It is the Society’s mission to collect, interpret, and preserve the history of Yaphank and its surrounding area. To that end we encourage and aid in the preservation of historical buildings and landmarks.
Known for its sawmills and gristmills Yaphank was established in 1726 on the banks of the Carmans River. Though the mills are long gone many of the period homes from the 18th and 19th centuries remain, illustrating the history of the hamlet and those who lived there. The Yaphank Historical Society was founded in 1974 because a group of concerned and dedicated residents saw a need to preserve this rich heritage.
Under the leadership of our first President, Eugene T. Dooley, one of the first priorities for the early Society was to establish official designation for the Yaphank Historic District, both on the NY State Register and by the Town of Brookhaven. Once accomplished, preservation efforts began. Currently, the Society maintains and manages four historic houses, three of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. Designated as a Brookhaven Town Historic Landmark, the Swezey-Avey House serves as our Headquarters, housing our extensive archive and library collections, as well as special exhibits. The Society also provides ongoing stewardship for several small historic burying grounds and the Carmans River Nature Trail & Sanctuary, all within the Historic District.
We encourage and promote an interest in history by hosting a full annual schedule of programs and special activities. Our extensive archives and library collections are open to the public for study and research and we offer docent-guided tours of our historic houses during our scheduled summer Sunday afternoon house tours, or by appointment. We also maintain a working relationship with the Longwood Schools and local scouting groups.
As the Society looks to the future, we see many restoration and preservation opportunities within the Historic District and it is our hope that the Yaphank Historic District will become a true destination for those interested in the history of Brookhaven Town.