Written by D. F. Karppi Friday, 18 December 2009 00:00
“It’s been a long haul, “Almost the same length of time as Odysseus’ journey in The Odyssey,” said Mr. Kuehhas.
The work on the new Angela P. Koenig Research & Collections Center is being done by Baldino Construction, said the building architect Louis Baldino. “It’s happening. It’s been a long wait. The town has been very helpful. The groundbreaking is scheduled for Tuesday, and on Friday the building will be staked out on the site and the actual excavation will start sometime early next week.
“My father Philip Baldino began his construction business in Oyster Bay in 1967 – which is coming to 43 years. He and my brother Mario run the business – a design and building collaboration,” said Louis Baldino.
The new Angela P. Koenig Research & Collections Center is solving the Oyster Bay Historical Society’s most pressing problem. As Mr. Kuehhas put it, “We’re out of room! The Society has grown dramatically in recent years, and our current headquarters just can’t accommodate the constant flow of researchers, genealogists, visiting school children and the increasing staff required to serve the community. Also, we have to face the very real possibility of fire in our current structure, the Earle Wightman House. The dangers of housing an irreplaceable historical collection in a 300-year-old wood frame building were made all too vivid by the October 2003 blaze which destroyed the historic Masonic Lodge just a few blocks away.”
As a result they took action and had plans drawn up for the new building with the heating, ventilation and air conditioning needed for proper archival storage, and with the much needed space for researchers utilizing the largest collection of Oyster Bay’s history anywhere!
The problem had been the cost and the OBHS over the years has been addressing it with yearly exhibits, including: Louis Comfort Tiffany; Italians in Oyster Bay; Sports in Oyster Bay; the Arts in Oyster Bay; Upstairs, Downstairs; Oyster Bay and World War II. Journals were created for each exhibit as the society took aim at their need for funds.
Mr. Kuehhas added, “The cost to construct and furnish the new facility, including related improvements to our existing headquarters, is estimated to be approximately $1,350,000. We are deeply grateful to The Dolan Foundation for generously providing us with a matching grant to aid our cause.
“We still need to raise an additional $125,000 in donations/pledges which would be matched by the grant,” he said. “We have enough at this moment to build the weatherproof building but not to finish the inside until we raise the additional money,” he added.
The building is named for Angela Koenig, who is beloved in Oyster Bay. She gave so much of her time and energy and talent to so many worthy Oyster Bay organizations including the Doubleday Babcock Senior Center; the Youth and Family Counseling Agency of Oyster Bay-East Norwich; the United Way; and even Rotary – for which she edited their Clamdigger for several years.
“For many years, the Oyster Bay Historical Society was one of her major priorities. From 1977 to 2005, Angela served as a devoted and diligent Trustee of the Society. It was her dream to see our new building become a reality, and we’re honored to name our new research and collections center in her memory,” said Mr. Kuehhas.
If you are interested in making a donation or pledge to the OBHS for the center Mr. Kuehhas said, “You’ll be making a commitment not just to the Society, but to the entire Oyster Bay community…for our generation and for generations to come.” Their mission statement is: The Oyster Bay Historical Society: Preserving Our Past…Protecting Our Future. For more information please call 922-5032.