Hearing held on 1891 Victorian house and garden

Voelker-Orth Museum, Bird Sanctuary and Victorian Garden. Image: LPC.

1891 house currently serves as a museum and bird sanctuary. On September 18, 2007, Landmarks held a hearing on the potential designation of the Voelker-Orth Museum, Bird Sanctuary, and Victorian Garden in the Murray Hill section of Flushing. The museum consists of a house and garden built in 1891 by shopkeeper James Bouton. Conrad Voelker, a German-language newspaper publisher, purchased the property in 1899, which remained in his family until Elisabetha Orth passed away in 1993. In her will, Orth requested that the property be turned into a museum and nature sanctuary, and provided funds for its upkeep. Before opening as a museum, curators restored the house to its 1909 condition. It is one of the few 19th-century residences remaining in the Flushing area.

At the hearing, Voelker-Orth Museum president Roland Wade testified to the importance of the property’s preservation, stating that it would have been “destroyed 100 times” already if not for Elisabetha Orth’s vision. Ed Kirkland, from the Historic Districts Council, also testified on behalf of landmarking, but expressed concern about the regulation of the garden, given its constant change. Landmarks Chair Robert E. Tierney closed the hearing without further comments from any commissioners.

LPC: Hearing on Voelker-Orth Museum, Bird Sanctuary, and Victorian Garden, 149-19 48th Ave., Queens (LP- 2272) (Sept. 18, 2007).

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