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BAFFA  Symphony Orchestra

BAFFA Chorus

BAFFA Chorus with Orchestra back-up at Patchogue Methodist Church

BAFFA Chorus at Patchogue Methodist Church, March 24, 2013BAFFA Chorus at Patchogue Methodist Church, March 24, 2013

Top: Orchestra with performs with
American Ballet Studio
Three Cats”, June 2012

Bottom: BAFFA Gallery at Gillette House

Visitors at  an  exhibition in BAFFA Gallery



BAY AREA FRIENDS OF THE FINE ARTS (BAFFA):  BAFFA was organized in 1968 by a small group of local parents and teachers who wished  “to bring the fine arts into the schools and community” by sponsoring appropriate entertainments and creative activities.  One of its first major efforts was the organization and support of a symphony orchestra which would perform three or more times a year.  Its volunteer members include teachers, aspiring musicians, professionals and selected students. It now has about 50 members and teacher’s in-service credit is offered. In BAFFA early years, its chorus was intermittent but is now a permanent group of about 50 members that performs alone or in concert with the symphony orchestra.  The music director/orchestra conductor and the chorus director are both professional musicians who are assisted by part-time orchestra and chorus manager. In its early years, BAFFA had its headquarters and art gallery in the Robinson Cottage at the Islip Grange (for photo, see Sayville, Main Street, North Side); in 1984, it moved its activities to Gillette House where its permanent gallery is now located. There, it holds exhibitions by selected artists, organized into shows, publicized and hung by volunteers; it also features exhibits by local school children, including its Annual High School Invitational Juried Exhibit wherein students from ten area school districts compete for ribbons, prizes and monetary awards; a graduating senior wins one of the latter, the Jacqueline Carling Palmer Art Award.  Its musical performances are held three or four times a year in local schools or churches. All BAFFA exhibitions and performances are open to the public and (except for in-house concerts with limited seating) are free. For some years, BAFFA also sponsored an annual “Art In” day-long affair which combined exhibition of local artists’ works with performances by local musicians and singers. It also co-sponsors activities with other organizations to bring more events to Sayville and its surrounding communities.  One of the first may have been  a whimsical musical show, Noahzark, written by Sayville Musical Workshop Director Karen Hasselriis and produced with the Islip Methodist Church in 1977 (see Sayville Musical Workshop below). Among more recent events is an annual A Little Garden Music & Art Afternoon Tour in conjunction with the Sayville Garden Club and a concert by singer Jane Monheit with the Gateway Playhouse. BAFFA was  incorporated in 1977 and is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.  Its financial support comes from advertising, membership, concert donations and occasional grants.

WET PAINTS STUDIO GROUP: This Group, preceding BAFFA, also was founded to encourage the appreciation of fine arts in community.  Elinor Haff, director of the Sayville Library, called for a meeting of art-minded patrons and convened it at the Library on October 20, 1949.  Among its original policies, the Group planned to have an Annual Art Show.  In between, with the aim of keeping member’s paints “wet”, a policy of having members bring a”theme” painting to each meeting was initiated; the best three were hung in the Library, providing an ongoing exhibit. Early on,  space at the Library became  cramped and in 1950, the Group moved to the Gillette House and then in the early 1960s to St. Ann’s Parish House.  It has long-since moved back to meeting at the Gillette House (north side,  not the BAFFA galleries where some of its local exhibits are held); because its present membership (2013) is about 200, members exhibit their works on a rotating basis. The Group has also provided instructive programs which featured demonstrations by qualified artists, workshops, films and, more recently, networking opportunities among its members. It  has a scholarship fund from which it provides awards to graduating high school students seeking studies in art. WPSG is now incorporated and members include amateurs, semi-professionals and professionals; its motto remains “keep your paint (or brushes) wet!”    

Photos  courtesy of BAFFA; photo second row right by Donald Grayy

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The Gondoliers”, October 1950

Naughty Marietta”, April 1951

Rosalinda”, December 1951

The King and I”, May 1962

Of Thee I Singg”, May 1962


SAYVILLE MUSICAL WORKSHOP:  On the nights of January 14 and 15, 1949, Connetquot Lodge Square Club sponsored a local group in a production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore in the Sayville High School Auditorium.  It met with widespread success and a desire not to allow talented cast members and production personnel to disappear, encouraging the group to form the Sayville Musical Workshop with Robert Danes as President and Charles Huffine as musical director.  In 1950, the Workshop produced “Rosalinda” and “The Gondoliers”, the latter to benefit the new Community Ambulance Company, as well as Bach’s difficult Christmas Oratorio at the Congregational Church. In 1952, the Workshop incorporated and joined the New York State Community Theater Association. Tom Turner, an  Associate of the American Theater Wing and the Board of Theater Dance,  arrived in December to stage the choreography and musical numbers forThe Vagabond King  and in 1954, he became permanent, producing and/or directing 41 shows for the Company  before leaving in 1966. Over the many following years, the Workshop continued with two or three presentations annually, including a mix of operas, light operas and Broadway shows, musical and non-musical. For some years, it participated in the Sayville High School Adult Education Program, which paid a share of its expenses, but in 1960 the Board of Regents believed that the Group was strong enough to operate on its own and discontinued further support. In early years, rehearsals were held in the Community House on Gillette Avenue; later they took place in Sayville schools where most performances were held.  In 1959 the Workshop was given a six-room house in Oakdale which the Town of Islip moved to the Town land at the foot of Candee Avenue and leased to the Workshop; it became the headquarters. The Company was well-organized; building its own sets and sewing its own costumes, which it stowed locally. In 1957, the Hunts and later the Reeds (both couples, owners of the Foster House) donated use of their 100-year old barn (originally a blacksmith shop) on Collins Avenue which was used to build, paint and store scenery. On May 11, 1967, the barn burned to the ground, destroying all scenery for“Kiss Me Kate” (which was to open one week later) as well as paints, stage equipment, and lights. The scenery was quickly rebuilt and the barn was replaced later with one on Hanson Place


My Fair Lady”, 1stCommunity Theater production on Long Island, May 1964


Hello Dolly”, May 1971”

Hello Dolly”, May 1971”

The Fiddler on the Roof”, May 1972”

Noahzark”, August 1985”

On May 15, 1964 the Workshop became the first Long Island Community Theater to do My Fair Lady; it played over two week-ends and cost the Company almost $ 10,000 to produce. The following year it took time out from stock offerings and produced Not All Your Tears, written by local Judge George F.X. McInerney. The Judge had served as an Air Force pilot in the Aleutians during WWII and his play was aimed at recapturing the “urgency” of those years; in the production,  he played himself.  Colonel Francis S. Gabreski, member of the 56th Fighter Group, acted as technical advisor. Karen Hasselriis - artist and painter, church organist, song writer, a founder and charter member of the Workshop, actress and Board member - assumed the role of Musical Director for The Sound of Music in November 1966 and in that capacity and/or  as director continued until the Group disbanded in 1985. (She was also an organizer and charter member of the local Wet Paints Studio Group.)  In the late 1960s, early 1970s, the Workshop also offered summer dance and dramatic classes. In 1977, Karen  wrote music and script for a whimsical musical show for adults and children, Noahzark, which she directed.  It had a cast of about 40 portraying well-known Biblical characters as well as giraffes, pandas, mice and ladybugs. BAFFA (not the SMW) produced it in conjunction with the Islip Methodist Church in April of that year. By 1980, the Workshop had about 80 dues-paying members including business and other professionals, students and stay-at-homes active in a wide variety of jobs; a Sayville dentist was a leading man, an undertaker was a backstage worker, a judge was playing a chorus-part, etc. However, it was experiencing financial difficulties with the increasing cost of producing its quality shows.. The Musical Workshop revived Noahsark as its last, performed at the Sayville Community Center (previously High and then Junior High School} August 16 through 24, 1985. Some members went on to found drama groups in their own Long Island home towns; at least one from Bayport became a movie star.       

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Suffolk County News, March 10, 1950




 Easter Egg Hunt begins, Gilette Park,
August 18, 1987




New location ready across street from Sayville

 Fire House, December 1988.




“Bud” Van Wyen’s ex-gas station arrives from Main Street, West Sayville



 Sayville Chamber of Commerce has a new
Visitors’ Bureau, Dedicated Dec 19th, 1988




Miracle on Main Street, Tree Lighting,
November 25, 2006



Fall Festival, October 27, 2010



Summerfest, 2013



Margaritaville , September 28, 2013



Bud Van Wyen Memorial Building, 2013


Photos: Egg Hunt, Webb Morrison; Buildings, courtesy of Richard Trpicovsky;

Fall Festival, courtesy of; all others from Sayville Chamber of Commerce


GREATER SAYVILLE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE:  In early May 1924, several meetings of local businessmen were held with the aim of establishing a civic organization “for the welfare of the Community”. On the night of May 16, 28 men finally came together at the Sayville Court House and voted unanimously to organize the Board of Trade with yearly dues of ten dollars; members included retailers, wholesalers, auto dealers, real estate agents, hotels, medical doctors, barbers, contractors, plumbers, the postmaster, and the editor of the local newspaper. Thomas K. Alford, long-time summer and then permanent resident, was elected President and remained so until his death April 29, 1925; he was succeeded by Robert MacIntyre. Alford & Sons’ silk business was big in New York; Thomas was, at the time, President of the Sayville Development Corporation. Robert MacIntyre was a salesman. At a subsequent meeting on June 9, the Board decided to change its title to the “more euphonious and less antiquated” Chamber of Commerce.  The Group soon acquired 50 members and met either at the Court House or in A. C. Edwards’ office.  It had its first Annual Dinner at the Kensington Hotel on April 21, 1925; the price was two dollars (with the Chamber reimbursing members 50 cents and allowing fifty dollars for entertainment). The Chamber brought its first Santa to Sayville on December 17, 1926 and had its first luncheon meeting on June 20, 1928. Among concerns and projects of the early years were to get more members; to require the LIRR to put an underpass under or an overhead over the new double tracks to help latecomers safely reach their trains; to have the Town of Islip establish a garbage district and acquire land (on Lincoln  Avenue) for disposal; to put signs at Town entries and street signs at intersections for future mail  delivery; to encourage the Town to repair roads and open streets (notably Green and Foster Avenues to the Bay); to deepen Brown’s  River; and to expend $ 500 for promoting Sayville and its hotels, notably in theBrooklyn Eagle and The New York World. In December 1927, the Chamber partnered with Connetquot Lodge in erecting a Christmas Tree and in 1928 the partnership planted a tree on the grounds of the new High School which was intended to be the Community Tree for years thereafter.  In 1929 the Chamber appropriated $ 10 for greens and $ 250 for colored lights to decorate Main Streets from Green Avenue to Sparrow Park and the Sayville Garden Club put up a tree in the Park. About January 1930, the West Sayville Chamber of Commerce was organized and met at the Fire House.  Its concerns were Bay matters, extending the Basin at the foot of Atlantic/West Avenues, extending the West Avenue Dock and improving shipping facilities; cleaning the beach; Fire Island Inlet; schools and education; also the establishment of a garbage district and dealing with proposed zoning. It was apparently dissolved in early 1937. Beyond promoting local business through periodic directories in the local newspapers and sponsoring “clean-up days”, the Sayville Chamber was relatively inactive in the late 1930s and the War year On  October 20, 1948 a meeting was held at the Fire House to “reorganize” the Chamber. John P. Cohalan, Jr. was appointed President and the 70 members or their committees were assigned to carry out specific tasks in a Census of Sayville, developing a listing of all businesses, professions, recreational and educational facilities; gathering data on numbers and types of homes; and, insofar as possible, determining  actual population of area served by the “new” Chambe The “new” Chamber has followed the original in proposing and succeeding in getting Village improvements including extended public parking areas behind stores on both sides of Main Street; parking system on Main Street; widening of Railroad Avenue where it enters Main Street;  getting a foot patrolman for the business district. Not having a “home”, Chamber meetings were held weekly at local restaurants as they are  now.  However, a “home base” finally arrived in 1988 after it acquired West Sayville’s “Town Hall” (a/k/a Bud Van Wyen’s  Service Station; please see “West Sayville: Businesses - Main Street” for more details).  The building was moved to its present location in 1988, extensively renovated, and  dedicated on Monday, December 19 as the Chamber’s new headquarters and Visitor’s Bureau.  Since that time, it has undergone a quarter turn and been renovated twice (as pictured above).  Bud, the “Mayor” of West Sayville and a pillar of the West Sayville Fire Department would be happy that it was relocated from next door to the Fire Department to next door to the Fire Department!    





Summerfest Gillette Park “Midway”


 Gillette Park Stage



Summerfest Horse Shows in Rotary Park on Sunday

(before the Common Ground)



Summerfest Vendors on Gillette Avenue



Summerfest Entertainment at Sparrow Park




Car Show on Sunday, South Main & Main



Summerfest Exhibits on North Main




Summerfest Vendors on Railroad Avenue


Summerfest Rotary staffs the Info  Booth



Summerfest Art show on Saturday



Summerfest entertainment at Candee Avenue



Summerfest entertainment at the West End


SUMMERFEST over the years – Most above photos from 1994 and 1996; info booth, 2005
Photos courtesy of Richard Trpicovsky


Summerfest  is the Chamber’s most important annual event.  The first, known initially as the Oysterfest (with beer) was held in the Carvel parking lot in August 1980.  As it grew in size, it  became the Summerfest and expanded to Gillette and Rotary Park as well as Main and  other surrounding streets.   Its three-day duration, always the first week-end in August, not only attracts new shoppers to Sayville but also supports many of the Chamber’s annual activities which have included those in the Spring (Meet the Bunny, Easter Egg Hunts, Easter Parade); Margaritaville; Homecoming Parade; Fall Festival (petting zoo, Halloween Parade for children); Miracle on Main Street (Parade, Tree Lighting and Carols), Menorah Lighting and  periodic Indoor-Outdoor Sales.


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3 Charter Members still alive (2013); two still active in Club: (l-r) Wichrowski, Levin, Peters




Books collected by Kiwanis being packed for needy children abroad, October 1965; (l-r top)

McNichol, Neitzel, Peters, (seated) Diehl



Annual Picnic at Byron Lake, July 1967;(l-r) Munson, Umile, Schrader, Stevens, Diehl, Peters




3rd  Kiwanis Pasta Dinner (with help of  High School Key Club), Fire House, April 9, 1995


Kiwanis Kid’s Day: Taking 100 from Premm School to Sailor’s Haven, July 25, 1996




A Halloween Window, October 1996



Seeing both sides of Main Street; another

Halloween window, October  2011


Local kids heading for Kamp Kiwanis in the

Adirondacks, August 20, 2013


Images: column 1, top 2 courtesy of Dr. Philip Peters; column 2, top and row 3 both from Suffolk County News;
Column 2, second row and row 4 both courtesy of


KIWANIS CLUB (KC):   The Club, sponsored by Patchogue, received its Charter at a dinner-dance held at Bronco Charlie’s in Oakdale on May14th, 1960; it had 37 charter members, all professional or business men. In 2013, three of them were still alive: Ted Wichrowski, Irving Levin and Dr. Phil Peters. Its meetings have been at various local restaurants in Oakdale or Sayville. Over the years, Kiwanis has had two major World-Wide programs, one directed at eliminating iodine deficiency disorder, using iodized salt, and the second, Read Around the World, aimed at getting children to read more as well as getting them books to read.  However, more of the focus now is at a more local level, particularly directed at charitably aiding women and children  more than on business networking. One of its earliest projects was to get groups of kids to paint cartoons on village store windows for Halloween, for which Kiwanis gives a prize. Its other local activities have included annual scholarships to  high school students;  Kids day, taking disadvantaged children to Fire Island for an outing; and sending five children to Kamp Kiwanis in the Adirondacks for a summer week. Recently,  the Club has devoted much of its time and support to the North Shore University Hospital’s Pediatric Trauma Center Foundation wherein specific practices and procedures to help  reduce trauma in children (0 – 12), particularly that related to injury or death, are taught to local ambulance and fire company personnel;  they are also provided Pediatric Trauma Kits  containing equipment scaled to children as well as a  stuffed animal for the patient. Kiwanis donations have also gone to the Special Olympics, AHRC (aids developmentally disabled children), and other childrens’ hospitals. To support these activities, the Club sponsors a variety of fund-raisers.  It has brought the U.S. Navy Band in for performances five times; it has had Las Vegas nights and raffles at Summerfest (sometimes co-sponsored with the Fire Department), and annual Pancake Breakfasts and Pasta Dinners. Kiwanis members are aided in spreading their message by their student protegees, the Key Club (high school) and Circle K (college), who may become future members.


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Boy Scout Troop 100 , Baiting Hollow, 1954




Outing for disadvantaged children, Aug 15, 1968



1st Exchange Student from Sweden, Bengt
Soderstrom, arrived in 1974; pictured with
others who followed in later years


Renovated Cull House moved to LIMM, 1976;

Club helped support re-building Modesty
(3rd from left),1980


Don Wylie, Tony Mistler &  Neil Spare, .re-bury Time Capsule, November 25, 1986





Ladies are in! Hal Limouze welcomes Sue

Mauro, Libby Westerbeke, Ann Morrison, Marilyn Triolo (Pam Raymond missing}




Second “Gift of Life” child, Nakanwagi, age 6, arrived from Uganda, June 1990



Executive Chef, Don Hester, prepares filets

Annual Beefsteak, August 14th, 1997



Rotarians help re-building the Sayville Food Pantry, December 7, 2007




Annual Scholarship Awards Breakfast,

 Land’s End, March 6, 2010




Cruella de Vil (a/k/a Pam Raymond) leads

Pet Parade down Main Street,  July 13, 2013





Club provides BBQ Dinner for special-needs

Children,  Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck,  August 14, 2013


Photos above from books mentioned below and Rotary Archives at Sayville Library


ROTARY CLUB (RC):   The Sayville Round Table Club was organized by a group who met at the Kensington Hotel on January 18, 1935 “to foster the ideal of service and the promotion of good will and fellowship among business and professional men of the Village”. Subsequently, they met weekly for Thursday lunch (cost 60 cents) at the Hotel.  After some discussion and a membership vote on its future, the Club decided to affiliate with Rotary (rather than Kiwanis). Its Charter was issued April 7, 1937 and celebrated with a Charter Dinner at the Cedarshore Hotel on June 15 ; 26 charter members and about 175 guests attended.  Dr. Grover A. Silliman was President,  William Weinberg was Secretary.  The first Bi-Valve  (considered a very appropriate name at that time because it brought to the fore our largest local industry), the Club’s long-time newsletter, was published on August 14. The Board soon decided “to start a fund for the sole purpose of conducting some worthy welfare work in the future”; beginning in January 1938, 15 cents would be added to the cost of each lunch and when the fund reached $ 250, the Board would suggest charitable uses, either as loans or outright gifts. Club meetings moved to the Foster House about 1948, Land’s End 1959, Lake House 1976, and back to Land’s End 1999. Early annual Club outings (food and athletics) were at Cherry Grove (Al Sykes’ hotel food with tip, swimming, fishing, cards all for one dollar).  From 1947 to 1967 they were at Camp  Connetquot (now Edey) where they evolved through Clambakes to Steakfest then Beefsteak; in 1969 the venue shifted to the Maritime Museum where they have been held ever since. On August 15th, 1957 Town-owned Rotary Park (which now encompasses the Common Ground) was dedicated by members and the Town Board; it is across Gillette Avenue from the Little League Stadium Rotarians had built in 1954. Among Rotarians other activities have been: sponsoring Boy Scout Troop 100 (1950); giving annual scholarships (begun1961); formed first Rotary Interact Group (1962) and again (2000); annual Homecoming parades (1964); annual Pet Parades (begun 1970);  accepted first international exchange student (Sweden) (1973 and as many as three  yearly thereafter);  moved and restored a cull house from Kingston’s to Maritime Museum, gave Museum Diorama (1976);  buried  100-year Time Capsule on Main Street (1976, re-buried 1986); built Little League bleachers and painted Edwards Homestead (1983); admitted the first five female members (February 9, 1989); helped building new facilities onto the Gillette House for the Greater Sayville Pantry (2007).  The Club also supports and helps at Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck, a Rotary summer camp for children with special needs, in Center Moriches. In addition to local activities, the local supports two major World-wide programs.  The first, initiated by the Long Island Rotarians in 1974, now also supported by other Districts, is the Gift of Life which has brought some 10,000 children from 36 countries to the United States, mostly for heart-defect surgery.  A second, begun in 1979 in the Philippines, has also been very successful eradicating polio around the World; more than two billion children in 122 countries have been immunized for as little as 60 cents each.  


More detailed information and photos of the Sayville Rotary Club may be found in its

 Fiftieth Anniversary Book, Sayville, NY, 1987

Millenium Project: 1937 to 2000,  Rotary Club of Sayville.  Sayville, NY, 2000

Seventy-fifth Anniversary Booklet. Sayville, NY, 2012

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FRATERNAL (“Secret Societies”)

In the first half of the 200th Century, a significant share of Sayville social life centered around the “Lodge” which was usually regarded as a “secret society” but some chose to call it  more simply a “society with secrets”. Though lodges  disclaimed that they were “religious organizations”, there  was usually a requirement that a member “believe in a Supreme Being”  and the Bible was ever-present in ceremony or ritual. Another paramount requisite was ”good moral character”. Many people joined more than one lodge. Male Lodges were that; female lodges, generally, required that the applicant be a relative of a male member of a companion lodge, thus they in a sense  became “couples clubs”. The lodges sponsored  frequent events, not only as support for their own operations  but also as fund-raisers for other benevolence such as scholarships, needy families. These  fund-raisers were either  held in their own rooms or in other local venues and included “ladies nights”, dinners, dances, oyster suppers and picnics; card parties (playing “euchre” or “pedro”); concerts or theatrical presentations  at Colombia Hall, Novelty Theater or the Opera House; basketball at the Opera House; country fairs; and day or moonlight sails  on the Bay. Tickets to dances and balls were generally (around 1905-1910) 50 cents for couples, 25 cents for an additional woman. Generally, lodges had begun as Financial Benefit Organizations wherein members and their families could receive death/funeral and sickness benefits, funded by their mutual contributions, paid as either dues or assessments. Death benefits were usually remitted from the district or National headquarters; sickness or disability benefits were handled at the local level; Nowadays, where the Lodges  may still exist, the benefit operations have been spun off as an independent insurance company. Of all the  Lodges mentioned below, only two are still represented in Sayville, Connetquot Lodge # 838, F. & A.M. and its companion for the ladies, Metlakhatla Chapter # 439, O.E.S.

Free & Accepted Masons


Grand Central Building, built as Gillette Building 1884, demolished 1927.  “Fine & commodious apartments especially built” for lodges were on third floor.  Odd Fellows and Bethesda Rebekha Lodge,  Court Bayside Foresters, Knights of Pythias, Connetquot Lodge & Metlakatla Chapter were at one time or another tenants  (also please see North & South Main Street)


Original Methodist Church, postcard early 1900s



Connetquot Lodge, 2013



 Connetquot Lodge, Barn Dance, Thanksgiving Eve, 1910


Held in the Sayville High School, it was repeated in 1932





Connetquot Lodge #838, Free & Accepted Masons: 85 North Main Street:   Freemasonry traces its origin back to the late fourteenth century British Isles when itinerant masons were permitted to move from town in town without restraint by local guilds. Its  major principles are charitable work within a local or broader community, moral uprightness (belief in a Supreme Being) and fraternal friendship; its membership is male only and its aim has been stated as “to help good men become better through moral instruction”. Overall government is at the regional level such as the Grand Lodge of the State of New York; there are no international  regulations and some lodges do not recognize others. Among members, there are three levels or degrees: Entered Apprentice (initiate), Fellow Craft and Master Mason. Freemasonry lodges came to the United States early in the 1700s. Locally, several Masons already members of nearby lodges in either Patchogue or Islip, with the approval of those organizations, petitioned the Grand Lodge of Free  and Accepted Masons of the State of New York to establish a Masonic Lodge in Sayville; it was approved  and Connetquot Lodge, named for an Indian tribe that used to roam  this area, was instituted on May 31, 1902 at a meeting in Odd Fellows Hall (in Grand Central) followed by a banquet at the Kensington Hotel across the street.  There were 24 Charter members, including such notables as Paul Groh, Rev. J.H. Prescott, Julius Stenger, Dow Clock and I.H. Green, Sr.. The Lodge continued its meeting in the Odd Fellows Rooms. There, it received its Charter on June 2, 1903, followed by another banquet in the Opera House. In 1910, a Building Committee was established and, over the next two years, several sites considered for construction of a Temple.  Then, in September 1912, Mrs. Margaret Brush donated a building site on the west side of Gillette Avenue  in  memory of her husband.  Unfortunately, that site was considered not to desirable and was later re-located to the east side. Then, on April 1, 1918, Lodge member Charles R. Brown (Mrs. Brush’s cousin) offered  the old Methodist Church building and 50 x 125 (later increased to 140) foot lot to the Lodge if they would return the Gillette Avenue property to the Brush estate. (The Church had been erected in 1848 at which time Captain Jacob Smith was on its Building Committee and one of its Trustees; it later passed through his daughter, Mrs. Margaret Brush, who bequeathed it to Brown, her nephew. Although it had been unoccupied for about 25 years, the building appeared to still be structurally sound.) The offer was accepted and immediate work was planned to raise the building, allowing for a banquet hall in the basement and 29x50 foot lodge room on the first floor. Another notable event occurred that year; with the admission of Norman Munkelwitz in June, the Lodge had seven Munkelwitz brothers as members at the same time. The first formal meeting in the new building was on December 16. Formal dedication was held October 11, 1919, followed by an elaborate turkey dinner for 250 people, served in the downstairs Banquet Hall by the ladies of the Metlakhatla Chapter, O.E.S. (see below). Expanding the Temple building had been considered for many years but it was not until 1948, that the “modernization of the Temple” really began.  Possibly to help fund it, the Lodge’s Connetquot Square Club sponsored a production of “HMS Pinafore” performed by a group of  local people who thereafter became the Sayville Musical Workshop (see Clubs: Arts). In 1950 and 1951, the Square Club successfully followed up,  sponsoring the SMWS “Rosalinda” and “Naughty Marietta” ; profit from those were used to begin the remodeling program which continued over many years.  Perhaps the last major project of the cycle was the complete aluminum residing of the building and remodeling of the vestibule in 1973. Initially, the Lodge fund raisers helped pay off it’s mortgage which it did on October 8th, 1923; thereafter monies raised could also be used for the Lodge’s promise to “assist all members of the human family in distress” which it has done, providing food, clothing, toys and other assistance for the needy at home or in hospitals or sometimes abroad. Additionally, the Lodge voted in 1925 to decorate graves of deceased members once annually and to award a prize to the senior attaining the highest grade in physics at the Sayville High School.  

Photos: Second row from collection of Sayville Library;
all others from
 Connetquot Lodge 75th Diamond Anniversary Book. Sayville, NY, 1978

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Order of the Eastern Star


Metlakhatla Chapter Garden Party, about 1910



Metlakhatla Chapter, 1927


Metlakhatla Chapter, 1946



Memorial Day 2005, Mr. Kuzu and  the Ladies


Metlakatla Chapter #439, Order of the Eastern Star (O.E.S.), 85 North Main Street:  The O.E.S. is a Freemasonry-related organization opened to both men and women; as in other Masonic Lodges, it uses emblems and symbolism to teach moral lessons in guiding its members. Its evolution is said to have begun in France about 1700 and passed through many stages before being formalized by Robert Morris – a Freemason himself – in Boston in 1850; he believed that the Order should be open to female family members of  Masons. The Presiding Officer in the O.E.S. is the Worthy Matron, always a woman; Worthy Patron may be a Mason who provides general supervision. Degrees of membership are derived from the stories of five Biblical women, each of whom symbolized specific moral virtues. The Order’s fundamental principle is “to aid and assist fellow members in time of need”.  Members strive to live their lives by the beliefs of Charity, Truth and Loving Kindness along with five core values  of friendship, community service, diversity, patriotism and charity.

The local Chapter was initiated by wives, mothers, daughters and sisters of Connetquot Masons, only one of whom had previously been a member of the Eastern Star (in New Jersey).  They invited families of Connetquot’s Charter members to join them. They also wanted an Indian tribal name; although it was not local, they chose that of Metlakhatla ( translated “salt water passage”),  a tribe in Washington State. The initial dispensation to organize was February 5, 1909 and the Chapter’s Charter was received on November 30, 1909.  Both ceremonies were carried out in the Odd Fellows Rooms in the Grand Central, followed by entertainment and supper for about 150 members and guests at the Kensington Hotel. The Chapter  was honored during its first 25 years by having two of its members appointed District Grand Matrons, Miss Eugenia Raynor in 1911 and Mrs. Anna Sykes in 1914. Its meeting place shifted along with the Masons to the new Masonic Temple  in 1919.  By the time it celebrated its 50 year Anniversary in November 1959 it had 224 members.

Photos from the archives of Metlakhatla Chapter #439, O.E.S.

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  Independent Order of Odd Fellows & Bethesda Rebekah


Odd Fellows Temple, 1970s


Photo courtesy of Tony Brinkmann

Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge #322, Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.), 19 Foster Avenue: Origins of the Odd Fellowship are lost in history and there are multiple explanations of the name, one of which comes from England where in the 1600s, it was “odd” to find people choosing to minister to the sick because they risked receiving the disease.  However, there were groups dedicated to this pursuit. An early basic command to members was to “visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphans”.

Membership was open to any male over 21 who believed in a Supreme Being and who could sincerely join into the spirit of a secret order dedicated to (its logo)“Friendship, Love and Truth”, all of which bound members together in their effort to elevate everyone to a higher plane of personal and social development. “Independent” was made part of the name when the American organization was founded in Baltimore on April 26, 1819.  It was the first Order in this Country to include both men and women, adding the ladies (the Rebekahs, see below) on September 20, 1851.  By that time the Order had established lodges in all states and territories. The earliest among the Lodges to come to Sayville, it was sponsored by the Brookhaven Lodge in Patchogue and chartered on May 22, 1872 with ten members including Charles Z. Gillette and John F. Hiddink.  Initially, its lodge rooms were over a confectionery store in Smith’s Block on South Main Street.  However, the Lodge soon outgrew the space and moved to the second floor of Francis Gerber’s store.  Unfortunately, on December 12, 1877, this room and most of its contents were destroyed and the group made a temporary move to Temperance Hall in what was later known as the Raynor Block. On April 24, 1878, it took up residence in the John F. Hiddink Building at Main Street and Lincoln Avenue until November 19, 1885 when it moved to the Gillette Building (later known as Grand Central).

The Lodge enjoyed its 1,000th meeting on September 16, 1891. Noble Grand Paul Groh was in the Chair and Julius Hauser (local baker who eventually became New York State Treasurer) was secretary. On May 24, 1922, about  250 people including Odd Fellows, Rebekahs and guests celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the oldest fraternal society in town with entertainment and dinner in the Lodge Rooms in the Arata Building (6 Main Street). On May 1, 1935 the Lodge agreed to buy a building lot 50 x 87 feet on Foster Avenue Extension adjoining the American Legion to the south…[In 1928, the First Reformed Church of West Sayville had leased a portion of its  property to the “Boys’ and Girls’ Civic League” which later erected a building 40 x 26 feet (space for basketball) known as “Boy Scout Hall” and/or “West Sayville Civic Hall”.  It opened on January 23, 1929.  The Scouts disbanded in 1932 and the Church took over the building which it later decided to auction.]. On November 9, 1935, the I.O.O.F. acquired the old West Sayville Civic Hall, moved it to the lot recently purchased in Sayville, and built an addition on the front end to make it a “good sized-meeting place”. Over the years, it not only housed the I.O.O.F. and its ladie’s counterpart, the Rebekahs but also was used by/rented to VFW Post 433; First Baptist Church;  male and female Foresters; Carpenters Local # 412; ballet school; church groups; and others who pursued genteel and kindred activities. I.O.O.F.  Member activities included two regular meetings a month (one in summer), visits to other lodges, participation in “degree” teams, visiting the sick and attending funerals. The Lodge’s 4,000th  meeting was a gala affair held on February 18, 1959.  Its sixty local members were listed in a Souvenir Journal which began with a history of the Odd Fellowship by past District Deputy Ira Levy. Unfortunately, the attrition of senior members and a declining membership led the Lodge to sell its local assets and disband in 1978 after 106 years.  The building became the World Outreach Church of God.  Brinkmann Hardware bought it from the Church on March 8, 2000 to use as a warehouse for its retail stores; however, from 2004 to 2010 it also housed Brinkbilt Fitness.

Bethesda Rebekah Lodge #449 (I.O.O.F.):   The local Ladies Auxiliary of the Odd Fellows was instituted on June 29th, 1910 with 15 Charter Members (all couples but one) who had previously taken degrees with Dorothea Lodge in Patchogue in April..  That evening, all candidates were instructed in the mysteries of the Order. Then about 125 attendees adjourned to Terry’s Hall (over Terry’s Jewelry Store, 105 South Main St) where an elaborate late supper was served. On February 15, 1921, the Lodge was honored by a visit of the New York State President and Secretary of the Lodge accompanied by large delegations from other Island lodges who had come to meet them. The Lodge Room was decorated in the colors of the order, pink and green, and American flags. After the ceremonies, all moved on the Forester’s Hall where supper was served to about 200 guests. The Rebekahs had their first meeting in the new I.O.O.F. Hall on March 3, 1936.

For further details see: Odd Fellows Lodge 322 100th Anniversary Journal,
published as special supplement to Suffolk County News, April 20, 1972,
available on Suffolk Historic Newspapers website.

Photo from collection of Tony Brinkmann

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German Benevolent Society



1878 Fire “Truck House”, then 1890 German Hall, now multi-family residence

German Benevolent Society  (a/k/a Deutscher  Kranken Unterstuetzung Verein # 1), 132 Railroad Avenue:  German (and other) Benevolent Societies were not uncommon in the 1800s in the U.S.and Canada; they could be found from Ottawa to Honolulu. Such groups aided the ill and indigent, assisted in burying the dead and had frequent social meetings which helped preserve their social and cultural customs. The local society had its first meeting January 1, 1882 at Philip Groh’s Oakland House (Hotel, see Main Street: Above the Tracks), attended by Mr. Groh, George West, Philip Haberman, Julius Hauser, and Joseph Wagner for the purpose of organizing a “benevolent society”; following this, invitations were sent out to the German-speaking members of the regional community to join.  The response was large and on September 7, 1886, the Sayville Deutscher Kranken Unterstuetzung Verein was incorporated.  Meetings were held at another of Mr. Groh’s hotels, the Pine Ridge on upper Lincoln Avenue. [The Pine Ridge Hotel and Pavilion – believed to have been located on the west side between today’s Revelyn and Dunn  Courts – appears to have been  a popular place for large picnics and clam bakes in the 1880s but disappeared from the news after October 1891]. However, after several years when membership had increased  rapidly, a new location appeared necessary.  In 1890, the Society bought a lot on the west side of Railroad Avenue from the Wilson J. Terry Estate and then acquired the old Sayville Hook & Ladder Truck House (built 1878, see Munkelwitz, Main Street to the Tracks) which they had moved about two lots north to their new location and renamed German Hall… The Society’s original constitution and by-laws were never changed as it prospered and grew. On New Years Eve 1906-1907, the 67 members and guests celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a turkey dinner and dance for young and old at the Opera House, music by the Spruce Brothers Orchestra… Members paid dues of 30 cents a month for which they were entitled to receive a sick benefit of $3.50 a week and their family received upon his death a benefit of $100. A ladies group, the Sophia Benevolent Society (named after Paul Groh’s mother) was formed on February 16, 1909 with eight members; they paid dues of 25 cents a month,  received a sick pay of $3.00 a week and death benefit of $50. During WWI, the Society was known to purchase several $ 1,000 Liberty Bonds and never failed to pay sick and death benefits due members. Beyond weekly meetings,  there were picnics at Pine Ridge and other venues; Annual Masquerade balls, such as one held February 13, 1911 which drew between 450 and 500 who unmasked and won prizes at midnight and danced on until 4 A.M.;  and the Groups’ 50th Anniversary Banquet, held in the new West Sayville Fire Hall on January 5, 1932 which featured addresses in German and appropriate German musical selections;  after the dinner, several hundred people joined the members for the Ball which followed. The Society disbanded in 1945 and the building was sold on September 13, 1946 to become a multi-family home which it still is today.

Photos from collection of Tony Brinkmann

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Ancient Royal Order of  Foresters


Mantha Building, 10-12 Main Street, built 1913 Foresters’ Hall occupied second floor until moved  meetings to Opera House, 19 Candee Avenue,  in September 1921


Opera House, built 1901 by Resolute Hose Company. Foresters bought September 1919, sold 1926. Also, site of  Jr. O.U.A.M. Ended as bowling alley, burned to ground  January 11, 1961

 Ancient Royal Order of  Foresters, formed October 29, 1745, traced its origins back to Forester groups who banded together for mutual aid and protection in or near Royal Forests in 14th Century England. They, presumably, assumed that their duties included assisting their fellow men who fell into need “as they walked through the forests of life”; the “need” came about when one fell ill, could not work and/or received no wages. However, the Order did infuse (or confuse) the medieval concept with the idea that Adam was the “first Forester”. By 1834, the Order had 358 courts, 294 of which then broke away to be known as the Ancient Order of the Foresters (A.O.F.). The Order’s original aim was to “unite the virtuous and the good in all sects and denominations to provide mutual aid and assistance to each other”; as in Freemasonry, membership was open to anyone believing in a Creator. Their Lodges were generally called “Courts” and, originally, named after courts at specific Royal Forests. Officers assumed titles of officials in the medieval forest courts (e.g., Ranger, Woodward). In 1874, the American and Canadian affiliates withdrew from the international organization and became independent. The 1892 opening of  Courts to women necessitated redesigning the Order’s emblem to include a Forester Woman. The name of the Order was changed to Foresters of America (F.A.) on September 11, 1895. A surprising number of  mutually-adaptable orders evolved from the F.A. in the late 19th Century, all offering disability and death  insurance to their members.  However, over the years the insurance interests have come to dominate the fraternal aspects; today, reportedly,  there a fewer than a half dozen States with active courts. Locally:

A.O.F #8464 / later known as Court Bayside #282, Foresters of America (F.A.):  The Court was organized by three prominent local residents Charles O. Edwards, Marinus E. Hiddink and Louis G. Hulse; it met for the first time in Good Templar’s Hall in the Raynor Block on June 21, 1894.  From 18 Charter members, within 20 years it grew to 288. In January 1906, the Lodge faced a benefits problem when all local doctors mutually agreed not to act as its physician for examining claimants; the Lodge responded by bringing its own Court physician, Doctor William H. Ross, to Town. On March 7, 1913, the Foresters bought a site on the west side of Railroad Avenue,  50 foot front by 125 feet deep, from Paul Groh for $1,080 for a new building..( It appears that this new Hall was never built constructed.). In 1915; the local newspaper described Court Bayside as “being in admirable condition with $ 7,000 on deposit in the bank; real estate located on Railroad Avenue valued at $ 1,750; and lodge room furnishings and equipment valued at $ 350 for a total of $ 9,001”. In 1919, Foresters denied payment of $ 206.50 to a member who had broken his hip, claiming that he was intoxicated; he sued and and won payment. Also in 1919, the Sayville Hook & Ladder Company, still owners and operators of the Opera House (usually at a loss), decided to sell it; in September, it was purchased by Court Bayside.  The Court intended to renovate the property – much of which was said to be decrepit with outdated equipment - and to use the meeting room on the second floor for Forester headquarters; their meeting place, Foresters Hall, had been on the second floor of the Mantha Building on Main Street for some time but Forester’s meetings did not move to the Opera House until October 14, 1921. (Paul Nelson Westerbeke bought the Mantha Building in March 1920, intending to organize a stock company to do a storage warehouse business and convert the third floor to a storage warehouse). After a few years, Court Bayside became dissatisfied with their purchase and put it on the market again.  Finally, on  October 4, 1926,  Paul Westerbeke and his partner, Arthur Lynch, taking title as Westerbeke Realty bought it for $ 14,000.  They were considering enclosing the entire building in brick to use as storage warehouse or remodeling it for stores with offices above. Neither happened because Westerbeke very soon sold the premises to Joseph Levy (proprietor of Sykes Beach, later owner of Columbia Hall) who renovated it and leased it as the Community Theater. In August 1935, trim on the Opera House was painted and a sign with the insignia of the Order marked the entrance to the second floor Lodge of Foresters.

 Pride of Bayside Circle  #6,  Lady Foresters of America:  On February 23, 1910, 42 men and women, who had previously signed an application for a charter for a lodge of Lady Foresters of America, met in the Assembly Room of the Opera House to form the Lodge;  Max Stryker acted as organizer with the authority of the Supreme Circle; they had rented Columbia Hall for their future meetings. Within the next five years membership grew to 100, having a bank account of $ 926.

Star of Court Bayside Circle # 1114, Companions of Forest America:  This Lodge was initiated May 8, 1914 in Forester’s Hall by Mrs. Annie Freygang, Supreme Deputy of  Long  Island and seven members of the Supreme Circle.  It was an auxiliary of the Forester’s Court and any one “over 16 and of good moral character” was able to join.  In its first year, its membership grew to 40 and its Treasury to $175. Its meeting were held twice monthly in Forester’s Hall

Shepherds of America (S.O.A.), Sanctuary Sayville #46:
  The Loyal Order of the Ancient Shepherds , a “sick and burial club” originally known as Ashton Unity, was founded in 1826 at Ashton-Under-Lyne, England. In 1835, the first High Court of the Foresters, recognized the Ancient Shepherds as second degree Foresters, based upon principles of humanity and brotherly love. The following year, the newly recognized branch of A.O.F., the Shepherds, began establishing “ Sanctuaries”. In the late 1890s, there was a movement among the Shepherds to separate from the Foresters, in part because of Forester indifference to the Shepherds. However, at their 1899  Supreme Convention in Bridgeport, CT, they decided to remain with the Foresters. The local organization was instituted on December 10, 1901  by George H. Newins with 10 Charter members including Judge Daniel D. White.

Pride of Bayside # 6, Lady Foresters
had its 35th Anniversary Celebration at Nohowec’s Tavern on February 24, 1945 and appears to have continued meeting into the 1960s at the Odd Fellows Hall.  Of the others, their last mention in the Suffolk County News was  Court Bayside , April 1940; Star of Court Bayside, February 1927; and Shepherds of America, May 1922.  It is assumed that they either disbanded or merged with other Lodges thereafter.

Images: left from the collection of Frank McAlonan; right from collection of Sayville Library

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Royal Arcanum (R.A.) 

Columbia Hall, 75 South Main, originally built about 1868 with large  open room and stage upstairs, lower floor retail Above, 1979, remodeled as residence.  At times, home to the Lady Foresters


Terry’s  Hall a/k/a Guild Hall, 2nd Floor, 105 South Main, originally blacksmith, rebuilt 1908 as jewelry store.
 One home of the South Shore Council, Jr. O.U.A.M. Congregational Church rear right


Great South Bay Council #1635, Royal Arcanum (R.A.):  Royal Arcanum was founded in Boston in 1877.  Originally, members had to be “acceptable” men between 18 and 55 who believed in a Supreme Being and agreed that “Mongolians, whether of pure or mixed blood, no matter what they believe, are ineligible”; both of these caveats were later removed. The R.A.  motto was “Mercy, Virtue, Charity”. Its ritual was described as elaborate and, for some reason, the number “1105” figured notably therein…Initially, the Order utilized a graded assessment system for its financial benefits. Sick and disability benefits were controlled by subordinate councils but the Widows and Orphans Benefit Fund was administered by its Supreme Council. By 1896 – when it had over 200,000 members Countrywide – the Supreme Council had paid out more than $ 40 million  in $ 1,500 and $ 3,000 certificates from its Widows and Orphans Benefit Fund so it switched from a grade assessment to an actuarial method.  Benefits were based upon 21 separate assessments payable in 12 installments; 18 related to mortality two to emergencies and one to “war danger”.  The local Great South Bay Council was instituted in July 1895 with 19 Charter members. Initially, it met in the Grand Central, later in the Opera House, and lastly in the Foresters Hall. It won prizes for increases in membership. During its tenure, it appeared to be a very prosperous and popular  Lodge. It  had two especially big initiations nights, 66 on February 12,1913 and 45 on  December 10,1914, both of which drew hundreds of guests not only from the Island but by special trains from Brooklyn, followed by big parades from the railroad station to Hall; additionally, the local Lodge was awarded a big silk banner by the Grand Lodge. By February 1915, the membership had increased to 250 and the Lodge found it necessary to move  meetings from the Opera House to Forester’s Hall.  The following month, the Forester’s contracted to build a 20 foot addition on the rear of their Hall to accommodate their new tenants. Discussions began in late 1920 about a consolidation with the Paumanake Council in Patchogue and lack of further publicity in the Suffolk County News suggests that this happened in 1921.

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Order of  United American Mechanics

South Shore Council #123, Jr. Order of  United American Mechanics (O.U.A.M)O.U.A.M  was organized in Philadelphia in the 1840s; members were required to campaign against employment of  less costly immigrants and to patronize only “American” businesses, which they apparently accomplished through some violence and illegal acts;  however, despite its name, it never operated as a trade union or participated directly in labor disputes. The Jr. Order was organized in 1853, originally as a Youth Auxiliary, but it maintained a more peaceful stance, became far more popular than its Senior order and in 1885 became an independent adult organization.  Its focus was “Tolerance” and its motto was “Virtue, Loyalty and Patriotism". In 1875, a  ladies auxiliary and sister-lodge, Daughters of Liberty, had been established in Connecticut and expanded rapidly; members had to be “native” Americans 16 or over related to male members of the O.U.A.M. Ritual of the groups was drawn from Freemasonry. Another auxiliary, Order of the Jr. O.U.A.M. which had been initiated  in 1887, was a “uniformed division” known as the Loyal Legion of the Order of United American Mechanics; it had its own ritual and carried out drill and sword exercises. All members had to be American citizens. Local South Shore Council 123 was initiated at the Fire House on May 5, 1908 with 75 Charter members. In early 1909, it advertised that it had leased Terry’s Hall for a “term of years” and that it was available for “dances, parties and entertainment”. The Order’s “uniformed” component, Company 3, Sixth Regiment, Uniform Rank, Jr. O.U.A.M., was established on June 19, 1914 with 16 Charter Members; ceremonies were in the Opera House where it planned to have its meetings and drills. Pride of Long Island, (by now) Sons and Daughters Of Liberty #125  was initiated by two Sayville residents , already members of the Betty Stark Council in Patchogue;  it was instituted with 35 Charter members in Foresters Hall on November 24, 1916. Jr. O.A.U. paid out both sickness and death benefits to its members, the first handled by local council and the latter by the National Council.  Funding came from assessments paid in by members who wished to participate in these features.  Around 1900, disability benefits were $5 for the first quarter, $4 for the second and $3 thereafter; death benefits were $100 for the member and $50 for his spouse. In May 1929, the Councilors’ and Past Councilors’ Association of Suffolk County honored  local Council 123 with the presentation of a large American Flag for the largest net gain of any Suffolk Council during the past year; there were now 165 members.  (Following this ceremony at Odd Fellows Hall, kiddie-kar polo teams were organized for entertainment of the guests.). In April 1929, the Council received another award for the same achievement, given by State Officers at the Sayville Theater. Among the three groups, the Sons & Daughters appears to have had the most publicity, continually sponsoring various events – dances, card parties, dinners, picnics, beach parties, movie parties -  in Sayville or nearby local venues, not only for its own benefit but also for outside charities including an ambulance for the American Red Cross and  local old age homes. Among the affiliates of Jr. O.U.A.M, the last publicity appears to have been in January 1941; shortly after that, they all appear to have disbanded.

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Knights of Pythias

Honor Lodge #429, Knights of Pythias (KP):  Founded in Washington, D.C. in February 1864, KP was the first fraternal organization to receive a charter from the U.S. Congress.  Membership was offered to males at least 18 years old in good health (no disabilities) who believed in a Supreme Being, did not gamble, and did not use alcohol or drugs.  Inductees were put through an initiation that included a group of tests designed to evaluate their honor and character. KP motto was “Friendship, Charity, Benevolence”, particularly toward members and their families. Early in the Order’s history, new members were given a ceremonial sword, often inscribed with “F.C.B.”; later, each lodge (or “castle” as they were sometimes called) simply maintained a stock on hand for use on ceremonial occasions. Degrees awarded to members were “page, esquire, knight”. Following application by Sayville residents of the Islip Lodge in April 1909, the Grand Lodge of  the State of New York instituted a local branch  with 24 Charter members, on August 11, 1909; the members included Henry Brandt, Marinus Buys, Ernest Gaiser, Ralph C. Greene and Henry Remmer...One of the Lodge’s more popular fund raising events held in its meeting rooms in Grand Central was its euchre parties for which local merchants awarded the prizes. In June 1918 Honor Lodge merged back with its original sponsor, Connetquot Lodge of Islip.

Photos: left courtesy of Town of Islip; right from collection of Sayville Library

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AMERICAN LEGION (AL) , Smith-Wever Post 651



Legion and VFW “Walking Post”, Veterans’ Day

Re-dedication of Private Carl Johnson Pearl Harbor

 Memorial, Oct 27, 2012


VFW Honor Guard at Florence Evans Memorial Ceremony recognizing women veterans, Mar 23, 2013

American Legion Smith-Wever Post 651 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 433

annually co-host commemorative events not only at Sparrow Park, where  names of all killed in the Wars are inscribed, but also at both of the above  individual Veteran’s Memorials


* * *

Private Johnson was serving with the Army Air Force at Pearl Harbor and was killed while working on his plane during the Japanese attack on Hickam Field, December 7 1941; he was the first Sayville resident to be killed in WWII.

Lt. Florence B. Evans was an Army Nurse and was killed in a Jeep accident in France on May 8, 1945,  the last day of WWII in Europe.  She received a Bronze Star for conspicuous bravery.

A third local  individual memorial is the Town-owned Captain Merrill H. Masin IslandA third local  individual memorial is the Town-owned Captain Merrill H. Masin Island in Brown’s River.
Captain Masin was killed during his second tour of duty as a pilot in Vietnam on August 12, 1972. He was recipient of many awards including the Purple Heart.


West Sayville Truck House, built in 1892,
in 1932 became Smith-Wever Post 651



Smith-Wever Post 651 building addition under construction, 2011

Smith-Wever American Legion Post 651,
rededicated, July 1, 2011

Naval Sea Cadets hold Garage Sale at Legion Post
to support unit and field trips, October 20, 2012

Legion installs new officers, June 25, 2013

attach (1)

Legion marches at Summerfest 2013

Images: Fire House from collection of Sayville Library

All others from Smith-Wever Post 651 Archives


AMERICAN LEGION (AL) , Smith-Wever Post 651,  23 Foster Avenue:   AL was founded in 1919 by returning veterans of WWI.  Its primary local activities are supporting  veterans, particularly as related to finances, pensions and medical benefits, and the organization of commemorative events; nationally, it is politically active lobbying for the aforementioned veterans and their benefits.  In October 1919, 35 veterans from Sayville, Oakdale and Bayport (West Sayville was  moving ahead on its own) met at the Fire House and decided to establish  the Frederick Wever Post, honoring the first local man killed in action abroad; Sergeant Wever had enlisted in the 302nd Engineers Regiment and died on the Vesle River near Reims, France August 28, 1918. The Post Charter, signed by 32, was approved in early November and its first meeting was held, again at the Fire House, November 12, 1919. Shortly thereafter, it acquired meeting rooms in the former YMCA space in the Wood Building, adjacent to the Opera House on Candee Avenue.  Several years later, the it moved meetings to the Odd Fellows Hall. In June 1926, a decision having been made that Sayville could not adequately support two veterans organization, the Post petitioned to change its name to the Smith-Wever Post, thus honoring Irving E. Smith, a flier with the A.E.F. air force, who died in a hospital in Tours, France November 2, 1918. (Smith’s brothers had donated the Monument placed in Sparrow Park in October 1919 to honor the five local servicemen lost their lives abroad in WWI.)  The Charter that was approved on August 26, 1926, effectively was a merger of the Legion Post with the pre-existing VFW Irving E. Smith Post 502. In May 1929, the Post bought land on Foster Avenue Extension for a future permanent home.  In October 1931, it bid on and purchased the old West Sayville Fire House for $ 101.00; the belfry was removed and it was moved, pulled by horses, to its present location. A parade, ceremony and open house accompanied its dedication on April 10, 1932. Over the years, the members have participated in diverse activities, many mandated by the National organization, including the teaching of ”Americanism” ; annually sending two boys to Boys State; visiting and entertaining ill and hospitalized veterans; supporting them and their families; organizing and staffing an air raid warning station atop “Old 88” and providing space for a U.S. Navy recruiting station during WWII; supporting active and retired Defense personnel personally with help on benefits, taxes; initiating or participating in many patriotic and civic events including  holding appropriate commemorative services; and sponsoring Boy Scouts, Sons of the Legion and Naval Sea Cadets…The Post also has a very active Ladies Auxiliary…In July 2005, members, having determined that their building was solid, moved to renovate it in stages and bring it up to Code for themselves, returning veterans and future events. On July 2, 2011, they rededicated their completely refurbished and expanded building


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Councilman Donald Kuss breaks ground for new
Post building, late March 1966.
Members  March, Wesche & Meyer  review  plans


VFW Post 433, Sayville, NY., 2013
(built 1966-67)

VFW Post 433, Honor Guard (center,right),
organized  1983


VFW Post 433 Honor Guard, 1986


Post hosted over 50 veterans from three Long Island Hospitals at its annual BBQ, June 2, 2013


Rep. Peter King presents Capital Flag to Post,
July 1, 2013

Middle School Students invited Post 433 members to lead them in Pledge honoring Veterans Day 2012

Post hosts “Aunt Barbara’s” Tupperware Party
to raise money for veterans, March 31, 2011



Images: Groundbreaking from Suffolk County News

 All others from VFW Post 433 Archives


VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS (VFW) Post 433, 400 Lakeland Avenue:    VFW is an older organization, having been founded following the Spanish-American War in 1898 when there were no provisions for veterans or retirees to receive any pensions or medical benefits.  Its members are required to demonstrate combat experience and one or more medals. The first VFW post in Sayville was the Lt. Irving  E. Smith Post 502, founded about 1920.  It was in operation until June 1926 when it merged with the local American Legion to become the Smith-Wever Post, both having decided that the village was to small to support two veterans’ groups. Close to the end of WWII, a group met at Nohowec’s Restaurant in February 1945 with the aim to re-establish a post.  After the Charter had been submitted and approved by the Suffolk County Council, officers were installed at a meeting at the Fire House on May 5, 1945.  A Ladies Auxiliary was inaugurated in December 14, 1945 and meetings for both groups thereafter were held at the I.O.O.F. Hall.  In June 1949, the VFW sought some Town land (now The Common Ground at Rotary Park) for a Club House. It was to be put up for a public vote, also awarding a piece to the American Legion, but later determined to be insufficient space (and the Legion already had both land and a building).  Consequently, in early 1950 the Town acquired from the County land on Lakeland Avenue which it offered to and later in June 1954 deeded to the VFW as a site for its Clubhouse. The VFW then offered the Town payment of $200 because it believed it illegal for the Town to simply give away land.  However, it did not immediately have the money to build the Club House.  Finally, five past-Commanders used their homes for collateral and were able to borrow $ 35,000 for the initial costs clearing the land, the foundation and most building materials.  A local building contractor permitted members to actively participate in the construction, thus reducing costs.  Members bonded together, incorporating as the Sayville Veterans, Inc., to provide a work force and ground was broken by Councilman Donald Kuss in late March of 1966. After a brief interim meeting in the Legion Hall in Bohemia, Post activities moved into 400 Lakeland in  late May 1967; the first installation in the new quarters for both the Men and the Ladies Groups were held on the evening of June 3. Unfortunately, following and “Open House” in the afternoon, on the night of  May 28, 1973 (Memorial Day), vandals broke in by making a gaping hole in the basement wall; they  rendered the alarm inoperative, committed  widespread destruction in all corners of the Post, and left taking a considerable amount of money and liquor. Very substantial repairs were required…In 2012, the Post carried out notable interior refurbishing as well as replacing its entire roof with shingles donated by the Make It Count Foundation. Over the years, Post 433  has held a variety of benefits in its own quarters, not only originally to pay off the mortgage but – more importantly – to carry out its mission of supporting veterans and their families. Their two Tupperware parties appear to be a novel addition to bingo, dinners, dances and other parties.


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Long Island Maritime Museum

Hard Estate Garage, 1966

Suffolk Marine Museum, 1960

Long Island Maritime Museum Layout, Today

Baymaster’s Cottage, built late 1800s

Staff and Volunteers work on boats of all sizes, 2005

Culling table in the the Rudolph Oyster House, 2005

Everitt-Lawrence Small Craft Exhibition (over 100),  2005


Rudolph Oyster House & Frank F Penney Boatshop, 1973

built 1888, now restored and taking day passengers


Arriving for Seafood Festival and Craft Show, 2006


     Annual Halloween Boat Burning, October 27, 2006


One of many models in the Museum


              Long Island Maritime Museum today

Long Island Maritime Museum (LIMM), 88 West Avenue, West Sayville: Frederick G. Bourne, President of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, made his first land purchase  in Oakdale – at that time, a summer colony for the rich – in 1889; by the time that he died in 1919, he had expanded his holdings to  2,000 acres in Oakdale, West Sayville and Bohemia. (For more information on Bourne, see Clubs: Country Clubs). On April 28, 1908, his daughter, Florence, married stockbroker Anson W. Hard, Jr. and, as a wedding present, Bourne gave them the 500 acre southeast portion of his property, bordered by Montauk Highway, West Avenue and the Bay.  In 1909, they constructed their 14-room main house, Meadowedge, designed by Isaac Green, Jr. The Hards lived together there until their divorce in 1932 when he moved to his hunting lodge in Yaphank (now Southaven County Park) where he lived until his death in 1935. During WW II, Mrs. Hard closed the main house and moved, with her children, to the estate garage, built in 1920; they occupied the east end of the second floor and part of the lower floor; garage,  machine shop and the chauffeur’s residence took up the remainder. (The now Elward Smith Library at the east end was a 1928 extension to display Anson Hard’s trophies.). In the 1950s, Florence Bourne Hard removed to Stamford, CT, abandoning Meadowedge, the last segment of her father’s original Indian Neck estate, and in 1966, the family donated it to Suffolk County with the provision that it not be developed for private commercial use. Today the main house is the Headquarters of the Suffolk County Parks Department, surrounded by the West Sayville Country Club Golf Course; the County allocated the Hard garage and 26 acres surrounding it to the future Suffolk Marine Museum which was dedicated and opened on May 1, 1969. Hervey Garrett Smith, noted marine illustrator and author of The Marlinspike Sailor, has been credited as the Museum’s founder and first director. The  first donation to the  Museum artifact collection was an eel trap, courtesy of Cy Beebe of Sayville. The  Museum  showcases many vintage vessels, most of which have been donated and many of which staff and volunteers work on to restore, along with other marine-related articles, books, maps and trophies. It has also acquired vintage buildings, delivered either by land or sea.  These include the Rudolph Oyster House, typical of temporary buildings which dotted the South Shore around the turn of the 20th Century, used for culling, packing and shipping of shellfish, which the Rotary Club renovated and paid for moving 600 feet to its present site in 1973; the Frank F. Penney boatshop floated from Center Moriches in 1978; and the Beebe Bayman’s Cottage, built about 1890 at 45 West Avenue and moved down the street in 1983. In 1991, the Museum faced severe financial problems, primarily because the County reduced its support.  However, the Board  rescued it by changing its name to Long Island Maritime Museum and expanding its focus from the Great South Bay to the entire Island...The Museum also broadened its fund-raising activities; the first annual Halloween Boat Burning was in 1990, the first Seafood Festival in 1992 and a number of other events have appeared since: Old Timers’ Boat Regatta, sailing classic sail boats; Classic Boat Show; Nautical Flea Market; Kite Festival; Pirate Festival; and Jingle Bell Walk. Students had been coming to the Museum since it opened but the Board developed a more formal curriculum embracing maritime history and marine ecology in the early 1990s,  increasing group visitations from Nassau and Suffolk schools. in April 2002, the Museum launched the largest single restoration undertaken in its history, that of the 1888 60-foot sailing oyster-dredge Priscilla, originally built in Patchogue, which had been donated in 1976.  She was re-launched again in June 2003, ready for public sails, private charters, regattas or other maritime events. The Museum is in the process of installing a marine railway to facilitate  hauling vessels out of the water for future restoration or reconstruction. Today, the 14-acre institution encompasses the Main Building with  an extensive maritime library and several galleries; four other display venues; and over 20,000 artifacts, including more than sixty historic watercraft. Among the displays in the Main Building is one devoted to the history of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service (founded August 4, 1790) and the U.S. Life  Saving Service (founded 1848) which merged  on January 28, 1915 to form the present day U.S. Coast Guard; in 1939, the  Coast Guard also absorbed the U.S. Lighthouse Service. The exhibit includes details of  notable shipwrecks along the Fire Island coast…The Rudolph Oyster House and the Priscilla have both been designated National Historic Landmarks.  


Images: Top row: left from Suffolk County News; right from Dowling Library Special Collection

Second row: left from L.L. Maritime Museum; right from collection of Sayville Rotary Club

All others are from the archives of the Long Island Maritime Museum


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Meadow Croft

Driveway north from Middle Road, Meadowcroft, 1907

Meadowcroft grounds and dependencies, 1907
Windmill (left) draws water for water tower


Meadow Croft, the Main House

Loughlin Vineyards at Meadow Croft

Barney Loughlin’s Tasting room

Barney pouring wine for a visiting taster



Meadow Croft,  299 Middle Road:  In 1873, Robert Barnwell Roosevelt (1829-1906), a lawyer, New York Congressman and  uncle of President Theodore Roosevelt, purchased the 200-acre  Lane Farm which straddled the Sayville / Bayport border, stretching south from Montauk Highway and encompassing Lotus Lake; he then enlarged the Lane house on the east side of  the Lake for his country residence. His two sons, John Ellis (1853-1939) and Robert Barnwell, Jr. (1866-1929), both liked and were attracted to the area…As his family grew, John looked for another location nearby and, in 1890,  purchased 75 acres of land fronting on Middle Road; he then asked I.H. Green to design a new main block, incorporating  two already existing 1867 farm houses, for his summer home. Green did, and the new Colonial Revival segment included the main parlor, dining room, foyer, four bedrooms and an attic.  Two bathrooms, cantilevered out from the second floor were added in 1908 and are the only major additions to the structure. In 1899, Robert followed the path of his brother, moving out of the family house into a new one, Lilacs, also designed by I.H. Green, Jr., but built on his father’s property on the west side of Lotus Lake. Both brothers became very engaged in local activities. Among them, in concert with other Bayport friends, they initiated the South Side Yacht Club, an extension of the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club at Center Island; John was its first Commodore and meetings were held at Meadow Croft.  Regattas were held off the end of Foster Avenue. The Club was disbanded during World War I but came back in 1920; at that time – Sayville members now apparently outnumbering original Bayport Residents - it was incorporated as the Sayville Yacht Club (see Clubs: Sports). During the War, Robert, a Lieutenant in the Naval Coast Defense Reserve,  was designated as Commanding Officer of the local Naval Station  (see West Sayville: Waterfront); he donated the use of one of his watercraft, Sunbeam II, which was re-christened SP-251 and was primarily responsible for anti-submarine patrol between Montauk Point to Fire Island Inlet. After John Roosevelt died, his daughter, Jean, and her family kept the  Meadow Croft estate until 1973 when Suffolk  County bought it for about one million dollars as part of the Sans Souci Lakes Nature Preserve. Over the years since, it has undergone continual re-furbishing (including return of some of the original furnishings). It is on the National Register of Historical Places, is a dedicated property of the Suffolk County Historic Trust, and is operated by the Bayport Heritage Association which provides tours. The other Roosevelt properties had all been sold to developers by the mid-1950s.

Loughlin’s Vineyard, 299 Middle Road:   Barney Loughlin was born and raised in a small cottage between the Meadow Croft’s Main House and his present vineyard; his parents were caretakers at Meadow Edge and, as an adult, he took over that job and served the Roosevelt’s for many years.  When the Roosevelt Family decided to leave for good, he bought a small piece of land from Jean Roosevelt and in 1982 put in grape vines; although his vintner friends had told him that he could not grow grapes in Sayville because of “unfavorable climactic conditions”, he said that “ it was something to do”. In 1985, the first grapes were ready to harvest, carried out with the help of family and friends; nowadays, paid pickers clip the grapes. The produce was then boxed and trucked to Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue for bottling.  However, Barney has maintained a “tasting site” at the vineyard for many years and, in 2010, he also constructed his own local bottling plant there. Now, all wine is “Estate Grown and Bottled in Sayville”. Loughlin Vineyards’ best seller may be its Chardonnay but it also offers Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and South Bay Breeze (a blush); in total these account for about 1,000 cases / 12,000 bottles annually…the Vineyard is open all year and, particularly in warmer weather, provides a welcome sanctuary for just visiting with the owner, an enjoyable picnic (tables and chairs are available) and/or for hiking around the adjacent San Souci Lakes Nature Preserve.     


Images: Top row, from collection of Webb N. Morrison, Middle row, left from collection of the Sayville Library

All others, courtesy of Grace Papagno /



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Sayville Historical Society, Edward's Homestead


Early views of the Edwards’ Homestead, right sketched by Andrew Montague





Member demonstrating some of the antique  kitchenware




Entry to the Farm, 2006




Feeding (and riding) the animals, 2005


An annual event, “An Afternoon on the Edwards’ Farm”




Welcome to the Edwards Homestead, 2009




Choristers (also food, story telling) inside, 2012


Another annual event: “Holiday Open House”


Sayville Historical Society (SHS), Edwards Homestead, 39  Edwards Street:  John Edwards (1738-1826) of East Hampton, son of Englishman William Edwards and a tailor,   moved to the Sayville area, apparently as a renter, shortly after returning from the French and Indian Wars in 1761. The first house he constructed – possibly the “first house in Sayville” - stood until 1913 when it burned. In 1785, one of his sons, Matthew built the Edwards Homestead slightly to the west of its present site;  Matthews’s son, James, moved it to the its present location in 1838…In 1786, William Nicoll – whose family lands had been purchased from  the local Algonquin Indian peoples and later covered by a Patent granted by the King of England – petitioned the Governor to sell some of his property to pay debts. Thus, for about three dollars an acre, John Edwards  acquired what is now eastern Sayville from the center of Brown’s River to a line between the present Green and Candee Avenues; Willett Greene got the western side of Sayville; and John Green acquired what was later Greenville, renamed West Sayville. the northern boundaries appear to have varied among the three, extending as far north as today’s Tariff Street on the western end. Following Matthew, four other generations of Edwards lived in the 1785 Homestead until November 1937 when  the  residents, Ella Lafferandre Edwards and her daughters, Clarissa and Blanche, moved out to their new residence  at 113 Collins Avenue;  thereafter the Homestead was rented to others. In 1935, Clarissa Deborah Edwards, a schoolteacher, had written “A History of Early Sayville”. On August 7, 1944, she and other interested local residents met at the Court House  with the idea of forming a “historical society” which would ”acquire a collection of local relics and mementos of other days”; the Sayville Historical Society was founded with Miss Edwards as President and membership annual dues set at two dollars. Although other venues were discussed, the Society meeting place soon became the Edwards Homestead…Miss Edwards died on April 14, 1946 and bequeathed her estate, including the Homestead property, to the SHS. On August 30, 1949, a formal ceremony was held at the Homestead, dedicating it to “James M. Edwards and Deborah Ann Edwards and their descendants who have lived in the dwelling”. Over the next two years, the Society spent “several thousand dollars” repairing the house and also set up a principal fund of about $ 18,000 to maintain the Homestead and defray SHS expenses. Through the years, the Society has provided numerous presentations focusing on not only the history of but also living in Sayville; it has also maintained a museum to display its holdings, storage and archives in its Exhibit and other adjacent buildings two of its most popular family events are its annual  “Afternoon on the Edwards Farm” and its “Holiday Open House”. The former is focused on bringing back the experience of visiting a farm way back when, demonstrating practices and tools used, and meeting many of the four-legged friends. The latter is attended by costumed members who may read “A Night Before Christmas” to the children; serve English, Dutch or German food and drink, representing the first three settling ethnicities in this area; lead carol singing; or be Saint Nicholas. Several years ago, the SHS  also briefly permitted amateur archaeologists  to dig in the yard and the cellar for artifacts; there were  some interesting findings but also led to a question as to whether the Homestead is on its original foundation. Off premises, the Society sponsors its popular annual House Tour in December. 


Images: Top row from collection of Sayville Library

Second row, left from collection of Tony Brinkmann; right and bottom row, from the Sayville Historical Society

 Third row, courtesy of


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Chestene Coverdale receives $ 500 donation from  Rotary President David Bailey, January 1993


Gillette House: Sayville Food Pantry storage space,

shed, far right behind tree, March 1996

Volunteers frame siding for new Greater Sayville Food Pantry, December 8th, 2007


Making progressMaking progress
(Lowe’s donated all materials)


New Pantry almost finished, December 8, 2007


Food Pantry stocked for the Holidays, 2013

GREATER SAYVILLE FOOD PANTRY (GSFP) , 47 Gillette Avenue:  The GSFP, originally limited to serving Sayville, West Sayville, Oakdale, Bohemia, Bayport and Blue Point, opened for business in August 1990 with its Headquarters in the Gillette House, provided by Islip Town. Chestene Coverdale, who had just retired from teaching, was (and is) its Executive Director and liaison with the community. When it  began, GSFP served about 40 a month; in 2013, it able to serve around 400 recipients a month. Unfortunately, as it grew, the Pantry was finding itself not only short of storage space but the space it had (in a rear addition shed, dating from around 1930)  lacked electricity and insulation from the outside weather;  its temperature could range from 110 degrees in the summer to below freezing in the winter, far from ideal when storing food. In early December 2007, Councilman Chris Bodkin, having gotten the Town to demolish the existing shed, asked builder John Cox to oversee and direct the volunteer laborers - Rotarians, Kiwanians, members of the Chamber of Commerce and Habitat for Humanity, and students – who constructed a much-improved 240 square foot replacement  on a new foundation. The Pantry is open three days  of the week  to provide food to those needing it; secondarily,  it can provide referral and support services, including  assistance in contacting other social service organizations or  medical  or educational services, who may be of assistance to them; it may also be able to advise and direct them in  job search. In addition to its regular food distributions, it also provides school supplies in September and more than 100 food baskets, including a turkey, for the Holiday season. Volunteers including some regular recipients help at the Pantry, participating in a variety of activities including unpacking and stocking the shelves. The GSFP has regular continuing  contributors but welcomes donations of cash, food, gift cards or fresh produce from all; in summer,  it distributes fresh vegetables grown by the Sayville Garden Club on the grounds of Meadow Croft.


Photos: Top row, courtesy of Sayville Rotary Club; Middle row left, courtesy of The Suffolk County News,

Middle right and bottom row left, Collection of Tony Brinkmann: right, Webb Morrison


WEST SAYVILLE SICK ROOM LOAN CLOSET (WSSRLC):   In October 1948, almost simultaneously, two organizations were founded which would lend sickroom equipment – items that were not usually found in the home and could be expensive for short-term use - to local residents at no charge  One was the WSSRLC, sponsored by the Delta Alpha Society of the First Reformed Church. The Society devoted its first efforts to soliciting donations of used equipment (or cash) from the Community. The following month, it organized a Board of Directors with Mrs. William Bakelaar as long-time Chairman. Delegates were appointed by various local organizations in the Villages to represent them within the Closet; these  included churches, the Fire Department, the Southside Hospital Auxiliary, the Mothers Club and the Community Couples Club. Equipment was stored in the ladies’ garages until February 1950 when the Fire Commissioners offered use of a storage building behind the Fire House. Cards listing articles available (ranging from thermometers to hospital beds) were distributed to all residents of the West Sayville-Oakdale Fire District who could borrow them as necessary. the  WSSRLC continued until October 1968 when it disbanded and turned all of its equipment over to the Sayville Cabinet for the Sick which expanded its service area (at the time, Sayville, Bayport, Holbrook and Bohemia} to include West Sayville and Oakdale.  One reason for the abandonment was a new New York State law pertaining to the sterilization of borrowed medical equipment with which the Sayville Cabinet was able to comply while the West Sayville one was not.



Ladies admiring the Cabinet’s first  real  “Home” at
72 North Main Street, November 1951


Cabinet volunteers check crutches and other
othopedic equipment available


Sayville Cabinet for the Sick, February 1982

SAYVILLE CABINET FOR THE SICK (SCFS), 24 Collins Avenue: In their discussions, while making dressingsfor the Sayville Cancer Society, three Ladies – Mrs. Adolph Mampe, Sr., Mrs. Bryan O’Reilly and Mrs. Margaret Todd Richter – recognized the usually short-term need of homecoming hospital patients  for what could be expensive therapeutic or “comfort” equipment; they organized the Sayville Cabinet for the Sick which began operations in October 1948 with one wheelchair, one hospital bed, linens and some small bedside items… Initially,  equipment came from donors (some used) and from businesses; early on, members were able to store it on their own premises but, as inventory and customers grew, this became more difficult...For about three years, SCFS operated, if not out of member’s homes, then  “from homes of people kind enough to accept calls from doctors and patients for needs”. In  November 1951, it found its first “home” at 72 North Main (now a Laundromat)  but the following year the rent doubled and it was forced to relocate again to a home at 179 Green Avenue; then, the owner needed that space, forcing another relocation in January 1954 to the rear of the Court House where the cellblock was no longer used. However, lack of storage space was still an ongoing problem (by this time, among other items, the Cabinet had acquired 24 hospital beds and as many wheelchairs). Finally, Mrs. Mampe found an old (c. 1870s?) barn behind the Gillette House which was available; it was renovated by volunteers for SCFS.  The Sayville Village Improvement Society donated for towards the heating system, the Bayport- Sayville Lions Club paid for plumbing and its installation and lumber and labor were donated by many generous local individuals.  The Cabinet moved in to its present location in May 1959…In 1967,still facing the same old space problem, a wing was added to the original building. In September 1968, SCFS was the recipient of sick room equipment previously loaned out by the West Sayville Sick Room Loan Closet (see above); it had been serving West Sayville and Oakdale for twenty years  and now those patients would be supplied by the Cabinet…Sayville Cabinet for the Sick is a non-profit operation which is supported entirely by donations. Over its many years, it has had a variety of fund-raisers (thrift sales, bridge parties,  etc.) but for purchase of new equipment it relies heavily on its annual letter sent out (almost since inception)  to all homes in the towns that it serves - Sayville, Bayport, Holbrook, Bohemia, West Sayville and Oakdale – requesting just a two dollar donation; an extremely modest sum  to support on-going availability of free, short-term borrowings of  medical or “comfort” equipment for any patient.


Photos from Sayville Cabinet for the Sick Archives


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Speaker chats with Eugenia Raynor, Club President (c) and Eleanor Haff (r) at annual luncheon, May 1957

Old-fashioned herb garden at Edwards Homestead,
developed 1972 and  maintained by Garden Club


Garden Club Arbor Tree planting; a Memorial elm was planted at United Methodist Church, April 1992


Wooden tulips signify gardens winning awards from the  Sayville Garden Club, 1996


Garden Club Members care for Sparrow Park

 Mantle decoration done for Bayport House Tour, 1997


Baskets and gifts awaiting raffle at Garden Club
Luncheon, Land’s End, May 2013


Members checking pumpkin floral  baskets made annually for Bayport Heritage Annual House Tour

SAYVILLE  GARDEN CLUB (SGC):   The first SGC was organized in the summer of 1916 with Miss Minnie Foster as President. Its first annual Flower Show, presented under SGC “management” but also under the auspices of the Village Improvement Society and the Library Association, was held in the Opera House, September 1 and 2.  All three organizations benefited from the proceeds. A notable entrant was a man from Cherry Grove who exhibited a “remarkable” collection of flowers and vegetables from his garden in the sand dunes. In 1917, SGC planned to give special attention to vegetable gardening because of the “high cost of living”; it offered Junior members seeds for vegetables they wanted to grow at two cents a pack. The annual show was held in St. Lawrence Auditorium because it had greater floor space and its lighting was considered better for show purposes; admission was 25 cents for adults, 10 cents for children then, because of the War, the group disbanded. Meeting at Sayville Yacht Club, Sayville Garden Club re-organized on June 27, 1927. Mrs. Thomas A. McGoldrick presided and about 50 ladies from Sayville, Bayport, Blue Point, Bohemia and Oakdale attended. In 1946, it joined the Federated Garden Clubs of America; since, it has also become a member of National Garden Clubs, Inc. and Federated Garden Clubs of New York State. It usually meets monthly (from September to June) at the United Methodist Church; currently, there are about 65 participants. Over the years, meetings and monthly speakers have focused on both floral design and horticulture.  Themed Standard Flower Shows have been held during which designs and horticultural exhibits are judged. In May 1972, the Club created an old-fashioned herb garden and a “scent and touch garden” for the blind at the Edwards Homestead. It continues to plant and care for this garden as it does for gardens at Gillette House, Sparrow Park and the vegetable garden at Meadow Croft; vegetables raised from the latter are given to donated to the Greater Sayville Food Pantry. Other long-standing community projects include taking part in Keep Islip Clean (over 20 years), bringing special holiday projects in the winter and spring to local nursing home residents,  designing pumpkin floral arrangements for Bayport Heritage Association’s house tour, creating arrangements for local libraries in December, and decorating rooms at both Meadow Croft and Bayard Cutting Arboretum for Christmas activities.  Years ago the Club also decorated the Sayville Railroad Station at Christmas time. In the spring, members of the Club’s  “Beautification Committee” drive around Sayville, West Sayville, Bayport and Blue Point and award its special Wooden Tulips to homeowners and businesses have outstanding gardens; recently, the Club has also honored Holiday decorations in December. To encourage and honor local students who have demonstrated an interest in horticulture or environmental science and plan to pursue either in college, the SGC annually awards two scholarships to graduates. Bi-annually in June (since 1998), in partnership with BAFFA, it sponsors “A Little Garden Music: A (5) Garden Tour with Musical Entertainment”. The Sayville Garden Club’s major fund-raiser is its annual spring luncheon, usually attended by several hundred local flower lovers as well as those from other Long Island clubs; guests  have an opportunity to win one of more than 60 prizes, listen to an expert on design or gardening and enjoy the camaraderie of others who also look forward to this event.


Images from archives of Sayville Garden Club


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Brush Building (2nd from right), about 1914

Sayville Library, 2nd Floor, October 1914

SVIS encouraged Lighthouse Service to install
Brown’s River beacon, 1914 


SVIS purchased Blue Points Company land and gave to
Town for new Public  Beach; opened July 1, 1925

Ready for the guests; SVIS 80th Anniversary Tea,
Gillette House, April 18th, 1994

New litter containers for Main Streets are inspected by President Kay Porter and Ann Morrison, May 1994



Warren McDowell donates five elm tree saplings to SVIS
for planting along Main Street, May 18, 1994



SVIS: Antiques & Collectibles Sale, Gillette Park,
May 15, 2005



SVIS “Survived the Summer” Beach Party, Public Beach
August 22, 2005


Buy a raffle ticket; SVIS Holiday Party, Gillette House,
December 4, 2010



SAYVILLE VILLAGE IMPROVEMENT SOCIETY (SVIS), 47 Gillette Avenue: On March 9, 1914, about 30 women joined Mrs. Lena Hoag (wife of the Editor) at The Suffolk County News office, all acknowledging that they wished “to work for better conditions in the village” and organized the (Sayville) Woman’s Village Improvement Society;  Mrs. Hoag was elected  President. Mrs. Margaret Brush offered two large rooms above Otto’s Meat Market on South Main Street and Ida Gillette offered to help with the expenses of  furniture and lighting. The Society’s  first year was a very active one. Within two weeks, it sponsored what may still be its largest fund raiser, “Fiesta and Parada”, a song and dance production featuring  about 200 local residents (including many children) at the Opera House. Tickets were 35, 50 and 75 cents; it ran for four nights and netted about $ 250.  (It was repeated two years later). Then the ladies addressed the local trash situation, asking people to stop dumping garbage in the Mill Pond and the Town to designate two specific dump areas, one in the meadows south of Terry Street and the other off Easy Street north of  the Power Station; if  people were unable to get to these, they could notify the Society which would periodically have their trash picked up and delivered. (The Town did not start picking it up until the 1920s). The Town also provided 12 large trash cans for placement on Main Street. Society placed name signs at each of three entrances so transients didn’t have to ask “what town is this?”. Petitioned Lighthouse Service, whose inspector had been here in early March to determine if a beacon was needed at entrance to Brown’s River, to hasten its decision for safety of baymen. hired a part-time traffic cop , stationed at Main and Candee, to direct heavy summer traffic (repeated in 1915 and later replaced by a “silent rotating policeman”.) organized the Sayville Library auxiliary (Mrs. Brush offered an additional room) which opened October 19, 1914; SVIS broke its link with the Library in 1965 planted shrubs at the Railroad Station. and put a “School Street, Slow Down” sign on Green Avenue. The second year, it not only followed up on previous projects but also considered paying for a public nurse (then the School hired one permanently in March); held a big Outdoor Fair at Brookside (I.H. Green residence) to buy  a Town Clock; considered a public park on the Shore; endorsed extending Foster Avenue to North Main Street; and also appears to have been have been very active in the Suffrage Movement. During WWI, it was instrumental in establishing a local branch of the Red Cross and erecting outdoor Serviceman Honor Boards. Among following  projects, in 1924 the park at the shore was realized when the Blue Points Company agreed to sell some of its Sayville property  to the  ladies for $ 5,000, which they raised through fund raisers and door-to-door solicitations; the Public Beach opened on July 1, 1925 and turned over to the Town of Islip. SVIS was incorporated so that it could own Sparrow Park, given by Ida Gillette and later turned over to the Town (SVIS provided its flagpole). After accumulating for years, the SVIS fund for a Town Clock was spent when a new Seth-Thomas clock was installed in the tower of the new Fire House. After the Gillette property  was deeded to the Town about 1940, the Society participated in formation of a Community Council to govern its use by local civic and cultural group. About 1970, the Society formed a “Greenthumb Committee” (now known as the “Beautification Committee”).  Its first major effort was to beautify main business streets with flowers in redwood planters constructed by Junior High School students; these have now been replaced by stone planters which hold flowers in the summer and Christmas trees for the Holidays.  In the 1960s, it replaced dead or dying elm trees around the village with honey locusts around and, in the 1980s, with disease-resistant elm trees. Nowadays, it also has placed murals on prominent building walls and attractive directories in flowered areas around the village, identifying businesses in the immediate area. For many years, it has also awarded scholarships to a Sayville High School Senior and to the Most Improved female athlete. All of the above have been paid for by benefit fund-raisers including sales of cookbooks and annual Antique and Collectible Fairs; Holiday Parties; Survived Summer Beach Parties; and by personal donations, all making contributing to making Sayville a better place to live.       

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Sayville Golf and Country Club


Shoreham Restaurant, about 1903

Golf Player, 9th Hole, looking north from Shoreham,
postmarked October 22, 1910


Sayville Golf & Country Club, 9th Hole, July 1, 1922


From Bay, bathouses at left


Ninth Hole and bathhouses, 1920s


July 8, 1934


SAYVILLE GOLF / COUNTRY CLUB, Candee Avenue at the Bay:  John Treadwell Green had been operating a pavilion on the shore on the east side of Candee Avenue since 1884; he moved it to the west side next to the bathing beach when construction of the South Bay House began in 1888. In the summer of 1893, several local men including I.H. Green, Jr. and William and Frank Hayward among the Directors, incorporated the first Sayville Country Club “for the cultivation of social relations among the members, and to cultivate and develop athletics, yachting and other lawful sports”.  The Club then acquired the land of T.B. Schneider which had about 70 feet on the Bay east of the South Bay House (see Hotels) and extended back almost to Bay Avenue (now Elm Street); apparently, the property encompassed a 12-room Queen Anne cottage (to be the Club House) and a stable and carriage house. However, financial problems ensued and the property was sold at public auction on April 13, 1895 to Max Krueger, a New York restaurant owner, who intended to open it as a boarding house but quickly changed his mind and re-auctioned it to a James Cashmere of Brooklyn.  In 1903 the Greens leased their pavilion on the west side of Candee Avenue to Charles Frieman who renamed it The Shoreham, noted for its “Shore Dinners”. At about the same time, the Willett Green Home – which had been built around 1790 on the west side of Candee Avenue about midway to the Bay – was moved down and incorporated into the building (far right end in above photo). In December 1902, Captain Smith Rogers’  boatyard (shown above left), which had been at the entrance to Green’s Canal for some years, was sold to Nelson Swezey; he later moved the railways to his own yard on Brown’s River (see Main Street to the Bay: Shoreham Restaurant)…On Saturday, June 27, 1903, a group of local men  interested in establishing a golf club met at the Shoreham Restaurant and organized the Sayville Golf Club; they arranged with I.H. Green Sr. to use 30 acres of  his property on the west side of Candee Avenue -  extending from the Shoreham to just north of  Ralph Greene’s residence (just north of today’s Puritan Road) - for their nine-hole course; all except the ninth were above Elm Street. Charter members paid  $ 10.00 to use the Club for the playing season. William Hayward was elected President…Alec Patrick, a noted golfer, designed the course and it was formally opened on July 25 at 9:30 AM. At the close of the season in September, Ralph Greene leased the same land to the Club for the following year for $ 250 with privilege of a two-year renewal. In August 1913, contractor Henry Rogers built a “Little Club House” in a small grove north of Elm Street. The Green family had indicated that their long-term intention was to subdivide and sell  the Candee Avenue property as building lots.  Consequently, in November 1914, a group of members formed the Sayville Land Company which purchased the 64-acre W.R. Slater farm on the North Road (Montauk Highway) and leased it back to the Club; four of the wealthier members had promised to take all stock not otherwise subscribed. The following spring, four new tennis courts were constructed on the Slater site and the Sayville Tennis Club re-located there. In 1916, the Greens were soliciting buyers for their Candee Avenue property and the Club expanded its preliminary work clearing the Slater land and getting it in shape for a new golf course. Despite this,  during the War in 1918, local aviators, including the Military, had discovered the new links  as a fine landing place and continued using it as such for several years until it was sold. By summer 1919, many members were thinking more in terms of an 18-hole rather than a nine-hole course and a decision had to be made.  Ralph Greene, representing the Greene estate, offered three alternatives: he would sell the Club all the land it now occupied plus the shorefront and Shoreham restaurant for $ 80,000 , agreeing to take the Slater Farm property that the Club held as part payment of  $20,000 or sell the Club only the land it currently occupied for $ 60,000 or  lease the Club its present course for two years at $1,200 annually. The ultimate decision was for the Club to buy the existing operation (with the possibility that it might eventually join with the Sayville Yacht Club as a full-scale “Country Club”). In 1921, in order to develop its shore front facilities and establish a Country Club, the Club issued bonds in the amount of $15,000. Work began in November. The Willett Green house was to be retained, including an entrance hall, office, lounge, kitchen, and wash rooms with an apartment above for the caretaker.  The new construction on the west end encompassed a very large auditorium with a large fireplace, seating  500 or more people, with a glassed and screened 15-foot veranda the full length of the seaside.  Separate buildings to the west along the inlet (Greene’s Canal) added 150 bath houses and a substantial dock was available for boat landings.  A breakwater which had been completed earlier was already helping in extending the beach. Club House membership of $25 for the season included all of the “immediate” family except male members 21 and over and married children. Within a year, the Club had 250 family memberships and the Golf Club had reached its limit. In October 1924, the Sayville Land Company sold the Slater property at auction to Ralph Greene for $11,700; the Company (Club members) had originally paid $12,500 for  it and spent another $10,000 clearing about 20 acres, plowing, seeding and putting in irrigation pipes. The Club continued to be a popular place into the 1930s with its golf, swimming and multiple dances, movies and other social events (including dog shows). However, as Island Hills with its 18 holes grew and depression took its financial toll, membership  at the Club declined. In November 1935 the land north of Elm Street was sold to Fenton R. Brydle,  a wealthy investor who was also president of a roofing company in Connecticut; his “hobby” was building houses and within the next three years he had completed ten in his  new Country Club Estates. In 1941, a New York actors group, after some remodeling, opened the old Country Club House as the Sayville Playhouse, a summer theater. In the spring of 1942, they bought the property from Elm Street to the Bay. (see Business Sayville: Main Street to the Bay). The building eventually burned down in March 1959:  most of the land is now considered a Town Park with a small playground.


Images: Top row, left, Dowling College Special Collection; right, collection of  Sayville Library

Middle row, left, courtesy of Edwards Company: right, collection of Tony Brinkmann

Bottom row, left, collection of Sayville Library; right, collection of Neil Spare, Jr.   


SAYVILLE TENNIS CLUBS:  In the early 1900s, there appear to have been several organizations or reorganizations of a Sayville Tennis Club.  Sewell Thornhill was apparently involved in at least two of the groups with prize cups being displayed in his drug store window. The first  Club was formed in June 1900.  It rented land from Charles Z. Gillette and constructed two dirt courts with screen back-ups just south of his house on Gillette Avenue. In 1901, it moved its location to Greeley Avenue behind P.K. Benjamin’s home and built two north-south dirt courts. In 1902, with 25 members, it held its first Tournament, open to all amateurs within the limits of Great River, Blue Point and Ronkonkoma; entrance was 25 cents for singles, 50 cents for doubles. The Club remained at this location at least through 1904. In 1913, a Sayville Tennis Club was organized at the new Cedarshore Club (see Main Street to the Bay).  The following year, George A. Morrison constructed two new courts for it on the north end of his property near Elm Street; the courts were formally opened on July 3. In 1915, the Club shifted its location to four new courts at the old Slater Farm on the North Road (Montauk Highway), recently acquired by the Sayville Golf Club, where it remained in 1916 and, perhaps longer, as part of the Sayville Golf Club.

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Island Hills Golf and Country Club




Island Hills Club House, 1960



ISLAND HILLS COUNTRY CLUB (IHCC),  2101 Lakeland Avenue:   Reportedly, an original nine-hole course at Island Hills was laid out in 1915 by Herbert Strong, an Englishman who had recently  won fifth place in the 1913 U.S. Open, on property originally referred to as “Fraser’s North Woods”, then owned  James A. Bolton of Sayville. Bolton, a New Jersey developer, began investing in land in Sayville and Oakdale in 1904.  By November 1907, he had acquired over 1,000 acres from the estate of Alfred A. Fraser along Montauk Highway and above the railroad tracks, some of which he re-sold to Telefunken, F. G. Bourne and the Bluepoints Company, among others. However, he still held – 350 acres of scrub on the west side of Lakeland Avenue which, in October 1922,  he started clearing  with plows and dynamite; in 1926, he sold 260 of these acres to Emil Kupfer who was planning Sayville Heights, a new development of many homes and an 18-hole golf course on the site. During Bolton’s many year ownership of the land, no evidence has been found that the Strong-designed nine-hole course was ever constructed or operated; if it was, it must have been by a very private or restrictive party on leased land. Kupfer hired noted golf architect, A. W. Tillinghast and had 50 men at work by early summer,  further clearing the land for the 6700 yard  (almost four mile) course and laying a 9,000 foot irrigation system.  Although he had the residential section mapped and cleared, initial attention was devoted to the golf course. VanPopering & DeGraff, well-known local contractors, also began work on the new Clubhouse, to be built at a cost of about $10,000, located close to the Lakeland Avenue  gateway to the Sayville Heights. Initially, it was anticipated that there might be bitter feeling as well as keen rivalry between Island Hills and the Sayville Golf Club but by spring 1927 there was some consideration to them joining forces, swapping properties so that Mr. Kupfer could build more houses near his 1920-22 development along Green Avenue from Elm Street to the Bay.  The Sayville Golf Club made a tentative offer of $200,000 for Island Hills to Mr. Kupfer with all of that portion of Sayville Golf Club north of Elm Street (later known as Country Club Estates) figuring in the deal with a valuation of $100,000; in May,  it was rejected. Island Hills Country Club had an “informal” opening on Saturday, June 18th 1927, with 51 members competing in a Tournament. (At this time, construction of Smithtown Avenue and other streets to the west of the Club were underway and as was the marketing of new home lots in the new Sayville Heights under the direction of its  developers, G.A. & W.B. Robinson [see Main Street: North Side]. Slogans were “buy an acre for the price of a lot” and “free title policies with each lot”.). On June 1, 1928, the Club officers accepted the course and the 116-acre property from Emil Kupfer under a previous agreed sales agreement. Then, in August, the IHCC marked its first anniversary with a celebration, noting the turning of “the rolling hills covered with Long Island scrub oak into a championship golf course” and the current 100 members, as well as introducing a novel new feature “particularly for the ladies”,  ”Clock Golf”. In October, a trap-shooting range was also introduced. In 1939, the Club was leased to two local men, Edward Connelly and Arthur Vitoch, who ran it successfully until it was closed down because of WWII.  During the War, the links were used for various military exercises and parachute training by the Army, stationed at nearby MacArthur Field. In August 1946, after being closed down for five years, Charles Mayes of the Kingsway Golf School in Brooklyn bought the Club for a reported $ 35,000; following restoration of the damage to the grounds, he re-opened it in June 1947. In March 1948, it was acquired by  Richard Corbisiero of Oakdale and Edward J. McCann of Greenlawn who substantially renovated the Clubhouse and also added tennis. In September 1952, IHCC changed hands again, being acquired by a membership Corporation which would  operate it as the private  Island Hills Golf Club. They planned a complete renovation of the facilities, including a 285-locker men’s dressing room; a 100-locker room for ladies; a new pro-shop; and enlargement of the dining room. A swimming pool was added in 1956. In 2008, following an offer to buy out the Club’s 116 -acre course  and convert it  to a nine-hole  plus homesites,   the Club took newspaper ads to  announce that it was “not for sale”, only  seeking new members.

Images: Top, from The Metropolitan Golfer, August 1927

Bottom, left from collection of George Spruce; right from collection of Sayville Library


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West Sayville Country Club

Anson W. Hard Home from Bay Side


Carriage House/Garage, early 1920s


Entrance and historic Gate House


Main House


Main house looking from original servants quarters




 WEST SAYVILLE COUNTRY CLUB, 200 Montauk Highway, West Sayville:  Frederick Gilbert Bourne (1851-1919) was son of a Boston minister. Although the family was of moderate circumstances, he did not attend college  but moved to New York and was later hired by his friend, Alfred Clark, for the real estate business.  However, Clark’s father, a partner of Isaac Merritt Singer, creator of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, got him a position in that Company and in 1889, Bourne was elected President of Singer.  That same year, he made his first land purchase in Oakdale, at the time a summer colony for the rich; the land he acquired would later encompass LaSalle Academy (now St. John’s University) and West Oak Recreation Camp (WORC). Under Bourne’s direction and with his commitment to advertising, Singer became one of the first successful U.S. multi-national companies…In 1897, work began on his new home, Indian Neck Hall (now St. John’s Main building),  and was completed in early 1900 for his 25th wedding anniversary. By the time of his death in 1919, Bourne had expanded his land holdings to 2,000 acres in Oakdale, West Sayville and Bohemia.  They were divided among his seven children; the family sold their home, Indian Neck Hall, and most of the surrounding property in 1925. On April 28, 1908, daughter Florence had married Anson Wales Hard, Jr., a Wall Street broker, and, as a wedding present, Bourne gave them 250 acres of land and 50 of wetlands in the southeast corner of his properties, bounded by the Bay, West Avenue and Montauk Highway in West Sayville.  I.H. Green, Jr. was contracted to design their house; it had 14 rooms and multiple fireplaces, was completed in October 1910 and was named Meadowedge; outbuildings included two gate houses, a green house and, later, a large carriage house (now the Long Island Maritime Museum) and boat house (originally a garage). The Hards lived together there until their divorce in 1932 when he moved to his hunting lodge in Yaphank (now Southaven County Park) where he lived until his death in 1935…During WW II, Mrs. Hard closed the main house and moved, with her children, to the estate garage, built in 1920 (see Clubs: Museums). In the 1950s, Florence Bourne Hard removed to Stamford, CT, abandoning Meadowedge, the last segment of her father’s original Indian Neck estate. In mid-1960, the 217-acre property was put on the market with an estimated million dollar value and the community was upset by the prospect of housing developers grabbing it; however, they were unsuccessful and, in 1966, the Hard family donated the property to Suffolk County with the provision that it not be developed for private commercial use. The County re-named it Charles R. Dominy Park  (he  was Park Commissioner at the time) and under the direction of William Mitchell, a noted golf architect, utilized 137 acres for the County’s first 18-hole golf course; the balance was divided between the Long Island Maritime Museum on the shore front and, for some years, the extensive greenhouses which were home to G.R.O.W. (Greenhouse Recreation Opportunities Workshop) where those with developmental disabilities were able to learn horticulture. Later, the headquarters of the Suffolk County Park System was moved into the east wing, originally the servants’ quarters of the Main House. The Golf Course opened on May 25th, 1968 with greens fees ranging from three to five dollars, depending on the day of the week…Players were restricted to Suffolk County residents and their guests. The Pro Shop, featuring clothing and a complete line of golf equipment  was located in the Main House and locker, showers and facilities were to be provided shortly. In March 1989, the main building was renovated in accordance with guidelines of the Suffolk County History Trust and opened as  a restaurant with banquet facilities called by its original name, Meadow Edge; the Pro-Shop moved to the west. The County has continued to update fairways and greens since  by installing an automated and computerized irrigation system, improving drainage and bunkers,  removing and replacing dead or dying tree and banning metal spikes on golf shoes; it has also facilitated playing by adding asphalt paths for golf carts and tee signs for those “seeking to play a slightly shorter course”  (Overall, the Course is shorter than Island Hills).   

Images: Top row, left, collection of Long Island Maritime Museum; right, collection of Tony Brinkmann

All others from Dowling College Long Island Historic Homes collection


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Sayville Yacht Club




Suffolk County News, July 28, 1911



South Bay Yacht Club, Cedar Avenue, Patchogue, 1917
Floated to Sayville, May 26, 1921



Sayville Yacht Club, late 1921


Sayville Yacht Club pier, late 1920s



SYC Dock, Brown’s River, Postmarked August 26,1936




Doug Westin acquired Gerry’s Boat Yard on April 1, 1951. Middle building (behind center gas pump) was SYC Club House from 1931 to 1933 and (courtesy of Doug) from 1951 to 1957; it was later moved to Cherry Grove.



Shirley’s Pavilion, Smith’s Point, March 1957


Sayville Yacht Club at Blue Point, 1959



Sayville Yacht Club at Blue Point, 1960s



Sayville Yacht Club at Blue Point, 2013


SOUTH SIDE / SAYVILLE YACHT CLUB (SYC):   The original New York Yacht Club was founded in 1844; in those days, gentlemen hired professional skippers and crews to race their boats. However, as the century progressed, the concept of Corinthian (i.e.,“amateur”) sailing grew and some members broke away, choosing it; after several samplings of  ports around the City, in September 1871 the Seawhanaka Corinthian Yacht Club finally chose Centre Island for its permanent home. Some of the members eventually shifted their summer vacations to the South Shore and, while some boats (e.g., Regis Post’s Constance) were winning on the North shore, new Clubs were forming on the South (e.g., Bay Shore, Point o’ Woods) locally. In July 1901, John E. Roosevelt (see Clubs: Museums/Meadowcroft) and friends in Bayport organized Sewanhaka South a/k/a South Side Yacht Club of Bayport;  Roosevelt served as Commodore from 1901 to 1907 and meetings were held at Meadowcroft. The Club’s first annual regatta, accompanied by gale winds, was held September 9, 1902 over a 12-mile triangular course off Sayville.  There were three classes: “A”, sloops of not over 25 feet; “B” sloops engaged in oystering, fishing and sailing parties with a crew limited to eight, and; “C” catboats of not more than 25 feet racing length.  Prizes depended on the number entering in each class, declining as the numbers increased.  In the “working class”, the top was $ 50 if only two, $ 25 if three, and $ 10, if four or more. John Roosevelt’s Wanda was second place in “A” class. By 1904, the Club had 27 sloops and yawls and six catboats racing and, as its membership increased, became more closely affiliated with Sayville than Bayport; its invitational regattas were then being held off the end of Foster Avenue. Some regattas featured motor boat races in the morning in addition to sailing races in the afternoon. The Club, which functioned only in the summer (although some members met in New York in the off season) completed its sixteenth season in 1916 and then disbanded for the War years; 1916 also was marked the first time a woman had won the Great South Bay Yacht Racing Association’s big race, Queen of the Bay, run annually since 1899. (However, the GSBYRA, itself, was not organized until 1906; it is a not-for-profit regional sailing association hosted during the summer season by local yacht clubs around the Bay.) On July 15, 1920, about 30 men met at the Cedarshore to re-organize the South Side Yacht Club and planned a regatta within the next few weeks. In April 1921,  South Side decided to buy the Patchogue Yacht Club building, constructed in 1909 but empty and unused since 1918, and float it to Sayville.  Their representatives met with those of the Sayville Golf and Country Club in New York to discuss  situating the new Club House on ground west of the Country Club on Candee Avenue; however, when they found that they would only be given a five year lease by the Greens, they bought Captain Rogers’ shore property east of Foster Avenue between the former Ackerly and Lewis Oyster plants instead. In May 1921, after being loaded on three scows which sunk, Davis movers had to wait a week for proper high tide and good weather to finish the operation; on May 26, the “Ark” was re-floated and, towed by two oyster boats, accomplished the trip to Sayville in less than two hours. The building was 48x56 feet, had a large assembly room with a big fireplace and dressing rooms on the ground floor, a dance hall and board meeting rooms on the second and wide porches around both levels with excellent views of the Bay. More than 500 members and friends  joined in the housewarming on the evening of July 1. During the annual meeting which followed on August 25, 1921 members voted to change their name to the Sayville Yacht Club, believing that South Shore was “not distinctive enough”, and to incorporate the organization. organization. Thereafter, the Club moved on smoothly for almost nine years, holding races and regattas interspersed with multiple social events – beefsteak and lobster dinners, clambakes, bridge parties, dances, motion pictures, flower shows – until 1930 when it found that it could no longer support the Club House with its $ 11,000 mortgage. In November 1930, former Town Supervisor Frank Rogers, who held the mortgage foreclosed. (Following, for many years, the building was the Glen Willow Apartments and then Sunset Bay). In April 1931, the Club announced that it was relocating close by; John P. Zerega of Bayport had constructed a new yacht basin approximately 75x275 feet on the River Road about 500 feet away and would also build a Club House at the west end of the basin; it was to be 32x36 feet with an outside screened porch on the south and east sides; the main room would have a fireplace and the kitchen would be completely equipped to prepare beefsteak and lobster dinners. The Club would move in by Decoration (Memorial) Day…It did and resumed its racing and social programs; the Sayville Garden Club again had its annual flower show there, etc.. In 1932, the Club advertised to all boat owners "get your oil, ice and water at the Sayville Yacht Club”. At its first invitational regatta on July 23, 1932, run from its  new headquarters, the Club had 44 participants. However, its good luck did not last long. It had rented its new quarters at a rent that it could not afford, $ 1,000 a year, and was evicted at the end of the 1933 season. (This later became Doug Westin’s boat yard.) In 1934, dues were reduced to five dollars a year for all and Elliott Morrison gave SYC space and docking at Cedarshore. 1935 was the inaugural year for the Wet Pants Sailing Association (see below) and both the SYC and the GSBYRA proposed alliances but the newcomers turned them down. In 1936, yachting attention was on the Olympic Elimination Races obtained, organized and sponsored by the efforts of the Round Table Club (Rotary’s predecessor). In 1937, SYC considered disbanding but found another new home at Snapper Inn. Thereafter, meetings moved around, eventually  landing back at the River Road building which Doug Westin had acquired for his boat shop; throughout most of those years,  the Club maintained its presence in the area by entering  GSBYRA  or other locally-held races and continued a schedule of social events, the last recorded being a cocktail party at the Shoreham on June 27, 1942  in honor of  LT (j.g) James Alvarez, a past Commodore, who was expected to report for active duty on July 1. In 1946, a few Wet Panters joined the SYC, dug for money to join the GSBYRA, and raced under the SYC banner in Race Week at Timber Point; Harry Hammer was Commodore and Jack Danes, Vice-Commodore. About the same time, both Clubs protested Engineers’ attempts to derail a plan by Supervisor Duryea to have the County finance a loop road from Seaman Avenue to the east bank of Brown’s River, 1200 feet of alongside docking, and a return to Seaman Avenue; the Engineers’ alternate plan was for a canal to run east and south from the River closer to the Bay, affording 2,000 feet of docking.  At that time, the Engineers won but the originally proposed loop was accomplished later. Among the Snipes, Fred Horn, a Wet Panter, won for SYC in Race Week 1949. Doug Westin founded his own boat brokerage business in March 1948,  bought land on Terry Street where he built his first shop in 1950 ( now the Cull House; also see Sayville: Main Street to the Bay) and on  April 4, 1951 expanded, acquiring Joseph Gerry’s boat yard, the Club’s former rented property, down  River Road. On June 1, 1956, a group interested in reviving the Club met there in the former SYC building, Doug having donated it for summer headquarters; letters were being mailed to members and prospective members describing the  Committees hope to “bring some of the large regattas back to Sayville and to offer power boat owners something more than just pennant”. A follow-up was held on June 29 with close to 60 members present; William Shelbourne was elected Commodore and  the yachting and social activities for the summer were outlined. In January 1957, the Club, having grown to about 150 members, purchased from longtime-member Lispenard Suydam several waterfront acres (with the option of expanding later) on Boylan Lane in Blue Point for its new location.  It then acquired the old Shirley’s Pavilion at Smith’s Point, had it floated to the property on three barges and re-assembled and renovated it as a new Club House. In 1960, the first swimming pool was built (and replaced in 1976. The Club House was enlarged in 1968, adding the cocktail room and deck. With a $ 100,000 loan from the Oystermen’s, the basin with accommodations for 50 boats was constructed in 1970/71. The Club dining room (originally a nun’s dining hall in Patchogue)  was floated over and attached in 1981. In 1989/90, the Club installed a new heating system, finished off the second floor to provide a small meeting room and space for race committee equipment, and renovated the sailing shed for use of the Junior Yacht Club. Following a severe storm in 1991, during which high-water flooded the property,  it appeared that another  major renovation was needed, costing about hald a million dollars.  Work began on December 12, 1994 to raise the building onto pilings; that was completed by Commissioning Day, May 17, 1995 and is the way the Club appears today on its 12 ½ acre site with 800 feet of shorefront.   


Images: left column, top, collection of Patchogue-Medford Library; 2nd row, from Tom Travis: Sayville’s Wet Pants

Sailing Association 1934-1940; right column, top and 2nd row, collection of Sayville Library; 3rd row, courtesy of Debbie Westin Rogers; 4th & 5throws  left ,courtesy of Sue Miller; 4th row right, photo by John A. Conklin; 5th row right, courtesy of Sue Miller


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 Willow Grove from end of pier, early 1900s


Wanderers’ Yacht Club at Willow Grove, 1913



WANDERER’S YACHT CLUB, Willow Pavilion, Browns River Road: William T. Hayward was chairman of the tenth annual regatta of the South Side Yacht Club (July22, 1911) which included a race exclusively for “boys’ boats, all kinds and models from graceful scow to nimble sharpie”. Helmsmen could not be over 18 years of age. This may have been instrumental in the formation of the Wanderer’s Yacht Club the following year. It was described as “an organization of enthusiastic junior yachtsmen”; it’s Commodore was Kenneth Hayward, youngest son of W.T. and its Fleet Captain was Elward Smith. In June 1896, Captain Carman Skinner had built a small pavilion east of the foot of Foster Avenue to sell soft drinks and cigars.  By 1901, it became known as the Willow Grove and added bathhouses; it was noted for its dances and, in addition to swimming, it also rented rowboats (see Main Street to the Bay: Sykes Beach). The Wanderer’s made its headquarters in a room above the Willow Pavilion where a large balcony had been built for members and friends to watch races and water sports. In addition to races, the Club also planned a cruise and a series of swimming races and diving contests. In July 1913, the Club purchased a houseboat that it christened Outside Inn; members anticipated “glorious times” aboard. In 1915, Elward Smith at age 20 was elected Commodore of the South Side Yacht Club, Kenneth Hayward at 19 became Vice Commodore and apparently Wanderer’s disbanded.  


Images: left from collection of Sayville Library, right from collection of Neil Spare, Jr.


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Race Day on the Shoreham Pier; Sayville shorefront in background, late 1930s
Former Lobster Grill on left and former Sayville Yacht Club on right



Awaiting transportation across Brown’s River to
1st Annual Clambake  in Bayport,  August 2, 1936


At end of season, members gather around Shoreham flag pole for flag-lowering ceremony, 1938

Sailboats along the pier at the Tidewater Inn

awaiting start of race,  1936


Bud Huss displaying the “Sacred Wet Pants” he had just won;  presented by his mother at Annual Mess, 1960


Wet Pants Club House, 2014


Wet Pants Club House (center) and old Sayville Yacht

Club (now apartments), far right, 2014



WET PANTS SAILING ASSOCIATION (WPSA), Browns River Road:    WPSA was an off-shoot of the Cherry Grove Yacht Club, a low-cost, informal group that had a brief life in the 1930s. In 1933,Walter Lightner and Fred Stein collaborated, designing and building the “Cherry Grove Sneak Box”, a small sail boat specifically for Junior members of the Club (see West Sayville: Main Street to the Bay). In 1934, several Sayville residents sailed over and participated in their races.  However, at season’s end, as non-members they were denied any prizes. Consequently, on September 16th, Hervey Garrett Smith and 15 other local sailors met at his house and created the Wet Pants Sailing Association with the aim of “sponsoring yacht racing in and about the waters off Sayville”.  For its first season 1935, eighteen Charter members paid the one dollar annual membership fee. Smith is considered not only founder of the WPSA but also of the Long Island Maritime Museum (see Clubs: Museums). For its opening season in 1935, the Club made its headquarters at Sykes Beach / Lobster Grill, previous home of the  Wanderer’s Yacht Club.  However, owner of the property, Alfred Sykes, declared bankruptcy and Club headquarters for 1936 was moved to the Tidewater Inn Pavilion next door where it was to remain for many years. Alfred Frieman took over the Inn the following year, changed its name to  The Shoreham and welcomed the Wet Pants. As membership expanded, more docking space was required and, in 1939, the Club paid Frieman $30 to extend the pier by 30 feet. To accommodate all members, within the races boats were divided among one-design and handicap classes, each group having a separate starting time.  Boats in handicap classes were categorized solely based on their performance which was re-adjusted with each race. As years went on, the one-design classes became the dominant group.  The Club had its own, the “Diaper”, designed by Hervey Smith in 1936 and built by Captain Mark L’Hommedieu and Lew Baker at Mark’s Shop (see Sayville: Main Street to the Bay).  Among the other classes then and later were Snipes,  Comets, Cape Cods, Towns, Narrasketucks and the larger P’s and A’s (which, in each race,  had to go around the course twice). The Club’s major honor is being awarded the “Sacred Wet Pants” at the Annual Mess (Farewell Dinner at the end of the Season); in early years, they were given to the winner of the fleet Championship race on Labor Day but soon changed and presented to the sailor who was judged to have  the best combination of sailing ability, good spirit and usefulness to the Club. The Club had a significant drop in membership during WWII;  in 1940 there were 82 boats participating, in 1943 there were 30. There was a bounce after the War when the Diaper Class raced its last in 1949 but the 1950s evidenced another decline, even though the Club began its Sailing Class Program in 1952 with smaller boats such as the Sailfish. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Club and interested parents initiated the local Blue Jay Class which became predominant. The 1980s were another down period but the Club was able to get a new headquarters location after the Shoreham burned in 1973 and its Pavilion and  bathhouses a  few years later; it leased the old Port O’Call Marina (ex-Sykes Beach/Lobster Grill) facilities and grounds from the Town of Islip and is now back in its original location. Currently, over 100 families belong to the Wet Pants and most of its Annual Events are still held: Clambake, sail-over to Fire Island, Annual Mess and its Sailing Class; regrettably, the long-ago “Dungaree” and “Nice” Dances are gone.


For more detailed information, see: Tom Travis, Sayville’s Wet Pants Sailing Association 1934-1940.
Plainview, NY: William Charles Printing, 2008

All photos above from the Book mentioned  above, courtesy of Tom Travis, except last two by Webb Morrison


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Display re: Brain Awareness Week


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BrainMinders and Bicycle Helmets

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Pilot Club receives County Proclamation at Day Haven

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Heart Month at West Sayville Country Club


Proclamation (above) was for providing 

Project Lifesaver transmitters to Day Haven and Development Disabilities Institute


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CHADD I.D. sticker for attachment to car seat or other  

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Utilizing Wii equipment at DDI

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Pilot Club’s Anchor Club at Sayville High School

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Baskets to be auctioned at 2013 Fashion Show


PILOT CLUB OF SAYVILLE (PC):     Pilot Club was founded in Georgia in 1921 as an organization for business and professional women with the objective of helping  those in need and to improve the quality of life in their community; the name “Pilot” was drawn from river-boat pilots who navigate through calm or troubled waters, exhibiting leadership and guidance. Today, Pilot International expands around the Globe, drawing male and female members from all walks of life. The Sayville PC was chartered on December 3,1973. Two years later, Pilot International established its Foundation to support the community-based work of local Clubs by promoting the awareness,  prevention and treatment of brain-related disorders, including trauma to the brain (injury and stroke), mental and emotional disease. In pursuit of these aims, members provide both “hands on” and/or financial support to and through diverse nearby programs and organizations, some of which may not be familiar to all.  These include: Displays and informative lectures for Brain Awareness Week (Global effort sponsored by Brain Foundation, Australia); ninety-five bicycle helmets annually to Community Head Start under Pilot’s  BrainMinders program; reading programs and provision of play ground equipment for Angela’s House, a home for children who require life-sustaining technology; Association for the Help of Retarded Children; Day Haven Adult Day Services; Project Lifesaver tracking systems to help locate missing persons; Nintendo Wii equipment to facilitate physical fitness programs at Developmental Disabilities Institute; Skills Unlimited. However, the Club’s focus is not entirely on those with brain or other cognitive problems.  It also distributes information for Heart Month and CHADD (Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities) along with the distribution of ID stickers (primarily for identifying children in emergency situations) for the latter...Additionally, it supports the Greater Sayville Food Pantry, the Common Ground and Keep Islip Clean. In turn, it is supported by its Anchor Club at the Sayville High School whose members join with Pilot Club members in various activities, particularly those programs   promoting awareness among children and teen-agers. The local PC annually awards scholarships to an outstanding graduating Anchor; to a senior planning to teach special education; and to a graduating special needs senior. All of the above are funded by its special events locally, most notably its annual Fashion Sow, Dinner and Auction; donations; and grants from Pilot International.

All images courtesy of  the Pilot Club of Sayville


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Under Construction, August 17, 1935


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Sayville Republican Club


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Sayville Republican Club Dedication Program, November 2, 1935


SAYVILLE REPUBLICAN CLUB, 84 North Main Street:  Over the latter years of the 19th and early years of the 20th centurya Sayville Republican Club had several reincarnations at multiple different locations. In February 23, 1888, meeting at  Columbia Hall with 60 people present, on motion of Captain Charles Gillette, it became the South Side Republican Club of Sayville, Bayport, Oakdale and Greenville (West Sayville)...On October 9, 1908, meeting at the Opera House,  it reorganized  for the current campaign and was to be known as the Taft Republican Club...on May 7, 1915, the then Sayville and West Sayville Republican Club was meeting  in Terry’s Hall but apparently also had a Club Room on Railroad Avenue; the joint name carried at least through 1917. On February 4, 1921, the Sayville Republican Club moved to newly decorated rooms at the German Benevolent Society of Railroad Avenue. On January 10, 1923, the newly organized Roosevelt Republican Club took up residence in Forester’s Hall on the 2nd floor of the Opera House. On July 1, 1924 it was re-christened the Sayville Republican Club. On July 13, 1928, the Club moved again to the new Levy building which had replaced part of  Grand Central on North Main Street. The following summer members expanded and remodeled their Club Rooms and Charles G. Raynor donated a large mahogany desk exclusively for  use of the President; a large housewarming was held on September  4, 1929  with many political notables in attendance. In November 1930, the Club moved again, back to - but this time on the ground floor of - the remodeled Opera House, now also a Levy Building. On November 20, 1934, the “East End Republicans” (who did not formally adopt this name until April 3, 1967) – West Sayville, Sayville, Bohemia, Holbrook, Ronkonkoma – entertained all comers at a jubilation reception and Victory Ball in the West Sayville Fire House; it was celebrating a ""Clean Republican Sweep at Both State and County Levels" in the recent elections. In July 1935, Ida Gillette donated a site with a 50 foot frontage on North Main Street for a new Club House with the proviso that the premises always be used as a Republican Club; it was to be a memorial to her father, Captain Charles Z. Gillette. Over 200 local residents also made financial donations  and construction began almost immediately. The building was to be 30 feet across the front and 52 feet deep, exclusive of the porch.  The basement was to have a lounge and billiard room, men’s lavatory and oil heating equipment; the main floor was to have a large assembly room, director’s room, kitchen and ladies lavatory.  The Dedication Ceremony was held on November 2, 1935; over 600 attended, resulting in some guests having to sit downstairs. It was the only Club in the County which owned its own building. As noted above, in April 1967 the Club formerly changed its name to "East End" but it is still referred to, labeled as, and listed in the phone book as the Sayville Republican Club (possibly because at one time there was another "East End Republican Club" on the East End); however, it is probably still the only one in the County with its own Club House, frequently used as the headquarters for various Republican candidates who are running for office and it is always available for rental to the public for parties and non-profit community organizations.

WEST SAYVILLE REPUBLICAN CLUB (WSRC)On January 31, 1930, 14 men met at Civic Hall and organized the September, the Club leased the ex-Post Office in the Barfoot/Ryder Block and dedicated the new Club Room on October 29 as a permanent home; however, it planned to continue using Civic Hall for large meetings and parties. In  February 1934, it voted to admit female members. During the year, it became the West Sayville-Oakdale Republican Club. The last publicized meeting of the Club was June 14, 1935;  members were engaged in planning a Clambake at Snapper Inn on  June 21. It is assumed that the Club merged with the Sayville Club in its new Club House shortly thereafter.


All images courtesy of Sheila Retttaliata


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Father and Mother Divine, 1931

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Holy Communion Banquet Room, 72 Macon Avenue


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Father Divine’s Private Office, 72 Macon Avenue


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Mother and Father Divine; John Land, Assistant; and

Heavenly Rest, Secretary, 1931

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Father & (2nd) Mother Divine, about 1950


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Mother Divine accepts Commending Resolution from Philadelphia City Council, February 18, 1982


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72 Macon Avenue, 1972


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72 Macon Avenue from rear yard, 1972


PEACE MISSION MOVEMENT, FATHER DIVINE, 72 Macon AvenueEarly information concerning the Reverend Major Jealous Divine is scarce and contradictory.  He considered himself God, said that his personal history would not be useful in mortal terms and he would not admit being a member of any family.   He was an African-American spiritual leader, possibly born in Valdosta, Georgia around 1876 with the name George Baker, Jr.. He began preaching in the early 1900s in the South and moved to Brooklyn, NY in February 1914 where he fostered the belief that he was God incarnate fulfilling a Biblical prophecy.  Around the same time, he married the first Mother Divine, Peninnah, a disciple of his who was (although multiple U.S. Censuses indicate only three years) many years older. He insisted that all of his followers maintain a high moral standard, which - in his opinion - meant no profane language, cosmetics, gambling, movies, stage plays, gifts or tips, smoking, alcohol or sex.; in fact, both Father and Mother Divine later noted that their union had never been physically consummated. In 1919, the Divines and eight followers relocated to Sayville where he bought 72 Macon Avenue (being sold to spite neighbors) and was probably the first Black home owner in town.  Additionally, it may have been the only property that Father Divine ever owned personally.  Disciples who participated in the new "Heaven" in the Kingdom of Peace were expected to donate their money and property for the benefit of all members; however, the organization's wealth came not only from donations but also, particularly in later years, from its acquired properties.  Some of these were owned by Palace Mission, a subsidiary of the Kingdom, while others were titled in the names of followers and some parcels were said to have been held in the names of as many as 500 owners.  Reportedly, there was never any other assetss held in Father Divine's name nor did he ever have a bank account or pay taxes...Nevertheless, he liked the trappings of the rich, wore silk suits and travelled in Rolls Royce limousines, one of the facts which upset some Sayville residents. However, during his early years here his property was well-maintained and quiet, it appears that neither he nor his followers were challenged by the ever-present Ku Klux Klan and all remained peaceful on Macon Street. He  published a weekly newspaper named The New Day  which contained some of his speeches and teachings and news of Movement activities; references to him were always capitalized (HE, HIS). In the late 1920s, his following expanded rapidly among both Blacks and Whites, people came from as far away as New York City, 72 Macon appeared to have far more live-ins than were reported, traffic in Town got heavier and the locals began to become agitated. Father Divine had been quoted as saying "We feed as many as come.  We serve from early morning until midnight. We charge nothing.  Anyone, man, woman or child, regardless of race, color or creed, can come here naked and we will clothe them, hungry and we will feed them". There were no churches or clergymen in the Movement; Father's main pulpit was around the banquet table where guests were always properly attired and ate from the best china. Food was delivered by ladies in white known as "Rosebuds" directly to Father who blessed it and then it was passed hand-to-hand from one to another around the table.  There were no formal religious services, readings, books or other scripts to be followed (although the Bible was always nearby).  but a group of ladies might sing or Father might give an impromptu sermon to which his audiences could respond  in any manner that they felt appropriate.  "Peace" was the keynote and the word "Peace" replaced "Hello" and "Goodbye" in their  parlance. Joining the Movement was regarded as entering a new life and followers could discard their family names in favor of  one of their personal choice (e.g.,Heavenly Rest, Mary Virgin,  Glory King, John Gabriel). He also managed to find new jobs for many of his followers. The great increase in traffic and crowds visiting Heaven and/or attending his free banquets upset or outraged many local residents. On May 8, 1931 Father Divine was arrested for disturbing the peace and immediately paid the fine. That summer he fed as many as 3,000 guests. About midnight on November 15, loud rejoicing at what the press called one of the "usual weekend celebrations" brought the police backed up by State troopers who took Father Divine and 78 of his flock (including 15 Whites) to jail. Forty-eight paid fines of five dollars each. The rest, with Father Divine requested a Court date; he was charged with "maintaining a public nuisance". At his trial, moved out of Suffolk County at his request and held in Mineola in May 1932, he was given the maximum penalty, a $500 fine and one year in jail, by Judge Lewis J. Smith.  Judge Smith, who had been suffering from heart attacks, dropped dead four days later; newspaers made minimal mention of the heart attacks, enhancing Divine' reputation "God". Within  three weeks, Divine was released on appeal and moved to Harlem where he had a big following. Soon, he had opened communes in Yonkers, around New York State, nearby New Jersey and beyond. In 1942,   his headquarters moved to Philadelphia. In 1943, Peninnah died and was reportedly buried in an unmarked grave in an undisclosed location. Father Divine eloped to Washington, D.C.(Pennsylvania law forbid interracial weddings) where he married his Canadian Secretary, 21-year old Edna Rose Ritchings on April 29, 1946; she had been known as "Sweet Angel" and he claimed that she was the reincarnation of the first Mother Divine so she became known as Mother S.A. Divine. In 1952 a follower gave the organization  a 73-acre hilltop estate, Woodmont, 16 miles northwest of Philadelphia; it had a 31-room Gothic mansion, pool, tennis courts, fine china and a silver tea service and Father Divine and his Palace Mission made it headquarters. He later died there on September 10, 1965, Mother Divine took his place and she is still leading the Movement. At the time, the Peace Mission's holdings were valued at more than ten million dollars. Today, followers have dwindled but there are still adherents around the World, most notably in Australia and New Zealand. Woodmont, declared a National Historic Landmark in 1998, and 72 Macon Avenue, designated a Historic Landmark by the Town of Islip in 1979, are two of the few remaining properties. Followers visit 72 occasionally for special meetings and celebrations.

All images courtesy of Palace Mission


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Ku Klux Klan (KKK)


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 Ku Klux Klan Fiery Cross in the 1920s


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 Ku Klux Klan  Rallies in the 1920s


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KKK at Policeman’s Funeral at Eastport, May 24, 1924 (photo incorrectly marked with day of death)

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Eastport Float displays both Cross and Flag; women’s

crests are marked with “WKKK”

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KKK Eastport Parade : KKK Patriotism at its highest


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Eastport: KKK  members on ground wore no hoods or other regalia, unlike horses and float attendants


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Smithtown constable (right of stone post, back to camera) watches Klansmen with faces covered bury one of their own


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In addition to Klan rallies, parades and funerals,  there were also KKK marriages and christenings



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KKK Ladies Auxiliary on Parade


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KKK in pursuit of Bootleggers


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Ku Klux Plan activists  march from Patchogue to Bayport,  about 1925



Ku Klux Klan (KKK), Suffolk County, 1920s:   The KKK has had three different phases.  Initially, it was founded by Confederate soldiers in Pulaski, TN on December 24, 1865 as a secret vigilante group focused on maintaining White supremacy.  During the Reconstruction, its activities were copied by many other local groups, all of whom carried out their aim by threats, violence and the murder of negroes.  However, they never achieved a cohesive centrally-directed organization and faded out in the 1870s after the Congress passed the Enforcement (Ku Kluc Klan) Acts of 1871, subjecting violations not enforced by State courts to be tried in Federal courts.  (However, this did not curtail violence against African-Americans by others.). The second phase was hardly clandestine and was sparked by several things including the movie, The Birth of a Nation, which glorified the original Klan, and also the conviction of a Northern Jewish businessman for raping and killing a young worker in his  Atlanta factory.  The Klan was re-inaugurated by William J. Simmons, an ex-Methodist-Episcopal  teacher, who led several men up Stone Mountain and burned a large wooden cross visible throughout Atlanta city on Thanksgiving Eve, 1915. Both the fiery cross (indicative of Jesus as the “Light of the World” and "Protestantism”) and the American Flag (emphasizing member Patriotism) were major symbols of the new Klan which had much broader aims, appealing to many outside the South; in addition to being White supremacists, they were also anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, prohibitionists fighting a wide variety of radicals and liberals and responding in one way or another to increasing immigration, urbanization and industrialization. However, acceptance was slow and did notably spread across the Country until about 1920. In Suffolk County, many of the recruiters were Southern ministers (trustworthy, credible) who used local churches and other venues to solicit white, Protestant, native-born males, at least 18 years of age to become Knights of the KKK.  In so doing, they assumed a “law-and-order” approach and decried morals of the times. Catholics and Jews, particularly those from southern or eastern Europe, appeared to be the primary targets here; African-Americans were few and, thus, of little interest. Among the recruiting “events” locally in Sayville, one of the first occurred on November 26, 1922; a King Kleagle (usually a local resident who sold initiations into the Klan, which then provided robes in return) appeared in full regalisa at the First Reformed Church and, just before Pastor Andrew Van Antwerpen delivered his sermon, spent 15 minutes outlining the principles of his order.  He explained that the KKK stood for law and order and the Constitution of the United States and added that “the great majority of newspapers are owned by Catholics or Jews and for this reason the Klan does not get a square deal and lies are told about it”. He noted that only Kleagles may publicly wear the disguise (i.e. robes, mask to avoid being recognized) and left a $ 25 gift from the Bay Shore Klan for Church use. On February 16, 1923, the Klan had spectacular demonstrations shortly before midnight, erecting and lighting 12 to 15 foot wooden crosses in about a dozen  Suffolk towns including Sayville (rear of home on Railroad Avenue), West Sayville (field south of Main near Truck House), Bayport and Blue Point...On March 22 (a Thursday), over the protests of the Minister, officials of the Congregational Church rented the building to the Klan which resulted in  "the largest public gathering s\which Sayville has seen in many a day".  It was standing room only, not only for the locals but also for "scores from Bay Shore, Islip, Patchogue  and some from more distant points".  Further, The Suffolk County News noted that they included "Jews and Gentiles, Catholics and Protestants...a splendid example of broad-minded tolerance and inbred recognition of free speech and fair play". Oscar Haywood (in regular clothes), one of the “big guns” of the “Invisible Empire” from North Carolina, gave a one-and-a-half hour address on the objects, aims, and principles of the KKK. On June 21,  25,000 men and women also came together in an East Islip field to hear the message of the KKK; there was a band playing patriotic tunes, a lighted flagpole, an altar, a Bible and 1500 new members were actually initiated on the  spot. Such rallies were frequent, drew large attendance for their spectacles and fiery rhetoric and were of little concern to citizens and law enforcement personnel. Another multi-village (including Sayville) pyrotechnic display occurred on October 23. On November 8, 500 men and 200 women marched in a mile-long parade in Bay Shore.  Klan women’s auxiliaries (Kamelia) and junior groups could encompass the entire family, all of whom could help at and participate in rallies, parades (klavacades), marriages, funerals or church visitations (Sayville youth groups were known as Ku Klux Klams). Historians have estimated that by 1924, one in every seven (or more than 10,000) Suffolk County residents was a Klansman, including many respectable ministers, politicians and policemen. On May 19, 1924, the New York Times carried a notice that all 10,000 County Klansmen were ordered to appear at the funeral service in Eastport of a Special Policeman who had been shot while pursuing four bootleggers (see photos above); about 2,250 managed to attend. The Klan, usually without police authority, established armed patrols to challenge  bootleggers. Following advance promotion, which attracted over 800 people, a delegation of 30 KKK robed (no masks) women from around the Island joined them at the First Reformed Church for the Sunday evening service September 14;  as the organ began “Onward Christian Soldiers”, they marched down the aisle, their leader made a brief address, and they presented Mr. VanAntwerpen with a small statue of a Klansman, a silk American Flag and a package, believed to contain $50 to $75 for his service to the Klan.  They remained for the service. In 1925, more  than 5,000 Klan members participated  in the Hicksville Memorial Day Parade and rally; the Reverend VanAntwerpen was among those who addressed the crowd on the subject “Our Tribute”. Following on June 14 was the first KKK funeral service in the Sayville area.  Ceremonies were held at the decedent’s home, followed by more attended by over 600 at the First Reformed Church with the Reverend VanAntwerpen, assisted by 30 Klan members, officiating; 200 more, unable to get in stood in the churchyard.  Before the service, “two members robed, but not masked, each bearing a large silk American flag, proceeded to the front of the church and remained standing throughout, each holding his flag directly in front of himself and flanking the casket on either side. Other robed members stood in the rear of the church.” Upon completion, two rows of robed Klansmen with their hands held high formed an arch over the walk to the cars.  Thereafter, a line of 83 cars followed by the hearse followed by robed Klansmen and Krusaders (KKK auxiliary opened to white, Protestant, naturalized Americans of foreign birth) on foot proceeded  to Union Cemetery where over 1,000 gathered to hear Reverend VanAntwerpen deliver the eulogy. Then Klansmen formed two lines about 50 feet long headed by a cross about six feet high which was lighted.  During the burning, Klan members and Krusaders sang the Klan song, “The Old Rugged Cross”. However, by the following year, interest had begun to wane significantly, anti-Klan candidates won elections in at least four Long Island towns and the fiery crosses became more infrequent. By 1933, after the Stock Market had crashed and the Government ended prohibition, the KKK had lost much of its community interest and power. Its peak had probably been around 1924-1925 when it was estimated to have had as many as 20,000 in Suffolk and Nassau Counties and up to five or six million members Nationwide. The KKK name did appear again in the 1950s and 1960s, adopted mostly in the South by local groups in opposing civil rights.

For more information, see:  Frank J. Cavaioli, The Ku Klux Klan on Long Island. Long Island Forum, Syosset, NY, May 1979 and August 1986
Jane S. Gombieski, Klokards, Kleagles, Kludds, and Kluxers:The Ku Klux Klan in  Suffolk County, 1915-1928. Long Island Historical Journal, Stony Brook  University, Stony Brook, NY, Fall 1993

Images: Top row: collection of Sayville Library; 2nd row, from the Southampton Press; 3rd row, from the Long Island Forum; 4th row, courtesy of The Smithtown Historical Society; 5th row left from the Long Island Forum, right Anonymous; bottom row, courtesy of the Long Island Advance   


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