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Historical Society Keeping The Past Alive

On Westbury Avenue, the past is still living today. At the Mineola Historical Society, a dedicated group of people have been maintaining Mineola’s past to save it for the next generation. 

“We are trying to preserve the history of Mineola,” President of the Mineola Historical Society Thomas Murhta said. He added the goal is, “to keep the past for the future.” For over 25 years, the Mineola Historical Society has done just that. Hundreds of artifacts and photos line the walls of the interior of the building, with thousands more in storage. 

Murtha, 60, has lived in Mineola for his whole life. “I was born here in Mineola. I grew up here. I’ve seen a lot of changes,” he said. He got involved with the Mineola Historical Society in 1995, and has been dedicated to it ever since. He isn’t the only one. 

“I have lived in this village 77 years,” Dolores Mangold, Vice-President of the Mineola Historical Society, said. “My feelings were that the Mineola that I knew and loved growing up was changing dramatically, but we weren’t keeping the history of the village.” Mangold, 77, also said that photographs have been the best way to keep everything in order.

 

Technology has been vital to the Mineola Historical Society’s mission. A pamphlet reads that the purpose is, “discovering, collecting, preserving and publishing matters of local history.” According to

Michael Marinak, the historical society’s treasurer, there are over 4,000 photos in archives at the Mineola Historical Society today. 

 

Over the summer, two local high school students have been volunteering to scan the photos so they could be recorded and published for everyone to see. 

 

Like Mangold and Murtha, Marinak has been in Mineola for many years, and has seen the changes that have taken place. “We tore down this, we tore down that and we should keep it,” Marinak said. He joined the Mineola Historical Society 15 years ago, and since then, he knows what the historical society should do. He wants to give, as he puts it, “a respect for something that is old.” 

 

Some of the mementos on display are photos of the old Mineola Theater, Nassau County police officer uniforms from decades past, a Mineola Little League baseball jersey, replica aircrafts, and a shirt that was given to the Mineola High School graduating class of 1940. Inside a closet, shelves of yearbooks from Mineola and Chaminade High Schools are stacked high. Local residents or their families have donated many of these artifacts, while others were purchased. 

 

The artifacts are a big point of pride for Murtha and the other members of the Mineola Historical Society. “I like it because a lot of stuff is gone now that I remember,” Murtha, a former member of the

Mineola village hall, said. “We keep it going here. It brings back a lot of memories for me.” 

 

Located on the site of the former Sinclair gas station, the Mineola Historical Society has helped people find where their relatives lived, photos of local businesses from generations past, and explain what life was like in Mineola in the past. They are happy to help with any questions. “If we don’t have it, we try to find it,” Murtha said. 

 

The Mineola Historical Society is always looking for more artifacts or photos to add to their collection. If you have anything you would like to share with them, contact the Mineola Historical Society at 516-746-6722.