The Poppenhusen Institute was built in 1868 with funds donated by Conrad Poppenhusen, a German immigrant and the benefactor of College Point. The original charter specified that it be open to all, irrespective of race, creed or religion, giving people the opportunity to improve their lives either by preparing them for better job or improving their leisure time.
The institute housed the Justice of the Peace, the first home of the College Point Savings Bank, German Singing Societies, The First Reformed Church, the first library in the area, a court room, the Sheriff’s Office (2 jail cells remain today), as well as the first free kindergarten in the United States which began here on July 1st, 1870.
Over the decades many adult educational programs were held here as well. Many of those who attended went on to become successful business owners in the area. Due to its historical significance and impressive architecture, the Institute was designated a N.Y.C. Landmark in 1970, and was subsequently listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
Despite these designations, in 1980 the Institute was threatened with sale and demolition, but due to the efforts of a community group and a successful Supreme court case, this action was prevented. Today, the Institute serves College Point as a Community Cultural Center with a museum component ,housing a diverse variety of programs. The Doorway to Opportunity is open to you!
Did You Know?
Conrad Poppenhusen was an immigrant from Hamburg, Germany.
Conrad also developed this causeway connecting College Point to Flushing. Today, we know it as College Point Boulevard.
The institute has 2 jail cells.