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Port Jeff Station Students Get a Lesson in Local History

Cumsewogue Historical Society showed elementary school students what life was like way back when in their community.

Fourth graders from got to travel back in time and glimpse the history of their community.

No, the science teachers at Comsewogue School District didn't finally invent a time machine but rather the brought the past to the present in the form of the Third Annual Heritage Day on Tuesday, June 12, an event that exposes students to artifacts from a way of life that is long gone.

Cumsewogue is not a misspelling but the original way the name of the area around Port Jefferson Station was written.

Presenters volunteered their time to talk about displays they brought with them to demonstrate what life was like in the community during the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

"The purpose of Heritage Day is to highlight the community history of Terryville and Port Jefferson Station," explained Jack Smith, president of the Cumsewogue Historical Society. "Local industries, such as the Porter automobile factory and the Unit Brick factory are highlighted in addition to the agriculture industry so prevalent in our area at the time."

Included among the people who presented demonstrations for the students were Herb and Marie Petersen, who displayed the Terryville Fire Department's 1951 ladder truck and discussed the history of the fire department and Cumsewogue Historical Society member Janet Fenstermacher, who demonstrated vintage kitchen implements, canning and food preservation techniques. Local farmers Andrew and Peter Gladysz displayed vintage farm tractors and put on a live hay baling demonstration.

Brookhaven Town Historian Barbara Russell, Ron Bush of the Long Island Agricultural Heritage Museum and Bob Baraukas, of the Suffolk County Historical Society were also there along with Walter Dehart, Walter Jacobs, Rod Smith and Edward Loder, all Cumsewogue Historical Society members and lifelong residents of the community who discussed what life was like growing up in Terryville and Port Jefferson Station during the first half of the 20th century.

The Cumsewogue Historical Society exhibited vintage photos of the community and displayed a "Unit Brick" that was manufactured at the Unit Brick Factory, once located on Hallock Avenue in Port Jefferson Station.

For a picture of the Unit Brick Factory, click here and head over to the Port Jefferson Village's historical photo collection.

“Heritage Day gives the students a unique opportunity to not only learn about the history of their community, but also to see, hear and touch a little of what life was like here before shopping centers and housing developments,” said Smith.

Click through our gallery of photos from the day's events.

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