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Mari Irizarry

Captain Edward R. Rhodes installs the first Three Village Historical Society historic house marker in 1964. Photo courtesy of TVHS

By Kimberly Phyfe

As you travel throughout the Three Village area, you might notice houses quietly boasting white signs with blue writing on them. These markers are adorned with Setauket-built sloop The Daisy and perhaps the names of original home owners. They are an indication that something special is happening here, and it’s about to get even better!

Sixty years ago, one of the first projects the Three Village Historical Society (TVHS) took on was marking the homes of ship captains and ship builders in the Three Village area. To commemorate their 60th anniversary, they are embarking on a new leg of that journey with the re-imagined Historic House Marker program — and everyone is invited!

A historical marker was presented for the Nehemiah Hand House on Bayview Avenue in East Setauket. Photo from TVHS

“In honoring six decades of dedication, reflection, and growth, we commence an initiative close to our hearts: ’60 for 60.’  This updated version serves as a revival of our esteemed Historical House Markers program, a pioneering endeavor initiated by Captain Rhodes, a founding member of our Society,” says TVHS Director Mari Irizarry. “The Historical House Markers program pays tribute to the cherished residences, remarkable individuals, and pivotal events that have shaped the very fabric of our community over centuries.  Each marker unveiled becomes a beacon of remembrance, a testament to the resilience and spirit of those who came before us.”

This is not only the first project undertaken by the Three Village Historical Society back in 1964, but it reflects what the Society considers one of its most important ideas, that “it regards the entire Three Village area as its museum; the homes, the people and the natural environment as its collection; and the homeowners as its curators.” (Three Village Guidebook, 1986)

The new TVHS house marker mock up.

Scott Ferrara, Exhibits & Collections Coordinator at TVHS, is leading the committee on the revamping of the Historic House Marker program. He noted that “if you drive around the Three Village area, you see a lot of historic homes. However, only some are marked with the iconic white historic house marker, but even those are sun-faded, have cracked paint, and are well worn. They need to be updated and replaced. It’s about time this program is revived. This committee has been formed to bring back this program and offer updated information and materials to the stewards of historical homes in the area.” 

Ferrara says that the program will also include research packets about each of the homes, digital and printed copies of the findings, and photographs, deeds, or documents pertaining to the property found in the TVHS archives. The Society is also happy to teach willing home owners how to do research on their own, and what resources are available to them to find out more about the historic houses they live in.

Why empower home owners to do their own digging? TVHS Historian Beverly C. Tyler believes “many homeowners in the Three Village community are ready to embrace the idea that they are — together with many others — the curators of their homes, and that they wish to understand everything that gives their home its special significance.”

TVHS Education Coordinator Lindsey Steward-Goldberg “hopes this new version of the program will continue to inspire owners of historic houses to learn more about not only the history of their house but also how that history of the house fits into the historic narrative of Three Village as a whole.”

A house marker presented for 40 Main Street in Stony Brook in 1997. Photo from TVHS

Perhaps best known as the birthplace of the Culper Spy Ring and the heart of the Washington Spy Trail, the Three Villages are a popular destination both for tourists and local Long Islanders looking to connect to their roots. Margo Arceri of Tri-Spy Tours uses the homes with historic markers as a reference point on her walking, biking, and kayak tours throughout the area. Arceri loves the fact that “since our town was founded in 1655, there was at last count over 75 pre-Revolutionary homes still in existence in the Three Village area. That’s an incredibly special part of our story that not many other places can say. Our community is full of homes belonging to spies, ship builders, philanthropists, educators, and business owners — those are the true artifacts of our living museum!”

So why is the Society bringing back the Historic House Marker program now? Tyler is determined that “while celebrating the Society’s 60th anniversary, there is no better time to work within the community to emphasize the importance of maintaining and celebrating the homes in the Three Village area which make a significant contribution to the quality of life here.”

There are a few simple qualifications such as: the house must be at least 60 years old and be connected to an historic event or an individual, or have architectural significance. Starting April 1, home owners can see if their houses are eligible with a quick screening on the Society’s website: www.tvhs.org

Irizarry hopes to get at least 60 historic homes to qualify for the markers this year. “As we embark on this journey of reflection and celebration, we invite our community to join us in commemorating this significant milestone. Together, let us honor our past, celebrate our present, and pave the way for a future rich in history and heritage.”

Author Kimberly Phyfe is the Communications Engagement Manager at the Three Village Historical Society.

Greg Philipps

Last week, the Three Village Historical Society (TVHS) celebrated the inauguration of its 2024 board of trustees with a swearing-in ceremony. The event, held on Tuesday, February 13th, marked the official introduction of the newly appointed leadership team.

Bob Lauto

Greg Philipps, assuming the role of president, and Bob Lauto, taking on the position of vice president, were both sworn in during the ceremony. The honor of administering the oath fell to Fred Bryant, a respected longtime member and former trustee of the Society.

Mari Irizarry, Director of the society, expressed enthusiasm for the new trustees, citing their diverse backgrounds and wealth of experience. She underscored their capacity to provide strong leadership and varied perspectives crucial for addressing the significant challenges and opportunities facing the organization in the coming year.

“As we welcome Greg Philipps and Bob Lauto to their respective roles, we are invigorated by the fresh energy and expertise they bring to our board,” remarked Irizarry. “Their appointment enhances our ability to navigate the complex landscape ahead, ensuring that we uphold our commitment to excellence in education and community-based programming.”

Top row, from left, Wayne Hart, Kimberly Hart, Ed McNamara and Tim Adams; middle row, from left, Tom Comisky, Rob Pellegrino, George Overin and David Phyfe; front row, from left, Chris De Francis, Alle Wallace, Kathryn Comisky, Helen McCarthy, Aneka Carsten, George Fear, Stephanie Carsten, Stephanie Sakson, Bianca Dresch and Mort Rosen Photo by Kimberly Phyfe

By Kimberly Phyfe

On Saturday, October 21st, the Three Village Historical Society (TVHS) welcomed over 300 guests through their annual graveyard walk, the Spirits Tour, made possible through the help of 50 volunteers and staff.

Visitors met spirits from the Chicken Hill neighborhood in Setauket throughout the 100 years people lived there, between 1860 and 1960.

Chicken Hill was a one mile neighborhood located along Route 25A, where Stop & Shop is now, originally made up of Eastern European immigrants, Native Americans, and African Americans.

Today, the community of Chicken Hill is far from its original housing and cultural form. The people who lived there have lost their personal, cultural and social past. At present, they risk losing even that important and precious heritage: the memory and collective history of Chicken Hill. 

This 29th Annual Spirits Tour was an effort to preserve that memory and to establish Chicken Hill’s place in the evolution of the Three Village Area.

The tour began at the Setauket Presbyterian Church at dusk and continued into the clear, moonlit night. Inside the fellowship hall were cider & donuts, a pop-up gift shop, and live music from the wonderfully talented Long Island Youth Development Inc.

Scott Ferrara, Exhibits & Collections Coordinator at TVHS, assembled an incredible mobile display of artifacts from the award-winning Chicken Hill exhibit. Scott printed dozens of historical images and brought out treasured items from the archives such as the Ridgway Family Bible.            

Beverly and Barbara Tyler were on hand to speak about the Day Book on exhibit from the Tyler Brothers General Store circa 1908, mentioned by the first spirit Jacob Hart, portrayed by Wayne Hart. Both Beverly and Wayne shared about their family’s history in Chicken Hill with deep affection, and a desire for future preservation.

Nancy Scuri was a tour guide and remarked that “Having the family members tell their ancestors’ stories was an incredibly special touch. The group I led was interested and listening to all the actors, but when I told them they were watching direct descendants of the people they were portraying, it was all the more meaningful!”

Owen Murphy, a recipient of the Three Village Young Historian Award, also volunteered as a tour guide this year. “The fact that all the spirits were from the same place was amazing, as you were able to peer into the life of ordinary people in the 100 years of Chicken Hill’s existence,” he said.

There were four stops throughout the graveyard at Setauket Presbyterian, two more at the Village Green, and the last four were at Caroline Episcopal Church.

TVHS told humorous, honest, and heart-breaking stories of the actual people who lived, worked, and died here. Scripts were originally written by the TVHS Education Committee comprised of Donna Smith, Bev Tyler, Brian Bennett, Town of Brookhaven Historian Barbara Russell & Education Coordinator Lindsey Steward-Goldberg. 

They then went on to be edited by Development Coordinator Kimberly Phyfe and volunteer / spirit Stephanie Sakson.

George Fear portrayed Charles, a spirit tending to the fenced-in Searing plot in the far corner of Caroline Church. “I’d heard about Chicken Hill but hadn’t had an appreciation for the richness of its history in Three Village until being exposed to it this year. It’s not a time in history which is documented or discussed nearly to the extent of others in the Three Village area (i.e. George Washington and the Culper Spy Ring) but so relevant and relatable given the ties so many families have to Chicken Hill and its history.”

TVHS Director Mari Irizarry says that plans for the 30th Annual Spirits Tour are already in the works. “We have so many ideas inspired by the Three Village area, our actors and guides, and local lore. Bringing history to life for our community is an incredible honor and one that I am proud to share in year after year. It is no exaggeration to say that this was our best Spirits Tour to date!”

So what keeps family, friends, and neighbors coming back for more? George Fear says that “I have always loved history, there’s an abundance of it in Three Village, and you learn something new and interesting every year. Most importantly, it’s the opportunity to meet and collaborate with a terrific group of people who are passionate and enthusiastic about history and make it an absolute pleasure to volunteer. What could be better than that? Needless to say, count me in as a spirit for next year and I am looking forward to the 30th Spirits Tour!”

Special thanks to Setauket Presbyterian Church, Caroline Episcopal Church, and the sponsors of the 29th Annual Spirits Tour: Annmarie’s Farm Stand, Luigi’s Pizzeria, Starbucks, Stop & Shop, and Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich.

Author Kimberly Phyfe is the Development Coordinator for the Three Village Historical Society in Setauket.

Annual holiday event celebrates shipyards and shorelines

By Rita J. Egan

With the holidays approaching, the Three Village Historical Society is preparing to light the way with a touch of history and seasonal decor.

The historical society will host its Candlelight House Tour on Friday, Dec. 1, and Saturday, Dec. 2. The event, titled Shipyards and Shorelines, will feature homes near the shores of Setauket Harbor, according to event co-chairs Patty Yantz and Patty Cain. Rounding out the house tour will be the Caroline Church of Setauket. The church celebrated its 300th anniversary this year.

Most of the four homes are on Shore Road, an area known as the Dyers Neck Historic District.

“There will be beautiful homes decorated in seasonal décor by our talented decorators,” Cain said.

The annual event allows visitors to visit the homes to see the designers’ work. 

“All of our events, no matter how glamorous, they are all rooted in education,” said Mari Irizarry, TVHS director. “The Candlelight House Tour, now in its 44th year, is our biggest fundraiser, with all proceeds going directly towards our operating costs. We welcome over 1,000 guests and over 100 volunteers to appreciate historic architecture of the Three Village community and learn about the people that helped build our community.”

Irizarry said the chosen homes are revealed to attendees when they pick up a booklet before their tour begins. This year’s choices include a mixture of historic homes and houses recognized for their aesthetic beauty.

“There is one grand house, down a hidden path behind gates that is ‘shore’ to be the belle of the ball,” Irizarry said.

As early as 1662, the area was once the center of shipbuilding. In the 19th century, the industry became a major commercial activity. According to Yantz and Cain, the tour will focus on shipbuilding, local architecture, oystering and whaling.

Irizarry added the 439-ton whaling ship Daisy was among the inspirations. The ship was built in 1871-72 at Nehemiah Hand’s shipyard, which was located along Shore Road in East Setauket.

According to Yantz, during the event, the society board members will share photos and documents from TVHS archives and little-known local history trivia.

In addition to the house tours, the historical society will host a reception Friday night at The Old Field Club from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. and a breakfast Saturday at the club from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for additional fees. The breakfast and tour package allows attendees to visit the homes an hour before they are officially opened.

TVHS members presale begins today, Thursday, Nov. 2 and runs until Nov. 5. Tickets will be available for non-members starting Nov 6. The Friday, Dec. 1 tour runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets for members are $75 and non-members $90. Friday night’s tour and reception package ticket is $145 for members and $175 for non-members. Saturday’s tour is $55 for members and $70 for nonmembers. Saturday’s tour and breakfast combo is $90 and $120.

For more information, visit www.tvhs.org/candlelight-house-tour.

Historical re-enactors Mort Rosen and Donna Smith at last year's event. Photo by Raina Angelier

By Rita J. Egan

For nearly 30 years, the Three Village Historical Society (TVHS) has brewed up ghostly fun with a twist of history at its annual Spirits Cemetery Tour. The popular event returns on Saturday, Oct. 21 with A Century of Chicken Hill. 

Attendees will visit 10 locations in the Caroline Episcopal Church of Setauket and Setauket Presbyterian Church graveyards, where they will learn about the lives of former Chicken Hill residents.

Mari Irizarry, TVHS director, said the society’s educational committee writes and develops the scripts for the annual event. While some dialogues could be reused in the past, all the scripts are original this year.

A scene from the 2022 Spirits Tour. Photo by Raina Angler

“This year, we’re going to see some characters with names that we definitely know like Ridgeway, like Golden,” Irizarry said. “People who were really active in the Chicken Hill community just 100 years ago, 120 years ago.” Joseph Ridgeway was a key investor in the Rubber Factory which once operated in Setauket, and the Goldens were third-generation Jewish residents in the Three Village area.

During previous tours, actors playing the spirits would talk directly to attendees and describe their character’s life. While a few will do the same this year, overall, guests will walk in on conversations taking place among Chicken Hill spirits.

“You will listen in on a conversation they are having about maybe the shipyard off Shore Road or about the new railway that’s coming to Stony Brook,” Irizarry said.

With descendants of some of the former residents depicted on the tour still living in the area, the society’s director said they had the opportunity to confirm a fact about one spirit with a great-grandchild who lives in Stony Brook. “We don’t get to do that very often,” she said.

This year marks the first Spirits Tour Kimberly Phyfe, TVHS development coordinator, has worked on and will experience. She said she is excited to see it and knows regulars will, too.

“Even if you have come to the Spirits Tour in the past, year after year, you’re going to see new characters, you’re going to meet new spirits,” Phyfe said. “We have different locations. Even though, obviously they’re in the same church graveyards, it’s a totally different experience, because it’s all new scripts and a lot of new actors, a lot of returning actors, too.”

She added that researching using the historical society’s archives with Scott Ferrara, collections and exhibits coordinator, was fascinating.

Donna Smith portrays Maria Smith Williamson during previous Spirits Tour

“We were able to reference pieces in our archives that directly relate to and support the scripts of the Chicken Hill characters,” Phyfe said, adding among the items are the Ridgeway family bible, and items listed in a ledger that Rubber Factory laborer and Chicken Hill community member Jacob Hart’s wife, Hannah, bought at the Tyler General Store and more. 

“Just knowing that our archives are in direct relation to the program that we are putting on is really incredible to be a part of,” she said. “lt’s living history. It’s not just in a box on the shelf somewhere. We’re able to bring that out into the community.”

Phyfe added characters not depicting a specific person will be based on the types of people they have documentation on.

Among those who played a part in writing and editing the script were Town of Brookhaven Historian Barbara Russell and professional editor Stephanie Sakson.

Sakson has portrayed spirits twice in the past and helped with the scripts. She said for the Chicken Hill dialogues, she fine-tuned them and added some more history and humor. She said researching Chicken Hill was interesting.

A scene from a previous Spirits Tour. Photo by Beverly C. Tyler

“I really didn’t know anything about Chicken Hill,” the Port Jefferson resident said. “I told my friends ‘you have to come see this!'”

She hopes attendees will gain “an appreciation that history is a living thing” and be inspired to do further research by visiting places such as the historical society and library.

“It’s not like it happened and it’s over,” she said. “You can see around you the effects of history, and how it has shaped how we feel about where we live and gives us an appreciation of how colorful and rich the place where we live is.”

The 29th Annual Spirits Tour will be held on Saturday, Oct. 21 (Rain date Oct. 28). Tours, which are approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes long, leave from the Setauket Presbyterian Church, 5 Caroline Ave., Setauket every 15 minutes starting at 5 p.m. The last tour departs at 7:30 p.m. 

Irizarry urges all tourgoers to arrive early, dress for extended time outdoors, wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a flashlight. An exhibit with additional information on Chicken Hill will be on display at Setauket Presbyterian Church throughout the night and complementary apple cider from Ann Marie’s Farmstand in Setauket and donuts donated from local supermarkets will be served.

Tickets in advance at www.tvhs.org are $25. Tickets on the night of the event, if available, are $30. For more information, call 631-751-3730.

Culper Spy Day. Photo by North Island Photography

By Heidi Sutton

Mark your calendars! Culper Spy Day returns on Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  (rain date is Sept. 10). Presented by the Three Village Historical Society (TVHS) and Tri-Spy Tours in collaboration with more than 30 local historical and cultural organizations, the day will feature activities related to the Culper Spy Ring which was founded by Benjamin Tallmadge, George Washington’s chief intelligence officer during the Revolutionary War.

Now in its 9th year, the annual event is the brainchild of Margo Arceri, who first heard about Washington’s Setauket spies (including her favorite spy Anna Smith Strong) from her Strong’s Neck neighbor and local historian, Kate W. Strong, in the early 1970s. 

“My love of history grew from there,” said Arceri who today runs Tri-Spy Tours offering walking, bike and kayak tours of the Setauket area. “Everywhere you turn in the Three Villages you are looking at an artifact, and as the historical society believes, the community is our museum and I would really love to put that on the forefront of people’s minds. History is constantly evolving and new information is being discovered everyday. We don’t know what is waiting to be unearthed next and that fills me with excitement.”

Participants will have the opportunity to visit 9 locations in Setauket, Stony Brook and Port Jefferson (see list below) to learn about Long Island’s brave Patriot spy ring. Admission to all locations, with the exception of the Sherwood-Jayne House tour and the Spies! exhibit tour at the TVHS, is free.

“Guests at Culper Spy Day can expect to learn about American Revolutionary history in their own backyard. The hometown heroes who risked their lives and turned the tide of the war lived here on Long Island, working with George Washington right under the noses of their British neighbors. Through re-enactors, storytellers, demonstrations, and self-guided and docent-led tours, visitors at Culper Spy Day will enjoy information and inspiration at all of our historic sites,” said Mari Irizarry, Director at the TVHS.

According to Irizarry, several new exciting events have been added to the roster this year. “We’re proud to host George Washington, Martha Washington and their Squire in his field tent / oval office on the grounds of the historical society; we have partnered with Preservation Long Island to create a deluxe scavenger hunt across all sites for excited clue seekers to learn along the way; and Drowned Meadow Cottage Museum will present their new exhibit, Privateers: Pirates with Permission with guided tours, privateers re-enacting the plundering of the Roe family and colonial-themed storytelling for children.” 

Colonial cooking demonstrations by Diane Schwindt from the Ketcham Inn will feature an authentic recipe from Mary Floyd Tallmadge, who was the wife of Benjamin Tallmadge and daughter to William Floyd, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Visitors may sample the food and take home the recipe.

In addition, The Long Island Museum will have the recently discovered Culper Spy letter on display throughout the day. “The handwritten letter dated November 8, 1779 from Benjamin Tallmadge (using his alias, John Bolton) to Robert Townsend (alias, Samuel Culper Jr.) is the only known surviving letter between the two,” said Arceri.

The event also marks the launch of the Three Village Historical Society’s brand new 1776 Augmented Reality app through the generous donation of the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.

If you don’t have time to visit all the locations, Arceri recommends visiting the Sherwood Jayne Farm and the Drowned Meadow Cottage as they are not open to the public very frequently “so it is a treat to step back in time and visit these sites” as well as the Caroline Church of Brookhaven and the Setauket Presbyterian Church and their historical cemeteries.

Arceri is looking forward to welcoming new visitors to Culper Spy Day. “Last year was such a huge success — we had over 1100 people visit ‘Culper Country’ and we expect to have those numbers grow as more and more of the mainstream are getting Culper fever,” she said. “Setauket has really become a tourist destination and Culper Spy Day is certainly a highlight for these visitors as they are able to see many of the sites and visit with many of the organizations that make up our Revolutionary story.”

Irizarry agrees and is committed to continuing this event for years to come.

“At the Three Village Historical Society, our mission is to preserve our shared history. The Culper Spy Ring is an essential part of how we won the Revolutionary War and became a country — that’s a history we can ALL share! Culper Spy Day is a celebration like no other, and we love seeing history come to life year after year. As more sites and organizations get involved, this incredible event gets better and better.”

The 9th annual Culper Spy Day is made possible by the generous support of Heritage Spy Ring Golf Club. For more information, call 631-751-3730 or visit www.culperspyday.com

Visit the grave of Culper Spy Abraham Woodhull in the Setauket Presbyterian Church cemetery. Photo by Heidi Sutton

1. THREE VILLAGE HISTORICAL SOCIETY, 93 North Country Road, Setauket. Located in the circa 1800 Bayles-Swezey House. Here you can take part in outdoor events from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. including “building” a timber frame house with Abraham Woodhull; children’s story hour; colonial crafts; an invisible ink demonstration;; Culper Spy-themed authors and book signings; Anna Smith Strong’s famed clothesline, a colonial cooking demonstration; 23rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Welch Fusiliers in America) and Huntington Militia encampment; and much more. Docent led tours of the Spies! exhibit will be held every 30 minutes at $10 per person. Food trucks will be on site. 631-751-3730.

2. SETAUKET NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE, 95 Main St., Setauket. The original part of the house, where the central chimney is located, was built in the early 1700s. In 1820 it was moved to its present location from its original site on Setauket (Conscience) Bay by Dr. John Elderkin. The building has served as an inn, and has housed a general store, post office, bank and a Franklin Library. Docents will give tours of the historic home from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 631-751-6208.

3. PATRIOTS ROCK HISTORIC SITE, Main Street, Setauket (across from the Setauket Post Office). This glacial erratic boulder is said to be the location of the Battle of Setauket on Aug. 22, 1777. Stop here between 10 a.m. and  2 p.m. to meet representatives from the Three Village Community Trust who will discuss the importance of Patriots Rock and its local and environmental history. 631-689-0225.

4. CAROLINE CHURCH AND CEMETERY, 1 Dyke Road, Setauket. Built in 1729, this timber frame building has maintained its Colonial appearance. Now an Episcopal church, during the Revolutionary War the Caroline Church was Anglican and a Colonial extension of the Church of England. The graveyard contains the remains of six Patriot soldiers as well as soldiers from World War I and II. The inside of the church will be open for guided tours from noon to 4 p.m. and tour the cemetery your leisure with a docent present for questions.  631-941-4245. 

5. SETAUKET PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH AND CEMETERY, 5 Caroline Ave., Setauket. The previous church (1714–1811) was a part of British fortifications during 1777. The fort was under the command of Loyalist commander Col. Richard Hewlett. The present building dates from 1812. Come tour the interior of the church from 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and then tour the cemetery with the grave of Abraham Woodhull of  Washington’s spy ring at your leisure. 631-941-4271

6. EMMA S. CLARK MEMORIAL LIBRARY, 120 Main St., Setauket. The library (circa 1892) will display Revolutionary War soldiers’ equipment in the lobby, enjoy live music from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and kids can enjoy an outdoor craft from noon to 3 p.m. 631-941-4080 

7. SHERWOOD-JAYNE HOUSE, 55 Old Post Road, East Setauket. Originally built around 1730 as a lean-to saltbox dwelling, the house and farm were maintained as an operational farmstead for over 150 years by members of the Jayne family. Visit with Big Bill the Tory aka William Jayne III, who will explain the noble intentions and virtuosities of King George III and tells you the TRUTH about Washington’s pesky band of renegade spies! Tours run continuously from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. $5 per person. 631-692-4664

8. THE LONG ISLAND MUSEUM, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook. The museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate with permanent and changing exhibitions on American history and art, along with the finest collection of horse-drawn carriages in the country, some of which belonged to Revolutionary War heroes. Visit the History Museum between noon and 5 p.m. to view the newly uncovered Culper Spy Ring letter by Benjamin Tallmadge to Robert Townsend. Tour the museum’s galleries and grounds for free. 631-751-0066

9. DROWNED MEADOW COTTAGE MUSEUM, corner of West Broadway and Barnum Avenue, Port Jefferson. The Revolutionary War-era Roe House was originally constructed circa 1755 and Phillips Roe, a member of the Culper Spy Ring along with his brother Nathaniel and cousin Austin, was known to have lived there. Visit the Revolutionary War-era Roe House between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. with a new exhibit, Privateers: Pirates with Permission, tours, privateers re-enacting the plundering of the Roe family and colonial-themed storytelling for children. 631-473-4724

* Please note: Public restrooms are located in the Setauket Neighborhood House and Emma S. Clark Memorial Library.


Honorees, board members and Leg. Kara Hahn, Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich at the TVHS Awards Dinner Photo by Rob Pellegrino

On May 17 the Three Village Historical Society (TVHS) hosted its 43rd annual Awards Dinner at the Old Field Club to honor  local businesses, residents, homeowners, Society members, and youth who have made outstanding contributions to the Society and the local community in helping to preserving our shared heritage.

Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn and Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich were both honored guests at the event.

As the highlight of the evening, there was a surprise reveal! Earlier this year, the board and membership at the Society unanimously agreed that the Three Village Historical Society Community Award will now be known as the Three Village Historical Society Fred E. Bryant Community Award. Bryant has supported the mission of the TVHS for decades and without whom they would not have their award-winning exhibit Chicken Hill: A Community Lost To Time.

Congratulations to the following awardees:

— The Founder’s Day Program was honored with the Three Village Historical Society Fred E. Bryant Community Award in appreciation of valuable contributions to the advancement of the quality of life in the Three Villages and the fostering of pride in the rich historical heritage of our homes and lands.

­— Special Collections & University Archives at Stony Brook University Libraries was honored with the Kate Wheeler Strong Memorial Award in recognition of significant contributions toward the fostering of interest in local history and a fuller appreciation of the rich historical and cultural heritage of this community.

— The Stony Brook Yacht Club Mariculture Program received the Robert Cushman Murphy Memorial Award in recognition of significant contributions to the preservation and conservation of our natural environment and to the fostering of a personal identification with the natural heritage of the Three Villages.

— The Three Village Garden Club received a Community Award Certificate for their stewardship of the Three Village Arboretum and Nature Preserve on 4.5 acres on Conscience Bay.

— Ward Melville High School student Owen Murphy was honored with the R. Sherman Mills Young Historian Award in recognition of contributions to the Society by a young person.

— Ann Robitsek received the Maggie Gillie Memorial Award for contributions by a member of the Society in recognition of overall dedicated service, and for significant contributions to furthering the goals of the Society.

— Tim Adams was honored with the Gayle Becher Memorial Award in recognition of volunteers whose work consists of loyal support on a regular basis.

The Three Village area is comprised of communities where history is close to the surface. It encompasses the villages of Old Field, Poquott, the Setaukets, and Stony Brook. At the TVHS, you can learn about the area’s rich and fascinating past in creative and engaging ways.

The farmers market will be run by the Three Village Historical Society staff this year. Photo from TVHS

The Three Village Farmers Market is open for business!

Now in it’s 9th season, the market will reopen on the grounds of the Three Village Historical Society (TVHS), 93 North Country Road, Setauket on Friday, May 26 from 3 to 7 p.m. featuring a variety of vendors selling farm fresh produce, artisanal bread and cheese, freshly brewed coffee and tea, local honey, nuts and spices, jams and jellies, baked treats, handcrafted goods, prepared foods, free hands-on activities for children and much more.

Tours of the Bayles-Swezey House circa 1805 featuring two current exhibits Spies! and Chicken Hill: A Community Lost To Time will also be offered free of charge.

The market will be run by the Three Village Historical Society this year, succeeding Linda Johnson, who has served as the market’s manager for the past eight years. 

“We look forward to stepping into our new role and continuing to grow this local treasure in the heart of the Three Village community,” said TVHS Director Mari Irizarry. With the continued support of the community and sponsors like Apple Bank, Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich, and Miller Mohr & Kelly Design Group, Irizarry knows that the market’s 9th year will stand out as a great one. 

The Three Village Farmers Market will be held every Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. through Sept. 1 and then from Sept. 8 to Oct. 27 from 2 to 6 p.m. Interested vendors can email [email protected]. For more information, call 631-751-3730 or visit www.tvhs.org.

Patrick Comiskey, TVHS Director Mari Irizarry, and the TVHS board try out the new picnic tables on April 12. Photo by Rob Pellegrino

Three Village Historical Society welcomes the community to take a load off and stay a while, thanks to Eagle Scout candidate Patrick Comiskey of Troop 70, a Setauket resident and senior at Ward Melville High School.

Just one month shy of his 18th birthday, Comiskey organized a team that built three cedar picnic tables adding to the original two tables at the property that hosts frequent events for the community including the weekly Three Village Farmers Market.

Comiskey, a regular visitor to the historical society, recalled TVHS’ Director Mari Irizarry mentioning to him the need to create a more inviting area for the community at the nearly 3 acre property. 

“I saw the conditions of the tables at historical society and thought that building new ones was something that I could accomplish,” he said.

Few Boy Scouts attain Scouting’s highest honor before they turn 18, but Comiskey was determined to get the job done. After raising more than $2,800 through donations, Comiskey completed the construction of the project over the course of two days with more time being spent in research and planning.

With support from family, Troop 70 and adult leaders, Comiskey assembled and installed the finished tables at TVHS on March 19.

The public is always invited to visit the Three Village Historical Society, located at 93 N. Country Road in Setauket, and next time you pass by, have a seat on the new picnic tables and tip your cap to Patrick Comiskey, another Three Village Eagle Scout in the making. For more information, call 631-751-3730 or visit www.tvhs.org.

The Three Village Historical Society in Setauket has announced the appointment of Scott Ferrara as Collections and Exhibits Coordinator.

Ferrara is a Registered Professional Archaeologist with a master’s degree in public archaeology from Binghamton University (SUNY). Currently, he is pursuing his doctoral degree in Anthropological Archaeology at The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY) and currently also teaches archaeology at Queens College as a Graduate Teaching Fellow. He has excavated sites in Central America, Israel, New York, and New Jersey.

He is the author of Accused of Witchcraft in New York, a public history book that compiles the biographies of New Yorkers accused of Witchcraft in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries including Setauket’s own Mary and Ralph Hall in 1664. He is also a U.S. Marine infantry veteran having served two combat deployments to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Ferrara is enthusiastic about managing the archival collections of the Three Village Historical Society, providing more accessibility to information, and fostering new and creative relationships with the Three Village community as well as partners in the New York cultural heritage resource network. 

“Scott Ferrara has had meaningful impact on archival research, exhibitions and community engagement since joining the TVHS team earlier this year,” said TVHS Director Mari Irizarry. “His experience, creativity and enthusiasm equip him well to manage the TVHS collections as we continue to grow and thrive as one of the premier historical societies in the region.”