The oldest surviving building in Queens is a landmark location not just for its age, but for its role in the early campaign for religious tolerance in the colonies. John Bowne held meetings for practicing Quakers in his Flushing home and was arrested by Dutch authorities. The resulting legal battle marked the first step in the long road towards religious tolerance and freedom in what would become the United States. His home survives as a monument to his life and works.

...if any of these said persons come in love unto us, we cannot in conscience lay violent hands upon them...
- Flushing Remonstrance

What You Will See

The house is one of the few remaining examples of original Dutch architecture in New York City. Surrounded by charming and educational gardens, the home displays numerous artifacts original to the Bowne and Parson families who occupied the building through the 20th-century. See furniture, artwork, decorations, letters, and maps dating back to the earliest days of New York as a Dutch colony.

Why You Should Go

While a popular destination for school trips, visiting the Bowne house as an individual takes some planning. The home is open for drop-in tours only three hours a week (Wednesday between 1 pm and 4 pm), though requests for special arrangements are often accommodated. This may not be the most famous or most impressive of the historic homes preserved throughout the city, but the Bowne house is among the oldest in the state and, more importantly, the landmark site in the march towards religious liberty throughout the world. Make your plans and enjoy your visit, particularly in late spring when the gardens are in full bloom.