In celebration of the Greater Patchogue Historical Society’s 40th anniversary, six members were inducted in their hall of fame. The ceremony took place on Thursday, June 9 at the Carnegie Library.
Inducted members include Peter and Barbara Berman, Ron Bush, Hans Henke, Paul Pontieri and Kevin Weeks.
Peter has been a lifelong resident of Patchogue and has lived in the same home since birth. He has given many years of volunteerism to his community and is a serving member of the GPHS and is known as a wealth of knowledge who can identify locations of past businesses and putting names to faces from old photos. He looked after the Swan River Schoolhouse and has participated in all fundraising efforts.
Barbara is also a lifelong resident of Patchogue who has given years of volunteerism to her community, including the Swan River Schoolhouse. She is always friendly and warm to everyone she meets and has organized and supplied refreshments for many years for the GPHS. She is known for her positive attitude and loves sharing stories of her childhood.
He has been a resident for over 60 years and has a lifelong love for Patchogue. He has written four books as a result of his research of historical locations and is dedicated to keeping history alive as the village historian. He is the primary advocate in improving the conditions of the Lakeview Cemeteries and is known to rake, mow, and weed the grounds. He is also a past president of the GPHS.
Mayor Pontieri is a lifelong resident as well, and loves the place of his childhood. He was first elected mayor in 2004, and prior to that he served many years as a trustee. He has elevated the village in many ways and supported the efforts of the Carnegie Library, including the GPHS museum in the lower level.
Bush grew up on a dairy farm and is a preservationist of Long Island agriculture. He takes pride in saving tools, hardware, and equipment from farms which no longer exists. His museum has welcomed many families and offers an understanding of farm life and what it takes to live off the land. He has also supported the mission of the GPHS and has ridden his vintage tractor down Main Street on many occasions to the delight of everyone who can see.
For over 40 years, Weeks has been the president of the Frank M. Weeks Yacht Yard, a historical landmark on the Patchogue River since 1898. The main mission is to restore and preserve boats, which are an important part of local history. He is also very supportive of the GPHS and generously stores the Ande, a Gil Smith Cat boat that was donated to the historical society many years ago.
The Greater Patchogue Historical Society was formed in 1982 by a small group of longtime Patchogue residents who had a similar interest in reminiscing about the history of Patchogue.
Many of these initial members were from third and fourth generations of Patchogue families. Informal gatherings gradually evolved into more formal meetings, where the general public was invited to participate. Occasionally, guest speakers were obtained to provide slide shows and presentations pertaining to local history. A federal 501(c)3 nonprofit designation and an Absolute NYS Educational Charter were obtained to enable more fundraising opportunities. This in turn allowed for the expansion of GPHS goals and the creation of the GPHS Museum while continuing their efforts in maintaining the one room Swan River Schoolhouse.
The mission of the Greater Patchogue Historical Society is to promote and encourage historical research of the Greater Patchogue area; collect and preserve artifacts and to disseminate information concerning the history of Patchogue and its surrounding areas; encourage the restoration and preservation of historic sites, monuments, and markers; recognize historic places and encourage and assist in the marking and designation of said places as such; acquire and preserve books, manuscripts, pictures and all other materials of historic interest; and otherwise further the spirit of interest in and education about the Greater Patchogue area.
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