Picture Book Traces Northport History

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By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Get a better picture of Northport’s history through stories and photographs in Images of America: Northport, a newly released book by Teresa Reid and Robert Hughes.

Both authors come with a background of historical appreciation that makes them the perfect team for weaving the village’s history. Reid has been working with the Northport Historical Society as their collection consultant and exhibit curator for 15 years. Hughes is the official Huntington Town Historian and has authored similar books about Cold Spring Harbor and Huntington Village history. The duo decided to partner in writing the book at a Northport Historical Society fundraiser last summer.

The Images of America series covers many towns across the country, including Greenlawn and Huntington. Northport was a fit for the series due to its exceptional architecture and wealth of photographs. The format of a picture book readily grabs a reader’s attention and interest.

“It makes it a lot more accessible for people when they see something they recognize from every day,” Hughes said. “When they go down Main Street in the village, they can say, ‘Oh, now I know what building that is and the history of that.’ And that’s very interesting, because if they had just read about it, they might not picture what we’re talking about.”

The work for the book was divided between the two authors, allowing each to write about what appealed to them most. It was completed early this year and released by Arcadia Publishing on Sept. 10.

“We were able to come up with what historical topics we wanted to cover by what we knew - what storylines there were, the important people, important events,” Reid said. “So we were able to outline it and break it up into chapters.”

Each photograph in the book is accompanied by a detailed description of what it means to Northport’s history. Reid and Hughes went through many photographs and documents in the digitized collection of the Northport Historical Society.

“Northport Historical Society was really invaluable with their immense collection of photographs and subject files, that we could research just about any topic that we chose,” Reid said.

When a picture was not available, the authors substituted a document or shot a present-day photograph. They filled missing gaps in information by looking at old newspapers and got help from village historian, Steven King. Many records were preserved thanks to past historians, who are thanked on the acknowledgements page.

“We absolutely could not have done it without all the people who came before us,” Reid said. “We’re just carrying on the tradition.”

Royalties from the book will be donated to the Northport Historical Society and used to aid the preservation of their collection of Northport history.

The authors feel that the preservation of Northport’s history is best done through telling stories of the village, which gives readers an appreciation of the buildings and landmarks that surround them.

“It’s very important for everyone to know, because as they say, ‘You can’t figure out where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.’ There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the past,” Hughes said.

By reflecting on events of the past, people can inform their decisions for the future. The book also shows that Northport has a long history of having a tight knit community, which hopefully will inspire readers to continue this tradition.

“Even from the earliest times of Northport, the community has always helped each other out,” Reid said. “So you’re learning these stories of these men and women that came before you and their interactions and how they helped each other, it is very similar to today.”

Those who live in Northport and neighboring communities are sure to enjoy this historical read, which will give them more insight into the village’s intertwining stories of the past.

“I didn’t move to Northport until 2001 but I feel like Northport is my real home,” Reid said. “It was an honor for me to be able to write a book about the history. I’ve always been interested in the history and have volunteered and worked at the Historical Society for years so it just felt like a natural culmination.”

Copies of the book can be purchased in local bookstores, at Northport Historical Society, or online for $23.99.  A book launch event will be held on Friday, Sept. 14, at Northport Historical Society (215 Main Street) from 7-9 p.m. The authors will be speaking about the writing process and giving insight on their favorite parts of the book. They will be signing copies as well.