The Historical Society of Islip Hamlet held its 24th annual holiday house tour on Sunday, December 3rd, and we were again blessed with lovely weather. It was another year of robust ticket sales for which we are truly grateful as this event is our main fundraiser for the year.
The tour featured five lovely houses all in the heart of Islip Hamlet. The homeowners were all charming and enthusiastic hosts who enjoyed greeting visitors to their homes.
The McKeon house is one of the older homes in Islip. It was the home of a remarkable seaman, Captain Harry Haff, who built the house around 1870. It remained in the Haff family until 1964. The McKeon family have been in the house for less than two years and they are enjoying the process of renovation and decorating. Visitors could view a very special dress on the day of the tour, the wedding gown of Gertrude Haff, who married Captain Haff’s son in 1894. The wedding gown was donated to the Historical Society by Gertrude’s granddaughter. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to return it to the Haff home for the day.
The Kerekes House, a 1930’s Dutch Colonial was decked out for the holiday. The homeowners completely renovated the interior of the home since they purchased it in 2015. They took great care to retain the architectural charm while bringing the house up to the 21st century. Especially endearing was the charming nursery for their baby girl.
The Islraelian House, a 1927 Wolpert cape, is a familiar style in the hamlet. It was the design of housing developer, Andrew Karl Wolpert who created the first housing development in Islip. This home has been in the Israelian family for three generations, having been purchased by the owner’s grandparents in 1929.
The Conlon House, a 1977 colonial was built in the Bayberry Point section of Islip Hamlet on land with much local history attached to it. The land was originally part of a large tract of Bayfront land purchased by Henry O. Havemeyer in the late 1800’s. The Conlon’s land was later sold to the Bayberry Beach Club and then in the 1970’s to a developer. Though only living in the house for a year, they have embraced the hamlet and have lovingly renovated the property, including a brand-new kitchen, completed only weeks before the tour. Visitors were impressed by the sophisticated holiday décor.
The Willing house, a 1920’s vintage Dutch Colonial was a gem. The house has been pristinely restored and maintained. The Willings take great pride in their home. It is furnished with lovely antiques and their collections of antique clocks and radios were a treat to see.
Our Chinese Auction was once again a huge success. We had over 80 wonderful prizes.
We once again partnered with the U.S. Marines for our Toys for Tots collection. This year the Marines were at the Conlon House where they collected a great number of toys. The Conlons were thrilled to have them there as they are a family of Marines.
As always, we wish to thank Lori Zegel from Nook and Cranny who sells our tickets for us in her shop.
The reception was held at Trinity Lutheran Church this year. It is the first time this church has hosted our reception for many years and it was a great success. Members of the congregation were in the church to welcome visitors and explain the church’s history. Downstairs, in the spacious Reception Hall, we served hot tea, coffee and cocoa and our famous cookies. Guitarist/Singer Rob Baione sang Christmas carols and other familiar tunes throughout the day. The Carols for Causes Singers were also there to sing for the visitors. They are a group of Islip students who create a Christmas CD each year. The proceeds from the sale of their CDs is used to donate to local charities. The members of the Trinity Lutheran Church were wonderful hosts.
Our Holiday House Tour is our main fundraiser. We are fortunate that it has continued to be a successful and enjoyable event for so many years. We believe that our success lies in the fact that we have so many hardworking, loyal members of the Historical Society who give so much of their time to make this event happen.
Of course, we could not have a house tour without houses and we would not have houses without homeowners who are willing to open their homes to the public. We are forever grateful to them.