Stony Brook Village Center

111 Main Street
Stony Brook, NY 11790


A fortuitous journey on the wrong train brought and Jennie Melville and their family to the north shore of Long Island. Intending to visit the Hamptons, they instead arrived here and were so charmed by the area they chose to build a summer home in Old Field. After years of residing here, Mrs. Jennie Melville came to believe that Old Field, Stony Brook and Setauket were communities so similar, she tagged them the “Three Villages,” and urged civic cooperation. The Melvilles distributed their philanthropic activities Island-wide, but their hearts and enthusiasm were dedicated to the Three Villages. In the mid 1930’s Ward Melville, who had succeeded his father Fran as president of the Melville Shoe Corporation, began formulating a plan to fulfill what his mother Jennie’s dream of creating a beautiful, planned business community to replace the area’s haphazard collection of rundown stores and commercial buildings.

Thus, 1939 was a busy year for Ward Melville and his wife Dorothy. Jennie Melville had just passed away and Ward was making interior renovations in the centuries-old Hallock homestead he inherited and renamed it the Three Village Inn. Dorothy Melville co founded the Museums at Stony Brook, now known as The Long Island Museum of American Arts, History, and Carriages, with her friend, Mrs. Pierson Curtis. On December 29, 1939 and with great foresight, Ward Melville created a not-for-profit corporation, the Stony Brook Community Fund, renamed The Ward Melville Heritage Organization. It was founded to maintain and protect the historical and sensitive environmental properties that he would deed to it over the coming years.

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