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Central Park Historical Society

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A provisional charter was granted by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York on February 16, 1990 to the Central Park Historical Society. The purpose of the Central Park Historical society is to promote and encourage historical research, to disseminate and encourage a greater knowledge and interest in the state of New York, particularly Bethpage and the surrounding area. The Central Park Historical Society is in the process of gathering, preserving, displaying, and making available for study artifacts, relics, books, manuscripts, papers, photographs, and other records relating to Bethpage. The name Central Park was the name of our hamlet before 1936. In 1936, with much festivity, the name was changed to Bethpage.

Information below from CPHS NEWSLETTER, February 1999

The origin of the CPHS, told to us by Danny Schiavetta (the first president of the CPHS). The coming together of the community as Bethpage celebrated the 50th anniversary of the name change inspired the concept of our own historical society to keep this wonderful spirit alive. Jack Gifford and Buddy Mazzara documented the history of the name change in 1936. Buddy Mazzara, Mike Mancini, Danny Schiavetta, Ron Palillo, Al Procida and George Hoban are responsible for the forming of the Central Park Historical Society.

Information below from the CPHS application for producing a Historical Preservation Videotape (Bethpage 1990 - A Living History)

The CPHS was founded in 1986 at the suggestion of a committee which assembled to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the name change from Central Park to Bethpage. The occasion generated interest among residents to explore the heritage of the hamlet of Bethpage. The committee perceived this interest as beneficial to the future of Bethpage - an interest that could be enhanced through the formation of a society focusing on local history.

Original funding for the society was obtained from monies the name day committee derived from public and private donations as well as from the sale of souvenirs and mementos. Subsequent funding would be the responsibility of the newly formed Central Park Historical Society and its membership.

The CPHS is dedicated to stimulating pride in the rich heritage in which Bethpage is imbedded. The Society believes that a sense of community in the Bethpage of the future will emerge from identifying with and sharing in this heritage. Consequently, this will require disseminating knowledge of Bethpage history among residents - old guard, newcomers and children alike.

Information below from the CPHS NEWSLETTER - January/February - 2005

The Officers and Board of Directors

President - Lenard Mulqueen - Lenny is a life time resident of Bethpage. He attended Powell Avenue School and graduated from Bethpage High School he then served in the military. He is a master metal fabricator, wood turner, and a master of carpentry and design. Lenny's work is visible throughout the town of Betpage, as well as, Bethpage State Park. Lenny is always very giving of his talents when called upon. Lenny's family, the Uccellini's and the Mulqueens, are very proud part of Central Park and Bethpage History. Lenny took over the leadership, as President, in 1994. A change in Officers and Executive Board took place at this time.

Vice President - Ann Albertson - Resident of Bethpage for 48 years. Helped to organize the first Special Education PTA in Bethpage (SEPTA), was president, and proud to be awarded Life Membership in the PTA. Employed by the Bethpage Federal Credit Union for 18 years. Always had an interest in history, especial local history, since school days in Farmingdale and the influence of the 8th grade Social Studies teacher, Mrs. Luita T. Jones.

Corresponding Secretary - Laura Mulqueen - Graduated college with a major in arts and fashion with speciality in painting, drawing, sewing and design. A talent that is evident in the many projects she continues to undertake for pleasure and to market. Laura used her talents as a Girl Scout Troop Leader and Community Coordinator Supervisor for all troops in our community for 8 years. She was employed in the field of government subcontracting and defense contract.

Recording Secretary - Mary Morgan/Del Schiavetta - Mary is proud of her 50 +years being a resident of Bethpage. Mary has documented the many happening and changes that have taken place, over the years, on the street she lived and raised her daughter, along with the many notable families, on Bradford Lane. Mary has been active in the community and her church, St. Martin of Tours.

Del Schiavetta - Came to live in Bethpage and to teach after her graduation from SUNY University at Geneseo and her home in the hamlet of Linwood (upstate NY). She taught in the Powell Avenue School and later Pine Avenue School. She made Bethpage her permanent home after her marriage to Danny, and here they were proud to raise their children. Over the years, Del had been supportive of Danny and his efforts to preserve the history of our community as the first president of the CPHS.

Treasurer - Audrey Benkert Tallman - Audrey was born and raised in Central Park/Bethpage where her family operated the local Cider Mill and Gas/Service Station. The Benkert's are charter members of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, and very active in the growing and developing community of Central Park. Audrey is very proud of her heritage and interested in the preserving the history of "Our Town - Central Park/Bethpage."

Sargent at Arms - Ernest Finamore - Charter member of CPHS since 1988. Resident of Central Park/Bethpage from 1936 - 1950. Ernie is proud WWII Navy Veteran, earned his private pilots license in 1948, employed by Grumman Aircraft Corp. 45 years. An active member of the Grumman Retirees and the Grumman Aircraft Restoration Team. He pursues his hobby of being a documentary photographer. Ernie is proud to be a docent at the Cradle of Aviation Museum where he can share his love and knowledge of aircraft.

Board of Directors

Robert Albertson - Life long resident of Central Park/Bethpage. Employed by Grumman Aircraft, later known as Grumman Aerospace, for 36 years. Member of the Bethpage Volunteer Fire Department for 29 years achieving the rank of Captain of Engine Company I, and member of the fund raising committee. His hobby is designing and building varied projects. His children were the third generation to attend the Bethpage Schools. Proud and interested in the happenings of our community and works toward the preserving its proud history.

Carmine DeStefano - Bethpage resident and employed by Western Union for 35 years. Carmine is our local sports hero and proud to be recoginized in the Long Island Senior Softball Hall of Fame. He continues to play competitive softball throughout the country. Carmine has a great sense of humor and willingness to be supportive in any way possible to our society.

Mary Jane Pendl - A very active and concerned member of our community for 56 years. She willingly shares her talents whenever she is called upon. Mary Jane has been an active member of the Bethpage Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, and a member on the Board of Directors of the Francis X. Pendl Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center. Mary Jane has been an active member of the AHRC for many years and our local AARP organization.

George Hoban - A resident of Bethpage for 43 years. George was employed by Air Canada as a Sales Manager, and later Vice President of Gebro Intl. George founded Elite Video Productions and uses these skills to document the happenings in Bethpage on Video. He is talented in many capacities especially building and design which is evident in our community and St. Martin of Tours Church. George's computer knowledge is valuable as he inputs and maintains the archives for our society.

Gasper Procida - Grew up in Central Park/Bethpage where his father owened and operated the Sanitary Barber Shop. Cas is proud to continue in the family business which can boast over 75 years of servicing the community of Central Park/Bethpage. Cas has a strong feeling for the community and the residents he sees daily. He truly has his hand on the pulse of what is happening in Bethpage. His background is a great asset to our society.

Charles Tallman - Raised in Central Park. Proudly served in the Navy, Seabees, and the Army. Retired as Sargent. He was employed by Laumans and LILCO where he retired from. Proud of his Indian heritage and is a collector of Indian artifacts and is interested in the history of the Native Americans. He is a great communicator on the computer on his many and varied interest. He has a strong passion for our country and local history.

Supporters of CPHS

Lois Lovisolo - For her support in organizing programs for our monthly meetings and responsible for the concept of the Encyclopedia of Central Park/Bethpage.

Mary Kuhlke and Mary Jane Pendl - For giving of their talents to enhance, with beauty and wonder, our annual Harvest Moon Dinner and our annual Holiday Celebration.

2010 we are proud to acknowledge B.K. Sweeney's Parkside Tavern, at 356 Broadway, for their donation towards the printing and mailing of our CPHS Newsletter.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano for his continued support.

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