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Babylon, Amityville adding markers to honor suffragists

A postcard showing the Alhambra Opera House at

A postcard showing the Alhambra Opera House at the front left. Historical markers will be placed at locations in the villages of Babylon and Amityville on Oct. 28, 2017 to honor the women?s suffrage movement. In Babylon, a marker will be placed in front of what was the Alhambra Opera House, at 101 Deer Park Ave. Credit: Town of Babylon History Museum

Historical markers will be placed in the villages of Babylon and Amityville on Oct. 28 to honor the women’s suffrage movement.

November marks the 100th anniversary of when New York State passed a referendum granting women the right to vote. In the Town of Babylon, the proposition passed 52 percent to 48 percent, or 690 to 639, according to town historian Mary Cascone. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution extended the right to the entire country in 1920.

In Babylon, a marker will be placed in front of what was the Alhambra Opera House, at 101 Deer Park Ave. The Alhambra, now the site of two retail businesses, opened in 1909, Cascone said. It served as an “amusement hall” with silent movies, roller-skating, basketball games and stage performances. The hall was also used by community groups.

On Feb. 13, 1912, the Alhambra was the meeting place for more than 200 people who came out to hear two hours of speeches by proponents of women’s suffrage, Cascone said. Following the meeting, 46 of the women formed the Suffrage Study Club. According to Cascone, the club hosted regional and national suffrage speakers and rallied residents to join suffrage parades on Long Island and in New York City.

In Amityville, a marker will be placed at Avon Place, on the Bayview Avenue side of Naomi Williams Griffiths’ former residence at 160 Avon Place. Griffiths served as the first — and Cascone believes only — president of the Amityville Suffrage Club, which was formed in 1914. She actively raised awareness of the suffrage movement in the village, and the club often held rallies.

Last month, a historical marker was placed at 9 Hallock St. in East Farmingdale in honor of Abigail E. Leonard, who founded the Women’s Club of Farmingdale in 1913 and supported the suffrage movement. The three markers are funded through $3,180 in grants from the private William G. Pomeroy Foundation, based in Syracuse.

Cascone said that while women such as Susan B. Anthony are the most widely recognized proponents of the suffrage movement, the three historical markers in the town help “showcase the tremendous efforts of local residents that contributed to our national history. Their legacy is an illustration of how democracy and the struggle for equal rights played out in our community.”

The Suffrage Club marker ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at 101 Deer Park Ave. in Babylon. The Griffiths marker ceremony is at 10:40 a.m. at Bayview Avenue, at Avon Place, Amityville.

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