Photo of the Week


“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
– John Steinbeck


Cornerstone Club / Central Suffolk Hospital

by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Head Librarian

Central Suffolk Hospital Cornerstone Club, Riverhead, 1946.(Image from the Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives. Copyright © Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved.)

We will be closed December 25 – January 1,
and will reopen on Thursday, January 2, 2020.

To help raise a fund for the construction of a new hospital for [the] Central Suffolk area to be erected on Roanoke Avenue and Route 58, Riverhead, New York, and in consideration of the pledges of others, the above-mentioned has promised to pay to Riverhead Hospital Association, One Hundred Dollars at the time of the Laying of the Cornerstone.”

Seventy years ago, in December 1949, officers of the Riverhead Hospital Association laid the cornerstone for the hospital that would be built at the northeast corner of Roanoke Avenue and Route 58. The rite of laying a cornerstone is an important cultural component of American architecture.

More than five hundred people braved the threatening weather to attend the cornerstone ceremony. Suffolk County Archdeacon and rector of Grace Episcopal Church Charles W. MacLean spoke about the five years of work and planning that made the construction of a modern “house of healing” possible for Riverhead. Henry R. Talmage, president of the Riverhead Hospital Association, laid the cornerstone and was assisted by Walter Stark and Joseph Celic, also officials of the association. The Riverhead High School band performed a rendition of the national anthem, Rabbi Simon Resnikoff of Temple Israel delivered the invocation, and the Baptist Church Choir performed. Guests included state and federal officials associated with the project.

Several items were enclosed in the cornerstone: The seal of the Riverhead Hospital Association, a ceremony invitation, a copy of the by-laws of the association, the authorization of the state to incorporate and build the hospital, the certificate of incorporation, a Gideon Bible, microfilmed copies of the then-current issues of the Riverhead News and County Review, and a list of the original directors of the hospital.

Construction was completed in 1951 and Central Suffolk Hospital opened its doors in February of that year. 



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