St. George's Church: Flushing's Historic Episcopal Gem



St. George's Episcopal Church in Flushing, NY, has a rich and storied history that dates back to the early 18th century. It was founded in 1702 as a mission of the Church of England by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. The church was officially established in 1704, making it the second oldest religious organization in Flushing.

Early Development and Construction

The first church building was constructed in 1746 on a half-acre tract donated by Capt. Hugh Wentworth, a merchant involved in the West India trade. This building was located near the highway leading to Jamaica (present-day Main Street). In 1761, under the leadership of Samuel Seabury, who later became the first bishop of the Episcopal Church in America, St. George's was granted a royal charter by King George III.

Architectural Evolution

The current church building, which exemplifies Gothic Revival architecture, was erected in 1853-54. It was designed by the notable ecclesiastical architects Frank Wills and Henry Dudley, who were associated with the New York Ecclesiological Society. This society was part of a movement that sought to revive the spiritual and architectural traditions of the medieval church. The church features significant elements such as Tiffany stained glass windows and a neo-gothic parish house added in 1907, designed by Charles C. Haight.

Historical Significance

Throughout its history, St. George's has played a vital role in the community of Flushing. It has been a site for academic institutions like the Flushing Academy and the Flushing Institute in the 19th century, which were known for their educational excellence. Notable figures associated with St. George's include Francis Lewis, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, who served as a vestryman and warden from 1769 to 1790.

Modern Era and Cultural Impact

Today, St. George's Church is recognized as a New York City landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It serves a diverse, multilingual congregation with services in English, Spanish, and Chinese, reflecting the multicultural makeup of its community. The church continues to be an important neighborhood institution, adapting over the years to meet the evolving needs of its congregation.

Preservation and Legacy

The church complex, including the old parish house and graveyard, is preserved as a historic site, with gravestones and memorials dating back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries. These elements serve as a reminder of the church's long-standing role in the development of Flushing and its community.

St. George's Episcopal Church remains a vibrant part of Flushing's heritage, offering a window into the historical development of religious life in Queens, New York.


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