The National Rifle Association First Practiced in Queens!

This is a fascinating story which is best told as I walk a group from Flushing to Queens Village along the former right-of-way of the Central and Northside RR which connected Flushing to Garden City for a few years in the 1870′s. Garden City was founded by department store magnate Alexander Stewart who financed the railroad along with Conrad Poppenhusen of College Point.

The NRA was formed in 1871 and looking for land. It was provided by this new railroad which had bought the Creed family farm along its route and was looking for a land use that would be good for business. The NRA, associated with the NYS militia, bought the property and helped keep the railroad alive. Eventually the NRA, not a popular neighbor, moved away. The railroad died. The land eventually became the home of Creedmoor NYS Hospital. Meanwhile, the history and right-of-way of the railroad, a diagonal slash through eastern Queens, is preserved in parks, street alignments and street names.

Look at a map of Queens and see the southeasterly trend of the Queens Botanical Garden, the Kissena Park Corridor, Kissena Park and Golf Course, Underhill and Peck Avenues in Flushing and Stewart Avenue in Hollis Hills. In Queens Village, south of Creedmoor State Hospital, note the street names Musket, Sabre and Range which remain long after the NRA left the scene.