Newsday community journalist Erin Geismar is capturing history today with a tour of locations in Lake Grove and the Town of Smithtown listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lastly, we present the Stony Brook Grist Mill, which dates back to 1750 and was enlarged in 1885 and 1925. It was restored in the late 1940s and remains in use. It is owned by the Ward Melville Heritage Organization.
We'll have more photos on these sites later.
The First Presbyterian Church and the Hallock Inn are part of the Branch Historic District, a one-mile-long along Middle Country Road that consists buildings constructed between 1700 and 1966. They include the Caleb Smith House, the Epenetus Smith Tavern and the Taylor White House. The Village of the Branch itself was incorporated in 1927. Here’s a picture of Village Hall.
Just a few doors down from the Hallock Inn is the First Presbyterian Church of Smithtown was completed in 1825 on the site of a previous church building erected in 1750. A chapel, tower clock, parish hall and school were later added.
Geismar has moved on the Hallock Inn in the Village of the Branch. Early records show the building dates back to at least 1800, but it likely had an owner before Thomas Hallock, according to a National Register application.
The inn served as a hub of political and social life in the early part of the 1800s, hosting town elections and meetings, the local post office and social events. It was later turned into a boarding house and then a residence and museum.
Records show Walt Whitman ate there while teaching in Smithtown in the winter of 1837-1838.
Geismar visited the First Congregational Church of New Village in Lake Grove. The site, a two-story, gable-front, timber-framed structure, was built in 1818 in an area then known as West Middle Island, and later as New Village, according to a National Register application.
The church first served as a multi-denomination meeting house for the Congregational, Presbyterian and Baptist congregations in the area. An associated cemetery is located to the rear of the building.
In 1927, a bell tower was added to house a donated bell. The building was listed on the National Register in 2002.