The Mineola Historical Society held its annual open house this past Sunday at its headquarters at 211 Westbury Ave. At the open house, residents and curious history buffs had the unique opportunity to tour the headquarters and visit all the historical Mineola content the society has collected over the years.
At the open house, the society offered free refreshments, had a 50/50 raffle, a scavenger hunt and had vintage cars including a vintage Mineola Fire Department fire truck on display outside.
“Currently the society is looking to expand its membership and we are continuing our efforts in saving the rail road buildings at the Mineola train station,” Mineola Historical Society member Tom Redmond said. “We have more than 100 petition signatures and it was only available so far at the Mineola Street Fair and our last meeting.”
The petition was also available at the open house.
Due to the third track construction project, the Nassau Tower, the brick substation building and the south station house, which are currently active buildings near the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), are in jeopardy of being demolished. The society, who has reached out to 3TC, the contractors for the third track project, is now determined to save those three buildings.
Those three buildings that the society is desperate to save also have a deep history. The Nassau Tower, which was built in 1923, is eligible for state and national registers for historical places. The brick substation, which was built in 1910 at the site of the village’s original LIRR station, is also eligible for state and national registers for historical places.
The society is also currently looking to expand its existing floor space and wants to use the brick substation as a visiting center for the downtown area, which would feature the society’s displays of LIRR, village and county seat history.
“It’d be designed where you can walk through it,” Redmond previously said in an interview with the Mineola American. “It’s not like you’d need a ticket to go in there. It’d be a visiting center where it’s open and be part of the train station. It would all be paid for by the [third track] project. It’s their property, not ours. It wouldn’t be separate from the project. It would be a community benefit. It might be even cheaper for them to not knock the property down and preserve it.”
Inside the society’s headquarters, there are a plethora of memorabilia that are hung on the walls such as the aviation history in the Mineola area that dates back to the early 1900s, a giant placard of Thomas H. Wilson Park and its rules, and a collage of photos of vintage buildings that date back as far as 1787.
Also on display was an old horseshoe, which the society found in 2008, on the ground between Second Street and Willis Avenue by the railroad tracks. The horseshoe was found near the site of the village’s former blacksmith. A vintage Nassau County Police Department officer’s uniform, which was donated in 2008, was hung neatly in the corner as well, along with a shelf of old kitchen supplies including Cadbury’s Chocolate Biscuits and Sheffield Coffee.
In glass cabinets, commemorative shot glasses for the Mineola Fire Department’s Co. 2’s 50 anniversary and a Mineola High School 1982 junior and senior prom glass can also be found. Playbill copies of The Music Man, Our Town and The Odd Couple from the Mineola Theater are scattered and stored below.
For more information about the Mineola Historical Society, you can follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mineolahistoricalsociety.