As you've documented so well on your website, there's an appalling lack of concern about the preservation of important historic buildings in Queens. This is nothing new, as I learned by browsing through the Library of Congress website.
The sad tale of the Prince House exemplifies this in- difference. It was built in the mid-1700s by the son of Robert Prince, the founder of Prince Nurseries, one of the most important nurseries of early America. Surrounded by orchards, vineyards and flower gardens, it became a mecca for agricultural enthusiasts. During the Revolutionary War, some 3000 cherry trees were chopped down for firewood by British troops.
This historic significance of the home became even greater when it was visited by President George Washington in 1789 in an attempt to learn more about agricultural conditions in the new nation. Prince Nurseries was the first to import Japanese trees into the U.S. after Commodore Perry visited that country in the 19th century.
"After all William Prince and his sons did to beautify Flushing and the country at large, it seems unbelievable, as the town has grown into a city, no care has been taken to protect the fine old homestead and garden or keep it as a landmark," it was written in 1929. "Today it is a sad sight, going to rack and ruin."
A note attached to this description reads: "Unoccupied and being vandalized 1941 demolished."
The Prince House was located on the corner of what are today College Pt. Blvd. and Northern Blvd.
- Bob Bobster