The Huntington Historical Society is the focal point for preserving the ongoing heritage of the Town of Huntington.
Operating as usual
We've posted this before, but it bears repeating.
Many believe that slavery was rare in NY state. In fact, the first U.S. Census, conducted in 1790, records approximately 3,260 people living in Huntington, of which 221 were enslaved.
This document from the Society's collection is a reminder of this, describing the sale of two enslaved persons from Huntington to East Hampton. It is dated 1742. See the comments section for a transcription of the document.
On Monday, February 15th children grades 2-5 can enjoy a guided craft activity (supples provided), a virtual tour of our historic Conklin Farmhouse (built c. 1750!) and live demonstrations and discussions about life during the colonial area!
One hundred years young today! Happy 100th birthday to longtime Huntington Historical Society volunteer Alice Link!
Over the last forty years Alice has been a proud HHS member, volunteer, docent, and board member. She was also a recipient of the President's Award for Excellence in Service. Her accomplishments include hundreds of school programs, years of festival work, house tours and fundraising activities.
If you've toured our historic Conklin or Kissam Houses in the last few decades, there's a good chance you met Alice. She has shared our rich local heritage with thousands of people young and old and has inspired and mentored many budding historians and history enthusiasts. The Society is so grateful for her dedication and contributions and we wish her a very happy birthday!
Remember the Great Blizzard of 1888, the three day storm that dropped up to three feet of snow in Huntington, with 20 foot drifts? Fortunately this gentleman was within walking distance of some Long Island Brewery beer!
Post update: The photo shows the intersection of Main Street and New York Avenue. The house shown was a private home belonging to the Baylis family, which was later converted into a store. Today it houses the menswear shop J. Ogilvy.
Last week we posted about the bobsled races that were held down Main Street from 1907 until 1920.
The last race was held on January 30, 1920, and many believe this was due to the accident that occurred.
The Greyhound Girls, an all-women's team racing in a sled named the "Greyhound" started on their trial run. The sled struck a rut, overturned, and finally came to a stop when it hit a tree.
Five of the riders were seriously hurt, with injuries ranging from face lacerations, concussions, broken ribs, and other fractures.
(Greyhound Girls are discussed at time marker 1:08:00)
January 27th is International Holocaust Rememberance Day.
To mark this 76th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, this evening the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in NYC is hosting a reading from the Holocaust diaries of young writers.
From their website:
"More than one million Jewish children were killed during the Holocaust and countless others survived. Some, like Anne Frank, kept diaries in which they confided their hopes, fears, and experiences. Join us for a special virtual reading of excerpts from these diaries, narrated by Liev Schreiber, and featuring readings from Mayim Bialik, Mandy Gonzalez, Arielle Hader, Daniel Kahn, Adam Kantor, Telly Leung, Caissie Levy, Stephanie Lynn Mason, Zalmen Mlotek, Amit Rahav, Eleanor Reissa, Yelena Schmulenson, Alexandra Silber, Abby Stein, Danny Strong, and Michael Zegen."
More than one million Jewish children were killed during the Holocaust and countless others survived. Some, like Anne Frank, kept diaries in which they confided their hopes, fears, and experiences. Join us tomorrow on #InternationalHolocaustRemembranceDay for a special virtual reading of excerpts from these diaries.
By giving voice to the written words of some of the Nazis’ youngest victims, we will commemorate their suffering and learn from their courageous and resilient spirits.
From 1907 to 1920, the Village of Huntington was the venue for an annual Winter Carnival. One of the highlights was the bobsled races down Main Street. People converged on Huntington from all across Long Island to enter or to watch the races, and the large bobsleds were hauled into town by horses.
The race would start at the top of Lawrence Hill Road in the western edge of Huntington and head east toward the center of town. This photo shows the start of the race on February 10, 1910.
Join us Thursday, January 21, 2021 for our January Virtual Lunch & Learn: Huntington's Bobsled Races to learn more!
Today we honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his important legacy. Learn about the history behind this holiday from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The legislation to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first introduced just four days after his assassination on April 4, 1968.
Fifteen years later, on November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the King Holiday Bill into law, designating the third Monday in January a federal holiday in observance of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Learn more about the conception of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in our latest blog post:
From our friends Northport Historical Society, a lovely article on the Northport Fire Department.
We hope you enjoy this ad for the Long Island Beer & Ale Co (Northport) found in the January 28, 1888 issue of "The Long Islander." Don't miss the explanation on why women don't like beer (see third image)!
Sharing from our colleagues at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site.
On January 6, 1919, Theodore Roosevelt died of a pulmonary embolism at the age of 60, passing away in the Gate Room at his Sagamore Hill home. In the days that followed, Roosevelt was given a simple funeral service at Christ Church in Oyster Bay and was buried overlooking the water at Young's Cemetery, about a mile from Sagamore Hill. The public can visit TR's grave at Young's Cemetery which is open daily from 9am-5pm.
Photo: Theodore and Edith Roosevelts' gravestone, decorated with a seasonal wreath and small American flags.
Happy New Year! As part of our mission to preserve and share Huntington's history, the Society maintains an extensive collection of objects related to local history.
These ice skates would have been affixed to the wearer’s shoes by leather straps. Two small points extending upward through each sole near the toe—the side in which the metal blade curves upward— prevent the shoes from slipping.
Inscribed on the buckle is the date “February 18, 1862.” Belonging to the Fleet Family of Huntington Bay’s Fleet’s Cove, these skates were donated in memory of Florence Fleet Furze.
Happy New Year from all of us at The Huntington Historical Society!
Happy New Year's Eve!
One last holiday photo from our archives before we start the new year. Thank you for all your support this year and all the best for your NYE celebrations!
Wishing all who celebrate a Merry Christmas!
Known as the Patriotic Santa, this cotton textile held in the Society's collection was designed by Edward Peck in 1868.
Framing Santa are four vignettes illustrating Peck’s interpretation of Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit From Saint Nicholas” which inspired the print as a whole. Quotes from the poem inscribed below Santa’s feet—“His eyes how they twinkled! His dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry”—guide Peck’s depiction along with editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast’s contemporary portrayal of Santa in Harper’s Weekly as a jolly, rotund figure which marked a shift from earlier depictions of Santa with a stern disposition.
In December 1939 Santa Claus stopped into Huntington for a holiday visit. He paraded down Main Street in an automobile, accompanied by music courtesy of the Huntington High School and Huntington Fire Department bands.
Around 2,000 children, many in costume, gathered on the corner of Main Street and Woodbury Avenue to greet him. After the parade each child was able to shake hands with Santa and received a half pound box of candy. Prizes were also given for the best costumes. This festive event was orchestrated by the Huntington Businessmen's Association and was the highlight of Huntington's holiday season.
Congrats to those who guessed correctly! The O.S. Sammis building seen in our 1888 blizzard photo is the current Ann Taylor Loft building on Main Street.
This is the last weekend to visit our Antiques & Collectibles Shop, Huntington Historical Society! We'll be closed December 21 until the new year. Stop in for your last minute holiday gifts!
Visit us Saturday 12/19 1-4pm and Sunday 12/20 1-4pm
Parking on site. Kissam Property, 434 Park Avenue, Huntington.
As we wait for tonight's impending storm, we thought it was a good time to re-visit the Great Blizzard of 1888. The storm raged from March 12th to March 14th. At the end of the three days residents opened their front doors to find two to three feet of snow in their yards and drifts of up to 20 feet. The highest snow drift was reported to be 40 feet in the yard of Charles Sammis on Carver Place. The blizzard played such a significant role in the memories of Huntingtonians that many used the phrases “after the blizzard” and “before the blizzard” to mark time.
What is most remarkable is that Huntington was literally cut off from the rest of the world for the week following the blizzard. In the late nineteenth century, mail was brought out to Long Island from New York City by the Long Island Rail Road. With train service suspended, Huntingtonians went without mail or news from the outside world until the evening of March 17th. Residents of Huntington and Northport had their mail delivered from Mineola until the local LIRR tracks could be cleared. The Long Island Rail Road resumed mail service to Huntington by Monday, March 19th, but the Great Blizzard was never forgotten.
Everyone be safe today and tomorrow!
Still holiday shopping? Visit our Antiques and Collectibles Shop at 434 Park Avenue, Huntington. It is open 1-4pm today and tomorrow (Saturday and Sunday). Parking on site and full of great gifts!
There's a chill in the air and a wreath on the door at our Kissam Barn!
Built in 1790 in the nearby farming community of Lloyd Harbor, the structure we now refer to as the Kissam Barn can be traced back to the Rogers family. The family used the barn on their homestead for livestock housing, and legend has it the barn also housed British troops who were quartered there during the Revolution.
Each Thanksgiving Day from 1904 into the 1920s, Henry L. Stimson—who served as Secretary of War under President Howard Taft, and Secretary of State under President Herbert Hoover—and his wife, Mabel, invited their friends, family, and neighbors to Highhold estate (West Hills) to compete in a series of games including trapshooting, spar fighting, barrel racing, novelty racing, flat racing, and steeplechase. In the museum's collection are three trophies...
Here's a little history for you to share at your Thanksgiving gathering (whether it is in person or virtual)!
Thanksgiving & the birth of the TV Dinner:
According to the most widely accepted account, a Swanson salesman named Gerry Thomas conceived the company’s frozen dinners in late 1953 when he saw that the company had 260 tons of frozen turkey left over after Thanksgiving, sitting in ten refrigerated railroad cars. (The train’s refrigeration worked only when the cars were moving, so Swanson had the trains travel back and forth between its Nebraska headquarters and the East Coast “until panicked executives could figure out what to do,” according to Adweek.) Thomas had the idea to add other holiday staples such as cornbread stuffing and sweet potatoes, and to serve them alongside the bird in frozen, partitioned aluminum trays designed to be heated in the oven. Betty Cronin, Swanson’s bacteriologist, helped the meals succeed with her research into how to heat the meat and vegetables at the same time while killing food-borne germs.
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Snow Falling on Kissam
Live from our January Virtual Lunch & Learn
Coming to you live from our September Virtual Lunch & Learn!
History of Commack live now!
Outdoor Antiques Sale today 9am to 1pm Kissam House 434 Park Ave. Free admission!
Thank you to everyone who supported the Society with a donation during our 2019 annual appeal drive! Today we held the raffle drawing for two tickets to The John W. Engeman Theater at Northport.
Congratulations to our winner, Betty Borst! Thanks again to the Engeman Theater and to all who donated! Your support helps us preserve and share the history of Huntington! <3
Have you ever been inside the beautiful Soldiers & Sailors building (aka "the one with the cannon")? It's open today 12-4pm as part of Huntington Village Art Walk! Stop on in and see our latest exhibit. We'll have ArtWalk maps available, and there will be art, live music and refreshments throughout the village. And it's all free!
Did you know that there is a bee hive oven (named for the shape) at the Kissam House? This week our "Passport to the Past" campers got to watch the oven in action when Toby and Beverly Kissam did an educational demonstration to show the process of bread making before modern kitchens. This video will give you an idea of how the oven functions during the very labor intensive baking activity.
History + Art + Huntington = <3
Still an hour and a half left of Huntington Village Art Walk! We'll be here until 4pm at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building (228 Main Street) and Conklin Barn (2 High Street). Free event!
Thank you to all of the guests and members who came to the Spring Festival of Gardens last weekend! Thank you also to all of our wonderful volunteers and sponsors who helped make this event so special! It was a beautiful day. Today we selected our raffle winner! Congratulations to Joan Feldman on winning the basket!
Henry Lewis Stimson served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York under President Theodore Roosevelt. During this time Stimson and his wife, Mabel White Stimson, purchased a summer estate known as Highhold in the West Hills section of Huntington.
Every year from 1903–1920 the Stimsons invited hundreds of their family and friends to join in their Thanksgiving day of sport. It was a notable occassion reported on by The Long Islander. The memory of this annual tradition lives on in our Scholar's Research Room at the Trade School, which features a mini-exhibit of photos and trophies from the competition as well as portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Stimson.
Click here to learn more about Henry Lewis Stimson and his connection with Huntington Historical Society: http://huntingtonhistoricalsociety.org/mrs-stimson-is-added-to-the-collection/
Tickets on sale for Huntington Historical Society's 13th Annual Holiday Historical House Tour!
Thank you to all who attended, we leave you with this final song & dance.... and Goodnight!
The Huntington Historical Society of Huntington, NY is a 501(c)(3) organization that serves as the focal point for preserving the ongoing heritage of the Town of Huntington. We support this mission through public education programs, maintaining museums, collections and a regional research center; promoting the preservation of historic buildings and sites; and by partnering with local and regional institutions.
The Huntington Historical Society began as an exclusively female organization in the early 20th century. Spawned by the success of the Town’s 250th birthday celebration in 1903, the Society’s inception was due, in part, to the changing role of American women in the home. This change was just one of several trends which evolved as the economy of Long Island switched from an agricultural to a more industrial base.
In September, 1903, a group of women, many of them from Huntington’s founding families, met at the home of Mrs. Frederic B. Sammis(Lizbeth, as she was known to her friends) to organize a society to “perpetuate an interest in things Historic;……in fact all Historic relics relating to the Town of Huntington since 1653.”
Inspired by the success of the Town’s 250th celebration in July, at which Teddy Roosevelt was the featured speaker, and their involvement in the event as members of the Colonial Women’s Committee, they formed the “Colonial Society”, and on December 3rd, 1903 they received a state charter for the Colonial Society of Huntington. This became the first embodiment of the Huntington Historical Society. Lizbeth, along with Jessie Kendall Brush, Jeanie Dusenbury Platt and Carrie Shaw Dusenbury Shakeshaft were the founding members. Interestingly, they restricted active membership to women, but when the charter was revised eight years later, the membership was open to both sexes.
On April 19th, 1911 they received a new charter for the Huntington Historical Society establishing the organization under its current name. The Society would also have a permanent home, thanks to another insightful woman, Ella Conklin Hurd, who donated the Conklin Farmhouse to the society in 1918. For the details of how this gift was given see The First 50 Years in Detail in the beginning of this page.
Since then, the Society has spent over 100 years protecting and interpreting the history of our town and the central Long Island region. The Society now maintains five national register historic properties – two as house museums, one for a gallery and display space for exhibiting selected portions of our collection. The fourth houses our administration office and our extensive Resource Center and Archives and the fifth, The Adams House is on the property of the Kissam House and is not open to the public. The Society shares the legacy it is preserving by sponsoring educational festivals, a lecture series, school programs and summer educational programs.
Each spring we trace the journey of wool from sheep shearing to weaving in our Sheep to Shawl Festivals. In the summer, we celebrate our diverse heritage with children’s games and craft demonstrations. As the leaves turn and the local apple crop ripens, we celebrate nature’s bounty with our Apple Festival.
School groups tour our house museums during the school year. Over the summer, children journey back in time via our Passport to the Pastprogram.
Lectures on a variety of historical topics are presented once a month in the spring and fall. Each fall the Society offers a Historic House Tourfor the enjoyment of the community and to shine a light on the history of Huntington.
A member of our Queens group posted this. Still unresolved I was wondering if anyone here had any info about this.
Thanks in advance!
Hello Everyone at HHS-
I hope this message finds you all well and getting by during these uncertain times. Some strange days indeed. I imagine in the distant future, the not yet born residents of Huntington will pay a visit to the archives to find out exactly what was happening in our beloved town during the 'Covid Pandemic of 2020.' I can imagine that Karen and Irene are very busy collecting press to document these last few months. I wanted to share something because it made me think of the Historical Society and especially Toby when I watched. Some of you may have seen it already, but there is a great show on Netflix called "The Repair Shop." If you didn't know better, you'd think it was filmed inside the Kissam Barn instead of in South England. If you have some spare time on your hands and want to see some amazingly talented folks skillfully breathing life back into beautiful and sentimental things, check it out. I hope to see you all around once the village once this has passed.
This morning we found our good friend ‘Sam’ cozied up with two pals that were crafted at Passport to the Past. Although I’m pretty sure there was no “Elf on a Shelf” in colonial times, perhaps a “LimberJack on a Plaque?“
I hope that everyone at HHS has a wonderful holiday season and a joyous & Happy New Year.
Any interest in these books?
In the 60s there was a motorcycle/scooter shop on route 110 near the village on the east side. Scooters USA. Does anyone recall? Does anyone have a picture. In later years a Yamaha shop opened up the road a few hundred feet I don't know if the two where affiliated.
*Help Support the Sailors' Snug Harbor Cemetery Memorial Campaign*
The Descendants of Sailors’ Snug Harbor Mariners have been reaching out to the Greater New York City Metro Area Heritage (Historical and Genealogical) Societies, Museums, Military Veterans Groups, and Concerned Citizens, to invite them to join a Letters of Support Campaign to support their efforts to gain access to the old Sailors’ Snug Harbor Cemetery on Staten Island to honor their Ancestors, and all of the 6,500 Merchant and Naval Mariners interred there (1834-1976), by installing a Memorial Monument (Obelisk) and holding an annual Memorial Service. Sadly, the Sailors' Snug Harbor Cemetery is devoid of gravestones or markers, except for 15 remaining gravestones. The Cemetery is closed and not open to the public. The Board of Trustees of Sailors' Snug Harbor have rejected the Descendants' requests to access the SSH Cemetery to honor their Ancestors. The Descendants are collecting Letters of Support to persuade the Trustees of Sailors’ Snug Harbor to change their decision. For more information and Support Letter Writing Instructions, use the following link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1sZv5VFLNWw0HA-pW2i33RhbgVFQ6oExx
Thought you may like to see my great grandparents weekend estate named "rolling acres" Herbert Irving losee and violet Von lyncker losee