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small taste of history

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Photo from Middle Country Public Library

Amongst the Middle Country Public Library’s many historical artifacts are a few that explain just how far the area has come from its pastoral roots. The picture and story below comes courtesy of a collaborative effort among the librarian staff.

Selden schoolchildren sang “America” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the ceremony on Nov. 9, 1935, when the cornerstone was laid for the soon-to-be-built new Selden School. 

Photo from Middle Country Library

Sealed within the cornerstone was a copper box containing three local newspapers of the day (the Patchogue Advance, the Argus and the Mid-Island Mail), the year’s school census, a copy of the day’s program, a 1935-minted dime and penny, and an 1885 almanac. 

The new Selden Elementary school was completed in 1936 and replaced the one-room schoolhouse which had served the community from 1898 on. The updated structure contained three classrooms, a principal’s office, a well house, indoor washrooms and an oil-burning heating system. 

Further renovations to the building were undertaken in 1948, which ultimately accommodated almost 50 years of students within its walls. 

The U.S. Army surplus cannon depicted here was purchased after WWII with nickels and dimes saved by the schoolchildren of Selden. 

You’ll see it in front of the building if you drive by 575 Middle Country Road, where Middle Country Public Library Selden stands today.