Know your history
OAKDALE—So you think you know all about where you live? Well then, perhaps that knowledge could earn you a prize, courtesy of the Oakdale Historical Society. The organization has launched a new trivia game that’s testing the ability of local residents to identify certain places of interest within the hamlet.
Maryann Almes, president of OHS, said that she hopes this initiative will not only help residents become more familiar with their history, but also come to appreciate that history and become more involved in helping to preserve it.
The 5-year-old organization has been facing some challenging issues. The monthly meetings that feature guest lecturers and focus on topics of interest have of late been fixated on the former Dowling College property. When the school closed due to bankruptcy two years ago, the future became uncertain for the buildings and land that had once been the site of Idle Hour, the 19th-century home of William K. Vanderbilt. Almes said she and members began rallying around the cause. “Our meetings had been totally focused on the Dowling property and to get the town to declare it a PLP,” she said. Planned Landmark Preservation Overlay District is a code established by the Town of Islip in the 1970s to preserve the dwindling historic sites by allowing property owners to develop around historic structures while preserving the exterior architectural details. Several properties around the town have successfully used the PLP, including the Bourne estate and artist’s colony, both located in Oakdale. As of this printing, Islip Town has not yet applied the code.
In their short time, OHS has championed the new fencing around St. John’s Episcopal Church. The church dates to the mid-18th century. The organization has also provided two history exhibits in Brookwood Hall and held a Civil War Christmas on the St. John’s grounds last year. This year, they plan a fall graveyard tour there as well.
In addition, they produced a booklet about local history for school children in grades 4 and 5 to be part of their curriculum. “If you can get to the children, you’ll get their parents as well,” noted Almes.
“It’s been a process,” she added, regarding the success of the group. “But all of these small things do add up to something [good].”
To see how to play, visit the group’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OakdaleHistoricalSociety/
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