Entering downtown Riverhead from the east or the west, one can be expected to pass an “anchor property” at each end.
Coming from East Main Street, the Hyatt East End and Long Island Aquarium — both modern buildings which opened in the 21st century — are impossible to miss.
Coming from West Main Street sits the 85-year-old Suffolk County Historical Society building, a piece of both local and national history that has been on the National Register of Historic Places since the mid-1990s.
On Tuesday, the historical society and town announced that a set of banners are going up with the hopes of increasing the nonprofit’s visibility to the public.
“It is our hope that these unique banners will encourage more people to stop in and check out all we have to offer,” said historical society director Kathy Curran. “We believe this will allow us to better serve the public as an educational resource by clearly announcing this site as an historic center.”
The signs started going up on Tuesday morning. Three vertical banners, measuring 12-feet 8-inches tall by 5-feet 6-inches wide, will spell out ‘Suffolk History Museum’ on each side of the building. In between, inside a pair of brick archways on the east and west sides of the building, two different Hal Fullerton images and two images from the historical society’s archives will be reproduced.
Ms. Curran said the Fullerton images will be Edith Fullerton driving Teddy Roosevelt and a Medford farm. A portrait of Henry Green (a whaler from Sag Harbor) and the Hulbert Flag, one of the earliest United States flags from the 1770s in the SCHS collection, will also be on display.
Though Riverhead Town itself does not have a historical society of its own, SCHS has been in operation since the mid-1880s, first operating out of the office of a Riverhead judge. The West Main Street building was constructed in 1930, where the nonprofit has been centered since.
The banners were made possible with the help of a $250,000 Main Street grant the town received in 2012, the fourth of its kind to come through the New York State Office of Community Renewal. The grant paid for 75 percent of the cost of the banners, which totaled about $10,000.
“Downtown Riverhead is fortunate to have many special educational facilities, including the Long Island Aquarium, The Long Island Science Center and the Suffolk County Historical Society, in such a close proximity,” said Supervisor Sean Walter. “We hope these new banners attract more visitors to the downtown business district.”
Caption: A rendering of new banners and reproduced images at SCHS. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)