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Thousands of Curios In Museum

Footnotes to Long Island History

Old Long Island Lives Again
Thousands of Curios in Museum

by

Thomas R. Bayles


        MIDDLE ISLAND- One of the most interesting places to visit in this part of Long Island is Emil's Middle Island museum on Middle Country road just east of the Presbyterian church here. As we enter this museum filled with one of the largest collections of curios on Long Island, the hands of time seem to be turned back to the days of long ago.

           Here are displayed a complete old-fashioned country store of the late 1800's and the post office and fixtures at Middle Island in use when Miss Cynthia Hutchinson was postmistress in 1877, with some of the fixtures dating back to 1840. The letter boxes are filled with old newspapers of that period, and auction hand bills advertising country auctions of by gone days are tacked on the wall.           

          A complete blacksmith shop with fixtures dating back to 1780 from the old wheelright shop of Charles Marvin of Yaphank, and an old one horse shay dating back to 1700 from Marvin's shop is on exhibition.

          Other items are a drug store with its old fixtures of years long past from Sayville and a barber shop complete with the old-fashioned individual shaving cups from Hicksville.

          An item old special interest is the first sheriff seal of Suffolk county in use when Phineas Carll was sheriff in 1795, and signed by George Clinton the first governor of New York State.

         Another interesting relic is an old handbill campaign advertisement of 1892, when Andrew Jackson was running for president of the United States as well as torches used in the election campaign of Abraham Lincoln in later years.

          An old dog treadmill attached to a churn that was used by the farmers to make their butter years ago is very interesting. A large exhibit of old-fashioned telephones take one back to the days when telephones first came into use.

         A large collection of sculptured figures by the eminent American Sculptor John Rogers, is on display.

          There are thousands of articles including Indian relics, pistols, guns, swords, ammunition, uniforms, household and kitchen utensils, farm implements, Long Island egg collections, lap organs, music boxes, the first juke boxes, a surveying chain in use during the period when George Washington was a surveyor, an American Eagle bed spread of 1800, carpet bags, old shoemakers bench and tools, a multitude of old advertisements, papers, documents and posters.

          For the children are an old hand operated merry-go-round with life-sized horses and a bird cage with a singing canary that comes out and sings when wound up.

        This collection is the result of 25 years work as an antique collector by Emil Lengyel who was preserved and assembled the thousands of items making up this museum. He has done an important work in preserving for posterity these relics of life on Long Island during the early years of its settlement and a visit to this museum is of great educational value to everyone.

        The old house adjoining the museum is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Lengyel and was built about 1740 and was one of the first houses to be built when the middle of the island was opened up to settlement.

         The museum will reopen Wednesday and a small admission charge is made to defray expenses. Hours may be spent browsing through this huge collection of relics of the past.

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