During the colonial era, the Creedmoor site was considered part of Flushing, and was occupied by farms.
In 1871, Conrad Poppenhusen purchased the Creedmoor site from Bernardus Creed. Poppenhusen was a German immigrant who was an industrialist and a philanthropist, founding both the India Rubber Comb Company and the first free kindergarten in the United States in the College Point neighborhood of Queens.
On January 8, 1872, Poppenhusen opened Creedmoor Station as part of his Flushing and North Side Railroad, just south of today's Creedmoor campus. Poppenhusen's 1872 sale turned out to be a shrewd business move, as the success of the shooting range would go on to contribute to the success of the railroad.
FLUSHING + NORTHSIDE RAILROAD
In 1907, New York State ordered the closure of the rifle range after several gun safety incidents as the neighborhoods surrounding the site grew.
Throughout the 1920s, Creedmoor expanded rapidly, with 1,163 patients by 1929. The hospital infrastructure on the site continued to grow as well, with buildings 73 and 74 completed in 1926, and buildings 15, 70 and 71 completed in 1929.
The iconic Creedmoor inpatient tower north of Union Turnpike is completed
CREEDMOOR INPATIENT TOWER
The need for a sprawling Creedmoor campus declined along with the patient population, and several tracts of land making up the original Creedmoor State Hospital campus were conveyed to neighborhood institutions including: Queens County Farm Museum, Hollis-Bellaire-Queens, VIllage-Bellerose Little League Fields, Lifeline Center, Father Reder Senior, Apartments, Country Pointe HOA, Glen Oaks Educational Campus.
QUEENS COUNTY FARM MUSUEM
During the pre-colonial era, the Creedmoor site was part of the lands occupied by the Matinecock, Munsee, Merrick and Rockaway tribes of the Lenape people.
In 1869, Bernardus Hendrickson Creed purchased the project site from the Kissams, a prominent and wealthy Long Island Family who had owned the land since 1802. The Kissams and the Creeds maintained the site in its agricultural state.
CREEDMOOR RIFLE RANGE
On July 5, 1872, Poppenhusen sold 70 acres, including part of today's Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, to the newly formed National Rifle Association (NRA) which intended to build a rifle shooting range. The NRA board of directors named the site Creedmoor after Bernardus Creed, the former owner of the site. The shooting range at Creedmoor would become a popular destination as it hosted many shooting competitions.
NY NATIONAL GUARD
In 1890, due to lack of political support in New York, the NRA sold its property at Creedmoor to the State for a dollar, relocating its primary rifle range to Sea Girt, NJ. The New York National Guard continued to use the rifle range facilities at Creedmoor until their closure.
In 1912, the Creedmoor psychiatric “farm colony” facility opened as a satellite facility of Brooklyn State Hospital, with a group of 32 patients, “employed at daily farm work.” The agricultural therapy program helped to maintain the agricultural heritage of the site, as patients used and preserved farm buildings which are maintained at the Queens County Farm Museum to this day.
In 1935, Creedmoor State Hospital was spun off from Brooklyn State Hospital amid continued growth. In 1933, the patient population rose to 3,319 and Buildings 1 and 2 were opened. The independent Creedmoor facility issued their first annual report in 1935. This report lists a patient population of 4389 men and women, and an employed population of 1000 at Creedmoor.
Creedmoor reached its peak patient population of over 7000. With the growing use of psychiatric medications in the 1960s, the patient population would steadily decline over the next few decades.