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Stony Brook's former firehouse eyed for historic landmark status

A former firehouse at 275 Christian Ave. in

A former firehouse at 275 Christian Ave. in Stony Brook is seen here on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. Credit: Ed Betz

The 19th-Century Stony Brook building that once served as the hamlet’s firehouse may receive recognition as an historic landmark from the Town of Brookhaven.

The wood, stone and concrete edifice at 275 Christian Ave., which once served as Suffolk County’s first history museum, now houses the Jazz Loft, a music history museum opened earlier this year.

The two-story, 6,000-square-foot building was built in the 1800s and became a firehouse in 1909. It later was purchased by business tycoon and philanthropist Ward Melville to become part of his Stony Brook Village Center shopping development in 1941.

The town board will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Sept. 1 on granting historic recognition to the structure.

“We feel it has significance to this area and Long Island and that it’s very important to protect it,” Gloria Rocchio, president of the nonprofit Ward Melville Heritage Organization, which owns the building, said in an interview.

She said the town historic designation may help the building achieve recognition from the state and national landmarks commissions. It also may help to win grants for future upkeep.

“The historical significance of the current home of the Jazz Loft can be seen both in the building itself, and its contents,” Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright said, noting that the museum contains memorabilia from the late jazz singer Arthur Prysock and a stage constructed from the dance floor of Manhattan’s defunct Roseland Ballroom.

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