Three Huntington High School teachers spent the Saturday following Thanksgiving exploring Long Island history along the Washington Spy Trail.
Fred Bisogno, Erik Bruckbauer and Anthony Troffa have devoted many free hours chasing down some of the most fascinating aspects of American history. They enjoy sharing their findings with Huntington students, who sense their teacher’s contagious enthusiasm.
When the British occupied Long Island during the Revolutionary War, the current Route 25A, then called The King’s Highway became known as Washington’s Spy Trail as American patriots gathered information on Red Coat troop strength, movements and military plans and smuggled the information to General Washington through inlets and harbors and across LI Sound via rowboats, etc.
“The focus and most of our time was spent in Setauket, the home of Abraham Woodhull, Anna Smith Strong and others who played a pivotal role in passing along secretive and needed information during the Revolutionary War,” Mr. Troffa said. “We spent the entire morning and early afternoon visiting all of the important locations, individual’s homes and gravestones that were key to this story. It was an amazing experience and something that Fred, Erik and I have been talking about way before the interest that has been sparked by the show, Turn on AMC.”
The faculty trio was “amazed” while gathering additional historical nuggets about just how important Long Island’s role was during the Revolutionary War.
“To be able to honor the patriots that risked everything for the freedoms that many so carelessly take for granted was emotional, deep and eye-opening, to say the least,” Mr. Troffa said. “We look forward to sharing our findings with our students and we are in the process of creating a virtual lesson in which they can dig deeper and have more of an appreciation of Long Island’s and their hometown’s importance during the Revolution. Earlier this year we explored Huntington’s role in the Revolution and we hope to spark even more interest with our recent endeavor.”
Spying on the British during the military occupation was dangerous stuff. When Nathan Hale was captured during a surveillance operation he was hanged on September 22, 1776. He was just 21 years old. A memorial to the soldier-spy was erected on Main Street in Huntington village.
The three Huntington teachers, who all hold master’s degrees in their respective field, found plenty to interest them during their Saturday history investigation as they traipsed through historic sites and structures and walked around centuries old cemeteries.
“It was an amazing experience, to say the least,” Mr. Bisogno said. “It was also somewhat sad to see that we have such a rich history here on Long Island and that many of the important sites are either gone or in serious disrepair. Although it did help to bring some awareness to those of us who love history that we need to do more to preserve what we have. I’m also glad the show Turn has sparked new interest for Long Islanders to rediscover this diamond in the rough.”