LAKE RONKONKOMA, NY — The historic sign that has stood over Newton’s Garage for decades has been saved.
The Lake Ronkonkoma Historical Society removed the sign this week from the charred building that was gutted by a fast-moving fire on Nov. 7.
Most of the building was destroyed—except for the well-recognized and prominent sign at the corner of Portion Road and Ronkonkoma Avenue. Despite the ferocious fire that ripped through the building and destroyed several vehicles that Thursday afternoon four weeks ago, the sign remained unscathed except for soot from the smoke.
Preserving the sign is significant, according to local historians and officials. 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. More recently, the business was known as Sam Auto Repair and kept local history alive by displaying the vintage Newton’s Garage sign.
Town of Brookhaven Councilman Kevin LaValle held a meeting with the property owner two weeks ago to discuss saving the sign. LaValle's Third District includes Newton's Garage. LaValle said the owner agreed to allow the Lake Ronkonkoma Historical Society to remove the sign for preservation. Two weeks later, the historical society removed the sign.
“With the historical society removing the Newton’s Garage lettering today, a piece of Lake Ronkonkoma history will be preserved and there is a silver lining to this unfortunate situation,” LaValle said. “I would like to thank the property owner and the Historical Society for working together to make sure Newton’s Garage will always be remembered.”
Evelyn Vollgraff, the president of the Lake Ronkonkoma Historical Society, said, “Sam [the owner] was very helpful with giving us the letters. He felt the LRHS was where they belonged. It is a very sad situation, but the LRHS will preserve the history of Newton's Garage at our museum located at 328 Hawkins Ave. in Lake Ronkonkoma.”
Prior Coverage from OnSachem.com
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.