The Queens Historical Society is based in the homestead. The
society spearheads educational programs, exhibitions, and a
research center. It publishes a quarterly newsletter and offers
lectures, programs, and slide presentations on subjects relating
more than 300 years of history.
Inside scoop: The house is in Weeping Beech Park. About two
acres in size, the park had a 60-foot-high weeping beech from
1847 until 1998. For a long time, the tree had city landmark
status and it is believed to be the original source for all weeping
beeches in the United States.
Address: 143-35 37th Ave., Flushing, and www.
LEWIS H. LATIMER HOUSE
Lewis Howard Latimer (1848–1928) was an African-American
inventor whose innovations in designing carbon filaments
ushered in the age of electric light. He also drafted the patent
drawings for Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone. Latimer was a
self-taught master draftsman, an expert on patent law, a poet, and
a painter – in short, a Renaissance man.
The son of slaves, Latimer settled in Flushing, where he helped
found the New York Unitarian Church and lived in what is
now the Lewis H. Latimer House. The wood frame, two-story
residence, which features Queen Anne style architecture,
remained in Latimer’s family until 1963. Under threat of
demolition in 1988, it was moved to its current location,
converted into a museum, and granted city landmark status.
Today, the museum’s public programs call attention to the many
contributions to science and technology that Latimer and other
African-Americans have made over the centuries.
Inside scoop: The nearby Latimer Gardens, a set of four,
10-story, city-run apartment buildings bordered by 34th and 35th
avenues, Linden Place and Leavitt Street in Flushing, are also
named after the inventor.
Address: 34-41 137th St., Flushing, and www.latimernow.org.
In 1868, Conrad Poppenhusen, an immigrant from Germany’s
Hamburg, built the institute with the specific charter that the
four-story edifice be used to improve individuals’ job skills or
recreational/cultural awareness, regardless of their race, creed or
94 QUEENS IN YOUR POCKET • www.itsinqueens.com