The town of Flushing was first settled in the mid-seventeenth century by Dutch and English farmers. The village was originally known as Vlissingen, after a town in the Netherlands. The community was officially chartered in 1645. Flushing is notable as the location of one of the first fights for religious freedom in America. It was in Flushing that Quaker adherents successfully banded together to fight an edict of Governor Peter Stuyvesant that attempted to suppress the sect.
In the 19th century Flushing became a center for plant nurseries and there are still several fine trees which survive from this period. After the Civil War, Flushing developed as a residential community with freestanding wooden homes. These were followed by apartment houses in the early 20th century. After the opening of the Queensborough Bridge in 1909 and the extension of rapid transit lines in 1928, Flushing also developed as a commercial hub for north central Queens.