The town of Hollis is subdivided into two major sections, Hollis and Holliswood. It was originally part of the famous Dutch purchase of Jamaica in 1656 from the Jameco Indians. During the revolutionary war, General Nathaniel Woodhull, the commander of the Queens and Suffolk militia, was mortally wounded by the British forces in a tavern at Hollis’ village center. His crime was refusing to say “God save the King”.
Previously known as East Jamaica, Hollis was developed in 1884-5 by former Queens Highway commissioner Frederick W. Dunton. After having purchased 136 acres of land in Hollis, Dunton interested several of his friends in the district, and sold them land lots. Homes were quickly built on the land that was previously farmland. Dunton named the town after Hollis, New Hampshire, where he was born. In 1885, Dunton and several other residents donated land and opened a new railroad station.
In 1895, the towns little old wooden school house was replaced by Public School 35, which was later moved to a larger building. In 1896, a library in Hollis was organized through voluntary contributions, and by 1897, the library contained 800 volumes. The Hollis library became a branch of the Queens Borough Public Library on January 1, 1901, and in that year circulated 4,428 books. The library’s present location on Hillside Avenue was established in 1973.
By 1920, the population of Hollis grew to almost 4,000 residents, and attracted many Manhattan commuters. Hollis now houses approximately 31,000 residents. It is a growing and diverse community with Hillside and Jamaica avenues serving as its main shopping areas. Famous residents of Hollis have included Mario Cuomo, L.L. Cool J., and Colin Powell.
More information about the Hollis community is available from the following sources: