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The Matinecock Indians sold Flushing to the Dutch Colonists in the 1620s at the rate of one ax per 50 acres. The Dutch named it “Vlissingen,” after a port in Holland. It meant “flowing water.”
In 1657, the document called the Flushing Remonstrance, was signed by the Dutch colonists giving the Quakers and others the right to worship as they chose. The principles stipulated in the Remonstrance foresaw the freedom of religion in the U.S. Constitution. The English began ruling in 1664 and changed the name to Flushing.
Because of the abundance of trees in Flushing, the first commercial nurseries in America were organized here in the 1700s. A town hall was built in 1864 and it has been used as an opera house, police station, jail, and a dinner theater.
There have been two World’s Fairs in Flushing, one in 1939 and the other in 1964.
In the early to mid-1900s Irish, Germans and Italians resided in Flushing; but after 1965, Greeks, Chinese, Korean, and Hispanic immigrants started moving in. The formerly tree-lined pastoral town has become an important international residential and commercial center.
At first the new East Flushing Branch of the Queens Borough Public Library was set to open on November 1, 1975; but due to budget cuts it was unachievable to staff the additional branch. In 1977 a recent influx of federally financed CETA employees made it attainable for the East Flushing Branch to open for service on Monday, September 19, 1977 at 1:00pm. Previously this community had no library service, except for weekly visits by a bookmobile.