Long Island Estonian Home

it is located on 11 acres of park like areain middle island NY
Esto Hall

1. Family reunions
2. Anniversary celebrations
3. Wedding receptions/ Baby Showers
4. Communions/ Babtisms
5. Bar Mitzvahs
6. Sweet Sixteens
7. Concerts
8. Theatrical performances
9. Business Workshops
10. Board meetings
11. Seminars
12. Special interest groups
13. Sports Glubs


Full size kitchen with bar area
Large car park area
BBQ grill w/ covered pavilion and wet bar Beach Volley Ball court
Basket Ball court
Soccer/ Football field
Outdoor and indoor stages (audio system available upon request).


Stefan Skonberg
Tel: +1 201 786 8726
E-mail: stskonberg@gmail.com


1. Outside grounds w/ Main Hall and Kitchen
2. Outside grounds w/ Main Hall bathrooms
3. Main Hall with use of Kitchen
4. Main Hall without the use of Kitchen
5. Dining room and Kitchen

Rental Agreement

Every renter has to be sponsored by a member of the Management Committee and meet the approval of the Committee. Rental agreement should be signed at least two weeks prior to the rental date.


All contributions to the Estonian Relief Committee and EANC are tax deductible.

Membership Form

Only persons with at least one parent who is estonian or a spouse who is estonian are eligable to become Members of the Society.

membership dues

EES member must pay memebrship fee once in year.
Only persons with at least one parent who is estonian or a spouse who is estonian are eligable to become Members of the Society.

Accosiate membership

Everyone can apply for Associate Member, and she/he has the right to speak at Society meeting but may not vote.


The Estonian Society of Long Island, INC.

(Adapteeritud Harald Salumäe ja Alfred Skonbergi Long Islandi Eesti
Kodu 50. juubeli aastapäeva kirjutisest Sven Roosild’i  ja Evi Wichman’i poolt)

Many contributors, who were here in their prime years full of vitality, have now reached the autumn of their lives, accompanied by health issues. However, it is essential that while some are still with us, we capture in writing and words an overview of the creation, activities, and events of the Long Island Estonian Home. We will review the initial period in more detail and outline the events of subsequent years up to the present day.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, many Estonian war refugees arrived in New York and its surroundings from Europe. The New York Estonian Educational Society served as the hub where all necessary information, guidance, and advice were available for starting a new life. The arrival of newcomers brought significant changes to the lives of American Estonians. The growing number of Estonians and their families soon highlighted the need to provide opportunities for children to spend at least part of the summer away from the metropolitan atmosphere. To address this, the then Board of the Educational Society sought to find possibilities specifically for the new arrivals and their families. The aim was an excursion into nature, where there would be opportunities for swimming and sports. The only viable option was to procure and develop their own land.

Since 1940, a small Estonian settlement had developed in Middle Island, Long Island, where some Estonian families had acquired permanent homes and many initially only summer houses or plots, which later became permanent homes. Members of the Educational Society Board at the time, Mrs. Aleksandra Berg and Miss Hilda Püss, had summer houses there. With their and the Society Chairman Felix Simmermann's initiative, it was found that a local farmer had land for sale that was suitable and affordable. On September 12, 1950, the Educational Society's General Meeting authorized the Board to purchase a 5-acre plot of land, at a price of $350 per acre, in the Estonian village of Middle Island.

The historical board included Chairman Felix Simmermann and members Aleksandra Berg, Hilda Püss, Aldo Eelsaar, Peeter Elias, Juhan Noormets, and Eduard Weldeman. We can say that this board's proposal to the General Meeting was a decisive step that laid the foundation for the development of Long Island's Estonian family culture and national activities. It also turned out to be a promising opportunity for building a summer home for Estonian children in the near future. With this step, the board took on a certain risk, as the Educational Society lacked free capital.

In the spring of 1951, ownership rights to the land were transferred. However, the first five acres were covered with bushes and forest, making it impossible to organize larger community events. The 1951 Victory Day - Midsummer Day celebration was held on the land of the Eck family. Now, capital needed to be raised to buy another five-acre plot for sale, which consisted of open former farmland. The Educational Society's Women's Section stepped in to help, organizing the first fundraising event - a bazaar, whose proceeds were "tooth money."

The first event on the land took place over Labor Day weekend in 1951. An outdoor service was held by Pastor R. Kiviranna. The general opinion of the Estonian community and the members of the Educational Society approved the purchase of the second plot of land, which could be used for parking and playgrounds. On September 30, the Educational Society's General Meeting decided to buy another five acres, at a price of $500 per acre. The land purchase was completed in the spring of 1952. The internal loan was provided by local resident Edgar Pilder, a former Chairman of the Educational Society. The Women's Section also organized a spring festival, which brought in $600. Now, an initial capital of $1000 had been raised.

The Women's Section held clean-up bees on the land during summer weekends, with participation from local residents and those traveling from New York. Housewives organized food for the workers and provided lodging and sauna use for those coming from afar. The first major event was the 1952 Victory Day - Midsummer Day celebration. Group trips from New York brought a large number of guests. The number of participants exceeded 1000 (entrance fee 25 cents). Local workers had prepared necessary benches, built toilets, and dug a well (cost $184) for drinking water. Summer days were held by the Lexington Avenue Church. There were also weekend camps for students, where they slept in tents, played volleyball, and helped with forest clearing. Julius Kert, a regular weekend worker, built a village swing, but it had to be dismantled in the fall to prevent accidents.

On November 9, 1952, the Educational Society's General Meeting formed the Long Island Land Maintenance Committee (LIMHT), which was natural since it would be difficult to manage property located 60 miles away from New York, with all its accompanying responsibilities and concerns. The committee consisted of local residents, chaired by Paul Eck. At the same meeting, Julius Kangur was elected as the Chairman of the Educational Society, who began cooperating with New York organizations for the development of the Long Island land.

The 1953 Victory Day - Midsummer Day celebration was jointly organized by LIMHT and the Long Island Estonian Society. Again, there were over a thousand participants. It was one of the largest events in terms of both income and the number of people. The main lottery prize was a car. During the summer, church services were held, and weekend camps and trips to nature for city residents were organized. By now, enough capital had been raised to start the construction of the main building. The board proposed to architect Osvald Mitt to prepare a construction project, which would become not only a children's home but also a common home for Long Island organizations with a 70x40 foot hall and adjacent kitchen, toilet rooms, and administrative space. O. Mitt's construction plan was approved by Brookhaven Township, and a building permit was issued.

A construction committee was formed: from the Educational Society, Chairman J. Kangur, engineer V. Metsik, and B. Parming; from the Estonian village, P. Eck and T. Usman; and from the Long Island Estonian Society, R. Sams. The construction committee called on Estonian organizations to "come and help with volunteer work!" J. Kangur was an enthusiastic promoter, coordinator, donation collector, and recruiter of volunteer labor from New York organizations and distant centers. The New York Men's Choir came in full composition with their leader. Felix Simmermann organized the workers from Long Island, and village head P. Eck was the liaison with local authorities. The technical work leaders were engineer V. Metsik and architect O. Mitt. During the summer, the location for the building was cleared and leveled, and foundation posts were poured. On October 18, 1953, a ceremonial cornerstone was laid at a service conducted by pastors A. Hinno, H. Hendrikson, and apostle archpriest A. Jürisson. Speeches and greetings took place. A capsule with contemporary documents was placed with the cornerstone. This event sparked increased interest and confidence among organizations and Long Island Estonians in the success of the project.

In the spring, construction work continued with the labor of many organization members, erecting support beams and starting the roof installation. Donations from organizations and individuals allowed the purchase of building materials. In the fall, builders from Lakewood came to help with their cement mixing machines, even bringing cement blocks. Within a weekend, the wall structures rose. Carpenters finished the roof framework. Subsequent work bees completed the building, getting it under a roof. The sports community poured a volleyball court, on which the largest Sports Day with volleyball competitions was held. It was also used as a dance floor. In the spring of 1955, interior work was rushed to be completed in time for Midsummer Day. On June 25, the formal program was held, due to rain, already in the new building.

That same year, on July 10, the Estonian children's summer camp was opened, led by Pastor Henn Hendrikson. On July 10, the Long Island Estonian Home building was consecrated by pastors R. Kiviranna and E. Kuusler. The first opening of the children's home also took place, with 25 children participating, led by Pastor B. Hendrikson. Mr. Behrs donated $1000. With the help of the Eck family, the building was rented to the local Middle Island School Board for school use. A one-year lease brought in $8800. Conditions required the completion of ongoing work for the start of school, which meant finishing the fence and floors, installing central heating, and building an exterior entrance connecting the toilets to the main building. The access road from Middle Island Blvd was asphalted by the school board. The society lacked the necessary funds for the work, so board member Alfred Mikker provided a $2300 loan.

To date, $20,000 had been invested in construction, and with volunteer labor added, the value would be $30,000. The school board-built road's value was estimated at another $3000. Starting in 1957, the maintenance committee was renamed the New York Estonian Educational Society - Long Island Management Committee, which now led general activities, organizing events, generating income through rentals, and deciding on expenses. Annual activity and financial reports were approved by the General Meeting of the Educational Society. The first committee chairman was Felix Simmermann. Simmermann, the initiator of the land purchase idea, had great organizational skills, undertaking many initiatives, event organization, and construction projects. The largest initiative was the $5000 swimming pool construction. There were difficulties in obtaining this money as the donor died before the deal was completed. Only an entry in Pastor Kiviranna's diary confirmed the promise of the inheritance.

Based on this, the amount was finally paid out by the court. While the construction of the main building involved the widespread participation of Estonian families from Long Island, New York City, and distant centers, from the 1960s onwards, construction and maintenance work was carried out by Estonian Village residents and nearby labor. This period can be considered the most vigorous, where local residents, full of vitality and willingness to act, dedicated a significant part of their free time to building the Estonian Home. Skilled workers from all professions were represented, and three trucks were available. For each year's Victory Day-Midsummer Day celebrations, a new project (temporary constructions) was built, such as Toompea Castle, Windmill, Viking Ship, Narva Waterfall, Estonian Farm Buildings with live farm animals, and Hiiela Sacrificial Stone. These displayed national characteristics and artistry and were technically well-finished.

At that time, a local folk dance group was active. A young Estonian engineer, Sven Wichman, with his family, had started working at the Brookhaven Laboratory, living in Yaphank. The Management Committee co-opted him as a technical advisor and work manager. Engineer Wichman knew every field of work and was hands-on himself. Under his initiative, a swimming pool, sauna, tennis court, outdoor stage, sports stadium, outdoor kiosk, and the 1973 expansion of the main building were built. The construction of the swimming pool began in 1960, meeting all health requirements. It enabled the children of the Home to learn swimming, organize swimming competitions, and was required for renting out to organizations for summer days. The pool's value was estimated at $10,000.

In 1961, a sauna was built, which was used year-round, and in 1963, an outdoor stage was completed. In 1964, the construction of a sports field began, which became a multi-year project due to much preliminary work involving tree removal. Simultaneously, a tennis court was built with a surrounding high fence, mainly supported by Aksel Mei with $2500. In 1965, the Long Island Estonian Veterans Association was founded, with Paul Eck as chairman. The association initiated the erection of the Memorial for the Fallen "For Free Estonia." A surrounding lawn was also established. On August 26, 1968, Felix Simmermann was elected Chairman of the Educational Society, and he left the position of Chairman of the Management Committee. Sven Wichman was elected as the new chairman.

In 1969, the sports field was completed. On August 30, a ceremonial opening of the sports field was organized, which became the largest community event on Long Island with the participation of many organizations. Pastor Andres Taul conducted the sports field blessing ceremony. The athletes' parade marched around the field to the accompaniment of an orchestra. Competitions followed in athletics, volleyball, tennis, and swimming. These competitions became a tradition at the annual sports days. In 1970, a pavilion for refreshments was completed, supported by an anonymous donor with $500. In 1971, one of the summer houses of the children's home was converted into a caretaker's or overseer's residence, complete with all necessary facilities. Despite advertisements, no single Estonian or Estonian family was found for the caretaker position over two years. However, a local police officer accepted the position under contract and moved in on March 7, 1973. The police presence prevented vandalism.

In 1973, the Management Committee initiated the extension and beautification of the Estonian Home. A seven-member construction commission was elected, which presented plans and a budget of $20,000. Due to the lack of enough volunteer labor, workers had to be hired, who worked under the leadership of S. Wichman. The construction was supported by the New York Estonian Educational Society with $14,000, Adu Pikati's fundraising of $4300, and the Children's Summer Home Board with $1000. Support was also provided by the Long Island Estonian Veterans Association and the Long Island Estonian Society. On December 15, 1974, S. Wichman announced that he had to leave the position of chairman due to increased responsibilities at work. Toomas Usman took over the chairman's duties and was elected chairman at the Management Committee's General Meeting in February 1975. In October 1976, S. Wichman fell ill, and Karl Ratasepp was elected as the work manager, overseeing the completion of interior work. The income from the first Saare People’s Festival, $1500, was given to the construction fund.

Smaller donations from organizations and individuals have enabled the completion of construction. Financial support was also provided by Herman Lahesalu. Construction reports showed expenses of $29,000 by S. Wichman and $11,000 by K. Ratasepp. At the 1977 General Meeting, T. Usman stepped down as chairman due to health reasons, and K. Ratasepp was elected as the new chairman. In 1978, new lighting was installed in the hall, and the toilet rooms, dining hall, and foyers were completed. In 1979, heating elements were added to the kitchen and dining hall, and doors were installed to separate rooms for heating oil conservation. In 1979, K. Ratasepp fell ill, and Jaan Muks was authorized to perform the chairman's duties. In March 1980, the General Meeting elected Vladimir Müürisepp as the new chairman, who managed to obtain the "Occupation Permit" for the main building.

In 1984, V. Müürisepp left, and he was replaced by Captain Raul Kukk, who lived in the Estonian Village and was elected chairman in 1984. Raul Kukk stepped down due to health reasons in 1986, and Oodu Koern was elected as the new chairman. He stepped down in 1997. Over time, there has been a noticeable decrease in income. During the summer season, there is only one major outdoor event; Sports Day - Victory Day - Midsummer Day. Participation in indoor events has also decreased; there are only a few rentals. Expenses remain the same, primarily insurance costs, heating, electricity, and repairs. Economically, we have managed so far thanks to the bequests from our members who have passed away: Mrs. Ly Usman and Captain Raul Kukk's bequests to the Long Island Estonian Home. These cover the annual report deficits. We remember the donors with gratitude as former friends. This allows the activities of the Long Island Estonian Home to continue, where Estonian-language church services, meetings, and events take place, which would otherwise be inaccessible to the older generation. The chairmen have been and are still those dedicated Estonian men who have initiated, led, and kept the Long Island Estonian Home running. With their personal self-sacrificing work, they have set an example and earned respect and recognition from both the membership and the entire Estonian community. They have not always been praised and have had to face sharp criticism from other organizations and individuals. However, it is understandable in a democratic order that there are and must be different opinions, but in the end, the majority decides.

A great deal of care and workload has been borne by the housewives, who have been cooks at every event, organizers of the dining table, and caterers for the workers and gatherings. They are in the kitchen while speeches, presentations, or dances take place in the large hall, and finally, they clean up the rooms and kitchen. The income from the dining table has played a significant part in the annual financial report. There have always been diligent women, and there still are, who have voluntarily fulfilled these responsibilities. Our collective recognition and thanks go to their diligent and valuable work contribution. Many have helped, but special thanks go to those housewives who have taken on the main organization over the years: Gerda Simmermann, Mrs. Kurro, Mrs. Viljur, Frieda Truu, Meeri Priekulis, Silvia Kattai, Helja Brunozzi, Virma Klattenberg, Asta Salumäe, Evi Wichman.

Since 1997, the chairmanship duties have been shared alternately and recently together by Valdur Pratka and Sven Roosild. Following the experiences and traditions of the older generation, efforts have been made to hold Sports Days, Midsummer Days, County parties, and church services for Easter, late summer, and Christmas. We can view the Long Island Estonian Home as a national stronghold; it is the result of joint support and cooperation from all our circles. We hope that the same spirit continues. Certainly, the next generation will be able to fulfill the necessary responsibilities and will not forget our beloved community home, leaving it alone or in the care of a few. The hope is that future generations will be able to maintain the buildings and land with a collective effort. May this calling and willingness to work continue, to carry on and advance the initiative started in 1950 by those who began and set the goals and objectives for the Long Island Estonian Home.
Photos past and present

You can download and save pictures from here, but when publishing in the media, please cite the original source.

Aleksandra Berg and Selma Raaga
The beginning is done
The opening of the children's summer home
The modern children's summer home
Mrs. O. Gilmor, the sister of the late A. Laasi's wife, cuts the blue-black-white ribbon at the pool opening. On the right is EHS Chairman E. Roost, and on the left is Engineer S. Wichman, who supervised the construction work.
Swimming competition in the Estonian Home pool
In 1963, the outdoor stage was also completed
Memorial for Fallen Heroes
Long Island Folk Dance Group
The Suffolk County Executive proclaims February 24, 1979, as Estonian Day in the county. Representatives of the Estonian community (from left) Sirje Sokk, LIEVU Chairman Eduard Ojandu, Johanna Kase, and Oodu Koern
L.I. Estonian Home County Party 2004. From left: Sven Roosild, Valdur Pratka, baritone Andres Raudsepp, Asta Salumäe, soprano Kristi Roosmaa, Evi Wichman, Virma Klattenberg, and groundskeeper Märt Lepik
In the kitchen committee
L.I. Estonian Home outdoor café
Camp beach day
Flag raising ceremony
Breaktime 2
Summer camp counselors
Guest day
Long Island Estonian House
20 Middle Island Blvd
Middle Island, NY  11953


Long Island Estonian House is located 65 miles east of NYC in Middle Island, New York, north of NY Route 25.

From the West:  Take your best route to the Long Island Expwy (I-495) east, to Exit 64 North (NY-112) towards Port Jefferson.  Drive for 3.2 miles, then turn right onto Middle Country Rd.  (NY Rt.  25) for .03 miles and jog left onto Mt.  Sinai Coram Rd.  for 2.2 miles.  Turn right onto Whiskey Rd.  for 1 mile.  Then turn right onto Middle Island Blvd.  The entrance to Estonian House will be on your right.

From the East:  Take the Long Island Expwy.  to Exit 68 North (William Floyd Pkwy.--CR 46) to Middle Country Rd.  (NY Rt.  25).  Turn left and travel on NY Rt.  25 for 4.7 miles.  Turn right onto Church Lane, then take your third right onto Lake Terrace.  Turn left onto Middle Island Blvd.  The entrance to Estonian House will be on your left.