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2017 in Review--


Toward the end of the year we realized that this is our 35th anniversary as a historical society!  Happy Anniversary to us!  And what a year it turned out to be.  Our work on the museum began in earnest during the week between Christma 2016 and New Year's with the arrival of display cases.  Guy, Steve and Jim spent many hours during the week assembling the cases which would hold photos and memorabilia telling the story of Patchogue's history.  Though no meetings took place, the Board was hard at work preparing the museum.

Meetings resumed in April, with Margaret Guardi giving a fascinating presentation, "Women, Dress and Society in 1862."  

 Our May 18 program, cosponsored by the Patchogue-Medford Library, featured Bellport's Victor Principe speaking on "Creeping Inappropriateness and the Battle for Historic Preservation."  Victor spoke on the history of the New York City Landmarks Law of 1965 and preservation here on Long Island, with a focus on Patchogue's historic properties.

 This year, 2017, marked two milestones for Brookhaven National Laboratory:  the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Camp Upton during World War I and the 70th anniversary of the founding of Brookhaven National Lab.  At our June 15th meeting, Timothy Green, Cultural and Natural Resource Manager for BNL, presented the history of the site from the 1700's with particular emphasis on its years as Camp Upton.


As we usually do, there were no programs scheduled for the Summer months, but the Board was busy promoting history and bringing the Museum to fruition.  Four very successful open (school) houses were held in July and August.  Once again, the board members were thrilled to meet the curious public and show off the little Swan River School House on Roe Avenue.  With the creation of the museum, some of the relics at the school house were removed and brought to Carnegie; Blackboards were painted on the walls and shelves taken down so the school house is more authentic.  And there was another first (I think) for the GPHS as we had our first intern.  Daniel Menzo, a student in the Photographic Preservation and Collections Management Masters Program at University of Rochester, worked to transfer about 375 gelatin silver glass plate negatives to computer images for us.  We were extremely fortunate to have Daniel this Summer and are grateful for his expertise and all that he accomplished.  


Our good friend, Gene Horton, presented "John Hodge - The Man, The Myth, The Legend!" on September 14th.  Gene shared information about this local folk artist painter and wood carver, whose work many of us seek to collect.  Gene and some of our members brought some of their own "Hodges" for Show and Tell.  It was a fun night.  And a very important announcement was made regarding the Swan River School House.  On August 18th, the School House was awarded Landmark status.  Our thanks to board members Dorothy Pavacic and Steve Lucas who prepared all the paperwork to accomplish this milestone.  As the Swan River School House is owned by the Town of Brookhaven, a special landmark celebration was scheduled a short time later, on October 2.  Thank you to those who were able to attend this event.


The Grand Opening Celebration of the Greater Patchogue Historical Society Museum at Patchogue-Medford Library's Carnegie Building took place on Sunday, October 15th. At the risk of sounding corny and overly sentimental, for many, this was a long-awaited dream come true.  The Board of Trustees was honored to be able to accomplish this for the greater Patchogue community but we know that over the 35 years in existence there were many who worked to achieve a home for the Society's collections and preserved Patchogue's history for when this day would come.  And so, the community came out in force for this momentous occasion.  The Board was thrilled at the response and we thank you for all the wonderful support.  Our community is indeed blessed to have our amazing Patchogue-Medford Library whose Board is wonderfully committed to the preservation of our community's history and to the Society's mission of making that history available to all.

On October 19, SUNY Stony Brook professor, Tara Rider, gave a lively and informative talk on the history of whaling on Long Island.  Tara is a wonderful speaker and attendance was great at this program, cosponsored by the GPHS and Patchogue-Medford Library.


Our first meeting in our new museum space was held on Thursday, November 16.  Mr. Bruce Kagan presented, "The Erie Canal Explored by Sea Kayak," featuring photographs taken of a trip Mr. Kagan and his wife made several years ago.  2017 kicks off the 200th anniversary of the start of the construction of this engineering marvel and Mr. Kagan's presentation gave us an opportunity to learn about its history and see some of the sights along its route.  At our refreshment time we enjoyed a cake in celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the Greater Patchogue Historical Society.


We held our holiday celebration on Sunday, December 10, from 2 - 4 pm and were joined by many members, family and friends.  It has been a tremendous year for our historical society.  We are so glad to be a part of this great organization and are thankful for the friendships and support of our members.  We are all looking forward to what 2018 will bring our way.  










The Greenhouse industry was tremendous on Long Island in years past.  Kenneth Herbert, whose family owned and operated the Orsinger family Greenhouse in East Patchogue, gave a presentation at our October meeting, a fun and nostalgic look back for many of us.




November 19--Mr. Harold O'Neill, retired U. S. Army and Greater Patchogue Historical Society Hall of Famer, entertains with stories of his experiences in World War II as chronicled in his book, "Military Memories of World War Two."  Mr. O'Neill is very dear to our hearts and is a terrific raconteur.  It was a special evening and we were so happy to have some of his family with us as well.  As we have recently observed Veterans Day, the GPHS honors and salutes all our veterans and their families and may we ever do so.  God bless you for your service and sacrifice. 



And we thank you, as always, for all your support throughout 2017.  Thank you for helping us to keep the greater Patchogue community's history alive for future generations to enjoy!