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Marking Houses. Making History.

TVHS Celebrates 60 years of Historical House Marker program with re-launch!

As you travel throughout the Three Village area, you might notice houses quietly boasting white signs with blue writing on them. These markers are adorned with Setauket-built sloop The Daisy and perhaps the names of original home owners. They are an indication that something special is happening here, and it’s about to get even better!

Sixty years ago, one of the first projects Three Village Historical Society took on was marking the homes of ship captains and ship builders in the Three Village area. To commemorate their 60th anniversary, they are embarking on a new leg of that journey with the re-imagined Historic House Marker program - and everyone is invited!

Mari Irizarry is the Society Director who loves the enduring concept that all of the Three Village community is our living museum! “In honoring six decades of dedication, reflection, and growth, we commence an initiative close to our hearts: '60 for 60.'  This updated version serves as a revival of our esteemed Historical House Markers program, a pioneering endeavor initiated by Captain Rhodes, a founding member of our Society. The Historical House Markers program pays tribute to the cherished residences, remarkable individuals, and pivotal events that have shaped the very fabric of our community over centuries.  Each marker unveiled becomes a beacon of remembrance, a testament to the resilience and spirit of those who came before us.”

This is not only the first project undertaken by the Three Village Historical Society back in 1964, but it reflects what the Society considers one of it most important ideas, that "it regards the entire Three Village area as its museum; the homes, the people and the natural environment as its collection; and the homeowners as its curators." (Three Village Guidebook, 1986)

Scott Ferrara, Exhibits & Collections Coordinator at TVHS is leading the committee on the revamping of the Historic House Marker program. He noted that “if you drive around the Three Village area, you see a lot of historic homes. However, only some are marked with the iconic white historic house marker, but even those are sun-faded, have cracked paint, and are well worn. They need to be updated and replaced. It's about time this program is revived. This committee has been formed to bring back this program and offer updated information and materials to the stewards of historical homes in the area.” Ferrara says that the program will also include research packets about each of the homes, digital and printed copies of the findings, and photographs, deeds, or documents pertaining to the property found in the TVHS archives.

The Society is also happy to teach willing home owners how to do research on their own, and what resources are available to them to find out more about the historic houses they live in. Why empower home owners to do their own digging? TVHS Historian Bev Tyler believes “many homeowners in the Three Village community are ready to embrace the idea that they are - together with many others - the curators of their homes, and that they wish to understand everything that gives their home its special significance.”

Education Coordinator Lindsey Steward-Goldberg “hopes this new version of the program will continue to inspire owners of historic houses to learn more about not only the history of their house but also how that history of the house fits into the historic narrative of Three Village as a whole.

"Perhaps best known as the birthplace of the Culper Spy Ring and the heart of the Washington Spy Trail, the Three Villages are a popular destination both for tourists and local Long Islanders looking to connect to their roots. Tri-Spy Tour Guide Margo Arceri uses the homes with historic markers as a reference point on her walking, biking, and kayak tours throughout the area. Arceri loves the fact that “since our town was founded in 1655, there was at last count over 75 pre-Revolutionary homes still in existence in the Three Village area! That’s an incredibly special part of our story that not many other places can say. Our community is full of homes belonging to spies, ship builders, philanthropists, educators, and business owners - those are the true artifacts of our living museum!”

So why is the Society bringing back the Historic House Marker program now?  Tyler is determined that “while celebrating the Society's 60th anniversary, there is no better time to work within the community to emphasize the importance of maintaining and celebrating the homes in the Three Village area which make a significant contribution to the quality of life here.”

There are a few simple qualifications such as: the house must be at least 60 years old and be connected to an historic event or an individual, or have architectural significance.

Starting April 1, home owners can see if their houses are eligible with a quick screening on the Society’s website:

Irizarry hopes to get at least 60 historic homes to qualify for the markers this year! “As we embark on this journey of reflection and celebration, we invite our community to join us in commemorating this significant milestone. Together, let us honor our past, celebrate our present, and pave the way for a future rich in history and heritage.”

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