From The President

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October 2021

The Yaphank Historical Society hosted a table at the Longwood Fair; our display featured Society brochures and information about our preserved historic houses located within the Yaphank Historic District. We also had Society publications available for purchase. I attended both Saturday and Sunday and several of our board members were on hand to talk to visitors and manage the table. We all took advantage of visiting the other Societies and groups that were in attendance. This was my first time attending and we had a great time. It was a perfect opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, and share stories and ideas with old friends. We even signed up a new member and several visitors to our table took member applications with them. Hopefully we see them as new members soon.

Our new Eagle Scout project is complete. We now have a gazebo in the Swezey Park. A picture of the finished gazebo is on page 4. We are hoping to have some concerts on the lawn this fall with our favorite musicians Don and Susan Cerce. We have a new Eagle Scout project in the works. Our new project is to build wheelchair-accessible benches along the existing boardwalk. They will be easily accessible from our handicap parking spots. We are also working on getting a grant to restore the Hawkins Cemetery, a project headed up by Zach Studenroth. This is a very old burial ground located on Yaphank-Middle Island Road, and it is in dire need of restoration. Along with restoring the stones, we will be installing a new fence around the property. We will also have the sign restored.

During September, we had two children’s programs at the Park. We had about 135 4th graders from Charles E. Walters school participating in the Pine Barrens Society “A Day in the Life of the Carmans River”. This is a great program to show the kids what a healthy river system looks like. Read more about our participation on page 4. The following week, we had 120 students from Longwood School visit the Park. This is a camp program. The school has purchased kayaks and paddle boards for the kids, and they had a great time. Some of these kids have never done this before and it is such a pleasure to watch them learn so quickly. The Swezey-Avey House was open for both of these programs.

Our historic houses are in good shape. We check on each house monthly, noting any repairs required, etc. We still need to finish some of the work on the Hawkins House porch. The houses remain closed for the year, but we do offer tours by appointment and a few people have taken advantage of scheduling a visit. We want to remind everyone who comes to our houses that the County and the Town are requiring proof of vaccination or masks to be worn when inside any of the houses. We thank you for your continued support.

Please stay safe and have a happy holiday season.

- Robert Kessler, President