|Location||Jamaica, Queens, New York, NY|
|NRHP reference #||74001295|
|Added to NRHP||December 2, 1974|
|Designated NHL||December 2, 1974|
King Manor, also known as the Rufus King House, is in Jamaica, Queens. It was the home of Rufus King, a signer of the United States Constitution, a Senator from New York, and Ambassador to Great Britain immediately after the American Revolution. It is located at 150th Street and Jamaica Avenue. Descendants of King's family lived in the house until 1896 when Rufus' granddaughter Cornelia King died and sold the house to the Village of Jamaica. When Jamaica, along with the western half of Queens County was annexed by New York City in 1898, the house and the property were turned over to the New York City Parks Department which re-designated the land as "Rufus King Park."
King Manor was originally built in the 1750s. King Manor was purchased by Rufus King from Christopher Smith in 1805; King also purchased farm and woodland, averaging a total of 90 acres for $12,000. Ever since King acquired this home, he enlarged the rooms and added to the house to be suitable for entertaining notables of that time as a country house. King lived in this manor until 1825, when he was stricken with an illness; this forced him to return to Manhattan to be cared for by his youngest son, Frederick, who was a physician. King died in 1827 and was buried beside his wife in Grace Churchyard, Jamaica. This manor was inherited by King's eldest son, John Alsop King, in 1827. Cornelia King, the youngest daughter of John Alsop King, was the last King family member to live in King Manor.
In 1897, the house and ground were bought by the Village of Jamaica to be used as a park, and later a city park.
An Open House was held at King Manor in March 1948 as part of the citywide celebration of the city's 50th anniversary. On Monday and Wednesday during that time, classes from Queens schools and adult leaders were welcomed. Adults were invited on Tuesday and Thursday, and both children and adults were admitted on Saturday. All efforts and tasks to furnish these rooms were done by the Long Island Society of the Daughters of the Revolution, the Colonial Daughters, the Jamaica Village Society and others.
According to an article, the house was supposedly "on the way to the century mark." It is not completely known whether the "manor house" looked the same as it was in 1805 in today's era. Today, the house is picturesque and stands in the center of a square block of King Park on Jamaica Avenue. Only a few people know or care that the King Manor is a "treasure-trove of 18th century lore" and contains furniture, furnishings, books, and pictures that date back to the 18th century. The park and the house are kept painted and repaired by the City of New York. The King Manor Association, formed in 1900, strove to "foster patriotism and good citizenship" by caring for the manor and collecting historical items there.
Although it is owned by the City of New York, King Manor is maintained by the parks Department and its interior furnishings are supervised by volunteers of the King Manor Association of Long Island, Inc. Restoration of the Manor was completed in the spring of 1965 and was open then.
In March 1987, the City of Queens celebrated the Constitution's bicentennial Tuesday with a parade of children and when city officials marked the 232nd birthday of Rufus King, a founding father. The city inaugurated a $1.4 million project to restore King's 18th Century Manor home. Mayor Edward I. Koch described this project as a "birthday present to Rufus King." The parade went 3 blocks from King Manor to the Grace Episcopal Church, where King is buried.
The manor contains a library, which is one of the most interesting rooms in the house. This library contains three built-in floor to ceiling bookcases The shelves hold books and senate records that belonged to John Alsop King and other such books. There is also an old leather horse-hair sofa under the west window that belonged to Rufus King.