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Ward Melville Heritage Organization

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Responding to the critical National need for both blood donors and firefighter volunteers, The Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame (LIMEHOF), and the Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO), will be hosting a blood drive, a Shed the Meds event, and  a volunteer firefighter recruitment information table at the LIMEHOF, 197 Main St., Stony Brook Village on Saturday, May 4 from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Joined by State Senator Palumbo, Assemblyman Ed Flood, LIMEHOF and WMHO:

– The New York Blood Center mobile blood collection van will be collecting donations. (Reservations recommended, walk-ins welcome. Call 1-800-933-2566 to make your reservation.) The first 10 student donors will receive a ticket to The Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of
Fame (LIMEHOF), courtesy of Stony Brook University.

– Firefighters from the Stony Brook, Centereach, Terryville, and, Stony Brook University Campus will be hosting an information table.

-The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Deputies will be collecting pharmaceuticals.

-Stony Brook University students will be conducting a mental health research survey.

-The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) will be hosting a raffle!

Questions? Call 631-751-2244.

The event will feature a car show. Photo from WMHO

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Spring Appreciation Day returns to the Stony Brook Village Center, 111 Main Street, Stony Brook on April 20 with live music, a car show, a petting zoo, the fire department will be on site, and a scavenger hunt with prizes from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Throughout Stony Brook Village there will be something for everyone:

The day includes

Stony Brook Grist Mill. Image from WMHO

History: The Stony Brook Grist Mill (c. 1751) will be open for tours ($10 for adults, $5 for children, cash only) from noon to 4 p.m. and shopping in the Country Store. The history of the Grist Mill tour showcases highlights from WMHO’s brandnew program. It interprets the mill as both a place of mechanical ingenuity as well as a site of historic social networking from the early colonial period through the mid-20th century. A live Gypsy Romani music performance will take place from 1:30 p.m. till 3:30 p.m. in honor of the 19th century Miller, Alois Kopriva.

Technology: The Mustang and Shelby Club of Long Island car show will take place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and will be located in the parking lot behind the Post Office. They will display over 65 cars with classic Mustangs and the latest cars that Ford has to offer. Automobiles from 1964 – 2023 will be on display, including some special edition Mustangs like the classic Shelby GT500, GT350 and the iconic Boss 302.

Nature: Steppin’ Out Petting Zoo will be set up in the Inner Court with a variety of animals for children to pet from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

The event will feature live music by Brenda and Burke. Photo from WMHO

Music: Brenda and Burke will be performing original and cover songs in the genres of R&B, Roots, Blues and Contemporary Acoustic in the inner court by the waterfall from 1:30 p.m. till 3:30 p.m.

And Discovery: The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO)’s Youth Corps will be offering a scavenger hunt around Stony Brook Village from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Each person who returns a completed scavenger hunt will be entered into a raffle to win Discovery Wetlands Cruise tickets.

Lastly, the Stony Brook Fire Department will be sharing how you can join as a volunteer, and they will have a vintage firetruck on display during the event.

Spring Appreciation Day is sponsored by News 12, Long Island Speech, First National Bank of Long Island, RJG Consulting Group, and NYLife Insurance Company Agent, Ryan D. DeCicco.

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The Ward Melville Heritage Organization is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation founded in 1939 by businessman and philanthropist Ward Melville. Inspired by his legacy to preserve historic and environmentally sensitive properties, the WMHO continues to protect and interpret these Long Island treasures. The organization creates interdisciplinary educational and cultural experiences that integrate history, art, theater, music, science, and technology for all ages. The organization owns and manages properties deeded to it by Ward Melville, including the Brewster House (c. 1665), the Thompson House (c. 1705), the Stony Brook Grist Mill (c. 1751), which are listed on the state and national register for historic places, the Dr. Erwin Ernst Marine Conservation Center, the pristine 88-acre wetlands preserve at West Meadow, the 11-acre T. Bayles Minuse Mill Pond and adjacent park, two-acre Upper Pond, and the two-acre Jennie Melville Village Green. To learn more about the WMHO, visit www.wmho.org or call (631)-751-2244.

Photo courtesy of WMHO

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) recently unveiled a new self-guided audio experience at T. Bayles Minuse Mill Pond Park in Stony Brook Village. Titled “Beyond the Plaque,” this new audio experience gives participants the opportunity to learn about the people named on 16 plaques at the picturesque park. As they wander through the tranquil pathways, they’ll discover more than just names and dates — they’ll delve into the compelling stories and extraordinary journeys of the individuals commemorated on the plaques.

Many of the plaques are dedicated to members past and present of the Stony Brook community, each leaving a lasting impact on those they touched in their lives. Among the notable individuals you can learn about is T. Bayles Minuse, the very namesake of the park.

“Our idea of creating an audio experience dedicated to the people beyond the plaques originated two years ago during the unveiling of the newly rehabilitated T. Bayles Minuse Mill Pond Park,” said Dr. Richard Rugen, WMHO Chairman. “We are thrilled to unveil this to the public, just in time for spring.”

The Beyond the Plaque Audio Experience is offered completely FREE of charge, and accessible to all, anytime, and anywhere. To embark on this captivating tour, individuals can simply scan the QR codes located on informational signs within the park or visit audio.stonybrookvillage.com.

To learn more about events and activities in Stony Brook Village Center, please visit stonybrookvillage.com.

By Rita J. Egan

Wet weather couldn’t stop Santa Claus from visiting Stony Brook Village Center as promised Dec. 3.

Santa’s appearance was part of the 44th annual Ward Melville Heritage Organization Holiday Festival. In addition to photos with the jolly elf, attendees spent the afternoon visiting with animals at the petting zoo and viewing the promenade of trees decked out for the holidays and the train display at W.L. Wiggs Opticians. Carolers also performed throughout the shopping center.

“Despite the weather, hundreds of people came out to see Santa arrive in Stony Brook on the antique fire engine for the 44th time,” said Gloria Rocchio, WMHO president. “What was added this year was a Grinch character to complement Santa, which the children loved. People noted the tree looked fuller than usual and was decorated beautifully. Hundreds tuned into the tree lighting in person and also remotely on our website.”

WMHO trustees and elected officials were on hand for the center’s tree lighting later in the day, followed by a private reception at the Long Island Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame. Santa showed up once again, telling guests he was surprised that not one child asked for a Barbie doll. He added the popular gift request this year was a Taylor Swift-branded acoustic guitar.

Photo courtesy of WMHO
Above, one of the entries from last year’s competition. Photo by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media

On December 3, participants of the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s (WMHO) Holiday Tree Competition will bring holiday cheer to Stony Brook Village and decorate 40 premium 5 to 6 foot balsam trees that will line the open-air center’s walkways at the 44th Annual Holiday Festival. One tree will be selected by votes from the public between Dec. 3 and Dec. 19 to win a $150 gift certificate to Stony Brook Village and its establishments. 

Registration for this event is required as there are only 40 trees available. You can pick up a registration form at any of the shops in Stony Brook Village, or you can download it digitally from the events section of the Stony Brook Village Center website. 

To enter this competition, please return the completed registration form, with entry fee to the Ward Melville Heritage Organization, P.O. Box 572, Stony Brook, NY 11790. Registration form and an entry fee of $47 is due by Nov. 22. The decorated trees will remain in the village for viewing until Jan. 3.

Questions? Call 631-751-2244.

Pictured from left, Dr. Richard Rugen, WMHO Chairman; Honorable Steve Englebright; Olivia and Harlan Fischer, President of Branch Financial Services; and Gloria Rocchio, WMHO President. Photo courtesy of WMHO

Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) announced on Oct. 13 that former Assemblyman Steve Englebright has successfully secured a $125,000 grant for repairs to several of Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s historic properties.

Pictured from left, Dr. Richard Rugen, WMHO Chairman; Honorable Steve Englebright; Olivia and Harlan Fischer, President of Branch Financial Services; and Gloria Rocchio, WMHO President. Photo courtesy of WMHO

“When Ward Melville rehabilitated the village most of the renovations were completed at the same time. We have had repairs done over the years, but everything is accelerating because of age. It is hard to do everything at once. Thank you, Steve and so many more for helping us preserve this legacy,” said WMHO Chairman Dr. Richard Rugen.

The properties to receive restoration are the Stony Brook Grill Mill c. 1751, the Brewster House c. 1665 and the Eagle (1940) atop the Stony Brook Post Office.

Honorable Steve Englebright said, “This beautiful, carved, mechanical eagle is likely the earliest public art sculpture in our region. It is also a symbol of our nation. It is an honor to have helped advance restoration of this icon of American history.”

This iconic eagle is the only one in the United States to flap its wings every hour on the hour. When word went out about repairs needed to the eagle, donations were received from around the country. The cost to restore it was larger than anticipated, so WMHO organized a Summer Soiree and Olivia and Harlan Fischer, Branch Financial Services, came forward with the largest donation to meet the goal of $75,000 for the eagle alone.

Olivia and Harlan Fischer and Dr. Richard Rugen, examining the mechanism that controls the eagle. Photo from WMHO

In making this contribution Olivia and Harlan said, “That eagle has been flapping its wings every hour for over 80 years. Both residents and visitors wait in front of the Post Office just to watch. We wanted to make sure that this tradition continues.”

A restricted account has been established to handle any repairs to the mechanism or the eagle itself in the future. Any donation to the eagle is tax deductible.  Work will begin in the Spring of 2024, but the work on the elements of the eagle will begin over the winter 2023. Work on the other properties will begin in the Spring of 2024.

Founded in 1939, WMHO is a not-for-profit corporation that develops and fosters community enrichment through cultural and educational experiences. WMHO accomplishes this by enhancing and interpreting its historic and environmentally sensitive properties and by utilizing state-of-the-art technology. For more information, please visit www.wmho.org

Photo by Heidi Sutton

Join the Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) and the Stony Brook Fire Department (SBFD) for Family Fun Day in Stony Brook Village on Saturday, September 30th with WMHO’s Annual Scarecrow Competition and the Stony Brook Fire Department’s Annual Fire Prevention Day and Open House from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event is free to the public.

Throughout the Stony Brook Village Center there will be over 35 scarecrows lining the sidewalks. Voting for WMHO’s Annual Scarecrow Competition will begin on Family Fun Day. Vote for your favorite scarecrow creation using ballots found in all shops and eateries in Stony Brook Village.

The SBFD Annual Fire Prevention Day and Open House will take place behind the Stony Brook Fire Department in Stony Brook Village. Here are several activities planned for people of all ages to enjoy!

— A Touch-A-Truck display allowing people of all ages to get an up-close look at big trucks and emergency vehicles such as firetrucks, ambulances, and the Brookhaven Town Fire Marshal’s Mobile Command Post.

— The SBFD will be providing a knockdown house, which allows kids to operate a fire hose to knock down flames in a mock-up of a small house.

— Stony Brook University Fire Marshal’s Office will attend with their Fire Extinguisher Simulator allowing members of the community to learn how to use a fire extinguisher first-hand.

— Terryville Fire Department will be present with a Fire Prevention/Safety Trailer which has the ability to teach fire safety within a simulated home and also what to do at the sound of a smoke detector.

— The Explorer Post #0528, will provide information to children about junior firefighting and provide firefighting gear that kids can try on.

— There will be giveaways for children and adults. SBFD plans to raffle off smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers while teaching community members the importance of safety with these items. Servpro will giveaway desktop calendars, activity books and pens/pencils

— The SBFD will demonstrate vehicle extrications and how to put out stove top fires throughout the day.

— Stony Brook Medicine will be in attendance with their Mobile Stroke Unit, a specialized ambulance designed to provide specialized, life-saving care to people within the critical moments of stroke.

To learn more about the Stony Brook Village Family Fun Day and to learn more about the WMHO, call 631- 751-2244.

Photo from WMHO

It’s time to bring your hay-game! The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) is currently accepting submissions for its annual Scarecrow Competition. This will be the 33rd year the spooky and silly six-foot creations will adorn the pathways of picturesque Stony Brook Village Center for visitors to enjoy and vote for their favorite. Register as an individual, group or professional and create a scarecrow masterpiece. 

You can pick up a registration form at any of the shops in Stony Brook Village, or you can download it digitally from the events section of the Stony Brook Village Center website. To enter this competition, please return the completed registration form to The Ward Melville Heritage Organization, P.O. Box 572, Stony Brook, NY 11790, with the entry fee of $30 by Sept. 20.

Vote for your favorite scarecrows by picking up a ballot at any of the shops and restaurants at the Stony Brook Village Center from Sept. 30 to Oct. 25. Winners will be notified on Oct. 27 by 5 p.m. and will be announced during the WMHO’s Halloween Festival on Oct. 31. 

For more information, please call the WMHO at 631-751-2244.

Stony Brook Grist Mill. Image from WMHO

Join the Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) in a walking tour experience, Unwind & Uncork History: The Story of Wine & the Stony Brook Grist Mill on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 3 p.m. and again on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 3 p.m. 

Image from WMHO

In this walking tour experience, tour-goers will “uncork” the stories of the Stony Brook Grist Mill (c. 1751), the sight of Long Island’s very first vineyard. This will include a tour of the Stony Brook Grist Mill, the scandalous story of Edward Kane, his Lakeside Wine Company, and a brief lesson on wine. 

The tour will begin at Tranquility Park (also known as T. Bayles Minuse Mill Pond Park) across from the Stony Brook Grist Mill, and will end at Lake Side Emotions Wine Boutique at the Stony Brook Village Center, which gained its name from Kane’s Lakeside Wine Company.

Fee for the tour  is $25 per person and includes a bottle of authentic Catawba wine from Lake Side Emotions Wine Boutique. All participants must be 21 or older. Advance registration is required by calling 631-751-2244. For more information, visit www.wmho.org.

This year's event will raise funds for the ongoing restoration of the Stony Brook Grist Mill. Photo courtesy of WMHO

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization has announced a new self-guided stroll, the Stony Brook Grist Mill Audio Experience.  

The Stony Brook Grist Mill Audio Experience is $3 and can be accessed at anytime, anywhere. To start your tour, scan QR codes outside of the mill, or visit audio.stonybrookvillage.com.   

Immersing themselves in the story of the most fully operational mill on Long Island, participants will learn about the 320+ year-old Stony Brook Grist Mill from its construction to today. Discovering the mill’s history, tour-goers will learn of the structure’s construction, owners, operators, its surprising role as one of Long Island’s “firsts” and more. 

Located at 100 Harbor Road in Stony Brook Village, the grist mill is listed on the National and New York State Register of Historic Places.

 The Stony Brook Grist Mill Audio Experience is the second audio tour offered by Stony Brook Village. Currently, the FREE Stony Brook Audio Experience has 14 stops, and covers the history and the quirky stories from the Three Village Inn’s original residents to the entire development of Stony Brook Village Center. It is recommended that participants of the experience begin at the recently restored Hercules Pavilion. 

Additional stories will be added soon, including the T. Bayles Minuse Mill Pond Park, and the Country House Restaurant (c.1710). To start a tour, scan QR codes throughout the village, or visit audio.stonybrookvillage.com.

 To learn more about events and activities in Stony Brook Village Center, please visit stonybrookvillage.com or call 631-751-2244.