The Bay Shore Historical Society was founded in 1985 by Mary Rogers McDonald with the express intent of collecting, preserving and sharing the rich history of the Bay Shore community. G. Herbert McDonald served as the Society’s first president presiding over 134 charter members. Seven of these charter members still volunteer at the Society weekly.
In 1985, the Society acquired Dr. Mary Holt’s former c. 1820 residence on East Main Street located just west of Southside Hospital. As the oldest Main Street tradesman’s house remaining in Bay Shore, it became the center of the Society’s activities. In 1986, the historic house was loaded on a flat bed truck and moved to 22 Maple Avenue, its present location. The house was carefully restored over the next five years, with the work being done mostly by the Society’s members. Jewell Klarman and Jack Pullis respectively presided over the Society.
Formally named the Gibson-Mack-Holt House in honor of some of the families who resided there through its history, the house was dedicated by Mrgr. Robert Emmett Fagan and was opened to the public in 1991. The House is staffed by volunteer members of the Society.
In 1994 the Historical Reference Library at the Gibson-Mack-Holt House was established by Society charter member, Priscilla Hancock, who still serves as the archivist and reference volunteer. As a result of donations of historic items, the Library has more than doubled in size since its inception. Its archives have provided many individuals who were in search of information on aspects of Bay Shore history, with answers and insights. Historical information has been provided to the Bay Shore Schools, the Town of Islip, community organizations, publications and for special events throughout the years.
The Society received its Absolute Charter from the State of New York in 1996.
1985 to the present - Volunteers have donated their time and talents to maintain the House, to collect and preserve Bay Shore’s history and to share it with the community. They have created exhibits, presented programs, conducted tours of the House,sponsored fund-raising events throughout these past 25 years, and produced a DVD "Yesteryear in Bay Shore" which features 140 vintage photographs of Bay Shore scenes with narration describing what presently occupies the site.
Present and former members of the community have supported the Society with monetary donations for the maintenance and preservation of the House and have donated historic memorabilia for the Society's archives. Over the years funds have also been provided by New York State, Suffolk County, and Islip Town, and the Willam Entenmann Family to help restore and maintain the House.
In 2010, the Society celebrated its 25th anniversary.
For more information about the Gibson-Mack-Holt House, click here