5. Poppenhusen Institute in Queens
The Women’s Temperance League meeting place (covered in a previous film locations post) has been located in College Point, Queens since 1868. The Poppenhusen Institute was commissioned by Conrad Poppenhusen to be a resource to all of the community, which was comprised mostly of his workers, regardless of race or religion. Thus, the building’s functions have ranged from housing criminals to the first free kindergarten classes in the United States, and continues to be diverse.
A Mundell & Techkritz design, the building is home to two particularly large works of art: Friedrich Spangenberg’s “The Triumph of the American Union” and Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s sculpture “Coming of the White Man.” Its position on the National Register of Historic Places has not saved the center from falling on hard times, and it accepts donations to keep community programs running.