From The President

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July 2020


I hope everyone is well. Please take precautions to stay safe. Although we have been closed for the last few months because of the virus we still have been terribly busy. Our two major projects have been upgrading our technology and getting our district on the National Register.

We were able to upgrade our technology thanks to a very generous grant from the Robert Lion Gardiner Foundation. In our meeting room at the Swezey House we now have a large screen TV monitor. We also have speakers and a microphone for our guest lecturers so we can all hear what they are saying. The Town of Brookhaven Parks Department recently installed an in-wall air conditioner for us; our old one was very noisy and could not be run when we had a lecturer. I want to thank Eddie Morris (Town of Brookhaven Parks Commissioner) for getting this done.

At the Homan House we now have a touch-screen technology unit which we put into an antique desk. The desk was modified to accept the touch-screen monitor. This tells viewers the story from the formation of the Carmans River to the end of Milling in Yaphank. We were also able to buy two new computers thanks to a generous grant of $2,000 from the Pomeroy Foundation. One of the computers, a laptop, will be used for our presentations and another one, a desktop, will be used for our Library, Archives and for research.

Our project to have the Yaphank Historic District listed on the State and National Register is also moving forward. Our consultants, Zachary Studenroth and Kurt Kahofer, have completed an intensive survey of all the properties. They have photographed them and uploaded the images onto the State Historic Preservation Office website. The areas and the properties to be included in the filing have also been mapped. We have included Willow and Lily Lakes in the filing. The next steps will be to do National Register narratives, description and significance of the properties.

Normally at this point we would do a public hearing, but due to the coronavirus this is not possible. The State Historic Preservation Office will be sending letters out to all the property owners that are in the listing area. That mailing will include their letter and a letter from the Yaphank Historical Society describing the listing and what it entails. This project was funded by a grant from the Preservation League of New York along with money from the Yaphank Historical Society.

Reopening Update: Once we receive official reopening notification from the Town and County, the Society will take steps to sanitize and disinfect all historic houses. The Society recently received a generous donation from the Bellport Home Depot. Thanks to John Gobel, Store Manager, and Lisa Marie Halliday, Assistant Store Manager, we now have plenty of PPE (personal protection equipment) supplies on hand. The Society will take all safety precautions to protect our members and guests.

Please stay safe—we will open again when it is safe for all of our members and guests.

- Robert Kessler, President