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Old Field Club

Attendees at the Three Village Chamber of Commerce annual barbecue enjoyed an evening of eating and dancing on the beach Aug. 2. Photo from the Three Village Chamber of Commerce

By Rita J. Egan

A little rain didn’t stop families from enjoying an evening at the beach Aug. 2 when the Three Village Chamber of Commerce hosted its family barbecue.

Attendees at the Three Village Chamber of Commerce annual barbecue enjoyed an evening of eating and dancing on the beach Aug. 2. Photo from the Three Village Chamber of Commerce

This was the 18th annual summer event at West Meadow Beach for the chamber. Vice president Charles Lefkowitz said while it rained for a short period, attendees weathered the storm by spending time under the beach’s pavilion or umbrellas.

“The rain made it fun and interesting, and thanks to the great volunteers we have, and David Prestia from Bagel Express, we were able to get several hundred through the food line,” he said. “It was a very successful event.”

Chamber president Andrew Polan said he estimated  400 people were in attendance, and added the number of families participating in the event has grown over the years. Polan said while the organization doesn’t advertise as much as it did in the past, many still come, looking forward to the raffles and camaraderie at the beach.

“It’s nice to see after 18 years it’s as much of a hit with the community as it’s always been,” Polan said.

Lefkowitz said Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) and Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) were among the local residents who attended.

Attendees at the Three Village Chamber of Commerce annual barbecue enjoyed an evening of eating and dancing on the beach Aug. 2. Photo from the Three Village Chamber of Commerce

“This is something that the local community looks forward to every year, and I’ve been involved in it since its inception,” Lefkowitz said. “I’m really proud that the chamber can deliver such an event to give back to the community.”

David Woods, the chamber’s former executive director, recently retired, and Lefkowitz said the board banded together to organize this year’s barbecue. He said their work together on the event has left a great impression on him.

“The true highlight was how my fellow board members really pulled together, and we worked as a group to deliver this barbecue as a successful event,” Lefkowitz said.

The Three Village Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to provide local professionals and business owners the opportunity to grow professionally through community events. The organization is planning its next event — Disco Night at The Old Field Club — Oct. 19. For more information visit www.3vchamber.com.

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Three Village Historical Society president Stephen Healy, Kristin Moller, Brookhaven Town historian Barbara Russell and Katherine Johnson at the society’s annual awards dinner. Photo by Beverly Tyler

By Beverly Tyler

The Three Village Historical Society’s R. Sherman Mills Young Historian Award was presented to Kristin Moller and Katherine Johnson, at the society’s annual awards dinner at the Old Field Club March 22. Moller and Johnson, both Ward Melville High School seniors, have been volunteers at the Three Village Historical Society for the past couple of years.

Both of these young women have made a positive impression on society staff members as well as the general public. Moller and Johnson work as docents at the history center’s SPIES! Exhibit, where they take visitors of all ages through the exhibit and answer questions about it and the men and women who were a part of the Culper Spy Ring.

Johnson and Moller pose with their awards. Photo by Beverly Tyler

Moeller has also volunteered for the society’s Spirits of the Three Village Cemetery Tour and the Candlelight House Tour. Johnson participated in Cupler Day, a daylong event about the Revolutionary War spies with organizations from Stony Brook and Port Jefferson.

In addition to volunteer efforts at the society, this year Moller participated in a walk on the Greenway Trail to support the Open Door Exchange, and also in a Martin Luther King festival.

“Kristin is a wonderful, cheerful and knowledgeable young lady,” Mary Folz Doherty, society volunteer, said. “She enjoys learning about our local history and she loves sharing what she learns with the community.”

“Krissy is a delightful young lady who has shown an interest in the community where she has grown up,” Karin Lynch, the society’s former treasurer, said.

Johnson has been a volunteer at Stony Brook Hospital for the past two years, one year in pediatric oncology and one year
in radiology.

“There is nothing better for a museum than to have excited young people greeting you with their youthful enthusiasm.”

— Donna Smith

“One cold, cloudy day when no one came to the exhibit, Katherine created an artistic expression of the Culper Spy Ring story on the white board, which was enthusiastically viewed by staff and visitors for many weeks,” Donna Smith, society education director, said.

“These two girls,” Smith said, “learned how to engage people. I’ve seen them grow in confidence. When they first started as docents, they were a bit shy. It’s exciting to see how confident they have become — engaging people and answering questions. We are especially pleased to have them as they worked with so many children who come to the exhibit, working with them on spy codes and invisible ink and helping children understand the importance of spies during the Revolutionary War. There is nothing better for a museum than to have excited young people greeting you with their youthful enthusiasm.”

At the society’s awards dinner, award presenter Barbara Russell, Brookhaven Town historian, noted how important it is for our youth to volunteer, especially to volunteer to help promote local history and how these two high school seniors have excelled as advocates for our area’s extensive local history and culture.

For more information about the society’s youth volunteer and other programs, contact the Three Village Historical Society.

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

Malcolm J. Bowman and R. Lawrence Swanson will receive The Robert Cushman Memorial Award at the TVHS award dinner. Photo by Heidi Sutton

On Wednesday, March 22, the Three Village Historical Society will host its 40th Annual Awards Dinner honoring volunteers and area residents who have made outstanding contributions to the Society and the local community.

Among the honorees will be R. Lawrence Swanson and Malcolm J. Bowman, who will receive The Robert Cushman Memorial Award in recognition of significant contribution to the preservation and conservation of our natural environment. Both are on the faculty of the Marine Science Department at Stony Brook University and are being recognized for their recently published book “Between Stony Brook Harbor Tides —The Natural History of a Long Island Pocket Bay.” This distinguished award has only been given eight times since 1987.

Carlton “Hub” Edwards will receive the  Kate Wheeler Strong Memorial Award  in recognition of significant contribution toward the fostering of interest in local history. Edwards is a lifelong resident of the Three Villages and his knowledge of the area is something to treasure, as are the memories he shares of his 85 years lived here and his work on the Three Village Society’s Chicken Hill, A Community Lost to Time exhibit.

Millie Mastrion a longtime member, past trustee and volunteer will receive The Maggie Gillie Memorial Award for contributions by a member of the society in recognition of overall dedicated service, and for significant contributions furthering the goals of the society.

From left, Katherine Johnson, Kristin Moller and Sean Mullen will be honored at the TVHS awards dinner. Photo courtesy of TVHS

Deep interest in history led Sean Mullen to the Three Village Historical Society.  Mullen has applied his knowledge by volunteering at the society’s archives while pursuing his degree in history at SUNY Stony Brook.  He has been working with the society’s collections, especially those relating to the Revolutionary era and the Culper Spy Ring. For that, Mullen will receive the Gayle Becher Memorial Award in recognition of volunteer efforts to help the society by performing those necessary tasks that facilitate its efficient operation. This award honors volunteers whose work consists of loyal support repeated on a regular basis.

Katherine Johnson and Kristin Moller, both students at Ward Melville High School, are this year’s honorees for the Sherman Mills Young Historian Award, a prestigious award presented for contributions to the society by a young person.  Kristen and Katherine have both volunteered many hours to society exhibits and events.

Three community award certificates will be handed out this year. The first, for enhancing or restoring a building used as a commercial structure in a way that contributes to the historic beauty of the area will be awarded to Michael and Anthony Butera of ATM Butera Mason Contractors & Landscaping for the reconstruction of the 1892 chimney on the Emma Clark Library. The second, for house restoration or renovation and ongoing maintenance and preservation in keeping with the original architectural integrity, will be awarded to John and Christine Negus for their home at 34 Old Post Road. The third award, for ornamental plantings or landscaping that enhances the beauty of the Three Village area, will be awarded to John and Randy Prinzivalli of 6 Old Field Road in Setauket.

The Awards Dinner will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Old Field Club located at 86 West Meadow Road in East Setauket. A three-course dinner, which will include cheese/fruit/crudité, North Fork Salad, choice of entree (sliced grilled sirloin steak, herb-crusted salmon or grilled vegetable lasagna) and dessert, will be served. There will be a cash bar and music will be provided by Dylan Maggio, Alex Attard and Hugh Ferguson from Ward Melville High School Jazz Band under the direction of Jason Chapman. Tickets are $65 per person, $55 members. To order, visit www.tvhs.org or call 631-751-3730.

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Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine, Brookhaven Historian Barbara Russell, Kerri Glynn, Old Field Farms President Sally Lynch, Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn pose for a photo in front the clubhouse. Photo by Giselle Barkley

In the early 1930s, Setauket’s Old Field Club was a recreational hotspot that brought community members together for various events or programs. Now 87 years later, the club is still a reminder of Three Village’s past — especially now that it’s on the National Register of Historic Places.

Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) designated Wednesday, March 9, as Old Field Club and Farm Day in the town in honor of that club’s newfound status. He joined Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station), Brookhaven Historian Barbara Russell, Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), club member Kerri Glynn and Old Field Farm President Sally Lynch this week to pay tribute to the site and look ahead.

While some clubs have had its setbacks with fires, the Old Field Club’s clubhouse is still the original structure designed by architect Richard Haviland Smythe. Smythe didn’t only design the clubhouse but also the beach cabanas — his original court layout included a plan for the cabanas, which was modified due to storm damage and increased demand for cabanas.

Glynn helped to start the effort to register the club, its farm and the nearby beach and cabanas around three years ago. She said she saw other historically designated buildings and clubs throughout the county with similar stories, making the Old Field Club on West Meadow Road an obvious choice.

“I looked around at various other clubs like [Old Field Club] in the area, like the St. George club and Nissequogue club, and they had both had fires that destroyed their buildings,” Glynn said. “It occurred to me that [Old Field Club] was a very special building.”

Cartright, who represents the town’s historic 1st District, said the designation was not only appropriate, but also necessary for preserving the North Shore’s character.

“The Old Field Club, farm and out buildings reflect the past of the Three Village area all the way back to the 1930s,” Cartright said in an email. “The club continues to serve as a location for community gatherings nearly a century later.  It is a staple in our community.”

Glynn, who has been a member since 1977, added, “the preservation of the beach and cabanas is especially important in light of the loss of the West Meadow cottages.”

The cottages were also added to the register after they were destroyed in the early 2000s. Romaine said that members of the community felt the property should be a natural beach at the time.

The cottages as well as the club were part of the Old Field South, a property subdivision that was being established at the time.

“Having a beach, swimming, tennis club to augment the sale was very much apart of the social life in the 1920s and 1930s,” Russell said.

Members paid $50 per visit at the time to use the club and attend programs and events. Various events were open to all community members, including the North Shore ball. The ball, one of the most important social events at the time, was held at the Old Field Club. The club also organized a number of dances for teenagers, which attracted countless teens.

The Old Field farm grounds were also used for horse shows. The 13.2-acre parcel is divided into the main barn complex and the horse show grounds.

A schoolhouse was also built on the property but was not included in the National Register of Historic Places alongside the clubhouse, farm and beach and cabanas because the building is privately owned.

Although Long Island is bustling with historic sites like the club, Russell said sites must be at least 50-years-old and must have a clear important historic significance, which Old Field certainly satisfied.

Some sites like the Old Field Club have more than one qualification — the club was placed on the register for its social and agricultural significance. The clubhouse includes a large ballroom with four sets of French doors among other characteristics.

Romaine commended those involved, for helping preserve this historic landmark.

“The work done by our historian [and] by these individuals involved, has ensured that these structures [the clubhouse and farm] will forever remain as they are,” Romaine said. “They can be improved upon but they can’t be changed and this piece of history…will forever be with us and remind us of our past.”

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