Church explores history of growth, change

Church explores history of growth, change

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Caroline Church is hosting an exhibit exploring the early history of the church, the Three Village area and the country, Oct. 7 through 9. Photo from Beverly C. Tyler

By Beverly C. Tyler

A new exhibit, “The 1800s, Growth and Change: The Church, The Community, The Country,” will be open to the public  Oct. 7 through  9 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the history center of  Caroline  Church of Brookhaven, located at 1 Dyke Road, Setauket.

The exhibit details how Caroline Church recovered and prospered following the decades after the Revolutionary War. It also features the 1887 Caroline Church carriage shed which is one of the structures listed along with the church on the National Register of Historic Places in America and is currently being restored to its original state.

Caroline Church at the turn of the 20th century. Photo from Beverly C. Tyler

The exhibit section on the community illustrates, on various panels, how the Three Village area moved from an agricultural base to an industrial community with shipbuilding, a piano factory, a rubber factory and other industries. Featured photographs in the exhibit include two 4-foot long overlapping images of the Setauket area photographed on site in 1878 by George Bradford Brainerd (1845-1887). The photos, taken when there were few trees to hide the view, show the entire area from the Setauket Mill Pond to Route 25A. A series of questions then asks the viewer to identify various structures. Barbara Russell, Brookhaven Town historian and a member of the Caroline Church Historical Commission said, “We thought it would be more interesting to give a background on the photos, and then let the viewer find things, rather than point everything out.”

The section on the country features women’s work in both home and community, some of the local effects of the Civil War, the expansion of the public school system and other events that defined community life in the 19th century.

The exhibit opening is scheduled as part of  New York State’s Path Through History weekends, when many events are scheduled to celebrate the state’s rich heritage. In addition to the exhibit at the  1729 Caroline Church, the Three Village Historical Society walking tour “Abraham Woodhull: Farmer and Revolutionary War Spy” will be held on Saturday, Oct. 7, starting at 2 p.m. from the Caroline Church front parking lot. The tour will include locations where the Revolutionary War Culper Spy Ring operated.

Beverly Tyler is Three Village Historical Society historian and author of books available from the society at 93 North Country Road, Setauket. For more information, call 631-751-3730 or visit


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