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The Borough's Beginnings

Queens County passes its 328 year anniversary.

The Borough's Beginnings

With neither fanfare nor a party, Queens marked the day it became a county this past Monday as though it were any other.

Admittedly, the number 328 isn't exactly a milestone, but it's still worth mentioning that on October 17, 1683, Queens County came into existence.

On that day, representatives from all over the state, under the auspices of then governor Thomas Dongan, convened a colonial assembly, giving inhabitants a voice in local legislation.

Among the first items of the day: the establishment of 12 state-wide counties.

Organized under the Act of November 1, 1683, Queens County would be carved out, and among the smaller counties in the state with just under 400 square miles of land.

Soon after, it was subdivided into 5 townships—Flushing, Hempstead, Jamaica, Newtown, and Oyster Bay—that would stretch from the north shore of the island to the beaches on the south and include most of what is now Nassau County.

This distinction would last over 200 years.

Today, most of what was then Queens County has splintered off into Nassau, leaving only three of the original towns left.

Still, the borough remains a pillar of the city, retaining its bragging rights as the city's largest borough by way of land and most diverse by way of people.

About this column: Remembered Places highlights the historic venues, buildings and homes even longtime Queens residents might have missed.

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