Jamaica, Queens has a rich history spanning before the formation of the United States. Named after the Jameco Indians who originally occupied the area, in the 1650s, 15 English families obtained a charter from Peter Stuyvesant to settle in Rustdorp (“rest-town”), which is what the Dutch called Jamaica. After the Revolutionary War, Jamaica was the first village in Queens County to become part of the United States. Today, Jamaica Estates is an upscale middle class residential community in the New York City borough of Queens.
The surrounding neighborhoods are Jamaica Hills to the west; Jamaica to the southwest; Hollis to the southeast; Holliswood and Queens Village to the east; and Fresh Meadows and Hillcrest to the north. Although Jamaica Estates doesn’t geographically contain attractions, you can find many of them nearby.
The First Presbyterian Church of Jamaica is the oldest continuously serving Presbyterian church in the United States under three flags: the Dutch, the English and the United States. The church was founded in 1662 when the area was the New Netherlands settlement of Rustdorp. Despite its heritage, the church is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places due to the current Reverend Patrick O’Connor’s decision because of the restrictions that come with altering a building once it’s been listed.
Today, the church continues to be a place of worship to local residents expanding its outreach through programs like Girl and Boy Scouts, soup kitchen, distribution of food items, Bible Study, athletics, recreational activities, tutoring, and more.
Located on Jamaica Avenue and 150th Street, the King Manor Museum is part of historic Jamaica because it used to be the house of Rufus King, one of the signers of the United States Constitution. King and his family moved to the manor in 1806 after he served as the US Ambassador to England following the Revolutionary War. The Georgian-style house was built in the 1750s. The King Manor was the home for the family for decades until King’s granddaughter Cornelia King died in 1896. The house then became the property of the City of Jamaica.
The King Manor Association, established in 1900, cared for the manor and collected the historical artifacts of the family, and when the house was restored in 1965 by the City of New York, the Association oversaw the process. The manor was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It has since become a museum open to the public, showcasing the history of the King family and the historical roots of the surrounding Jamaica area.