CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE HOMESTEAD PARK
The Moores were one of the most prominent families of Elmhurst –then Newtown-, settling in the mid-1600’s after Captain Samuel Moore was granted eighty acres of land as acknowledgement for the efforts of his father, Reverend John Moore, during the colonization of the area by the Dutch. Captain Moore built a house on his lands in 1661, and the property remained in the family for centuries. During the Revolutionary War, the British General William Howe made it his Long Island headquarters.
One of Captain’s Moore great-great grandsons was Clement Clarke Moore, who is best known as the author of the classic children’s poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (better known as “The Night Before Christmas”) and as a major developer of the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan. Clement Clarke Moore was believed to have used the family homestead as a periodic country retreat. The property is also known as the birthplace of the famous “Newtown Pippin” apple, the oldest commercially grown variety to be bred in the US and a famed apple during Colonial times, favored by the Queen of England, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
By the early 1800’s, most of the Moore estate was divided into building lots and sold at auction. The site of the homestead remained in the family until the Board of Transportation acquired it during the construction of the Independent Subway in 1930, razing the buildings in 1933. This photo depicts the buildings before their demolition. In 1954, Parks acquired the property to build the Elmhurst Playground, which was renamed the Clement Clarke Moore Homestead Park in 1987.
Photo courtesy of the New York City Municipal Archive.