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Eichenbaum gets post as borough’s historian

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Borough President Helen Marshall picked retired Flushing urban geographer Jack Eichenbaum to act as borough historian from among seven candidates who applied for the post.

Eichenbaum, who lives in Flushing, has degrees in chemical engineering and physical chemistry and is a former assessor for the city Finance Department. He has also taught about urban growth and geography at the City University of New York.

“I plan to strengthen relationships between local historical societies and preservation groups within the borough,” Eichenbaum said. “My passion, however, is walking tours. I lead folks throughout Queens, commenting on its history over the course of four centuries, as well as on contemporary cultural change.”

The borough historian’s job will be to preserve and promote local history through historical data for the Internet, print sources and public programs, such as lectures, conferences, tours, workshops and media appearances, as well as encourage the collection and preservation of governmental historical materials.

Marshall announced Eichenbaum as her pick during a press conference Tuesday. He was chosen from among seven Queens candidates.

“He has a great working knowledge of the past, strong communication and computer skills and is willing to donate his time and talents to the unsalaried post of borough historian.”

Prior to his appointment, Eichenbaum had already scheduled a series of nine, 2-mile walking tours Tuesday evenings this summer.

The borough president will provide office space and resources to Eichenbaum, who will also work through his post with the Queens Historical Society, the Archives at Queens Library and the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives at LaGuardia Community College.

Marshall formed a committee earlier this year to find a new borough historian. State law requires every municipality to have a government-appointed historian. In New York City, the historian is appointed by the borough presidents.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 5:50 pm, October 10, 2011
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