Technology and history are coming together to create a history phone tour of the North Shore which includes stops in the Three Village area and Strong’s Neck.
George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring audio tour was launched April 13 with an automated phone number that guides participants to different sites and provides historical information about them. Although the markers for the sites are yet to be installed, participants can receive the instructions and information by dialing 631-498-4740.
“This is a great way to learn about the founding of our nation… in our own backyard,” said Ira Costell, the Long Island North Shore Heritage Area (LINSHA) executive board member who founded the tour and wrote its script.
LINSHA is a non-profit organization that focuses on preserving, protecting and enhancing Long Island’s cultural and natural resources, says executive director Jennifer Sappell.
Proposed stops in the Three Village and Strong’s Neck areas which include the Setauket Elementary School, the Setauket Presbyterian Church, Woodhull Home Marker, Strong’s Neck, St. George’s Manor Cemetery, the Brewster house and the Roe Tavern Marker. There is also Washington’s letters to spies located in the library at Stony Brook University and a Culper Spies! exhibit in the Three Village Historical Society.
Stong’s Neck Civic Associaton, according to President Jackie Rudman, is opposed to stop number 6 on the tour, The Woodhull Home Marker on Dyke Rd., although they believe the tour is a worthy idea.
“It’s a winding road with blind spots,” said Rudman. “Unless they will direct people to a safe parking area, we oppose this stop.”
Rudman explained that the road has no shoulder to safely park and engage in the tour. She has other concerns that the site is just a marker and that there are no remains of the Abraham Woodhull home.
“We think the dial-in tour is a great idea to learn the history,” she said.
These concerns were raised at a meeting seven weeks ago when LINSHA had promotional brochures printed with the Woodhull Home stop as part of the tour. Costell and the Civic association members were present but Rudman called upon Brookhaven town councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld to monitor the situation.
Costell has communicated with all parties involved in the tour, he said. He has spoken to the Strong family as well as the other homeowners whose properties will be involved in the tour, and all were excited about it, said Costell.
“You don’t even have to get in your car,” said Sappell. “You can listen to it from [your home]” She said the phone tour will be used as a classroom history tool.
Sappell said that stops like Setauket Elementary School are eager to be included and hope to have LINSHA place their site marker before school starts this fall.