3. Caroline Church
Caroline Church is one of Suffolk County’s oldest structures, erected in 1729, with its burial ground acquired in 1734. Caroline is the second oldest Episcopal church building in continuous use in the entire United States. Supposedly, the congregation had grown so large just a few years after opening that a gallery was added to the back of the church in 1744.
The Anglican church housed wounded Continental soldiers during the Battle of Setauket, and bullet holes still exist in the belfry. Services continued inside the Caroline Church during the war, although the reverend once interrupted his sermon to tell the British that their “damned Redcoats” were stealing potatoes from the church garden. The church was renovated in the mid-19th century, with the addition of a false ceiling and new furnishings, but the Melville family later led restoration efforts to return the church to its original design in the colonial style. It was added to the National Register for Historic Places in 1991, and the site also includes a horse and carriage shed that was once the site of a one-room school. For several years, the carriage shed was in danger of collapsing but funds were raised to stabilize and restore it.