worship in Flushing and the city’s oldest building in continuous use for religious purposes. The John Scardina & Friends Musical Ensemble will perform throughout the day. Don’t miss the historic cemetery in the rear.

• Flushing Town Hall is located at 137-35 Northern Blvd. and was built around 1862, serving as a court, jail and troop recruitment area during and after the Civil War. It now houses the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts. The building is used for performing arts programs, including professional acts, and features exhibit space. There will be ongoing wreathmaking workshops with the finished creations going to senior centers. All materials will be provided. Participants can also enjoy holiday refreshments.

• The Bowne House, located at 37-01 Bowne St., is normally closed to the public due to renovations, but will be open for the tour, featuring a 1:30 p.m. talk on traditional American Christmas customs. The parlor will be decorated for the holidays.

Built by farmer John Bowne in 1661, the house was the epicenter of his fight for religious tolerance, where he allowed Quakers to meet in defiance of the law, and thus is known as a shrine of religious freedom in this country.

• The Louis Armstrong House Museum at 34-56 107 St. in Corona was built in 1910 and is a National Historic Landmark and a city landmark. It is most famous for the man who lived there: jazz legend Louis Armstrong. He and his wife, Lucille, lived there from 1943 until his death in 1971. It will be brightly decorated for the holidays.

Visitors will be able to listen to rare audio clips from Armstrong’s personal recordings including his reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” plus other seasonal recordings. Free candy canes will be given to youngsters 12 and under.

Welcome to the discussion.