Summer and year-round residents founded the Seal Harbor Village Improvement Society in 1900 to ensure a healthy, pleasurable, high quality of life for their community. In 1919, John D. Rockefeller Jr. and the SHVIS saw the need to have a public park for visitors and residents alike. Rockefeller purchased the Glen Cove Inn with its five acres of land, tore down the inn, razed or relocated other buildings, and then donated the space to the town. Beatrix Farrand, the first woman named to the American Association of Landscape Architects, worked with the VIS on a new community space. They replaced the inn with a sweeping lawn–framed by shade trees–that afforded panoramic views of the harbor. Across the street, Farrand created a small park encircled with beach roses in memory of Dr. Edward K. Dunham, one of the founders of the VIS. Through the dedication and contributions of generations of VIS members, the work of the visionary founders remains for all of us to enjoy: eight miles of paths through scenic woodlands, a pristine beach, and the Village Green.
The Seal Harbor Village Improvement Society is organized as a public charity under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Billings Meat Market (formerly the Candage Store) was one of the buildings relocated from the site of the Farrand garden to its current location on Main Street.