Queens’ Annual Holly Tour Fuses History and Holidays

The Quaker Meeting House will participate in the annual Holly Tour organized by the Queens Historical Society. Photo by D Madeo.

The Quaker Meeting House will participate in the annual Holly Tour organized by the Queens Historical Society. Photo by D Madeo.

By Jonathan Sperling

Dashing through the snow, on a one-horse open … 7 train?

History and holiday lovers will enjoy the Queens Historical Society’s #HollyTour2018, a time-honored Flushing tradition in which seven treasured Queens landmarks will open their doors for family-friendly activities, live performances, history lessons and refreshments. The tours last from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9.

Formerly known as the Holiday Historic House Tour, the 31-year-old event takes attendees on a whirlwind tour of seven Queens landmarks between Corona and Flushing: the Louis Armstrong House Museum, the Bowne House, Flushing Town Hall, the Quaker Meeting House, the Kingsland Homestead, the Lewis Howard Latimer house and the Voelker Orth House. Many of the historic sites will be decorated as they were during their first holiday seasons.

“It's important to keep this event alive because it resurfaces discussions on collaborative local history that began in Flushing, Queens and extends to national history and our U.S. Constitution,” said Queens Historical Society Education and Outreach Director Daniela Addamo. “The ontology of the event and how it 's developed over the years can also be seen as a tribute to history that's ever changing during our own lives.

Visitors can walk through the tour at their own pace and also have the option of taking a dedicated shuttle to the different venues.

The Louis Armstrong House Museum, located at 34-56 107th St., was once the home of famed trumpeter Louis Armstrong and his wife, Lucille.The historic site will present “Holidays around the World” during the tour. The museum will also be festively decorated.

According to the Queens Historical Society, the home will, “highlight the couple’s travels during the holiday seasons and Louis’s intimate relationships with friends of the Jewish faith. Visitors will hear rare audio clips from Satchmo’s personal recordings and the trumpeter’s magical voice reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ and other seasonal recordings.”

The Bowne House, located at 37-01 Bowne St., was built by English-born religious freedom advocate John Bowne in 1661 and is the city’s oldest home. On Dec. 9, the house will present an exhibition on the history of Christmas, centered on the theme “home for the holidays.” It will also offer live demonstrations of food preservation and quilting in the kitchen area.

Tickets for the tour are $15 in advance, but $20 at the door. Children under age 12 can attend for $5. One ticket is good for all the sites. Visit www.queenshistoricalsociety.org for more information on the seven sites or to purchase tickets.