At Monday night’s meeting, Patty Yantz was named the new president, succeeding the president of the past two years, Peter Paul Ostapow.
Yantz, a Setauket resident of more than 30 years, has been vice president of the group for two years and a member of the historical society for over 20 years. Her love of history has been a lifelong one: In college, she minored in history until she was forced to stop to focus on her major in education. She went on to become an art teacher, where she used her knowledge of history to teach art history before her recent retirement. She said her deeper interest, though, was in the history of her own neighborhood.
“I really love local history, and I’m dedicated to preserving it,” she said.
As president, Yantz wants to expand the historical society’s community involvement.
“It’s a wonderful organization, and a lot of people don’t know about us,” Yantz said.
She sees education as the main component of her position, and would like to build up the society’s educational programs, as well as encourage the public to look into the stores of archives that are housed at the .
The historical society also recapped its 32nd Annual Candlelight House Tour, “Petticoats and Patriots,” with a photo presentation by local historian Beverly Tyler. The tour brought in record numbers, with approximately 1,200 people attending. There was also an excellent turnout for the Saturday morning breakfast fundraiser at the , Yantz said.
The event was not just a way to interact with and educate members of the Three Village community, but was also a necessity to raise money for the society's day-to-day operations – which Yantz said in November amount to about $160,000 a year – and upkeep of its headquarters, the Bayles-Swezey House in Setauket. The two-story farmhouse was built around 1800, and currently is the home of the exhibit Spies!, about a group of Long Island patriots known as the Culper Spy Ring which existed between 1778 and 1781 and helped Gen. George Washington win the American Revolution.