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Take a tour of downtown Riverhead’s historic sites

Riverhead officials unveiled a “Downtown Riverhead Historic Trail” Thursday in a ceremony outside the Suffolk Theater. But if you’re looking for it, you might have to get out of your car first. 

The trail is virtual and has 39 stops, each depicting an historic area in downtown Riverhead. 

People can aim the QR reader from their cell phone at the plaque at various locations, which launches a brief video. 

The project was a joint effort between the Town Board and the Landmark Preservation Commission. The commission had wanted to do an historical trail, said Richard Wines, the chair of the commission. 

“We decided that just having little plaques where you could say two words about an area wasn’t very interesting,” he said. “So we decided to go this route, using QR codes. That way, we could have recordings, and show pictures. We have one of the Suffolk Theater that shows snippets from movies that were playing there. Things we couldn’t do before.”

“The Downtown Riverhead Historic Trail will afford residents and visitors an opportunity to explore the rich history of Riverhead,” said Supervisor Yvette Aguiar.

The 39 stops stretch from the East Lawn house in the east to the Suffolk County Historical Society in the west, Mr. Wines said. “Visitors can walk the route and scan signs with QR codes at each stop. At each stop an actor or actress will take on the part of an historic Riverhead personage, ranging from political bosses to immigrant maids, and see historic images associated with that site or person.”

He said 31 actors and actresses, who were mostly community members, were used to make the video clips, and some people were in more than one of the clips. 

“I think it’s fantastic that they are remembering the old,” said Arline Doroska, who owns a house on the corner of Main Street and Maple Avenue and was featured on the tour. “Too much modern is not helping our community.”

All of the video clips can be viewed online here.