From The President

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January 2017

The year 2016 has come and gone and it has been another busy year for the Yaphank Historical Society. We have continued to host well-attended General Meetings, featuring interesting programs covering a wide variety of topics. Special historic exhibits were on display in each of our houses. We also hosted successful holiday and summer historic house tours, two Victorian teas, and several community outreach efforts involving scouts and educational research projects. A new “Welcome to Yaphank” sign was installed at the intersection of Yaphank Avenue and the Expressway. We expect 2017 to be another busy year with emphasis on restoration/preservation efforts of our historic houses. A brief status report follows:

Restoration of the Homan House, which is our main priority, has had a few setbacks. A year ago Suffolk County Department of Public Works issued a request for proposal (RFP) to do the structural work at the Homan House. By May, a contractor was chosen and the process of finalizing a contract was finally complete. After a couple of months everything seemed to be going along toward actually starting the construction project. However, the contractor did not have all of the appropriate paperwork and after two weeks, he was let go. Unfortunately, we had to start the entire process over again. A new RFP was issued and another contractor was chosen. He is now on board and we anticipate beginning work early this spring. We hope to see some major progress on the Homan House project this coming year.

In the meantime, we have been working on this project wherever possible; the gas service for the heating system has been brought to the property and the electric service has also been brought to the property. We have been working on the chimney foundation located in the basement. Substantial debris had to be removed and the area cleaned before work could begin. We are now in the process of rebuilding the fireplace and the “bee hive oven”, as well as the chimney foundation.

The Hawkins House is in good shape. The house needs some repair work on the cupola which entails painting and some repair to the floor boards and trim. Repair work in the attic will also be addressed. A part of the music room ceiling collapsed early this fall and we have had the damaged ceiling re-plastered and the damaged moldings constructed and installed. A new heating and air conditioning system are going to be installed early this coming year.

The Booth House is also in good shape. Only a few minor repairs need to be addressed. Efforts will continue to obtain archival documents and artifacts associated with Mary Louise Booth.

The Swezey-Avey House is in good shape. Several upgrades/projects are planned for 2017; creation of additional storage for our expanding archives, interior improvements, and work on documentation for possible National Register of Historic Places status.

Special Thanks. The Yaphank Historical Society extends special thanks to the following people and their staff members: Suffolk County Director of Historic Services Richard Martin, Suffolk County Legislator Kate Browning, Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, Brookhaven Town Parks Commissioner Eddie Morris, and Brookhaven Town Councilman Michael Loguercio. We sincerely appreciate their help and support and without it we could not have accomplished as much as we did. Finally I want to thank the Board of Directors of the Yaphank Historical Society and all of our members for their continuing support.


- Robert Kessler, President