Kingsland Homestead, Weeping Beech Park
143-35 37th Avenue
Kingsland Homestead, a late 18th-century house in Flushing, stands in the shade of the Weeping Beech tree, a designated City landmark planted in 1847. Located steps away from the 17th-century Bowne House, where Quakers were first permitted to meet in New Amsterdam, Kingsland is the headquarters of the Queens Historical Society.
Charles Doughty, who built Kingsland around 1785, was the son of Benjamin Doughty, a wealthy Quaker who purchased land on the old turnpike in Flushing. The name "Kingsland" derives from Doughty's son-in-law, British sea captain Joseph King, who bought the home in 1801.
Original shingles laid over the exterior in 1805 by Captain King remain on all but the west side of the house.
The first floor is used for local history exhibitions that draw on the collections of the Queens Historical Society--which owns Kingsland--and of community residents. The only furnished period room is a second-floor parlor decorated as if it belonged to a middle-class Victorian family. The Society offers a regular series of lectures and programs and makes accessible to the public a library and archive of primary and secondary source materials covering Queens' 300-year history.
Two-acre Weeping Beech Park surrounds the house and is dominated by the 60-foot Weeping Beech tree. The tree has a history as exciting as that of any immigrant to America. Flushing's Beech originated in Belgium. The parent tree was saved from destruction by the gardener on the estate of Baron de Mann in Beirsal, Belgium who had ordered the tree uprooted. In 1847, Samuel Parsons bought a budded shoot of the parent tree and brought it back to America with him. To this original plant, every Weeping Beech grown in this country owes its genetic root. The relocation of Kingsland Homestead near the Weeping Beech secured the fate of a house typical of its time but rare today.