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Fort Salonga cemetery rededicated

Terry Reid of the Northport Historical Society, Anton Angelich, project coordinator, Frank Konop of the Fort Salonga Civic Association, Janice Hanlon, descendent of the Sammis family, Ron LeVine, president of the McGill Alumni Association of New York, Town Historian Robert C. Hughes and Councilwoman Susan A. Berland.

Councilwoman Susan A. Berland joined the McGill Alumni Association of New York, the Fort Salonga Civic Association and the Northport Historical Society Saturday afternoon to rededicate the historic and recently restored Middleville Cemetery in Fort Salonga.

The rededication ceremony, which was held at the clubhouse of the U.S. Veterans Affairs Hospital located across the street from the cemetery, began with a procession of antique automobiles and a horse-drawn carriage that traveled from Middleville Cemetery to the clubhouse. The procession was followed by a color guard led by members of V.F.W. Post 1469 of Huntington Station.

Following the procession, Berland welcomed all attendees to the rededication ceremony and introduced a variety of speakers from organizations that had a hand in restoring the cemetery: Robert Hughes, Huntington Town historian; Ron LeVine, president of the McGill Alumni Association of New York; Frank Konop of the Fort Salonga Civic Association; Anton Angelich, project coordinator of the Middleville cemetery restoration project, and Terry Reid of the Northport Historical Society.

The restoration process began in 2002 when Anton Angelich of the McGill University Alumni Association approached Town Historian Robert Hughes about ideas for a volunteer project. Hughes suggested Middleville cemetery in Fort Salonga, which had been overgrown and neglected for years. With the help of Berland, who coordinated volunteer clean-ups, and the Fort Salonga Civic Association, which provided manpower and funding for the project, the transformation was underway. Seven years later, the cemetery is completely cleared out with replaced fences, new signs and recently built pathways that make the site walkable for its visitors.

In addition to its physical changes, a great deal was learned about the people interred at Middleville, which included members of prominent historical families of the Town of Huntington such as the Sammis’ and the Longbothums. This project inspired Terry Reid of the Northport Historical Society to create what would become the historical society’s most popular exhibit, entitled “Burying Grounds”. The exhibit was on display at the rededication ceremony along with a pictorial history of the restoration process from beginning to end.

“The restoration of Middleville Cemetery has become a source of community pride and has given the McGill Alumni a meaningful sense of accomplishment,” said Anton Angelich, project coordinator for the restoration and member of the McGill University Alumni Association. “The restoration process was educational and enlightening and raised consciousness in the area about local historical burial grounds.”

“This project is an excellent example of local government working together with community organizations to achieve a common goal,” Berland said. “We wanted to restore Middleville Cemetery to the historic treasure that it is and preserve it for generations to come. Thanks to the dedicated and hard-working volunteers that have worked on this project, we have accomplished just that. I would like to specifically thank Anton Angelich, the project coordinator for the restoration of Middleville cemetery, our Town Historian Robert Hughes, Frank Konop of the Fort Salonga Civic Association and Terry Reid of the Northport Historical Society for their contributions to restoring this valuable piece of our Town’s rich history.”

Megan E. Lavery is a legislative aide to the Town Council.

Tags: Fort Salonga , Northport

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