George R. Latham



OHS is indebted to all its founders, but particularly to George R. Latham, who rallied the community to create this institution in 1944. He convinced a majority of the inhabitants to join as founding members and was instrumental in building the substantial and enduring foundation upon which OHS now sturdily rests.


George Ritchie Latham was born in 1889, the son of Mary Louise Henry and Alfred Wells Latham on Skippers Lane in Orient. He married Elizabeth Edwards of East Marion and the couple made their home in Nassau County with their four children.  Latham worked for banks and brokerage houses until he and two of his brothers founded Latham Brothers Lumber Company. The couple lived in Williston Park and Old Westbury but summered in Orient. 


Latham’s passion was old houses and he was well-known for restoring significant historic buildings throughout Long Island, often moving endangered building to safer locations.  He was instrumental in founding Old Bethpage Village Restoration. He was a member of SPLIA (Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities), as well as a Charter Member of the Mineola-Garden City Rotary, President of the Incorporated Village of East Williston, and a founding member of Oysterponds Historical Society.


In 1955 he stepped up when the Webb House in northern Greenport was threatened with demolition.  After a failed attempt by a local preservation group to raise the money to save the house, Latham purchased the building and moved it via barge to its current location in Orient Village bordering Poquatuck Park. There he used it as his private museum showcasing the many antiques he had collected. 


In 1977 Latham was awarded the Heritage Award from Suffolk County for his work in saving local history.   


He died July 8, 1981, in the home that he was born in on Skippers Lane.



Historical Review, is a collection of essays written in 1959 by founding members of OHS. This booklet includes the story of the founding of OHS, written by Mr. Latham, as well as a history of Orient, a tour of Village House, poems, and other entries.




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