After years of searching for a new home to accommodate a vast array of artifacts pertinent to the history of the community, the Franklin Square Historical Society has finally gotten its wish.
Town of Hempstead Supervisor Richard Guardino announced that the town will lease the historical society property in Rath Park, where the historical society will erect a building to house its museum.
"The compelling historical accounts of Paul van Wie, president of the Franklin Square Historical Society, convinced me that the Town of Hempstead should assist the society in finding a permanent home to display historical items and educate people about the history of Franklin Square," Guardino said. "I am pleased to announce that the Town of Hempstead is leasing property at Rath Park to the Franklin Square Historical Society for a nominal charge so the society can erect a building for the public to learn more about the great community of Franklin Square."
Currently, the Franklin Square Historical Society stores its historical museum and artifacts in the basement of the Washington Street Elementary School. The museum is only open when the society holds its meetings, once a month for about two hours. The new building will be able to give society members as well as members of the public more access to the rich history of Franklin Square.
Town of Hempstead spokesman Mike Deery said the town hopes to have the lease agreement with the Franklin Square Historical Society completed by the end of the summer. The lease for the property will be at a minimal fee and then the historical society will erect a permanent building.
Under the agreement, the property to be leased is located adjacent to the gazebo at Rath Park. The announcement marks the end of a long search for the historical society, which has been searching for a permanent home for quite some time.
From as far back as 1999, Dr. van Wie emphasized that the historical society was in desperate need of a new home, saying its collection had outgrown its space in the Washington Street School. Also, with the possibility of school enrollment increases, the Franklin Square Union Free School District may have needed the space occupied by the museum.
Dr. van Wie is away for the summer. However, in a press release issued by the town, he stated, "Supervisor Guardino is a genuine partner in working to preserve the proud history of Franklin Square."
Franklin Square Historical Society trustee Marilyn Muller said the organization is thrilled at the announcement after looking for a home for what seemed like forever. "We have so many different artifacts. Now, we're almost afraid to take anything because we have no place to put it," she said.
However, Ms. Muller said the historical society is looking forward to getting the project underway so that the society can move into its new home. "We can't wait," she said.
Since the historical society provides a valuable service to the community of Franklin Square by preserving its history, Guardino believes it was important to have an adequate home for the organization. "Perhaps the greatest educational tool in determining where we are going as a community is to look back at our history and see where we have been. The Franklin Square Historical Society's new home will help us do that," he said.