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Kissena Park

Kissena Park - Memorial Knoll

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

Memorial Knoll, located on the south side of Kissena Lake, commemorates those who gave their lives in World War I. When the site was established in the 1920s, it had two components: a grove of trees planted in honor of all World War I dead and a boulder commemorating the 65 Flushing residents who died fighting in World War I. The project was funded and overseen by a Joint Committee that brought together members of the Flushing Garden Club, Flushing United Association, Good Citizen League and the Women's Civic Association to encourage park development and tree planting in the Queens neighborhood of Flushing.

The Committee dedicated the tree component of Memorial Knoll on May 8, 1920 at a program that included an address by Flushing resident Daniel Carter Beard (1850-1941), who served as National Commissioner of the Boy Scouts of America for 30 years until his death, and who was known to millions of Boy Scouts as "Uncle Dan." (In 1942 the western portion of Flushing Park -- the mall along Northern Boulevard between Linden Lane and Union Street -- was named for Beard.) Local Boy and Girl Scout troops, school groups and the Kissena Park Civic Association planted many trees at the dedication. The memorial also includes two trees dedicated to President Theodore Roosevelt's youngest son Quentin (1897-1918), who enlisted in the Aviation Section of the United States Army (the precursor of the Air Force) and was killed in combat over France. President Roosevelt could not attend the tree ceremony, but sent a note thanking the Committee for its tribute, adding that "Flushing is almost home for me."

The six-ton granite boulder, Flushing's first memorial to what was then known as the Great War, was dedicated June 5, 1921, and unveiled by Boy Scouts in front of a crowd estimated at several hundred and a delegation that included a band from Fort Totten and representatives from American Legion posts and religious organizations. The boulder itself was unearthed during the construction of the golf house at the Flushing Country Club on Jamaica Avenue and its inscription was carved by local stoneworkers Prowse & Sugden. Most of the $275 cost of the memorial by the Flushing United Association was spent on simply moving the boulder.

Memorial Knoll survives today as a contemplative spot on the hill above the Lake, and its trees serve as a monument both to fallen soldiers and those who served and to Kissena Park's long arboreal tradition.

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