Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground Conservancy


Burial Ground History

Sacred Land Since 1840

Did you know that the remains of about 1,000 people are buried in a New York City Parks Department location in Flushing, New York?

The site is located north of 46th Avenue between 164th and 165th Streets, on the opposite side of 46th Avenue from Flushing Cemetery.

The site was purchased by the Town of Flushing as a public burial ground in 1840. Over 1,000 individuals were buried there in subsequent years, of whom the majority were African-American or Native American. There were also a number of poor whites, as well as wealthier individuals who died during cholera and smallpox epidemics in 1840, 1844, 1857, and 1867, who were considered too contaminated for churchyard burial. The plots were indiscriminately arranged, often unmarked, and as shallow as six inches below the surface. The last burial was in 1898, the same year that the City of New York was consolidated and local governments such as the Town of Flushing were abolished.

In 1914, the site was given to the Parks Department. In 1931, the site was re-named Martins Field, in honor of tree conservationist Everett P. Martin, who had no known connection with the history of the cemetery.

In 1936, a playground was built on the site as a government-funded Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. In the 1940’s, a comfort station, wading pool, and sand-pit were added. ...READ MORE »