Those who work at or have already visited Hallockville Museum Farm may know what a special place it is, but now something could draw the attention of unsuspecting drivers. That’s the signpost up ahead. Your next stop — a site of historic significance.
Hallockville, located north of Sound Avenue in Riverhead, has a great history, with 19 historic buildings on 28 acres. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior in 1984.
It wasn’t until Thursday afternoon, however, that a sign memorializing Hallockville’s national historic listing was unveiled during a ceremony featuring public and museum officials. With some tugs of the burlap covering the new sign, Hallockville vice president Suzanne Johnson revealed the new plaque and post in the brilliant sunshine.
“It’s about time we had a sign like that, don’t you think?” asked Richard Wines, a Hallockville Board of Directors member and historian. “It was put on the National Register in 1984, so we’re only 35 years late.”
The museum said the historic marker was made possible by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation of Syracuse.
Hallockville executive director Roberta Shoten said: “When you see a Pomeroy sign … you think, ‘Oh, I should stop here. This must be something that needs to be recognized. It’s historic’ or, you know, something went on here or a battle or whatever it would be. And people will walk in and we’d be happy to have them.”
Walking onto the Hallockville property is like taking a step back into another century. The museum farm was created to preserve the history of farming on the North Fork. An original piece of the homestead dates back to 1765.
One can almost feel the history.
“I do, although you know, this is what I tell people, and you can use this or not, but I feel like we’re ‘Antiques Roadshow’ meets ‘American Pickers’ and sometimes meets ‘Hoarders’,” Ms. Shoten said. “There’s a lot of stuff here, and I’m not sure the value of everything, but it’s a lot to absorb on any given day.”
Ms. Shoten said the non-profit farm museum can see 14,000 to 15,000 visitors a year, with school groups, other tour groups, campers and the like. “In the COVID year, we still have a lot of people,” she said. “I think we probably had [3,000] to 4,000, just people coming by to enjoy being outside on 28 acres and not having to be shut in their house any more.”
Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski, a farmer himself, called Hallockville “a wonderful place. It’s a wonderful asset, not only for the community but really for the whole world, to understand the history of Long Island,” he said. “It’s so rich in history here, just keep this the way it is. You do such a beautiful job. It’s really nice. So it’s a pleasure to be here to recognize you being recognized.”
Among those in attendance were Hallockville co-president Alfonso Martinez-Fonts, New York State Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio, Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar and Riverhead Town Board members Catherine Kent and Frank Beyrodt, who like Mr. Krupski is also a farmer.
Public officials presented Hallockville with certificates to commemorate the event.
Mr. Wines, a descendant of the Hallocks and others who were among the first settlers of Southold Town, has deep ties to this land. “Obviously, it’s a very special place for a whole lot of reasons,” he said. “One, especially, because this is the way all of Long Island once was. Even Brooklyn was once a farming community.”
That’s a history of national significance. Just look at the sign.