Flushing's Rich History
The area of Northern Queens that we now refer to as "Flushing" was originally called Vlissingen by the Dutch, who colonized the region in 1645. Many of the residents there, who were mostly British, simply referred to the area as "Vlissing." During Dutch colonization, harboring Quakers (members of a certain sect of Christianity) was prohibited. However, John Bowne, a farmer in the region at the time, defied the rule, which led to the Flushing Remonstrance in 1657, which protested the Dutch government and eventually led to religious freedom in Vlissingen. John Bowne's house is now a landmark in modern-day Flushing.
John Bowne appearing before Peter John Bowne House
Stuyvesant, the governor of Vlissingen
Flushing as a British Settlement
The region that we now know as New York State was a Dutch colony until 1664, when English ships arrived and demanded the surrender of the Dutch. When Queens officially became a county in 1863, Flushing was one of its first towns, along with Newtown, Jamaica, Oyster Bay, and Hempstead.
It was a town whose economy relied heavily on farming. During the Revolutionary War, like most of New York, many residents of Flushing favored the British. British troops were welcomed into the homes of most Flushing residents during the Revolutionary War. This practice was known as "quartering."
Five Towns of Queens in 1683 Quartering during the war
As time went on, the population of Flushing grew, and so did its economy. A school for the poor children of Flushing was opened in 1814 by the Flushing Female Association. The school was accepting of both white and black children until 1862, when attendance was limited to only black children. It is said that Patrick Francis Healy, the first person of African-American descent to gain a PhD attended this school.
Patrick Francis Healy
Turnpikes throughout Queens facilitated and sped up travel over land. The Flushing and Newtown turnpike was opened in 1801; aiding the economy of both regions of Queens. The Flushing Journal was established in 1843, which serves as further evidence that the community was growing. Immigration to Queens was mainly Irish and German, especially in Newtown, Jamaica, and Flushing. In 1898, Flushing became part of the newly instated borough of Queens.
The Flushing Journal
Queens in 1898
Transportation in Queens is one of the most prominent features of the region, and Flushing was no exception. The population of Flushing further boomed with the introduction of the LIRR in 1910, connecting the region to Manhattan, as well as the 7 train in 1928.
Flushing Main Street LIRR Station 7 Train
After World War II, economic and social development continued in Flushing, as the 1960s saw the introduction of new housing, especially in apartments and one family houses. In the 1980s, Chinese and Korean immigration transformed the area into one rich with Asian culture and small businesses.
Today, Flushing is a center for commerce and cuisine. There is an abundance of Asian-owned businesses, although people of all races reside in Flushing. Downtown Flushing is a bustling urban area where many people make a living from their family-owned businesses, however, there are also large businesses in the region that would be familiar to anyone. Buying a home or renting an apartment in Flushing is a positive experience for those who would love to live in either an urban neighborhood or a quiet neighborhood.