By Bonnie Connolly
Despite living on Main Street in Setauket for 28 years, I only had a nodding acquaintance with the Setauket Neighborhood House. Then for several weeks last summer I watched as a new porch went up on the house. I thought, “Wow, that construction is a big deal. Keeping up this old house must cost a fortune.” For the first time I wondered who owned the Neighborhood House, and how the resources to maintain the building were generated. Well, this is what I discovered.
Construction of the Setauket Neighborhood House began prior to 1720 and the building was located on Setauket Bay. In 1820 Dr. John Elderkin purchased the house and had it moved to its present location. He added on to both ends of the original house, and it became Ye Old Elderkin Inn. In the 1860s the well-regarded inn serviced a stagecoach line.
When Dr. Elderkin died in 1885, the house was passed on to his niece, Julia, and then on to Julia’s niece, Augusta Elderkin and Augusta’s husband, Captain Beverly S. Tyler. The Tylers named their inn The Lakeside House and it operated until 1917.
Eversley Childs purchased the inn in May of 1917, and in the fall of that year the Neighborhood House was dedicated to the community. The Setauket Neighborhood Association was formed to maintain the house and the grounds. In 1979 the association formed a committee to restore and preserve the house.
Membership in the association is one way you can help to maintain this wonderful site. There are four membership categories ranging from $25 to $100.
Another way to support the house is to attend the annual Taste of the Neighborhood event on Friday, May 15, from 7 to 10 p.m. Last year’s successful event was able to raise funds to build a new front porch. This year’s benefit is to build a new ballroom floor.
The gala event will feature signature dishes from local restaurants that will be accompanied by beer and wine. Blythe Merrifield will be singing with Bob Boutcher on piano, and her daughter Liz Merrifield will be singing with Pat Morelli on guitar. There will be raffle baskets and prizes, and Robert Roehrig and Patricia Yantz, both members of the Setauket Artists, will be donating a painting for the raffle where all proceeds go to the SNH. Both artists will have many of their paintings for sale during the event and for a week afterward.
Tickets are $30 online at www.setauketnh.org or $35 at the door. For more information, call 631-751-6208. Come join us while we celebrate this beautiful building and raise money for a new ballroom!