*Archival photographs are courtesy of Huntington Historical Society, and may not be reproduced in any form without their written permission*
In the spring of 1829, 45 members from the farming community of Sweet Hollow (later known as Melville) built Sweet Hollow Presbyterian Church to provide their neighborhood with a place to congregate and worship. Membership quickly rose, and soon the Church became a center of the community. However, at the turn of the 20th century, the Church began experiencing a steady decline in attendance as the area’s demographics shifted. Ultimately, Sweet Hollow Presbyterian Church decided to discontinue services in 1930. For the next 18 years, the church bell, according to the Church’s website, “served as a fire alarm and during World War II, as an air raid alert.”
In 1948, the community expressed newfound interest in reopening the Church and establishing a Sunday School. A 7-acre lot was purchased in the neighborhood, and a school was built with plans to move the old church and construct a new sanctuary. However, plans went awry when Suffolk County bought huge areas in the vicinity for a park, thereby isolating the building from its parishioners. After prolonged negotiations, the Church decided to move nearby and finally purchased a 9-acre lot on Old Country Road. The old church was physically split in half, transported and attached to the existing structure on this lot where a new education building had also been constructed. In 1979, service was held for the first time at the old church in this new location.
This beautiful piece of history stands proudly in our neighborhood and lives up to the spirit of its motto, “The Little Church with the Big Heart.” The Sweet Hollow Presbyterian Church Parsonage was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
Dix Hills-Melville Historical Association
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