Tags Posts tagged with "Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society"

Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society

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He’s making a list and checking it twice, but the Miller Place/Mount Sinai Historical Society is helping to make sure the big man in red is getting all the up-to-date information.

The society held its annual Mailman Mark event Dec. 6. Normally held over a longer period where they can receive close to 300 children, this year, because of the pandemic, time was limited and people were incentivized to come by appointment. No families were turned away, however.

The event is held outside the historic William Miller House in Miller Place, in a building that once operated as the hamlet’s original post office. The titular Mailman Mark, ever Santa’s helper, helped the children get their pre-written letter stamped and put inside his mailbag, always reminding them before it was in that all wishes were final.

Santa is expected to write each child back before Christmas time. 

The historical society also had a vintage fire truck available for families to take pictures in front of, as well as the opportunity to meet a dalmatian mascot named Sparky.

All funds for the event went to the historical society to help continue their preservation efforts.

Fundraising continues with opportunities to purchase an historic brick on the house’s walkway, vintage duplicated postcards, note cards of historic homes in the district and a keepsake coloring book. One can also donate to the restoration of the circa 1810 Daniel Hawkins House to be used for multiple community events.

Photos clockwise from bottom left: Nolan Elder, Mackenzie Burger  and Connor Burger deliver their letters to Mailman Mark, soon to be sent right to the North Pole.

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From left, Kathy Lahey from Island Heart Food Pantry, Michael Eamotte from the Port Jefferson ferry company, MPMSHS volunteers Ann Donato, Katie Streitweiser, Penny Roca, Margaret Cibulka, Eric Grotz, Councilwoman Jane Bonner, MPMSHS volunteers Debby Michienzi, Sally Ditewig and Liz Fiordalisi. Photo from Bonner’s office

On Nov. 15, Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) visited the historic Daniel Hawkins House in Miller Place to support a food drive held by the Miller Place Mount Sinai Historical Society and The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company. The drive will benefit the Mt. Sinai Congregational Church Island Heart Food Pantry, located at 643 Middle Country Road in Middle Island which operates out of the Mount Sinai Church. 

“The pandemic is having a severe impact on so many people who are struggling every day to feed themselves and their families,” Bonner said. “Island Heart Food Pantry is a lifeline in the community, and I thank Miller Place Mount Sinai Historical Society and Port Jefferson ferry for joining this effort. I urge everyone to donate whatever they can to help make the holidays a happier time for our neighbors in need.”

To learn how you can donate food or if you need food, please call 631-473-1582 or visit www.mpmshistoricalsociety.org.

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Therese O’Connor turned 91 July 19, and the MPMS Historical Society came out in support. Photo by Kyle Barr

Turning 91 is a milestone in anyone’s book, but for the Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society’s oldest trustee, it was a chance for the membership to show respect for someone who has long been helping to bridge the community’s past with its present. 

Therese O’Connor was 91 July 19, and local residents and members of the MPMSHS drove past her home honking and cheering for the venerable community resident. She has been on the historical society board in some capacity since 1990, though she has been a dues-paying member of the Miller Place Historical Society since its founding in 1974 — the Mount Sinai name was added in 1982. Through the years, she has taken her hand to the spindle and has done spinning for the society’s annual fairs for the past 20 years. 

Joining in the parade were area residents Thomas and Tricia McCarthy, who brought with them a decommissioned fire truck the husband has been repairing all on his own. It’s one bought out from its retirement last August, and though repairs are ongoing, he and his wife have joined a Facebook community group to participate in many birthday car parades over the past several months. Tom drives, while Tricia stands up top in a Dalmatian costume they call Sparky.

“All these kids were having birthday parties, and I thought you know what, let’s be goofy and make a couple of kids laugh, next thing you know we were getting messages,” Tricia McCarthy said. “They were asking how much it costs, and I just said, ‘Everybody has to smile,’ that’s the way we roll.”

Celebrating the day with her large extended family, O’Connor said she was surprised and delighted to see the cars roll by. She added that such times as these require people to commemorate anything that deserves it.

“Years ago when I taught deaf children, we were trying to figure out what to do for one of the speech teachers, and we never had enough good things to say about her,” the birthday girl said. “That always stuck in my mind, we have to celebrate the good things, especially today with so much going on.”

The society has opened the circa 1720 William Miller House for private tours in Phase 4 of reopening for small groups by appointment at 631-476-5742. The MPMSHS is also developing virtual tours, and is looking to see if there are any volunteers who can offer guidance for such a project. 

“This is all new to us, and we want to create quality professional style videos for schools, libraries, general public and the BOCES catalog where teachers look for quality field trips,” said historical society vice president Antoinette Donato. 

Fundraising continues with opportunities to purchase an historic brick on the house’s walkway, vintage duplicated postcards, note cards of historic homes in the district and a keepsake coloring book. One can also donate to the restoration of the circa 1810 Daniel Hawkins House to be used for multiple community events.

The society is set to celebrate a special birthday of its own this year with the 300th anniversary of the William Miller House, and the society is composing a keepsake journal. Individuals have an opportunity to be included with an ad or personal friend inclusion at varying price levels. More info is available on the society’s website mpmshistoricalsociety.org.

Michael Pawluk Photography

‘THESE ARE THE TIMES THAT TRY MEN’S SOULS’ — Thomas Paine

Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society will host a screening of TBR Media Productions’ Revolutionary War drama, “One Life to Give,” at the Rose Caracappa Senior Center, 739 Route 25A, Mount Sinai on April 8 at 7 p.m. Followed by a Q&A with Executive Producer Leah Dunaief. Free and open to all. Light refreshments will be served. Limited seating. Call 476-5742.

Joseph DiBiasi shows off his completed project at the William Miller House property on North Country Road in Miller Place Sept. 29. Photo by Alex Petroski

Visitors to Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society’s annual Postman Pete event are in for an improved experience thanks to the ingenuity of a local Boy Scout who has reached Eagle status.

Boy Scouts hoping to become Eagle Scouts, the highest rank attainable by a male Scout, are tasked with completing a project that demonstrates leadership and benefits the community. Joseph DiBiasi, a 17-year-old Comsewogue High School senior and member of Boy Scout Troop 1776 said he has been attending the historical society’s Postman Pete festivities since he was a kid, an event that gives kids the chance to hand over a letter to be delivered to Santa around Christmas time.

Those interested line up to head into the building on the rear of the historical society’s property on North Country Road in Miller Place, where they head in when it’s their turn. The small building on the same grounds as the larger William Miller House has two points of entry, though the rear exit had about an 18-inch drop off from the doorway to a layer of rocks, making it unsafe for youngsters to utilize. Instead, a logjam would regularly take place at the main point of entry where those entering would have to saunter around those exiting.

“When kids would come in and see Postman Pete, bring their letter, and then they’d have to make a U-turn and go back out,” society treasurer Gerard Mannarino said Sept. 29 during the ceremony to unveil DiBiasi’s completed project. “It’s not an area that you can have traffic in both directions. We always wanted to be able to open the back door and have them go out, but we had the danger because the step down from there was big and it was just a big rock.”

For his project, DiBiasi drew up plans and constructed a deck, equipped with a railing, to make the rear of the building accessible and usable. The project required the drawing of plans, approval from the Town of Brookhaven building department and Historic District Advisory Committee, some redrawing and reimagining and lots of hard work through the spring and summer.

“In 2016 when Gerrard originally showed this to me I was like, ‘Wow, this needs to be fixed,’” DiBiasi said. “As a kid I went to Postman Pete and I just felt like, when I was a kid it was a big thing for me. So I thought this would be a great addition.”

Greg Muroff, DiBiasi’s Scoutmaster, said he was proud of his Scout’s diligence and dedication to the project, as it also exposed him to some of the “red tape” involved with getting construction projects approved by local government.

“It came out better than I saw in the drawing,” Muroff said. “I knew this was going to be a bit challenging for him but Joseph definitely persevered. He aspires to be an engineer at some point in his life. He definitely has a mathematical mind, and he put pen to paper.”

Brookhaven town Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) attended the event and presented proclamations to DiBiasi and Michael Muroff, another Scout from Troop 1776 who presented his completed project that day.

“We always like to take time out of our day to recognize and honor our Scouts,” Bonner said. “So much attention is focused on the bad things our kids are doing and not on the good things they’re doing. It makes me feel good to know that we’re surrounded by some really great kids.”

Mount Sinai Scout Michael Muroff stands with his completed Eagle Scout project Sept. 29, the front door of the Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society. Photo by Alex Petroski

A Mount Sinai Boy Scout literally restored an entryway to local history to complete his Eagle Scout project.

The front door to the William Miller House on North Country Road, a centuries-old building that has long served as the headquarters for the Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society, was in a state of disrepair for longer than historian Edna Giffen could remember. Now, thanks to 17-year-old Scout Michael Muroff from Troop 1776, a brand new door constructed with a nod to history in mind hangs from the hinges, serving as a refurbished entry to local history.

Boy Scouts hoping to achieve Eagle status, the highest rank attainable by a male Scout, are tasked with completing a project that demonstrates leadership and benefits the community. Repairing the front door of the historical society met the criteria for Muroff, who said he and his family had been attending events — like the annual Country Fair that took place Sept. 29 during Muroff’s project unveiling — at the house since he was a kid.

Eagle Scout Michael Muroff, center, receives a proclamation from Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Jane Bonner, third from right, after unveiling is project Sept. 29. Photo by Alex Petroski

“I’ve always had an interest in local history, and it was always a subject I excelled at in class, and I thought by doing this project it would be a good way of giving back to the community and something that I really enjoy,” he said.

The work started with four to five weekends dedicated to just stripping the old paint off of the door frame using a heat gun and metal stripper, according to the Scout. With help from a local woodworker and others, a new, yet true to the original batten door was constructed. Batten doors traditionally have between six and eight wooden planks bound together. Muroff’s door features seven planks and includes the door’s original hinges, restored and repainted as well as part of the project. He also found authentic galvanized nails to match the original and maintain the new door’s historic integrity. The door’s original handle was left as is though, according to Muroff.

“The old door was falling apart and dilapidated, so we had to just completely make a new one,” Muroff said.

Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) attended the event and joked she had never seen the front door of the building hang so straight and close so tightly.

“We always like to take time out of our day to recognize and honor our Scouts,” she said. “So much attention is focused on the bad things our kids are doing and not on the good things they’re doing. It makes me feel good to know that we’re surrounded by some really great kids.”

In August, Muroff’s sister Rebecca completed her Gold Award project, the equivalent to the Eagle project but for Girl Scouts, which entailed cataloging the historical society’s vast collection of historic photos. The Scouts’ dad Greg Muroff served as Michael’s Scoutmaster throughout his time working through the program.

“It’s just wonderful that many years coming down to the Country Fair and to see Postman Pete, just to have my children Rebecca and Michael give back to the historical society and the community is just a wonderful thing,” he said. “Mike has a tremendous love of history and this was an ideal project for him.”

He said it will be special for both him and his son to drive past the house on North Country Road for years to come and see his hard work front and center.

“I have to say, as his dad and Scoutmaster I’m especially proud,” the Scoutmaster said. “The Eagle Scout award is more than just a project, it’s a culmination of their Boy Scout career. It means a lot of leadership, service to the community and self-discipline.”

Rebecca Muroff, a 17-year-old Girl Scout Gold Award recipient, shows off the archive of historical photos she created for the Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society Aug. 11. Photo by Alex Petroski

A piece of history has been organized and preserved thanks to the hard work of a Mount Sinai teen.

Girl Scouts looking to achieve their Gold Award, the highest honor a scout can earn, are tasked with identifying an issue in their community, conducting research, pitching a project, and shepherding it to completion in a leadership role in the hopes of achieving some greater good for the community. Rebecca Muroff, a Mount Sinai High School student heading into her senior year, stood at the William Miller House, the headquarters of the Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society on North Country Road in Miller Place, Aug. 11 and shared the byproduct of months of hard work as the culmination of her Gold Award project.

Muroff and her family have long enjoyed events held by the historical society, from the annual Country Fair to the local Christmas tradition of passing letters to Santa off to Postman Pete, so exploring a project to help an organization close to her heart was a no-brainer, she said. The Gold Award recipient, beginning in October 2017, sifted through the historical society’s vast collection of old photos amassed since its inception in 1974 to create a pictorial archive, labeling the photos with numbers and a corresponding destination in a spreadsheet, including categories like location, date, names of the people in the photo and any other pertinent comments. The result is a detailed catalog available to visitors who can now quickly and easily find photos of specific people or events dating back decades. Muroff said plans are even in the works to digitize the archive in some manner.

From left, Troop 1090 leaders Tara Broome and Gretchen Lynch join Muroff’s parent Greg and Christine, right and third from right, as well as Edna Giffen of the society, second from right, in honoring the latest Gold Award recipient. Photo by Alex Petroski

“It shows people as we matured over the years and there are a lot of people — members — that, because we were founded in ’74, have passed or moved away,” said Edna Giffen, the society’s recording secretary and archivist, who Muroff said played a crucial role in working on the project. “I realized there are people in the pictures that I don’t even know. Members will be glad to see this.”

Muroff said she always liked going to events at the society as a kid and reflected on the idea that she’d created something that will enrich visits by future generations.

“It’s just nice I think to have tangible memories of the historical society,” she said. “Now people can look through the pictures and people can see themselves or their family members. It’s a nice feeling to know that I’m preserving history so other people can enjoy it.”

Tara Broome and Gretchen Lynch, Muroff’s leaders in Girl Scout Troop 1090, attended the Aug. 11 event set up to unveil the new photo archive.

“It’s really beautiful because we started with the whole troop when they were in second grade and now they’re seniors in high school,” Broome said.

Lynch added the troop had about 20 members when the girls were young, and Muroff was one of only five to earn the Gold Award.

“We’re almost like second mothers to them really,” she said. “They really persevered and did everything that was asked of them, and they’re like a family now.”

Muroff’s actual parents, Christine and Greg, also beamed with pride over their daughter’s accomplishment.

“It really hit me yesterday when we went to the Girl Scouts store to complete her sash,” her mom said. “I’m so happy she stuck with it.”

The Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society dog walk will raise funds to repair and restore the windows on the historic William Miller House. File photo by Kevin Redding

The Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society is hosting its first Bark and Biscuit Walk May 19 to raise money to repair and restore the windows on the historic William Miller House. The house received a new roof at the end of last year, beginning of this, thanks to help from a local comic book-enthused resident, Jack Soldano.

The walk, which will start at North Country Road Middle School, located at 191 North Country Road in Miller Place, will begin at 10 a.m. and move west along the Miller Place Historic District to Landing Road, around to Cordwood Landing Road and then back to the middle school. The route is 1 mile each way.

Rules to follow will be that all dogs must remain on a leash and under the supervision of the handler at all times and all handlers must be 12 or older. There will be biscuits for the dogs and treats for the handlers.
McNulty’s Ice Cream Parlor in Miller Place is creating special ice cream for the pooches.

The historical society asks all attendees arrive at the middle school at 9:45 a.m. Registration is $20 per pet. Forms can be found at www.mpmshistoricalsociety.org.

From left, MPMS Historical Society members Nancy and Dick Pav, picture framer Eric Grotz, photographer Michael Eamotte, Leg. Sarah Anker, MPMS Historical Society Treasurer Gerard Mannarino and MPMS Historical Society members Margaret Cibulka and Antoinette Donato

HONORING HISTORY On Saturday, Feb. 10, Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) attended the Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society’s gallery opening at the historic Daniel Hawkins House in Miller Place. The reception included wine and cheese and a display of beautiful photographs portraying local sites by artist Michael Eamotte, of Michael Ray Images, encased in frames donated by Rustic Frames by E.G.

“Thank you to the members of the Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society for their hard work and dedication to preserving out local history,” said Anker. “The photo gallery reception was an amazing opportunity to visit the Hawkins House, and to see photographs from a local artist who cares about the rich history of our community. I encourage everyone to visit this historic site and to support the historical society’s preservation efforts,” she said.

The goal of the Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society is to ensure that historic landmarks are remembered and preserved for future generations. Help preserve history by volunteering or making a donation to this important organization. All monetary donations will help the society renovate the historic Hawkins House and Miller House. For more information about the society and its upcoming events, please visit www.mpmshistoricalsociety.org.

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The William Miller House had a new roof installed to protect the historic building. The renovation was made possible with local donations. Photo by Kevin Redding

When it comes to saving the oldest existing house in Miller Place, the community has it covered.

In its 298th year, the William Miller House on North Country Road stands stronger than ever thanks to a brand new, $18,300 roof made possible by donations from residents, local businesses and community groups. The roof’s installation, by Patchogue-based Ultimate Exteriors, began Dec. 26, 2017, and was completed the following week.

Miller Place-Mount Sinai Hisotrical Society Vice President Antoinette Donate and
historian Edna Davis Giffen show off some of the old shingles. Photo by Kevin Redding

Replacing the historic structure’s dilapidated roof has been a top priority for the Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society members since 2015, when a campaign was launched to complete all needed repairs in time for the house’s 300th anniversary in 2020.

“The roof was open partially — you could see the sky when you were in the attic,” said Antoinette Donato, vice president of the historical society. “It’s so nice to know that the community supports us and understands the importance of this house, because it’s not just Mount Sinai and Miller Place history, it’s American history.”

Built in 1720, the house is the ancestral residence of the family the town was named after, and is on the National Register of Historic Places, significant for its lack of interior changes over the centuries.

Historical society members said they saw a spike in community donations in May 2017 after their goal was reported by local news outlets. On the day the story got out, a resident who wished to remain anonymous approached the society and promised to donate a dollar for every two dollars it raised. Local residents pitched in, as well as large contributors,including the Suffolk Federal Credit Union and PSEG Long Island.

“It’s so nice to know that the community supports us and understands the importance of this house, because it’s not just Mount Sinai and Miller Place history, it’s American history.”

—Antoinette Donato

According to members, the most memorable donor was 12-year-old Jack Soldano, who rushed to the society’s rescue by selling 1,000 comic books over the summer at Heritage Park in Mount Sinai. In the end, he raised more than $1,220 for the project, which, at the time he presented the check, brought the repair fund to $7,500. He said he did so because of his strong connection to the town landmark, as he and his family were regulars at its annual Postman Pete and Spooky Lantern Tour events.

“I remember when I was younger and having so much fun” he said. “I want the younger kids to be able to experience that too.”

Gerard Mannarino, treasurer of the historical society, announced the historical society reached its $18,300 goal in December, and shingles were delivered right before Christmas.

Society board member Edna Davis Giffen said she couldn’t believe her eyes as construction crews began the repair.

“We’d been talking about this for years — wanting to get this roof done — and never had the money to do it,” Giffen said. “Now, all of a sudden, here it was. And now it’s all done. It’s just so wonderful.”

The historical society hopes to tackle its second priority, restoring the house’s 16 windows, as soon as possible.