From The President

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March 2017

In addition to our ongoing preservation work at the Homan House and the Swezey-Avey House, the Society has been involved in community outreach. Some of that activity is mentioned below.

We have worked on many Eagle Scout projects over the last few years, enabling the award of special badges to the Scouts that completed these projects. Based on Society-provided plans and guidance, the Scouts have built benches along our nature trail, built an outhouse at the Mary Louise Booth House, removed, installed and painted fencing at the Swezey-Avey House, and built picnic benches at the new parking and picnic area at the Homan House. The Scouts also installed concrete-grade beams and a fence to help preserve the logs that we were able to save from the dredging of Willow Lake, resulting in an outdoor display reflecting the work done by the Swezey Saw Mill that used to be located across the Lake from the Swezey-Avey House. Future plans for the Eagle Scouts include building an informational kiosk at the Swezey House and building three mini-lending library kiosks at the Homan House and the Swezey House.

The Girl Scouts have also been busy. One group created an herb garden at the Booth house and another group supplied and planted flowers around the Swezey-Avey House and the war memorial monument located in the parking area.

The Society has kept the Swezey-Avey House open during the summer months for the children attending the summer day camp at Longwood School. The school transports the children to the park in groups of forty so they can kayak, paddle board, and swim at the lake. We open the house for the children to use the bathrooms and then Society members give the children tours of the House and the exhibit rooms. The tours have proven to be of interest to many of the children, especially when the exhibit of the Yaphank Lakes was on display in the large meeting room.

As part of our community efforts, the Society has been hosting our neighbors to the north, the Davis Town Meeting House Society while they are waiting for the restoration of the Davis Town Meeting House in Coram to be completed. This group uses the building for their meetings and has held several social gatherings there. The Society also hosted the Yaphank Cemetery Association this past year, offering meeting room accommodations.

Current construction efforts: We have started a new project at the Swezey-Avey House. We are converting an upstairs back kitchen area (not currently being used except for some storage) into library and storage space. Our collections have been growing over the last few years and as large as the house is, we are running out of room. We will be building shelving to create additional safe storage space for our archives and collections. This will also allow our many visitors easier access to view the many items that are in our collection and a reading table for more lengthy research.

When we took down the paneling that was on the walls, we discovered the original trim and plaster walls hidden behind the paneling. When the Town created office space in the late 60’s, they simply installed brown paneling over the top of the plaster. Our intention now is to restore the trim and re-plaster the walls and restore this room to its original appearance. We are seeking funding at this time for this project and we will keep you up to date as the project progresses.

- Robert Kessler, President