Walking Tour Of Patchogue-Medford Library History

Blue markers denote a historical location of the Library, and yellow markers denote an optional stop related to Library history


Stop #1 - 13 East Main Street

Rhum (Caribbean-style Bar & Restaurant)

RhumPhotograph Source: Mark H. Rothenberg

Ackerly vs. Overton: A Library Rental Bidding War?

In 1883, when Patchogue Library Association was created and first looking for a room in which to open a library, Floyd A. Overton and George M. Ackerly were among the foremost bidders. (A rental agreement ensured a steady income stream to the renter. A brand new library association seemed a reliable bet, and having the Library as an extra draw could bring new customers to their business.) Floyd Overton's offer was the one accepted. When Mr. Overton's wife, Lida, died in 1884, and the Library was ordered out of his shoe store, it was Mr. Ackerly's renewed offer that was taken up. This building was the site, in 1884-1885, of George M. Ackerly's stationery store. During those years, the association library occupied a rented room, its second home in the village. Meanwhile, back at the John Roe Smith Block (the Library's previous home), with Floyd Overton, having his hands full as CEO of the new village bank, the shoe store was turned over to relative, James L. Overton, who added haberdashery (menswear accessories) to the shoe store inventory. James offered the library 2 rooms, at a price that was apparently attractive to the Library Board. So, in 1885, the Library moved back to its original location (32 West Main St.), remaining there until 1891, when it would again move back into Ackerly hands, on (South) Ocean Avenue, until 1896. But it returned once again to George Ackerly, 1902-1908, for the last time.

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Stop #2 - 1 East Main Street

William J. O'Neill Sales Exchange Co., Inc.

Nelson McBride's Drug StorePhotograph Source: Digital PML Postcard Collection and PML Celia M. Hastings Local History Room

Nelson McBride's Drug Store (& soda fountain)

Nelson McBride became Treasurer of Patchogue Library Association, in 1884, following E.S. Peck's disgrace and resignation, after Peck's bank (the sole one in the village) failed.

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Stop #3 - 2 & 8 East Main Street

Village Idiot Pub and Budget Buy And Sell

Hammond Mills & Co.Photograph Source: "Picturesque Patchogue". The Argus, 1896.

Hammond Mills & Co.

These were part of a number of buildings once owned by Hammond & Mills, a large and very popular general store. Jesse C. Mills was the owner. His prior partner Fremont Hammond and Jesse's son ran the company. Hammond now being senior partner, his name preceded that of Mills' son. Jesse Mills and Fremont Hammond were Library Board members. Jesse Mills was particularly active, playing crucial roles in the development of the association and public libraries, and in the growth of the village.

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Stop #4 - Northwest junction of Main Street & Ocean Avenue

New Village Tower

Congregational Church of PatchoguePhotograph Source: PML Celia M. Hastings Local History Room


This photo was taken from the rear (north side) of Fishel's Tower (later Swezey's Tower) showing the Congregational Church on Lake Street and the original site of the Carnegie Library.

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Stop #5 - 46 South Ocean Avenue

Evolution Barber Shop

Ackerly BlockPhotograph Source: Souvenir Of Patchogue, 1896.

Ackerly Block

Formerly known as the "twin building.". Note the wings on either side of the central arched section. The block had been moved, by G.G. Roe, from the east side of S. Ocean Ave.

From 1891-1896, Patchogue Library may have occupied the street level room, second from the right. The Long Island News Co. section (extending on the right) was then still a barber shop (not yet attached to the twin building). The Library would next migrate to the New Lyceum, 1896-1899 (on Lake St.), followed by the John Roe Smith Block, 1899-1902 (W. Main St., at first under Sorosis, 1899-1900, then as a public Library, 1900-1902). From 1902-1908, the public Library returned, to occupy the street-level room on the left front side of the Ackerly Block (renting from George M. Ackerly's Music Store, with his Music Hall above). It must have made reading or studying quite a challenge, whenever music lessons, band practice, concerts were slated, or whenever customers tried out musical instruments. It was then located at 23 Ocean Avenue. By 1910, street numbering on what had now become South Ocean Avenue had been changed, so that # 23 became # 46, which is today the location of Evolution Barber Shop. The Library moved from this location, in early 1908, to the Carnegie Library (10 Lake St.).

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Stop #6 - 57 South Ocean Avenue

Hot Bagels Plus

Gelston G. Roe BlockPhotograph Source: A Souvenir Of Patchogue, 1896.

Gelston G. Roe Block

Hot Bagels Plus (57 S. Ocean Ave.) and former Family Dollar store (59 S. Ocean Ave.), represent the location of the Old Lyceum.

Gelston G. Roe Block (S. Ocean Ave., east side), consisted of these 2 buildings. The one on the right housed the Old Lyceum (apparently on the 2nd floor). Both buildings were torn down in 1928, replaced by a long 1-story structure mainly housing national chain stores (including W.T. Grant, which later moved to Main St.).

The Old Lyceum originally was the Clinton Rink, 1885-1888, during the heyday of the roller staking craze that swept the region. The Rink started out perpendicular to the road. Later, when people lost interest in the skating fad, it was turned into a theater, the Old Lyceum. In 1891, it was turned 90 degrees, to face the street, with stores on the first floor, the Lyceum on the second. Lectures, concerts, plays, minstrel shows, public events, and other forms of entertainment were held here, including library and church fundraisers, meeting with varied success. The Theater may have been phased out, in favor of a dance hall. As the Old Lyceum went into decline, a New Lyceum (on Lake Street) took its place, in 1895, as Patchogue's premier entertainment center, and it had even stronger Library connections.

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Stop #7 - 3 & 5 Lake Street

Lake Street Apartments

Congregational Church of PatchoguePhotograph Source: PML Celia M. Hastings Local History Room

Congregational Church of Patchogue, ca. 1890

In 1883, the land on which the apartments now stand was the location of the Congregational Church of Patchogue (founded in 1793), which also owned land all the way to Pine St. (i.e., N. Ocean Ave.). It had been at this particular site since 1854. The Church moved to its current location (95 E. Main St.), in 1892. That year, part of the former church building was incorporated into the New Lyceum, which opened in 1895, and became the main village showplace.

Between 1909 and 1913, control of the Lyceum passed through several hands, and ownership was in legal doubt. Finally, in 1913, Southold Savings Bank had had enough, and foreclosed on its $4,200 mortgage. After World War II two apartment buildings rose in its place, which have recently undergone another renovation.

On May 19, 1883, the article, "Mental and Social Culture" appeared in the Patchogue Advance, by Rev. S. Fielder Palmer, of this Church. It was the first known call for a library in Patchogue, open to the general public. (It doubtless helped that Rev. Palmer was on the Advance's editorial board, at the time.) Book and monetary donations toward creation of a library were solicited. The books were initially collected at the Congregational Church, which stood near the corner of Lake and Pine Streets. In the photo, Lake St. runs horizontally (left-right), in front of the church's fence. Pine St. (later renamed North Ocean Ave.) is the wide boulevard running vertically, on the right side of the photo. The photo was taken about 1890, from the Fishel Tower (location of today's New Village Tower, northwest corner of W. Main St. & N. Ocean Ave.). The open-air bell tower in the right foreground was shared by the three companies of Patchogue's Fire Department. In 1884, the open space in the center of the photo was Edwin Bailey, Sr.'s lumber yard and carpentry shop, with piled lumber, and sheds along the periphery. (With so large a fire hazard, one can appreciate why the lumber yard was close to the fire station and why Edwin Bailey, Sr. had a vested interest in becoming Patchogue's first fire chief.) In 1904, Mr. Bailey generously donated a large part of this land to the Library Board, as property on which a Carnegie Library would be built, in 1907-08. Sadly, he died two months short of its dedication.

New Lyceum: The room in the lower left corner was Patchogue Library, 1896-1899.Photograph Source: PML Celia M. Hastings Local History Room

New Lyceum: The room in the lower left corner was Patchogue Library, 1896-1899

The Lyceum incorporated part of the former Church, evident in the steeple, behind the center of the new building. The three central double-doorways provided entry to box office, theater, and stairs.

Completed in 1895, this building included a 500 seat auditorium, where band and orchestral concerts, oratorios, minstrel and vaudeville shows, silent films, plays, lectures, civic and patriotic events, variety shows, and other forms of entertainment, including library and church fundraisers, were held. It also featured a gymnasium downstairs, a fire department headquarters, and Wilmot Smith's NYS judge's chambers upstairs, and from 1896-1899, a rented room housing the Patchogue Library. Jesse C. Mills, founder of the Patchogue Lyceum Co., and member of the Library Association Board, was able to offer a reduced rate to bring another attraction to his late 19th century entertainment center. The Library, having fallen on hard financial times, willingly accepted the offer. One can only imagine how noisy it got when there was a concert. But the Library was only open for a couple of hours, two days a week. This sad state of affairs soon received the enthusiastic attention of the Patchogue Sorosis, a newly formed very active chapter of a multi-purpose women's organization, bent on equality, suffrage, and education. (Note: Sorosis has the same root as sorority; not the medical conditions, cirrhosis of the liver or arterial sclerosis.)

New Lyceum InteriorPhotograph Source: PML Celia M. Hastings Local History Room

New Lyceum Interior

The Carnegie Library would later be built, diagonally across the street, to the left of the New Lyceum. Today the former site of the Carnegie Library is completely obscured by the outer wall of the New Village complex on the south side of Lake Street. However, the Carnegie Library was saved and may be visited at its new West Main Street location, where it was moved, restored, and renovated, where it again plays an important part in the life of Patchogue-Medford Library, and is open to the public.

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Stop #8 - 10 Lake Street

Carnegie Library

Carnegie LibraryPhotograph Source: PML Celia M. Hastings Local History Room

The Carnegie Library, around the time of its first dedication, on March 4, 1908

Today, there is not much to see at its former location, other than the Lake Street siding of the New Village complex. The Carnegie Library was set back from the street, and interestingly, was the only building constructed specifically as a public library, in the Patchogue Library / Patchogue-Medford Library's long history (1883-Present). It was also the first permanent residence of the Library, as up to this point it had always rented one or two rooms in other people's buildings, and was forever changing locations, presumably as the rent went up, or better offers came along. More about the history of the Carnegie Library will be presented when you reach the Carnegie Library itself, where there's more to see than here.

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Stop #9 - 32-38 West Main Street

Hofbrauhaus Munich Bierhaus and Flight Restaurants

Hofbrauhaus Munich Bierhaus and Flight RestaurantsPhotograph Source: Mark Rothenberg

Hofbrauhaus Munich Bierhaus and Flight Restaurants

While these restaurants occupy the John Roe Smith Block, J & R Steakhouse and Casa di Mario Shoes previously occupied the building. Prior to that, the Colony Shop occupied most of the block. Much earlier, Patchogue Library rented space in this block (1883-1902). Patchogue Village Historian Hans Henke, in Patchogue, The Early Years (2003), dates the building to the 1870's. Carrie Locke, in Patchogue, New York, Downtown Walking Tour (2017), notes that it is in the French Second Empire Style, with mansard roof, distinctive decorative flower roof tiles, dormers, grillwork on the second floor, with cornices above and below. It originally sported a tower atop the left (east) side, and storefronts lined the main floor at street-level. Note: The building adjoining to the right (or its left third) was once a narrow, 3-story brick structure housing Patchogue & Suffolk County Bank, later replaced by Patchogue Bank, and in that hangs quite a tale.

John Roe Smith Block and Patchogue BankPhotograph Source: PML Celia M. Hastings Local History Room

John Roe Smith Block and Patchogue Bank

Patchogue Library was located four times in the building on the left:
(a) The Association Library occupied a rented room in somewhere in this building in 1883-84 (in Floyd Atwood Overton's shoe store), and
(b) two rooms in James L. Overton's Haberdashery and Shoe Store, 1885-1891.
(c) Between late 1899-August 1900, the left-most room at street-level, under the shade of the tree, served as the Sorosis demonstration public library.
(d) From 1900-02, the room served as the first (rented) home of the public library, after December 1900, under state charter. Elizabeth Mott Smith, president of Patchogue's Sorosis, served as the first president of the public library Board of Trustees.

Old Bank, New Bank: Patchogue Treasure and Treasurers, 1884Photograph Source: A Souvenir Of Patchogue, 1896.

Old Bank, New Bank: Patchogue Treasure and Treasurers, 1884

Next door (to the right) is Paradise Bridal & Tuxedo. In 1883, when the Patchogue Library first opened, Patchogue and Suffolk County Bank stood here, owned and operated by Edward S. Peck, Cashier (CEO), who also conveniently served as Treasurer of the Patchogue Library Association, next door. However, due to Mr. Peck's poor choice of investments and lack of any cash reserves, one day in 1884, he abruptly decided to close down his bank. Angry investors banged on the doors and demanded their money, to no avail. News spread, and within days a large, incensed mob surrounded his house and threatened him with lynching. They were dissuaded by cooler heads, including many of Peck's fellow Library Board members. Next, Peck attempted suicide, saved again largely by fellow board members. J.J. Craven broke into his house, after hearing gunshots, and sent for other doctors. Peck had botched his suicide, too. The recovering Mr. Peck was then grilled at length. After divestment all of his, and his wife's, worldly assets, he was eventually released, to start a new life in Manhattan. A year later, it was reported, in the New York Times, that his latest business, a stationery store, had also failed.

In the interim, a new bank was formed and chartered, renamed Patchogue Bank located on the same premises (as seen in the photo), with club rooms of Royal Arcanum Hall upstairs. Floyd Overton, former Librarian, was offered and accepted the job of Cashier (CEO). Interestingly, Library Board Members also predominated on the Bank Board. Nelson McBride, a successful druggist at the northeast corner of Pine St. (today's N. Ocean Ave.) & E. Main St., became the Library's new Treasurer. 1884 ended on a happy note, with the celebration of the Library's first year, at the Congregational Church, on Lake Street.

Patchogue Bank (est. 1884) was the more soundly-based successor to E.S. Peck's Patchogue and Suffolk County Bank. Nearly all its directors were also on the Library Board, or affiliated with it in some way. Floyd Overton, Cashier, had been the earliest Librarian. Edwin Bailey and Arrington Carman were benefactors and eventual board members. John Havens (also an eventual board member) sold J.J. Craven the house in which Patchogue Library Association was formed. He also owned a general store that is now the Brickhouse Brewery (formerly Shand's), at Havens Ave. & W. Main St. Jesse Mills jump-started both the association and public libraries and served on both boards. Fremont Hammond, and insurance partners John Potter and John Price, served on the Board. George Gerard was the Library's first vice president. E.T. Moore opposed a public library, on the grounds that the next thing they'd ask for was a building, which later proved true. Milton Wiggins became father-in-law of Muriel Wiggins, a library director of the late 1940's.

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Stop #10 - 19-39 West Avenue & Corner of W. Main St.

The Carnegie Library

The Carnegie Library, Re-dedication, 2016.Photograph Source: PML Celia M. Hastings Local History Room

The Carnegie Library, Re-dedication, 2016.

Industrialist Andrew Carnegie was funding libraries across the U.S., and internationally. Correspondence with him, to fund construction of a library in Patchogue began in 1902-03, conducted almost exclusively through James Bertram, Carnegie's Private Secretary. It ran into an immediate snag, as E. Agate Foster (on behalf of the Village Board) and Wilmot M. Smith (on behalf of the Library Board) both applied for the grant, which threw Mr. Bertram into a rage, demanding they settle among themselves who was actually applying, and then get back to him. Mr. Foster had filled out the form that Bertram had sent him, only to have it returned, with the request that he surrender it to the Library Board. But, for a time, Foster would not release it. After some back and forth, involving all parties, the somewhat sullen village official yielded the form, and the initiative passed to the Library, clearing that roadblock. But there was another. The Board lacked any land on which to build, and Bertram would not deal with them until that provision was made. Negotiations stalled, until Edwin Bailey, Sr. came to the rescue, in 1904, donating land at 10 Lake Street to the Library Board (site of his original lumber yard). Next came the search for an architect. The design of John Vredenburgh Van Pelt, of Manhattan, (later of Patchogue) stood out. Construction began in 1907, but ran into serious cost overages. Appeals were made to Bertram and to Carnegie to help fund the difference. Eventually, a further matching grant was approved, but not before Van Pelt received several dressings-down by Bertram. It was all part of the grant process. The building was dedicated on March 4, 1908.

Carnegie Library, 1920'sPhotograph Source: PML Celia M. Hastings Local History Room

Carnegie Library, 1920's

The Carnegie Library was built in the Neoclassical style, with a steeply pitched Chateauesque hipped roof, pedimented (including a library-related sculptural relief on the tympanum, funded by Ruth Litt) with a full-height entry porch, over the portico, flanked by Ionic double columns, a particularly striking and unusual arched, segmented window design, with brick crowns and keystones, and an arched window above the doorway. Larger windows on the sides of the building are designed to be both aesthetically pleasing and to admit plenty of natural sunlight during daylight hours. The second floor included a small director's office, with a screen that overlooked the main floor, so she could keep an eye on things. The basement was originally designed mainly for storage and the physical plant, featuring above-ground windows to admit light and permit ventilation.

The Library's 73 years at that location took it from gas to electric lighting, coal to oil heat, from the Age of Dewey to the stirrings and whirrings of library automation, along with occasional repairs, reconfigurations of rooms, services, and adjusting the collection to match public needs and requests, local and national concerns, and new trends in library services. Under Alma Custead (1914-1945), Patchogue Library became the fulcrum and center of the Suffolk County, N.Y., library world, helping community and county through life in WW I, the Jazz Age, the Great Depression, and WW II. A model reference collection was established. Adult, children's, and teen services steadily developed and expanded. Programs and resources were keyed to the times, as were newspaper announcements. Alma Custead became the force behind creation of Suffolk County Library Association (1939-Present), serving as its first President. The first countywide library catalog was consolidated at Patchogue Library, in 1942. Miss Custead led book drives for American troops in WW I, and coordinated them countywide in WWII. Sponsoring regional and state meetings and conferences, she made Patchogue a focus of library activity in Suffolk County and in New York State.

Under her successor, Muriel Wiggins, 1946-1952, the Library celebrated its 50th Anniversary, and saw the extension of access, by contract, to Medford residents. It also saw the introduction of microfiche and microfilm, and the phonograph record collection expanded. Under Elaine Phipps, with postwar baby and suburbanization booms, the public approved a Library Addition in 1958, reflecting the expanded population and service area. The Library Addition of 1958 was architecturally strikingly different from the earlier part of the building, but very much in the style in current favor in its time, as was the Carnegie building. Suffolk Cooperative Library System had its origin in the Library basement in 1961 before moving to the Nabisco building on West Main Street, then to its present location in North Bellport.

Following the school district's lead, in 1973, the Library was renamed (by charter amendment), The Patchogue-Medford Library, extending full service to Medford residents. In 1979, Patchogue-Medford became the sole Central Library for Suffolk County. In January 1981, with space at a premium, Patchogue-Medford Library, moved to its present location at, 54-60 E. Main Street.

Briarcliffe College's administrative offices occupied the old Carnegie Building for a number of years, then moved to Swezey's lace mill style building (after Swezey's Department Store closed its doors, permanently). There was to be a period of doubt as to the fate of the Carnegie Library building.

After the Carnegie Library was vacated by Briarcliffe College, it passed to Village control, and whether to demolish or repurpose it remained a contentious public issue. When Tritech was awarded a contract to build on land on which it stood, the risk of its destruction seemed imminent, and generated a grassroots movement, Friends of the Carnegie Library (2012) to save it, and have it moved to safety. But where? Ultimately, the building was awarded to its original owner, Patchogue-Medford Library. The 1958 Addition was demolished and the original building was shored up. With Tritech's help, it was moved to within 100 feet of its present location, on land belonging to the Suffolk County Supreme Court. Arrangements were made to transfer the land rights from County to Town to Village to the Library, which took time. A foundation was laid and the building was moved to it, and its careful restoration and bringing up to code could take place. Dedicated in 2016, the Library's Teen Center opened to the public in early 2017. Greater Patchogue Historical Society collections and displays occupy the basement.

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Stop #11 - 54-60 East Main Street

Patchogue-Medford Library

Patchogue-Medford Library ExteriorPhotograph Source: Patchogue-Medford Library Website

Patchogue-Medford Library Exterior

In January 1981 the Library moved from the Carnegie Building to this location, a renovated former W.T. Grant store. Computer and Internet revolutions changed the way the library functions, views and presents things. Manual card catalogs were replaced by several generations of online catalogs. Phonograph records were replaced by CDs. 16 mm. filmstrips became an outmoded technology, and were replaced by VHSs, then DVDs, and then become available in other electronic forms. Microfiche and Microfilm was increasingly replaced by electronic versions. Massive multivolume indexes were generally replaced by online database services capable of rapidly searching many years of multiple indexes. Compact shelving was introduced in 1988, but was decrepit and gone by 2017. Library community wall murals, initially regarded as graffiti, received national praise and American Library Association recognition. The Fishing tackle loaner program was introduced and is popular to this day.

Library Entrance, Holiday Season, 2016-17

Library Entrance, Holiday Season, 2016-17

In the year 2000, the Library celebrated the centennial of its state charter, with a series of events and publications. PML participated in the Suffolk Historic Newspapers project, resulting in a large segment of the Patchogue Advance being digitized and accessible online. PML developed several generations of its website, and its departments and specialized areas follow suit, with web pages of their own, local history eventually having its own linked website. PML developed a presence on a variety of social media. Periodicals have increasingly become available online, via subscription. Public computer stations have become more numerous, connected to subscription databases, organized by topic. E-books were introduced, and PML participates in LiveBrary, which allows a variety of books and other types of media to be downloaded and borrowed electronically through the county library system (audiobooks, movies, etc.). Museum passes and discount tickets were introduced. A charging station has proven popular for recharging hand-held devices. In recent years, summertime kits of outdoor games have been introduced circulation. This is in addition to meeting space, always in high demand, programs, lectures, movies, crafts, children's and adult reading clubs, exhibits, computer training, exercise sessions, and much more. In 2008, the Library contributed mightily to taking the edge off community tensions running high, in the aftermath of the murder of Marcelo Lucero. In 2010, the Library received the National Medal for Museum and Library Service presented by First Lady, Michele Obama, at the White House, the nation's highest honor to libraries. From 2011-Present, PML has received annual recognition, from the American Library Association, as one of the United States' star libraries. Many reference works are now online, which is why the physical reference collection has shrunk, meanwhile genealogical resources have expanded. The Learning Center was introduced when, in 2016, the Carnegie Library was rededicated at its new on West Avenue & W. Main Street, site, where Young Adult services are now available, and the Greater Patchogue Historical Society has collection and exhibit space. PML is pioneering New Adult Services, in tandem with other libraries in the county, and is always looking into new, exciting, emerging forms of service, that benefit the communities and individuals that it serves, and respond to current needs. PML has also served as fertile training ground for generations of influential librarians and library administrators, both locally and around the County. The Library has always been a center of shared community, a great place to meet people, but also a place to relax and unwind, to learn, to find answers to problems, and useful leads and connections.

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Stop #12 - 215 East Main Street & Maple Avenue

John Joseph Craven ResidencePhotograph Source: 1916 Patchogue BPOE Fair brochure

John Joseph Craven Residence

On June 12th, 1883, Patchogue Library Association was organized, its rules established, officers and committees elected here, John Joseph Craven becoming its first president, a position that he held until his death, 10 years later. This building, which stood at this site until demolished in 2001, had been antebellum home to the Edwards or Tiger family, then passed to John S. Havens (Brookhaven's Town Supervisor during much of the Civil War), before it went to J.J. Craven. Later, it was home to the Canfield-Tuthill family (of newspaper publishing fame). It would serve as Patchogue's World War II U.S.O., and became home to the Patchogue Elks, until sold to TD Bank, and demolished. Interestingly, the Craven property extended to Medford Avenue (the Coram Road), and nearly to Oak Street to the north. When transferred to the Canfield-Tuthill family, it included land that the Patchogue Advance, today's Long Island Advance, now occupies. The house is in the Greek Revival style, with what may originally have been a pedimented full-height entry porch. The upper floor may have been a later addition, as may two (or more) additions in the rear of the building.


J.J. CravenPhotograph Source: MOLIS & U.S. Army Military History Institute

J.J. Craven

John Joseph Craven, originally from Passaic, New Jersey, joined Samuel F.B. Morse, inventing a coating of gutta percha for telegraph wires passing through rivers. But, failing to obtain a patent, it being 1849, he sailed in style for the California goldfields, and was back in 1852, taking up the study of medicine. A successful doctor, when Civil War broke out, he secured an audience with Abraham Lincoln, who sent him to take a civil service test. He became surgeon to William T. Sherman's brigade, in time for the battle of First Bull Run (1st Manassas). Over the course of the war, he became commander of a succession of Federal medical departments, each usually comprising two Confederate states. In 1865, as senior official of the medical Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, he became Jefferson Davis' doctor, after the latter was captured and imprisoned and mistreated in Fort Monroe, Virginia. He took careful notes of his conversations with Davis, and later converted it to an international bestselling book, The Prison Life of Jefferson Davis. The book won Davis sympathy and had a lot to do with his release and the contributed to the myth of the Lost Cause. Davis, however, hated the book, denied and excoriated nearly everything in it, in his own copy's marginal notes. But, he kept quiet publicly, as it worked so well to his advantage. Believed to be too chummy with Davis, obtaining better living conditions for Davis, by going over his superiors' heads directly to President Johnson, Craven was released from duty early. President Andrew Johnson made him postmaster of his hometown, Passaic, where Craven found time to pen his book. He resumed his life as a physician, also as an inventor, winning several patents, retiring comfortably to Patchogue, NY, where he purchased the house formerly at this site. He arrived, famous and influential, continued to practice medicine and dabble in inventions, but also joined in the civic life of the village, and was persuaded to hold the organizational meeting of Patchogue Library Association, on June 12, 1883, in his house. He would go on to help save the life of a failed banker first from a lynch mob, then from a suicide attempt. When he died in 1893, the year the village was incorporated, he was greatly missed.

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