2019 Highlights of the Greater Patchogue Historical Society


January and February -- Happy New Year!  Time to rest up.  No general meetings.

March -- Bruce Kagan presented "Flygirls," his moving tribute to women Air Force Service pilots of World War II.  Bruce played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on flute as slides of these brave women scrolled on screen to close out the program.  

April -- "The Rock Revolution Rolls On," with rock historian Maury Dean, a former professor at Suffolk County Community College and a member, along with his wife, of the Greater Patchogue Historical Society.  Despite some frustrating technical difficulties, Maury entertained us and we all had a great time reminiscing.

May -- Local shipbuilder Elisha Saxton, 1828 - 1890, was the topic presented by independent oyster historian and first mate, Jeffrey Kassner, in "Elisha Saxton and his Oyster Sloop Priscilla.  Boatbuilding is a very important part of Patchogue's history and it was good to highlight the contributions of Mr. Saxton.  The lucky winner of our raffle won two tickets for a sail on The Priscilla!

June -- Gary Tucker intrigued us with "Patchogue's Forgotten Stories:  Murderers, ghosts, heroes and traitors...long lost stories and people of Patchogue...and how I found them."  Gary is an avid researcher and is the author of the historical website, "Long Island Stories."  In the group's unanimous opinion, we must have Gary back to tell us more!

July and August -- No general meetings are held;  Open house is held at the Swan River Schoolhouse on four Sunday afternoons.  This year, we added a special feature at each open house:  In July, we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing with moon pies and Tang!  Two librarians at PML, Martha Mikkleson and Jeri Cohen, spent the afternoon demonstrating spinning (as in wool) for us.  The library ladies have quite a following and many came to see their craft.  It was such a pleasant afternoon.  In August, we were able to serve ice cream to our guests, courtesy of Kilwin's in Patchogue, much appreciated on a hot Summer afternoon.  And finally, Glen Mikkleson, a professional Salt Water Fly Tyer, demonstrated salt water fly patterns and created some beautiful life-like tyes as some very fascinated guests looked on.

September -- "Pirates, Raiders and Rumrunners," was presented by Noel J. Gish, a teacher and lecturer on Long Island History.  It was our honor to have Noel with us for this most fascinating look at our island's history.

October -- 150 years ago, in 1869, the railroad was extended east to Patchogue.  Dave Morrison, a retired LIRR branch manager and Long Island Railroad historian, author and lecturer, gave us a history of the LIRR with special emphasis on Patchogue.

November -- Naturalist John Turner provided us with a "tour" of old cranberry bogs on Long Island in his talk, "They Called it Red Gold: The Long Island Cranberry Industry."  It was gratifying to hear many comment that they learned so much from John's presentation.  This night was the result of finding out that Camp Edey in Bayport was one of LI's first cranberry bogs, a fact my wife, former Girl Scout and Camp Edey camper, found quite amazing.  John encourages all to explore for themselves the Cranberry Bog Preserve in Riverhead.

December -- Our Holiday Open House took place on the afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 15 with lots of good conversation, fun and refreshments.  We were so pleased to be able to have our "new" Swezey Santa's elves, generously donated by Dave Zegel of David's Shoe Emporium, on display in Santa's Workshop.

Thank you for a great year, friends and history buffs.  We hope your holidays were memorable and fulfilling and we offer our best wishes for the new year.  Let us see and hear from you frequently!  Please visit the Museum* when you can (open Fridays and Saturdays, 12 to 3:00 pm.)  Wishing you a Happy, Healthy, Historic 2020!


2018 Highlights of the Greater Patchogue Historical Society


January & February -- No general meetings.

March -- Game Night at the Museum.  Well now, that's different.

April -- Frank Turano, Stony Brook professor and member of Three Village Historical Society, presented "The Wind and the Water:  The Milling Industry in Suffolk County."  Fascinating information.  If only one of Patchogue's old mills remained.

May -- "Wardenclyffe:  Past, Present & Future," with Jane Alcorn, president of the Tesla Science Center in Shoreham.  To think that the genius Nikola Tesla had a laboratory right here on Long Island!

June -- Your Board sat with hearts in throats as George Fisher showed us his bottles and then passed them around the room for all to see!  Thankfully, no accidents occurred.  George spoke on "Long Island Beverage Bottles:  1840-1970," and generously identified and appraised bottles for those in the audience.  George's "An Historical Guide to Long Island Soda, Beer & Mineral Water Bottles & Bottling Companies 1840-1970" proves to be a valuable resource to those of us who enjoy finding old bottles.

Also in June--we held a very successful Yard Sale at the Swan River Schoolhouse.  Thank you to all who donated items and to all who came out and lent support.  It was a tremendous day.  Weather was questionable but we went ahead and we promise you, just as we were finishing packing up the (not very many) leftovers, we felt the first few sprinkles.  Thank you to the One who held off the rain and smiled down on our efforts!

July & August -- Another Summer of successful open school houses at The Swan River Schoolhouse.  So much fun meeting and talking with visitors.

September -- We kicked off the Fall season with 'Patchogue Stories with Notable Patchoguians" on September 20.  Who were our notable Patchoguians?  Why, our very own Peter Berman, Ed Brown and Ron Bush!  It was great fun listening to them share their stories.  Wish we could do more of these kinds of meetings!

October --  The Patchogue-Medford Library and the GPHS co-sponsored author Dr. Joanne Grasso who spoke on "The American Revolution on Long Island" and on "George Washington's 1790 Tour [of Long Island.]  No, GW did not sleep in Patchogue, but we have it from old George himself who wrote in his diary that he dined at Hart's Tavern.  As far as we are concerned, that settles it.

November -- The Theme was Veterans Day for our November meeting and we were so honored to have Father Charles Fink, pastor of Our Lady of the Snow in Blue Point, with us.  Father Fink, a veteran of the Viet Nam War, shared with us his experiences and events leading to his writing his heartfelt and touching poem, "Bury Me with Soldiers."  The evening concluded with his reading his beautiful poem.

December -- Attempts at holding a meeting in December have met with mediocre success. Maybe if we throw a party, they will come.  And they (you) did.  A good time was had by all!

Thank you for a good year.  Your Board is looking forward to a great 2019!


2017 Highlights of the Greater Patchogue Historical Society


January, February, March -- No general meetings.

April -- Historian Margaret Guardi presented "Women, Dress and Society in 1862."  A fascinating history that made us all thankful we don't have to still go through all that.

May -- May is Preservation Month and Victor Principe's program, "Creeping Inappropriateness and the Battle for Historic Preservation" was great.  How could it be anything but, with a title such as that?  Victor gave us a history of the NYC Landmarks Law of 1965 and talked about how it has affected the preservation movement in our local area.  Victor highlighted some of the unique architecture and significant structures we have here in Patchogue.  Very informative and thought provoking.

June -- Our guest was Tim Green, Cultural and Natural Resource Manager for BNL (Brookhaven National Laboratory) in observance of the two milestone anniversaries at BNL this year--the 100th of the establishment of Camp Upton during World War I, and the 70th of the founding of BNL.  Tim gave a history of the site from the 1700s, with special emphasis on the creation of Camp Upton in 1917.

July & August -- Summer open (school) houses at the Swan River Schoolhouse, 4 Sunday afternoons.

September -- Long Island's own lover of local history and our good friend and member Gene Horton gave a presentation on "John Hodge--The Man, The Myth, The Legend!"

Who was this guy whose carvings and folk art local Bayport & Blue Point & Patchogue collectors try to get their hands on?  We asked Gene to create a talk and he answered!

Many brought their own "Hodge" to show the group.  Thank you, Gene.

October --   The Grand Opening of the Greater Patchogue Historical Society Museum took place on Sunday, October 15!  A momentous day, of which we are all very proud!    

General Meeting -- Stony Brook professor Tara Rider was enthralling in her "Thar She Blows!" Whaling on Long Island" as she talked about how whaling shaped New York's maritime communities in the past and helped drive the local economy in the 19th century.  Today, whales draw New Yorkers in popular whale watching tours.  Tara is a wonderful speaker.

November -- Our first meeting in our new space in Patchogue-Medford Library's Teen Center at the Carnegie!  We are so fortunate!  Thank you, PML & the Patchogue-Medford community!

Master teacher and musician Bruce Kagan took us on a tour of the Erie Canal, exploring its history on the 200th anniversary of its completion in "The Modern Erie Canal:  Explored by Sea Kayak."  

December -- It was decided that we have this new space, we will have a holiday party to celebrate together.  A good turnout, good fellowship.