Katharine Griffiths, Director of Avalon Park and Preserve, will be the speaker at the Reboli Center for Art and History’s Third Friday event, August 18 from 6 – 8 PM. Ms. Griffiths who has spent the last 20 years working on the design, construction, maintenance, and program development at the park will discuss the historical background of the park and share anecdotes about its operations.
Avalon Park and Preserve has become an extremely popular destination for Long Islanders as they explore the 180 acres it now comprises. The Park and Preserve have been part of the current exhibit at the Reboli Center for its connection to the Reboli family. The 7.5 acres that comprise Avalon Park was once a residential site and housed what was the residence of Joseph Reboli’s grandparents, mother, aunts, and uncle. Their house, known as the Jayne house and also known as Green Pond (circa 1840), was built by Charles Jayne as a blacksmith shop. Later it was the home of Shep Jones, William Sidney Mount’s cousin, who is the fiddler depicted in Mount’s painting Dance of the Haymakers, now in the collection of the Long Island Museum. In the late 1880’s it became the first home of Joseph Jicinsky (b. 1853) and Anna Kopriva (b.1860), daughter of Alois Kopriva (Sr.), the miller of the Stony Brook
Grist Mill. The Jicinskys lived in the Jayne House with four children, Frank (b.1890), Anna (b.1893), Mary (b.1895) and Olga (b.1901), who was Joseph Reboli’s mother. Mrs. Jicinksy died in 1903 from tuberculosis, and the family moved to 55 Main Street in 1910. In 1997 the Paul Simons Foundation acquired the property. The Jayne House was removed when it was found to be beyond repair. However, some of the original beams were used in the Avalon Park House. The Avalon Park House was completed in 2004.
Ms. Griffiths is originally from Canada and is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a degree in Political Science and the University of Guelph with a degree in Horticulture. She has served on numerous village and community environmental boards and enjoys working on the complexities of land conservation in the urban environment. She is an avid traveler and has trekked extensively in New Zealand, Australia, Africa and the Himalayas. For everyone who has spent a day or more enjoying the park, this event should be an evening to learn more about an amazing community asset.