Historic Yaphank home, mill to be
Newsday: July 17, 2012 By DEON J. HAMPTON
Photo credit: Newsday /
Thomas A. Ferrara | Restoration work is
already under way at the Homan-Gerard
house; the cost is being funded by
Suffolk County. (July 17, 2012)
A bit of history is being preserved
Suffolk County officials recently announced plans to
restore the historic Homan-Gerard House and mill
complex, which has been vacant for about 50 years.
Some feared the two-story Federal-style home, which
was built in the late 18th century and sits in the
Yaphank Historical District, would further
deteriorate without revitalization.
Officials said the preservation is part of an effort
to maintain the county's rich history, as the home
is one of 45 historical properties in the hamlet.
"It gives us a sense of where we live, a place,"
Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Connie Kepert said.
The property is on Yaphank Avenue between Main
Street and the Long Island Expressway. The
1,500-square-foot, three-bedroom home went through
several owners until 1922, when the house and mill
property were sold to Anson W. Hard at a public
auction for $7,000, according to Karen Mouzakes, a
hamlet historian. It was then used as a games
keeper's cottage, but eventually became vacant.
Kenneth Hard later inherited the property, using it
as a gun club, Mouzakes added.
In 1963, Hard sold the property to Suffolk County to
become Southaven Park. The house has remained empty
since, according to Mouzakes.
Money from county fund
The $335,000 cost of this phase of the renovation is
being funded through a county capital improvement
fund, said Vanessa Baird-Streeter, spokeswoman for
County Executive Steve Bellone. Baird-Streeter
said two more phases may be added, but financial
estimates have not been determined. Jane
Trusnovec, 77, a lifelong hamlet resident whose
ancestors lived in the home, said she is pleased a
part of her family's history will be maintained.
"I didn't know the house was salvageable," she said.
County officials said workers are removing broken
boards, fallen plaster and raccoon droppings from
the house. They are also installing plywood covers
on doors and windows to prevent vandalism and are
preserving the stone foundation walls and masonry
Preserving the past
Legis. Kate M. Browning (WF-Shirley) said local
residents were worried the building would succumb to
deterioration. Mouzakes noted the value of saving it
from that fate. "This wonderful, 18-century
home has worn over time and waited its turn for
restoration," she said. "It would be a crime to let
this house fall apart. It's a part of history."
The first mention of the Homan-Gerard House in
Brookhaven Town was in 1762, town records show.
"It's important to preserve history," Bellone said.
"If we want a good sense of where we're going, we
need to know our past." But the updated home
won't have certain modern conveniences.
Yaphank Historical Society president Robert Kessler
said the home will be renovated to its original
state, meaning there won't be a bathroom, sink or
"They used outhouses back then," he said.