By Kimberly Brown
Come celebrate local history with music, food, art and antiques at the Three Village Community Trust’s 7th annual Chicken Hill Country Picnic and Benefit Auction on the lawn of the Factory Worker Houses, 148 Main Street in Setauket on Aug. 7.
“This will be one of the greatest experiences that the Three Village community will ever have,” said Herb Mones, President of the Three Village Community Trust. “We really want to focus on thanking our members for giving the Trust their support over the years, bringing people together in a safe way, and celebrating the history of these factory houses.”
Saved from demolition by the Trust, the three homes were a part of a group of company houses in the “Chicken Hill” area of Setauket that provided boarding for the hundreds of Eastern European and Russian immigrants who worked at the Setauket Rubber Factory, which was once Long Islands’ leading producer of domestic rubber goods in the 18th century. Each small building was essentially two rooms — one room on the first floor and one on the second floor and also housed the workers’ families. Tours of the historic buildings will be given throughout the afternoon by volunteers.
According to a press release, “these small, rustic houses are a visual reminder of the hopes, dreams, and resiliency of so many of our nation’s immigrants.” The Three Village Community Trust’s vision is to use these structures to educate future generations about the American experience.
In addition to the tasty, slow-cooked “chicken dogs” that will be available for purchase, visitors can set up their lawn chairs and picnic baskets while enjoying a bluegrass concert by Buddy Merriam and Back Roads at 4 p.m.
The event will also include an Art and Antiques auction featuring a number of paintings, photographs, illustrations, prints, and a collection of antiques, some of which will be from the factory houses. All of the items will be displayed throughout the grounds to give visitors a preview of what is available.
“I’m really excited by the new idea of the auction and I expect it to be a great success,” said Cynthia Barnes, Corresponding Secretary of the Three Village Community Trust.
All proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward the revitalization of the factory houses. “We’re excited because some of the revenue that we’ve been able to raise so far is going to enable us in the next couple of weeks to bring electricity to the factory houses,” Mones said.
If enough money is raised, the Trust also plans to install appropriate copper gutters and replace the siding on the factory houses. “We’ve had some issues with rainwater in the back of the houses that is coming up against the siding, and we can’t use standard aluminum white gutters; we need to get the decorative copper gutters that are more period-appropriate, but they are more expensive,” added Mones.
The Chicken Hill Country Picnic and Benefit Auction will be held on Aug. 7 from 2 to 6 p.m. Admission is free. Bring your family, friends, lawn chairs, and a picnic basket to enjoy this fun event for an important cause. For more information, call 631-689-0225 or visit www.threevillagecommunitytrust.org.