It dates back to 1862 according to a registered deed, but it is rumored to have a wing that may date back to the 1700s.
However, the Second Empire-style home suspiciously sustained fire damage in September after being put up for sale, and locals fear that demolition and redevelopment is next in line.
Now the Newtown Civic Association is on a mission to preserve a few centuries of history and is calling on the community and elected officials for help.
Marialena Giampino, communications officer of the Newtown Civic Association and director of the Elmhurst Memorial League, is among the initiative’s supporters.
“Our goal is to save the oldest surviving farmhouse in Elmhurst and the most historically significant, and possibly move it to a park or empty lot,” she said. “Newtown was one of the first communities in Queens, and this home is well known by locals and is the subject of historical Elmhurst tours.”
Ideally, Giampino would like to see the home restored and revitalized as Elmhurst’s first house museum and cultural and historical institution.
“This would be a great way to get the community’s youth and all ages involved,” she said. “It is extremely important to show our beginnings and how far we have come as one of the most multiculturally diverse neighborhoods in the U.S.”
The land that became Forest Hills and Rego Park was part of Newtown in the 17th century. It comprised all of Queens west of Flushing Meadows. Brooklyn was to the south and the East River extending into Flushing Bay was to the north.
The town center was the intersection of Broadway, Grand Avenue, and Queens Boulevard, which consisted of the First Presbyterian Church of Newtown, shops, a courthouse, an inn, and town hall.
The Bloom family had strong roots in Newtown. In June 1829, the establishment of the 9th Post Office for Queens was a major achievement, and a tavern keeper named Bernadus Bloom was appointed as the first postmaster.
The first recorded Bernardus Bloom is believed to have been that postmaster's grandfather, a blacksmith who also served as a colonel in the militia during the Revolution and a signer who declined to recognize the Continental Congress in 1775.
The Horse Brook Stream once ran behind the house, and the house was alternately known as the Horsebrook House.
According to the Newtown Historical Guide, the farm consisted of three home lots purchased by Colonel Bloom in 1742, and was formally comprised of 40 acres acquired by John Brinckerhoff shortly after 1700.
Records from the late 1800s refer to the house as the J.S. Suydam House. Around 1908, the McCarthy family acquired the property.
Newtown historian Marjorie Melikian, who is active at the First Presbyterian Church of Newtown, also sees a future for the home as a Newtown museum. Examining the predominantly unaltered façade, she said, “This is a rare reminder of our past in an area that has become urbanized with no hint of its former beauty and identity.”
“The house was built before there even was a place called Elmhurst,” she continued. “Current citizens are woefully unknowledgeable about their historic area.”
On September 21, the Newtown Civic Association coordinated a public meeting, sparking the interest of local volunteers. Over the past few years, the civic attempted to preserve the early 20th century Andrew Carnegie library on Broadway, but now a new library is rising in its place.
“We have a list of remaining historical structures in Elmhurst which are few, and one that we began researching was the Bloom Farmhouse prior to its sale and the fire,” Giampino said. “Our civic welcomes ideas and volunteers that are needed for preservation and other positive initiatives.”