Southampton To Celebrate 375 Years In 2015

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Once a thriving port and economic center for the New World, the East End has gone through many phases since it was settled in the 17th century.In 2015, residents and visitors will be given the chance to celebrate that history, with several events throughout the year designed to honor Southampton Town’s 375th anniversary.

The events—which will include a convocation of local historians, a ball at the Southampton Center, a special celebration at the annual Fourth of July parade and a history festival—each will celebrate a unique portion of Southampton history, parts that Southampton Historical Museum Director Tom Edmonds said are often forgotten.

“I think what is really good about that is people really get to think about where they live, why they live here and why it is important,” he said. “It is a beautiful place. For me, I moved here and thought I had landed in heaven, and I think every 25 years it is important for people to remember what a great place this is, because it has got two things most places don’t: a beautiful natural environment and a rich heritage.”

Mr. Edmonds said the celebration will begin early in 2015, with a convocation and opening reception at the First Presbyterian Church in February. Over the summer, there will be a rededication of the monument at Conscience Point, where historians believe the first settlers landed in 1640 on June 12. That week, a ball is being planned at the Southampton Center.

In the fall of 2015, the celebration will continue at the SouthamptonFest and Harvest Day festivals, and a meeting of all 28 local historical groups on the East End is scheduled for October.

Mr. Edmonds, along with Southampton Town historian Zach Studenroth, have started working to plan the events that will take place next year. They have with met a group of 18 other local people to form an organization committee, and also have met with Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman to try to secure funding for the celebration.

Some of the committee members are Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley; Southampton Town Clerk Sundy Schermeyer; the director of the Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center and Museum, David Bunn Martine; Micah Schlendorf, chairman of the Hamptons Visitors Council; Southampton Board of Education member Nicholas Palumbo; and Susan Galardi, director of communications for the Parrish Art Museum.

Mr. Epley said that although the 375th celebration is still in the planning stage, he knows it will be a great way to showcase the history and culture of Southampton.

“We want to provide a format for every cultural institution to be able to highlight what they do and how they contributed to Southampton,” he said. “It is really an opportunity to take 375 years of Southampton, where you have agriculture, art, the Shinnecock Tribe and a variety of institutions that have been born out here on the East End in Southampton, and celebrate that.”

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