Places that Matter

Queens County Farm Museum

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Martha Cooper
Martha Cooper
Martha Cooper
Martha Cooper
Martha Cooper
The city's largest working farm and a historical site
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When thinking of New York City, large farms usually don’t come to mind, but the Queens County Farm Museum situated on 47 acres is the City’s largest remaining farm. Located right off of Little Neck parkway, one drives down a dirt road passing a Greenhouse Complex on your left and a restored colonial farmhouse on your right. Further down the road is a converted farm vehicle garage that currently houses the Education Building, and the Horse Barn which houses the administrative offices and reception hall which can be rented out for events. Surrounding these buildings are an orchard, herb garden, cow pen, duck pond, butterfly garden, sheep pasture, and planting fields.

The site is not just a museum but remains a functioning farm. Crops grown include corn, tomatoes, and eggplant. These are harvested and sold at the site’s farm stand. All money generated from the sales go back into the farm. The general public can attend tours of the historical farmhouse and visit the greenhouse which sells plants and provides horticultural programs. A variety of educational programs for grammar and middle school-age children include learning to spin and card wool, quilting, and apple pressing. There are major events through the year that are open to the public like the Queens County Agricultural Fair and the Thunderbird American Indian Midsummer Powwow (the City’s largest and oldest powwow). Holiday events take place throughout the year such as the Easter Egg Hunt and Halloween Haunted House; as well as other events such as the antique motorcycle shows and civil war encampment reenactments.

From 1697 through 1926 the site was a family farm. In 1697, John Harrison sold the land to Elbert Adriance. For the next 200 years families of Dutch ancestry owned and operated the farms.In 1772, Elbert’s grandson Jacob built the original farmhouse (in the Flemish architectural style) of three and a half rooms. These form the west wing of the current house. In 1883, the property was purchased by the Cox family who doubled the size of the house. The farm’s economic and agricultural growth was spurred on by the completion of the Long Island Railroad in 1844 which gave local farmers an updated and improved way to get their produce to market.

In 1926, New York State purchased the farm to add the land to the Creedmor Psychiatric Center so they could raise livestock and grow produce for the patients, as well as provide therapy through labor for the patients. During Creedmor’s ownership, in the 1920s and 1930s, a number of outbuildings from the 18th and 19th centuries were demolished, and new ones built, such as greenhouses, sheds, garages, and shelters for farm animals. The Creedmor program was discontinued in 1960.

In 1973 the State considered the farm excess land which could be opened up for development. In 1975, alarmed community members formed the Colonial Farmhouse Restoration Society of Bellerose to preserve the farm and run its daily operations. In 1976 the farm was declared a New York City Landmark and in 1979 the buildings and the land were listed on the National Register of Historic Places (as the largest continuously-run farm and as "the last historically significant farm built in Queens”). In 1982, through the Society’s efforts, legislation was passed by New York State which gave the land over to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.