Many South Shore landmarks are now linked in a newly established Historic Islip Trail.
Working with volunteers and local historical groups, Councilman Steven Flotteron created the virtual trail and launched a new town website that features an interactive map of the trail, informational videos, and a dedicated Google map with each of the trail's 30 sites marked. He said he wanted to highlight the treasures of Islip, sometimes lost amid the attention paid to better-known tourist attractions.
"Most of the tourism things are centered around the North Shore, the Hamptons, Fire Island," Flotteron said at a news conference Thursday at the Seatuck Association's headquarters on the historic Wereholme Weekes Estate in Islip. "No one knows about us. All we hear are about the other towns who got their message out."
With Islip dating to 1683, Flotteron said more sites are likely to be added to the trail as contributions from the community come in.
The trail is a collection of sites such as the Fire Island Lighthouse, Arnold Manor in West Islip, the Second Avenue Fire House in Bay Shore, and other important locations.
Town historian Jack Whitehouse lent his expertise to the project. "I've written a few local history books, so I know a lot about Islip," Whitehouse said. "But there's always more to learn."
The project was entirely volunteer-powered. Flotteron's daughter Madison, a junior at Bay Shore High School, worked on the informational videos with her journalism class, along with seniors Imani Hite and Brianne Garrett.
The map was hand-drawn by Flotteron's family friend Patrick Valdini, an Islip native who just graduated from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island with a degree in history and a minor in visual art.
"I really enjoy local history," Valdini said, adding that he wrote college papers on Islip's past.
Brentwood Historical Society president Ellen Edelstein said she was inspired by the town project to launch a similar initiative for her group.
"One of my thoughts is to create a scholarship for students to get involved, and create media for our website like this one," she said. "History is universal."