From The President

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July 2019

Society members have been busy cleaning our historic houses, getting them ready for our summer house tours. The Hawkins House, Booth House and the Swezey-Avey House are getting a good cleaning from top to bottom. This year we were able to re-finish the floors in the Hawkins House. We hired Jeremiah McGiff to tackle this project and as usual he did a great job. The floors had not been touched since the mid 80’s, and he brought them back to life. Having “new” floors gives our house a whole new appearance.

We are on track to have the grand opening of the Homan-Gerard House in the early Fall. We still have some pieces of furniture to purchase and other pieces need restoration. These final touches are part of restoration efforts and will continue through the end of the year. We still have some painting to do on the exterior and some touch up on the interior. The property also needs to be graded and cleaned up.

The Swezey House Park is looking better than ever. Brookhaven Town has done a lot of new planting and the grounds are well maintained by the Town and the Yaphank Historical Society. There are always groups of adults and children enjoying this space. With the summer weather finally here, we can expect even more visitors.

Soon we will be having the Longwood Schools Day Camp children visiting the park. This is a great program sponsored by the Longwood Schools and run by Shan Dillon and Paul Infranco. There are at least 160 children and they rotate them to the park in groups of forty. The kids are of all age groups and they really enjoy the park. They go kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing and they also go swimming. The Society opens the Swezey House for the kids and they enjoy the displays that we put out for them. The displays include the history of the Swezey House and Mills as well as the history of the lakes and how they were formed. They also enjoy displays on the fish, turtles and the birds that call Willow Lake home. We love this program.

This summer we are also getting a butterfly garden on the grounds. It is being planned and constructed by a Girl Scout who is doing the project to earn her Gold Award (this is the Girl Scout equivalent of a Boy Scout Eagle Scout Award). She has drawn up quite an ambitious project and it will be a great addition to our beautiful park. Over the years we have used the Sheriffs’ SLAP (Sheriff Labor Assistance Program) Program to do many of the projects in our community. They have built fences, helped us to restore homes, painted the fences and the houses and, in general, helped us to grow and take care of our community. One of the Corrections Officers is retiring and I just want to say thank you to Jim Tucciarone for all he has done for us and our community. HAPPY RETIREMENT JIM.

- Robert Kessler, President