Our History

More than 70 years ago, a group of Lutheran pastors had a vision to establish a high quality education in a loving environment for Deaf children on the East Coast. That vision became a reality when they founded Lutheran Friends of the Deaf, and later pooled their personal finances and resources together to purchase the 86 acre Sefton-Dodge Estate, now known as Mill Neck Manor.

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old map of mill neck

The Lutheran Friends of the Deaf purchased Sefton Manor and all 86 of its acres from Lillian Sefton Dodge for a mere $216,000, with the intent of opening a school for the Deaf inside the home.

old photo of people gathered at mill neck

September 23, Approximately 3,500 people attended the Sunday dedication of the Manor House, with the name officially changed to Mill Neck Manor.

a blank and white photo of a women walking with two children at mill neck

September 26, The Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf officially opened serving 19 Deaf boys and girls. Within three years, there would be 40 students enrolled.

three men holding a certificate

The Board of Trustees received the “Absolute Charter” by the New York State Board of Regents for operation as a school for the Deaf.

black and white photo of men working inside a house

The farm buildings, originally built in 1929, were converted into new classrooms for the expanding school. Other out buildings on the ground would also become spaces for offices during this period.

black and white photo inside a church

September 14, The John of Beverley Chapel was officially dedicated within Mill Neck Manor as a place for the school’s students to have the opportunity for prayer.

a teacher with students in a classroom

The newly constructed library opened on the third floor of Mill Neck Manor, offering a wealth of resources and information to students. The first library card was presented to then New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller.

a black and white photo a man and young children wearing hard hats looking at building plans

The Mill Neck Manor School’s new physical education building was dedicated.

an old photo of Evelyn L Wood Memorial Building

The Samuel J. and Evelyn L. Wood Memorial Building was officially dedicated, offering the Mill Neck Manor School more room for classes as the student body continued to grow.

a women looking at a small child

Realizing that Deaf infants and their parents needed assistance as early as possible, the Mill Neck Manor Board of Directors approved the start of the Infant Toddler Program at Mill Neck.

a group of people sitting around a conference table

Mill Neck Services officially began operating as an entity within the Mill Neck Family of Organizations, providing vocational services to Deaf and Hard of Hearing adults.

a girl wearing headphones

Mill Neck Audiology Clinic, the beginning of what is now known as the Center for Hearing Health, was established to provide services to Hard of Hearing children and adults across Long Island.

a group of people drinking coffee together

Mill Neck Services officially opened their Day Habilitation Program, providing support to Deaf, Hard of Hearing and non-verbal adults with a range of disabilities.

a view outside building 6 at mill neck

The Deaf Education Center is completely on Mill Neck’s grounds and would officially open for classes the following year, offering new, state-of-the-art facilities for the Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf.

a young child with a backpack

The First Auditory/Oral Preschool Class opens at the Deaf Education Center.

people standing outside of the mill neck manor house

Empty for a number of years, and serving a number of purposes, Mill Neck Manor opened to the public monthly for tours.

view of the mill neck manor house

Mill Neck Manor entered into an ongoing process of restoration and preservation for the dual purpose of improving the monthly tours for the public, as well as for the benefit of the various organizations within the Mill Neck Family of Organizations.