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Letter: Levittown Historical Society Looks Back

As Veterans Day recedes in the rearview mirror and 2009 wears away, the Levittown Historical Society stops to pause on the events of the past eleven months.

Our monthly general meetings, all open-to-the-public events at the Levittown Public Library, began in March with a commemoration of the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth and a discussion on the historical influence of Darwinism augmented by an exhibit of books, photographs, and scientific memorabilia on the subject. (Coincidentally, Darwin was born on the same exact day as Abraham Lincoln).

In April and May, we examined the history of two local landmarks - the birthplace of Walt Whitman and Raynham Hall in Oyster Bay, which was the site of Revolutionary War intrigue and, some claim, supernatural happenings.

June and September’s meetings (there are no general meetings in the summer) were about the rich history of two Long Island communities brought to us by the Seaford Historical Society and a public viewing of Hicksville, 11801.

The October meeting marked the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage and the founding of New Netherlands.

Finally, in November, we discussed the origins of the Pilgrims, their journey to America on the Mayflower, and the many famous Americans (including several U.S. Presidents) who can trace their ancestry back to this famous crossing.

As always, during these months, the museum of the Levittown Historical Society opened its doors to the public and patrons from as far away as Germany and the Netherlands paid us a visit while school field trips took advantage of the educational opportunities the society offers.

Our exhibits and collections continue to expand with new donations allowing people to learn more about such topics as World War II, the rise of post-War suburbia, the spread of mid-20th Century American popular culture, and the agricultural communities of Jerusalem and Island Trees that preceded our quintessentially suburban town.

No year would be complete at the Levittown Historical Society without noting our annual participation in such events as the Levittown Memorial Day Parade, Community Pride Day, the LEAD Walk and an Awards Recognition Night (where we saluted, among others, talented musician and popular culture historian Bob Koenig).

In October we featured a stage show called Levittown Idol and were delighted by the cavalcade of talented young Levittowners who performed before an enthusiastic audience. Such a smashing success was this event that the Society is planning an encore in the autumn of 2010.

For the New Year, plans are in the offing for an antiques show to be conducted jointly with our friends at the Hicksville Historical Society and a history fair for local students.

As is the case with all of our endeavors, we are only as successful as our reserve of members and/or volunteers will allow. Consequently, we are always seeking both.

Although the Levittown Historical Society is a private nonprofit organization working closely with the Levittown School District (for whose generosity we are everlastingly grateful), and the sponsorship of local businesses, ultimately it is a resource of the people of Levittown.

Paul Manton

Vice President

Levittown Historical Society