The Sag Harbor Historical Society (SHHS), housed in the Annie Cooper Boyd House on Main Street in Sag Harbor, New York, was established in 1985 with a threefold mission:
- To promote and encourage public education and appreciation of Sag Harbor history,
- To work for the preservation of historic buildings and sites, and
- To foster the preservation of the historic character of the village.
I bought my first house just over the bridge from Sag Harbor in North Haven in 1985 and it was a whaling captain's house built in the 1830's. Having grown up in an historic fishing village on Cape Cod, in a house that was over 200 years old, "historic" is a cherished part of the fabric of the communities I gravitate toward. Sag Harbor fits perfectly into that fabric.
The Port of Sag Harbor was founded in 1707. "By the time the Revolutionary War began, Sag Harbor had built up a thriving coastal and foreign trade. In 1789, when George Washington approved the creation of Sag Harbor as a Port of Entry for the newly formed United States, the village had more square rigged vessels engaged in commerce than the Port of New York." "Sag Harbor has the distinction of having had the first custom house in the U.S., the first volunteer fire company in the state of New York, and the first newspaper printed on Long Island. The lower part of the business district, thrice destroyed by fire, rose from the ashes each time, grew and prospered through a spectacular whaling industry, a period of industrial growth, and finally as a place where the population swells each summer with an ever increasing influx of visitors and a bay filled with pleasure craft. Through all of its 300 years, Sag Harbor has retained its special history, beauty, and individuality", the preservation of which is now being aided by the Historical Society ... my new employer.
I have the great good fortune to have been selected to be the new Office Manager for the Historical Society and I started this week. The office is in a house that was originally built in 1795 and it has low ceilings and creaky, uneven floors of well-worn wood. The collection includes over 500 letters, books, documents, diaries, postcards and bibles, ledgers, photographs, and an extensive collection of the artwork of Annie Cooper Boyd. I am truly excited to be working to help preserve the history of this wonderful adopted village of mine.