21. John Bowne House

outside the bowne house
This house was where religious and racial freedom was fought.

In 1945, a group of residents from Flushing known as the Bowne House Historical Society purchased the Bowne House, one of Queens’ oldest buildings, to preserve it as a museum. Before opening to the public, the Society had purchased it from the Parsons sisters, the last known residents. The house was built in 1661 by John Bowne, where he and his family later prospered. The museum is the only original Anglo-Dutch style structure of its kind. The museum, located at 37-01 Bowne Street, has at least 5,000 items belonging to the Bowne and Parsons families from the 17th through 20th centuries, including costumes, furniture, toys and manuscripts.

Besides preservation, the fight for religious and racial freedom was also very prevalent; John Bowne was a Quaker, and he was arrested for practicing his religion in this home. The Parsons family helped expedite freedom for enslaved people while in this house. The experience allows one to take a step into what it was like to live in a familial home in New York so long ago. Visitors must schedule in advance to tour the house by email.