The demolition began this week of the historic Newton’s Garage—known more recently as Sam Auto Repair—at the corner of Portion Road and Ronkonkoma Avenue.
The charred remains of the landmark building stood as a sad reminder for the past two months of the fire that tore through the building Nov. 7, 2019. The fire erupted in the early afternoon, a time when so many in the community could witness the beloved, well-recognized business at a busy intersection turn into ruin.
The garage dates back to 1923 as the area grew. Because of the building’s significance, the Town of Brookhaven designated it as a historic landmark. Sam Auto Repair kept local history alive by displaying the vintage Newton’s Garage sign.
As OnSachem reported Nov. 21, 2019, the “Newton’s Garage” sign—made up of individual letters—was to be saved for historic preservation. Somehow that sign along the facade survived, despite the intensity of the fire, fueled by vehicles catching on fire both inside and outside the repair shop.
During the first week of December, the letters were removed.
“We are in the process of cleaning the letters,” Evelyn Vollgraff, the president of the Lake Ronkonkoma Historical Society, told OnSachem yesterday.
Town of Brookhaven Councilman Kevin LaValle’s Third District includes Newton's Garage. He has been in close contact with the business owner and the Ronkonkoma Historical Society since the fire. One of their priorities was to preserve what was possible of the landmark. The owner, Sam, agreed the sign could be saved.
LaValle told OnSachem last night that owner Sam is considering building a new garage on the property, but there are no specific plans or decisions made yet.
The demolition of the charred building may take several days, LaValle said.
Meanwhile, Vollgraff of the Historical Society reflects, “It is a great loss for our town as it was a very popular landmark.”
Prior Coverage from OnSachem.com
Sign Saved! ‘Newton’s Garage’ Letters Removed for Preservation
The historic sign that has stood over Newton’s Garage for decades has been saved.
Newton’s Garage Sign to be Saved, Building to be Demolished Soon
The devastating fire that tore through Newton’s Garage two weeks ago today destroyed most of the nearly 100-year-old historic landmark. However, one important part of the building can be saved for historic preservation.
Fire Cause Determined
The community was devastated to witness a fast-moving fire destroy a nearly 100-year-old historic landmark nearly two weeks ago. Following that fire, OnSachem is pursuing answers to several questions. What sparked the fire, why did it spread so fast, and can the historic sign be saved?
Morning After the Fire
The sun rose over the corner of Portion Road and Ronkonkoma Avenue this morning, giving morning sunlight to what is left of a Lake Ronkonkoma landmark.
Video Report Shortly After the Fire: Interviews with Residents and the Fire Chief
The community is crushed to see a landmark destroyed by fire today, Thursday, Nov. 7.
First Report from the Scene
A devastating fire has destroyed a longtime Lake Ronkonkoma landmark.
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