George Washington and Cherry Students
George Washington and the Cherry
The traditional story of young George Washington chopping down the cherry tree may persist in folklore, but a little bit of real history dwells where Cherry Avenue intersects Main Street in West Sayville. Cherry Avenue Elementary teacher Mrs. Kelly Cummings and her Fourth graders discovered this when the class planned a walking field trip to the historical Greene House, located just across the street from the West Sayville Fire Department.
“Mr. Stu Cantor, the owner, and Mr. Steven Flaumenhaft, a local attorney and whose daughter was in my class, welcomed the students into the more than 200-year-old house,” Mrs. Cummings explained. “Mr. Gene Horton, a local historian from Blue Point, met the students at the front door dressed from head-to-toe in colonial clothing.”
The Cherry Avenue students were entertained by Mr. Horton's engaging narration of President George Washington's visit during his five-day trip through Long Island. They learned that Mr. Washington stopped by the Greene House to "halt awhile" (feed and water his horses, perhaps a bite of lunch) in 1790. The blue historic marker on the sidewalk authenticates that George Washington did indeed stop (if not sleep) here.
The students were invited into the house (now offices) for a tour and admired the collection of artifacts and portrait prints that decorated the front entry way. Later, while serving the students snacks in the gazebo on the beautiful front lawn, Mr. Flaumenhaft, wearing a tricorne (three-cornered hat), read to them from Washington's farewell address.
After thanking their informative tour guides, Mrs. Cummings and her students walked back to school with new historical markers about George Washington and the Greene House now planted firmly in their memories.