October 8, 2023
4:00 PM EST
Join us Saturday, October 7th, and Sunday, October 8th, for New York State’s Path Through History! Walt Whitman Birthplace Association will have old fashion toys from the era of Walt’s childhood for children to play with as well as videos showcasing the way of life from that time.
The Whitman family roots on this part of Long Island date back to the early 17th century. Walt Whitman’s ancestors were farmers, served in the militia, and were active members of their community. Some time after Walt’s parents Walter and Louisa had married in 1816, they set up housekeeping in this simple, Federal-style home. They had three children here. Their second son, Walter Jr., who was to establish a great literary career, was born in 1819.
When the Whitman family moved to Brooklyn in 1823, Walter Sr. sold the property to Carlton Jarvis whose descendants retained it throughout the 19th century. After 1899 the house exchanged ownership several times. The kitchen wing was torn down prior to 1908. Recognizing the structure’s vulnerability, the Huntington Historical Society spearheaded local interest in protecting the property. Attracted to its historical associations, John and Georgia Watson purchased the house and lived there for over 30 years.
In the 1940’s, plans were made to purchase the house and turn it into a historic site. In October 1951, the newly chartered Walt Whitman Birthplace Association acquired the house and grounds. In April 1957, Governor Harriman signed a bill for the state to assume ownership, and on September 28, 1957, it became New York’s 22nd state historic site.