Longwood Alliance Receives Gardiner Foundation Grant for Two New Books that Map Local History, Offer Strolls Down Memory Lane in Coram and Middle Island

MIDDLE ISLAND, NY, April 19, 2023 – Long Island history lovers have two new literary treats this spring, thanks to a generous grant from The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation of New York.  They are CORAM: Farms, Families & Fortunes and MIDDLE ISLAND: Lands, Lanes & Legacies.

Local history experts Donald Bayles and Paul Infranco have re-teamed to trace the history of these hamlets on eastern Long Island from their early European settlers through the 21st century. The pair last collaborated on The History of Camp Upton for its 100th anniversary in 2017, also funded by a Gardiner Foundation grant.

The new books took more than two years to complete.  Each book is a unique combination of maps, anecdotes, family genealogies, land ownership and historic photos, offering a “Then and Now” perspective for modern day readers.

“We decided to talk about a Century of Change.  Working with Mr. Bayles is an absolute pleasure,” said Paul Infranco about his co-author. “You’re working with someone who knew the people that we talk about and who saw the changes we talk about.” Bayles also drew many of the books’ maps. He grew up in Middle Island, then lived in Coram. Don will turn 100 later this year!

Ever wonder what happened to the big farm that used to be where the shopping center now stands? Was there really a time when there wasn’t so much traffic — or even cars ­– on our main streets? Look inside, and let Messrs. Bayles and Infranco show you what yesterday looked like.

The 180 page Coram book premiered at the Davis Town Meeting House Society’s annual Victorian Tea on Saturday, April 15th.  Proceeds from this book will benefit further restoration of the historic Davis House, former seat of Brookhaven Town government and now a local treasure. Paul Infranco will discuss this book at the Society’s May 1, 2023 meeting at 7pm at the old Coram Fire House, 303 Middle Country Road in Coram. This event is open to the public.

The Middle Island book will debut at Longwood Day from 9am-2pm on Saturday, May 13, 2023 at Longwood High School, 100 Longwood Road in Middle Island. Sales from the 190 page volume will be used by The Longwood Alliance for projects at Bartlett Pond Park, which features the 1835 school house, Longwood Victory Community Garden and a series of veterans monuments. The book will also be a featured presentation at a Middle Island Civic Association meeting this summer.

“So many people love local history,” said Longwood Alliance publisher Gail Lynch-Bailey. “And we love the Gardiner Foundation for making it possible for us to share it in the form of these new books.”

Both books are available via mail order from The Longwood Alliance, PO Box 24, Middle Island, NY 11953. Each is priced at $20, plus $5 shipping.  For more information, contact Gailybaily@aol.com or Pinfranco@aol.com, call 631-921-6971 or visit www.longwoodalliance.com

Established in 1987, the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation primarily supports the study of Long Island history. Robert David Lion Gardiner was, until his death in August 2005, the 16th Lord of the Manor of Gardiner’s Island, NY. The Gardiner family and their descendants have owned Gardiner’s Island since 1639, obtained as part of a royal grant from King Charles I of England. The Foundation is inspired by Robert David Lion Gardiner’s personal passion for New York history. To better appreciate the wonderful range of projects supported by The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, please visit www.rdlgfoundation.org.

In fulfillment of its mission — Celebrating Our Community Pride: Illuminating Our Past, Enhancing Our Present, Insuring Our Future, and Thanking Every Hometown Hero — The Longwood Alliance conducts annual ceremonies on Memorial Day, Gold Star Families Day, Veterans Day and Pearl Harbor Day at Bartlett Pond Park. It publishes local history books in conjunction with the Longwood Society for Historic Preservation, and it facilitates the ‘Take Back 25’ Initiative for Middle Country Road.


Robert DL Gardiner logoMI Front cover jpegCoram Front Cover JPEG