On Thursday, work to repair the 85-year-old 'Witch's Hat', an iconic structure that sits on Main Road in Aquebogue, is set to begin.
The witch's hat, which is a town-designated landmark, has seen better days — its its exterior crumbling and in dire need of repair and the grounds surrounding it riddled with poison ivy.
But, members of the Save Main Road civic group and Riverhead's landmarks preservation commission have been working since April on a plan to clean-up the property and restore the structure. That plan is now ready to be brought to fruition.
According to Richard Wines, of the landmarks preservation commission, restoration of the property and structure, which is owned by Dr. Richard Hanusch of the Aquebogue Veterinary Hospital, will be mostly a volunteer project.
Kaiser Maintenance, of Jamesport he said has already offered tree work and poison ivy removal free of charge and will start that work on Thursday.
Once the grounds are cleaned-up, Wines, said volunteers will strip deteriorated materials off of the structure and replace with new shingles, windows, doors, and then paint.
According to Wines, the structure's history is a long one. He said it was first built by Harry Fleming in 1927-28. It was used as a roadside gas stand with a shop that sold candy, tobacco and ice cream. Later, it was used to sell landscape shrubs.
The building, he said, however, has been unoccupied since before 1970, although the former vet who previously owned the veterinary clinic on the property re-glazed the windows and restored the exterior about the time it was designated as a town landmark in 1987.
"Also know as the 'lighthouse,' this structure has served as a real landmark for travelers on Main Road for many years," Wines said.