The Sayville Historical Society was founded in 1944 and is appropriately located in a house that plays a major role in the town's history. The first home constructed in Sayville was built in 1761 by John and Sara Edwards, originally East Hampton residents. By today's geography, that home was located on the corner of Foster Avenue and Edwards Street.
Unfortunately, that home was destroyed by a fire in 1913. However, in 1785, one of the Edwards' sons, Matthew, built his own home on land that is today the corner of Gillette Avenue and Edwards Street. In 1838 Matthew's son, James, relocated the house to its present location, on the corner of Collins Avenue and Edwards Street.
The historical society keeps history alive in the town with many events throughout the year. Those interested in knowing how the early settlers celebrated Christmas in Sayvville can find out by attending the Holiday Open House that the society hosts every year, on the same day as the town's Christmas parade.
"The parade is in the morning and our open house is in the evening. It's a chance for the community to learn about the Christmas traditions of the three earliest settlers in Sayville: Dutch, German and English. We celebrate all of them. It is as educational as it is fun," said Connie Currie, the Society's president for the last three years.
Celebrating history is only part of what the society does. "Our main purpose is to preserve the history of the area and make it known to the people of the area. We are geared not only toward Sayville's history, but to the history of Long Island," she said.
"James left the home to the Society to keep for the town. We are doing the paperwork with the Preservation League of New York State to have the home declared a historic landmark," Currie said. "We just got St. Ann's Episcopal Church on Middle Road passed for the New York State Registry of Historic Places, so we are confident about the Edwards home being next."
The Society is always looking to educate the community in ways that are also fun. Last month, the society hosted "A Day on the Edwards Farm" complete with a petting zoo brought in from Yapank.
But even a community rich in history is short on volunteers. "We are always looking for new people to help us out," Currie said. The society meets on the first and third Sunday from October through June. They hold two general meetings each year. The first is a picnic held in June, and the second is in September when a vote is held to elect the board. If you are interested, please call 563-0186.