Even though you probably never heard of him, we should all know the story of John Bowne and how he affected the lives of Americans for the past 360+ years. His gumption and bravery played a key role in making America a country of religious freedom. The story was told in my previous blog, The Flushing Remonstrance.
One place that certainly memorializes John Bowne is Flushing, in the New York City borough of Queens. There, Bowne's house was built in 1661 and there it remains to this day, preserved as a historical landmark, located at 37-01 Bowne Street, Flushing, New York. Visit bownehouse.org for information on tours.
Two other prominent locations in the city bear his name. They are the John Bowne Elementary School (P.S. #20) and John Bowne High School, shown here with images from Google Maps.
Finally, another place bearing the family's name is Bowne Park. Bowne Park is the Central Park of Queens, an oasis of greenery amid a concrete and brick city. The park covers twelve city blocks, between 29th Ave. & 32nd Ave and 155th Street & 159th Street. It was the summer residence of Walter Bowne (1770-1846), former Mayor of New York City and State Senator. He was a 2nd great-grandson of John Bowne. Visit nycgovparks.org/parks/bowne-park for information about community events and programs at the park.
John Bowne was the husband of my 11th great-aunt, Hannah (Feake) Bowne. They were married on May 7, 1656 in Flushing. She lived from 1637 to 1677.