If she were alive today, what would Eloise Staudinger — the godmother of making things look pretty in Patchogue Village — say about the new iron archway going up in her memory off West Main Street?
“That looks nice,” her daughter Lorice Fiala said with a smile.
“Which is a compliment,” added Fiala’s niece, Lori Belmonte. “Because, trust me, if she didn’t like it, she would let you know. If she did like something, she was short on words.”
Fiala and Belmonte, who together own The Colony Shop on East Main Street, a business that Staudinger founded in March of 1946, said they were happy to see the new archway being erected late last month in the walkway long dedicated to Staudinger, who died on April 17, 2010.
That walkway, like so many other corners of the village, was made beautiful by the handiwork of Staudinger, who in 1976 founded the all-volunteer beautification committee.
It was also where the Colony Shop had been located from 1962 to 2006, at 32 West Main Street.
(See before and after photos of the walkway below.)
The walkway was first named in Staudinger’s honor in 1999, around the time a wooden archway was installed between Gino’s Pizzeria and the former Colony Shop location, in what’s now Bierhaus Restaurant. But the wooden structure was lost when the neighboring buildings underwent renovations about a decade later.
The Village of Patchogue, including its Business Improvement District and Community Development Agency, are also chipping in for the $25,000 project, which is expected to be completed soon — with a dedication ceremony later this month.
“Eloise spearheaded the beautification projects in the Village of Patchogue and her influence was broad,” said Marian Russo, the Community Development Agency’s executive director. “Every year we have a beautification luncheon in her honor.”
“She was always known for sweeping the sidewalk,” Russo added.
Not only that, as her daughter and granddaughter explained, she would also get on you if you didn’t sweep yours.
Check back later this month for additional photos of the completed archway.