Port Washington North to appoint village historian

Port Washington North to appoint village historian
The Thomas Dodge Homestead is a historical site located in Port Washington. (Photo by Cameryn Oakes)

The Port Washington North Board of Trustees approved the establishment of a village historian, the first in nearly five years.

The village historian’s responsibilities include but are not limited to performing local, historical research, collecting, arranging and storing historically significant items and restoration and maintenance of historical sites.

While the position is intended to take on these roles, Mayor Robert Weitzner said the village is still working to find out how it can be tailored to their village’s needs specifically.

“There’s still a little bit more to learn in terms of what we feel this would be for our village,” Weitzner said.

At the village’s board of trustees meeting Feb. 14, the board formally approved the request for the position to be used by the village. The village clerk then was able to submit a formal request through New York’s Department of Civil Services for the position to be opened.

Upon approval from civil services, the board will be able to fill the position with an appointment by the mayor.

While the new historian will be appointed by Weitzner, he said he will consult with the rest of the board to ensure it’s a “unified appointment.” He said that it’s too early to know whether this opening will be posted to attract a pool of candidates or if the hiring will be done internally.

Weitzner estimates that the position will likely be filled by an appointment at the board’s annual meeting on April 11. This meeting is when other appointed positions will be filled as well.

The last village historian, George Williams, died in 2018 and the position has remained empty since then. Weitzner said the village had slipped up by not naming someone to replace Williams.

The village board’s action to pursue a village historian was “self-generated,” according to Weitzner, who said it was proposed by the village clerk.

The village of Port Washington North was established in 1932 and Weitzner said that there is “a reasonable amount of history” in the village.

“The village is only getting older and who knows when things that may not have been considered historical all of a sudden are,” Weitzner said. “It’s in our best interest to have somebody in place in case something does come up that needs attention regarding historical significance.”

Weitzner said the village has few historical sites that are managed by the village since many are managed by the town of North Hempstead. 

He added that he’s not very knowledgeable about the history of Port Washington North, but he said this may be why establishing a village historian is important for the village.

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