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Then And Now

Hicksville Gregory Museum celebrates 50th anniversary

On the anniversary of the ribbon cutting at One Heitz Place, Hicksville’s Gregory Museum paused to celebrate.

Memories were shared, friendships renewed and fellowship prevailed as an overflow crowd gathered in the second floor community room, festively decorated for the occasion, for a special program from Museum President Richard Althaus, entitled “50 Years of Service of The Gregory Museum.”  

In his opening remarks Historical Society President Mike Christodoulou said. “Hicksville has a great history. We are family.”

Soon the gathering was glued to the screen for the presentation, as slide after slide, Althaus’ informative narration accompanied the visuals. The room’s silence was broken only by gentle laughter and comments such as “remember that?” or “Look!” at the sight of old friends and special times.  

Originally housed at the Cottage Boulevard home of its namesake, Dr. Gardiner Gregory and his wife, Anne, the museum hosted school trips from the start. Its present location – once a vital village hall and courthouse built in the late 1800s – was transformed from an abandoned and vandalized building thanks to tireless local volunteers.

For some three years, they knocked down walls, built new ones, designed and redesigned, spackled, painted – everything necessary to bring the building to life. Among the helping hands were Botto Mechanical, McKeon Lumber, Ruhback Plate Glass Company, BOCES students and countless community members. One nod to the past remains – a jail cell on the first floor, bars and all.

Now the Gregory Museum is writing its own page in Hicksville’s history as a thriving and innovative educational and scientific institution that is home to regular school tours and projects, natural history collections. Fossils, minerals and butterflies along with science exhibits and community events are only a handful of the attractions

“You want to preserve the history of Hicksville,” Trustee Vera Althaus said.

Before the program, docent and staff entomologist Paul Manton pointed out that the site of the museum “was once the center of town.” With great enthusiasm, Manton told a group of visitors about a dinosaur egg, which came from China, that’s currently on display in a sparking glass case. Among those listening closely was Hicksville resident Elaine Peters.  

“This is a great little museum. There is so much here,” said Peters. “Everything is done in an educational way.”

A member of the Historical Society she recalled working at Thom McCan in Mid Island Plaza (now the Broadway Mall) before it was enclosed. Bubbling with enthusiasm, she remembered bringing her young daughter to the museum constantly and loving every moment.

“Hicksville makes you proud. Hicksville has a Historical Society and we have a museum,” Historical Society President Christodoulou proudly remarked, noting most communities have neither.

After the presentation, attendees dined on delicious sandwiches and homemade baked goods. A special anniversary celebration is being planned for May 1 at the Milleridge Inn.

Echoing the sentiments of residents past and present, Fran Jablonski said, “I love Hicksville.”

To learn more about the Gregory Museum, call (516) 822-7505 or visit gregorymuseum.org.

News

Hicksville’s interim School Superintendent Dr. Carl Bonuso gave a review of the district’s recently completed capital projects and facilities updates at Nov. 19’s board of education meeting. Most of the projects were completed over the summer in each of the district’s schools.

“Thanks to Director of Facilities and Operations, Dave Bell and his staff, we are structurally sound,” said Bonuso. “So much of what we do is in-house which saves the district money and our staff makes the facilities as special as the students they serve.”

The community is rallying together to raise funds for a Hicksville native who has been battling to get a service dog.

Nancy Burpee is a 49-year-old competitive swimmer and single mother with a rare genetic terminal illness called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which causes the deterioration of the connective tissues, tendons, ligaments and vital organs.


Sports

For the past 11 months, Hicksville’s Marlo Signoracci has been training for IRONMAN, one of the most physically challenging athletic events out there. The triathlon includes a swim, bike and run portion. Signoracci recently traveled down to Florida to compete in IRONMAN Florida. Here’s a look at her experience.

Nov. 1, 2014 will be a day in my life I will never forget and will carry with me forever. It truly was the celebration of the last 11 months of training.

The fall athletic season seemed to move quickly, but all teams had outstanding seasons with all teams reaching the playoffs except for two who had their best season in many years.

In addition to athletic acheivements, all of the varsity programs at Hicksville High School also participated in raising more than $4,000 for several charities this past fall: pediatric cancer, breast cancer awareness and cystic fibrosis.


Calendar

Model Railroad Open House

November 28-30

Popcorn Balls

November 30

Craft Fair

November 30



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