Dec. 8, 2023
There were several different types of forks with specific uses on the farm. Forks used to move hay had two to four metal tines and four- to six-foot long wooden handles. They were called ‘pitch forks’ because they were used to pitch hay to the top of a hay pile or a loft.
Forks for handling potatoes, corn, beets, and onions might be as wide as 18-inches and have a dozen narrowly placed tines to move vegetables from one place to another. Stable forks, on the other hand, were thoughtfully made entirely of wood so as not to accidentally harm the animals.
Dec. 1, 2023
This Charles Meredith photo from our collection is of the Mattituck Lanes Bowling Alley, owned by Rudy Johnson in 1945. The building was constructed in a classic art deco style.
According to their advertisement from 1946, “…bowling provides healthful relaxation and plenty of entertainment. Come in tonight for a game and you’ll return tomorrow for more!”
Nov. 3, 2023
This delightful autumn scene painted by George Hallock, Jr. (1916 – 1984) might have been inspired by the colorful local countryside this time of year. The marshy creek with golden colors and browning leaves is a scene that one might see today.
Though his family’s Halyoake farm in Orient was prospering, Hallock seemed more drawn to painting than farming. He was one of the early members and officers of the Old Town Arts and Craft Guild. Hallock also owned a gift shop in Greenport where he sold his paintings.
The untitled painting is 16” x 12”, oil on board.
Oct. 27, 2023
These containers in our collection at the Nautical Museum at Horton Point Lighthouse are a reminder of a time when the oyster and scallop populations were wildly abundant in Peconic Bay. Dating back to the mid- to late-1800s into the 1900s, commercial baymen were reaping them by the bushels to sell to distributors who canned them and sold them to upscale restaurants in New York City. Some of the companies in the area included Sterling Point Oysters and Shelter Island Bay Scallops, pictured here.
Native Americans harvested shellfish in the bay for hundreds of years before. Oysters can live for up to 20 years if undisturbed, and it typically takes three to five years for an oyster to reach just three inches in the wild. Their habitat varies from rocky areas to soft sand.
Oct. 20, 2023
Did you know that at one time the post office didn’t have any restrictions on what you could sent through the mail? Postcards became very popular in the early 1900s, and among the many type of postcards sent through the mail were leather ones like the one pictured here!
Publishers created the leather by using a sharp metal tool heated up to create the outline and added color afterwards. The art was called “pokerwork,” since the pattern was poked into the leather, as opposed to drawn. The earlier postcards were very thin and pliable; later cards were stiffer.
The material most typically used was deerskin, and publishers would burn different imagery and messaging into the leather. They were popular for a time, and sometimes women took the art, also called pyrography, up as a craft.
Oct. 13, 2023
This spindly-looking item in our collection is a Combine, aptly named since it combines the task of cutting grain and threshing it into one step.
The Combine Harvester made collecting grain infinitely more efficient. Previously, farmers used scythes to cut crops such as wheat or barley in the field. Workers gathered the stalks by hand, and then beat, or threshed them, to remove the usable seeds from the stalks and chaff.
First invented in the 1830s, the machine would not be widely used by farmers until the 1930s. When driven through a field, it used rotating blades, wheels, and sieves to collect and sort the grain for use, while discarding the stalks and chaff back onto the field.
Oct. 6, 2023
Who would have thought there would be a log cabin built of Adirondack trees in Southold!
According to a 1937 article in House and Garden, Alexander S. Williams of Southold decided that was what he wanted. He went as far as selecting trees in the Adirondack forest, and had them cut down and transported all the way to Southold to build his family’s dream house. The house still stands today, although the occupants added onto it and expanded it.
In this picture, you can see the massive logs used in its construction. Also of note is the massive stone face of the fireplace and the impressive log balcony overlooking this very cozy-looking room.
Sept. 29, 2023
Jesse L. Case, apparently wondered who had jurisdiction over Robins Island – the Town of Southold or the Town of Shelter Island. In late 1894 or early 1895, he posed the question to the Secretary of State of New York.
The answer arrived in February 1895, that as far as the state could figure out the Town of Southold had jurisdiction of the island because our charter said, “Including all necks of land and Islands within the afore described bounds and limits.”
Sept. 22, 2023
Wesel Manufacturing Company of Brooklyn, NY made this crank press sometime before 1927, when the company moved its operations to Scranton, PA. This particular model likely dates back to the late 19th century.
It is a very rudimentary printing press with only a handle to swing the print into place, and a crank to run the machine. However, it was capable of producing very attractive small runs including Christmas cards and elegant invitations.
As with all print presses, the type is set in the tray in reverse so that its mirror image appears on the printed sheet.
Sept. 15, 2023
Israel Case made this charming, circa 1700s hooded cradle on display in the Thomas Moore/Samuel Landon House at the Maple Lane Complex. It was used to rock generations and generations of infants in the Case family ancestry to sleep.
A cradle can only be used for the first four months or so of a baby’s life, or until they are able to turn over. The gentle rocking motion of a cradle is believed to relax infants and help them fall asleep by. The confined space would help them to feel protected and secure during the night.
Israel Case was the ancestor of W. Courtland Case, who donated the item to our collection.
Aug. 25, 2023
Two of these items in our collection might look like regular guns, but they are not. They were used to perform a vital role in the activities of the US Life-Saving Service (USLSS) stations that dotted the shores of Long Island.
The USLSS was created in 1878 and is the predecessor of the current day Coast Guard. Its brave members patrolled our coastline from Nov. 15 through April 15, keeping an eye out for shipwrecks and other signs of trouble on the waters. They were often engaged in rescuing shipwreck victims or retrieving bodies.
The larger item is a line-throwing gun that would have been aimed at a ship in distress. It would have been equipped with a heavy-duty rope, providing a lifeline to the shore. The line throwing projectiles are in the foreground. The smaller, gun-like item is a life-saving station flare gun, which would have been used to signal the position of the rescue operation.
You can view these items and learn more about the USLSS at the Nautical Museum at Horton Point Lighthouse.
Aug. 18, 2023
The piece of artwork in our collection was created in a style that was popular from around 1870 to 1940 called “Tramp Art.” While the name sounds a bit disparaging, the style of work was quite intricate. Often made from old cigar boxes or packing crates, individual pieces of wood were typically carved into geometric shapes with a pocketknife, and assembled using glue or nails. These pieces would be crafted to create everything from picture frames and jewelry boxes, to religious artifacts and decorative items.
This piece of decorative art was created by Captain Thomas Peterson while he was stationed at the US Life-Saving Service (USLSS) Station East Marion. It is on display with other USLSS artifacts in the Nautical Museum at Horton Point Lighthouse.
In an abstract way, it might resemble a USLSS house. What do you think?
Aug. 11, 2023
You may have seen this item in our barn at the Maple Lane Complex, where there are a number of items on display showing how early local farmers worked the land.
The green item on the left is a potato digger. Potatoes grow deep in the ground and it is an arduous job working to extract them. This item was the first elevated potato digger used on Eastern Long Island. G. Fletcher Downs used it on his Bayview Farm in the early 1900s. Gift of Alfred Dart.
The item on the right is a potato sorter, which sorted potatoes by size, and was used on the Leslie Wells farm and donated by Harold Evans, Sr.
Aug. 4, 2023
This item in our collection at the Nautical Museum at Horton Point Lighthouse is a model of the Holland submarine, which was tested right here in the waters off of New Suffolk.
John Philip Holland was an Irish immigrant who was fascinated with the design of low profile torpedo boats that were in use as early as the War of 1812. His goal was to create a craft that would be fully submersible and could travel underwater. Holland built the first successful submarine and attempted several, nearly disastrous, trial voyages in New York Harbor. He came to New Suffolk where he tested at least five submarines using a three-mile stretch in Peconic Bay, where there was far less boat traffic at the time.
You’re invited to come view this and other fascinating exhibits and models detailing Southold’s maritime history at the Nautical Museum at Horton Point Lighthouse.
July 27, 2023
This aerial image was a gift from Donald Tuthill. It depicts the southwestern tip of Hogs Neck (Bayview). The wetlands that make up Cedar Beach are visible as well as the surrounding area. If you zoom in, you can see that some cottages were already built. Unfortunately, we do not know the year of this photo.
Today, Cornell Cooperative operates its Marine Learning Center from here, as it has excellent access to the waters and marine life. Suffolk County owns the park itself at Cedar Beach.
If you were to follow the shore line (to the left in the photo), you would end up on the other tip of the Bayview peninsula, at Paradise Point.
June 23, 2023
In this photo, the side-wheel Steamship Montauk is arriving circa 1895 at what was then called “Terry’s Wharf”. The location of the wharf, pictured here, was at the original site where the first English settlers are said to have arrived circa 1640.
The wharf was developed by J. B. Terry who created it as a transportation hub and steamship stop. Steamships were prevalent along the coast of the Long Island Sound during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They provided efficient access to both New York City and New England. This changed once automobiles became widely used and, as the twentieth century began, many of these locations were acquired by the Long Island Railroad.
In 1908, Terry’s Wharf became the property of the town and in commemoration of the site where Southold township founders landed, it was made into a park that is now called “Founders Landing”.
June 16, 2023
This pair of elegantly dressed dolls in our collection are Madame Paderewski dolls made in Paris, France during the height of WWI.
Madame Paderewski organized the creation and sale of these dolls in the United States to benefit the Relief Fund for Polish War Victims, which she established to help Polish women and children displaced by the war.
As the wife of noted pianist and politician, Ignacy Jan Paderewski , Madame Paderewski used her celebrity to bring the dolls to New York to sell to society women. Note the fine features and attention to detail on the dolls clothing.
The dolls were a gift from Miss Kathryn Salmon to Ann Currie-Bell to add to her collection of dolls. They are a Polish Nobleman and his Lady.
June 9, 2023
This coffee grinder in our collection was manufactured in the late 1800s by The Charles Parker Company of Meriden, CT.
Today we have electric coffee grinders, pods and drip coffee makers, but the grinding mechanism on this piece was revolutionary for its time. The company received a patent in 1855.
Beans are placed in the upper chamber. Inside the hand-cranked machine are two grooved, conical grinding cavities with one cavity placed directly above the other. The upper grinder serves as a cracker, and the lower grinder reduces course grinds into the requisite degree of fineness. The construction enabled the user to grind more rapidly with the same expenditure of power.
If it looks heavy, it’s because it is. It’s made of cast iron and weighs over 40 pounds.
It was built to last a lifetime.
June 2, 2023
This U.S. military wool hat with a patent leather visor in our collection is a style that was popular with local and state militia during the late 1800s.
On the front of the hat is the large insignia that denotes it belonging to a member of the 7th Regiment of the New York Militia. The 7th Regiment was also known as the “Silk Stocking Regiment” or the “Blue Bloods” since many of its members were from the wealthier portions of NYC. Originally the 7th Regiment headquarters were at Tompkins Market on Third Avenue during the Civil War, and then later at the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Ave.
The printed label on the inside of the hat reads: “Ridabock & Co. Military Equipment, 141 Grand Street, New York.”
Hand-written in ink on the inside is the name “GN Stanton” (crossed out), “Co-D #75”, and “HC Billings”.
May 12, 2023
This anvil in our collection is located inside our Cleveland-Gagen Blacksmith Shop and was an integral component in the forging and shaping of metal into useful items.
In previous centuries, blacksmiths heated metal in an open flame forge and hammered it into shape by hand atop an anvil. Even today, metal has to be heated to high temperatures before it can be manipulated, although now it’s primarily stamped by machine.
An anvil is used as a ‘work table’ for shaping the metal. The smooth hard top surface, or face, was ideal for creating a flattened portion of metal. The cone-shaped horn jutting out the side of the anvil was used for shaping or creating curves in the metal.
To finish the project a blacksmith might have to do an equal amount of work when the metal cooled, including filing, smoothing and adding decorations.
May 5, 2023
After the Army’s defeat at Bull Run in 1861 Colonial Berden, a competitive marksman, organized a regiment of Sharp Shooters. To prove they were capable the volunteers had to place ten consecutive shots in a ten-inch bullseye at a distance of 200 yards!
This Sharp Shooters medal in our collection was given to Civil War Veteran USSS Corporeal Albert H. Corwin (1837-1902) who was part of Berden’s original US Sharp Shooters (1861-1865) and the Survivors Association organized in 1890.
Sharp Shooters have participated in all major U.S. engagements.
Gift of Altha S. Molle.
Apr. 28, 2023
Growing grain is fairly easy; but separating the chaff from the usable grain, not so much.
This item in our collection is called a Fanning Mill and it was a mechanized way to separate the chaff, dust, weed and seeds from the grain, also called “winnowing”.
A fan would blow the grain and chaff across vibrating screens, thus the name “Fanning Mill”, while the shaking movement of the sieves and screens cleans the grain. Top sieves catch the courser material. The grain is then further cleaned when it passes through the finer mesh screens below, which can be changed to suit the grain being cleaned.
While still a process, it was easier than previous methods of using the wind to winnow grains. In more ancient times, grain was manually thrown into the air so the chaff would blow away while heavier grain fell to the ground.
Apr. 21, 2023
This popular family carriage in our collection is similar in purpose and usage to the family car of today.
The Surrey Carriage was made with two bench seats and was manufactured with a variety of tops, which could range from a rigid fringe canopy to a parasol or extension top. Unlike family cars of today, the Surrey was usually doorless.
Watertown Carriage Company of Watertown, NY made the body of the carriage. In 1909, a competitor called the Babcock Company absorbed Watertown Carriage and switched to making automobile and auto bodies until it closed manufacturing in the 1920s.
William R. and Mary T. Newbold owned this Surrey having purchased it from William F. Morrell & Son, a well-known Riverhead carriage dealer. The Newbolds, with their children Myra and Max W., used the carriage in the early 1900s in Southold.
Apr. 14, 2023
This loom in our collection dates back to the early 1800s when the Bennett family brought it to Southold and it remained in use by the same family until Rosalind Case Newell, a great niece of the last weaver, gifted it to the Museum. It was used in the family home on Bowery (now Ackerly Pond) Lane.
A skilled weaver could produce as much as 14 yards of cloth per day if the day was spent weaving. Interestingly, there is a char mark on the loom where the weaver may have been working late and a candle set the wood to smoldering.
Apr. 7, 2023
Trade cards were used in the late 1800s as a way of advertising goods and services to a growing base of consumers. After the end of the Civil War commerce exploded and businesses sought new ways of inviting customers to visit their shops. The attractive cards were enhanced by the development of color lithography, or multicolor printing.
This trade card in our collection from H.W. Prince reads:
“Complements of H.W. Prince. April 16, 1881. New arrival of goods. You are invited to call and examine.”
The H.W. Prince building currently serves as our Museum Gift Shop and Treasure Exchange and we invite you “to call and examine”!
Gift of Elizabeth Diefenbacher.
Mar. 31, 2023
Lusterware is a type of pottery or porcelain that has a metallic glaze that gives it an iridescent effect.
Mass quantities of silver and copper lusterware were produced in England in the 1820s. Pitchers were produced in a range of sizes, from small cream pitchers to large milk containers.
The copper pieces became popular in the United States due its lustrousness. As gas lighting became more available at the time, the trend was to place groupings of lusterware on mirrored platforms to be used as centerpieces for dinner parties.
The gas lighting heightened its luster.
Mar. 10, 2023
Winter’s not over yet! Today we have cars with four wheel drive and snow tires, but in the 1800s a sleigh rigged to a horse would be needed to whisk you through the snow.
Perhaps you recall the lyrics “Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh, o’er the fields we go, laughing all the way.” It likely was fun, as well as practical since typical carriage wheels wouldn’t function well in snow. This item in our collection is beautifully crafted with a high front board. And, a warm blanket would’ve made it cozy.
‘Cutter’ is an American name for a light sleigh with a single seat board. The typical Portland type was square bodied with a curved dash attached to the upward sweep of the runners. See this and other sleighs in our collection in the Reichert family barn at the Maple Lane Complex.
Photo by: Michael O’Conner
Mar. 3, 2023
Scrimshaw, which is the decorative art of carving bone, is considered one of the earliest ‘original’ folk art forms developed by European Americans, according to Clifford Ashley of The Yankee Whaler.
A whaler might have some free time aboard a vessel and the captain would often supply the crew with pieces of bone or teeth to pass the time. Scrimshaw items might include canes, dominoes, dice, cribbage boards, corset husks, serving tools, smoking equipment, etc. The carving of scrimshaw alleviated boredom, created artistic pursuit and above all, “prevented the devil from finding work for idle hands” onboard a vessel.
Feb. 24, 2023
This item in our collection is a c. 1927 Mergenthaler Linotype Machine Model 8 on display in our Print Shop. While computers today do most printing rather quickly, this machine was a great innovation in its day, saving time and money in the publishing process.
Called a “linotype”, it produced whole “lines of type” that were cast from molten metal by simply typing into the keyboard. These lines of type were then inked and turned into printed pages on the press.
Photo by: Michael O’Conner.
View historic footage of how the Mergenthaler Linotype Machine functioned at: https://www.southoldhistorical.org/print-shop
Feb. 17, 2023
This item in our collection is the Hallock family sewing machine.
Did you know a women’s wardrobe was hand-sewn in Victorian days? A local dressmaker, usually a family friend, would often live with the family while she made the spring or fall wardrobes. Dressmaking was considered a genteel way for a single woman to make a living.
The mistress of the house often had a mannequin made to her sizing so she wouldn’t have to waste many hours being fitted. Often, old dresses were refashioned to the style of the current year.
Also of note, the elaborate thread and pin cushion stand.
Feb. 10, 2023
Blacksmith and Bicycle Repair Shop, circa 1890, photographer unknown.
This photograph in Southold shows a blacksmith shoeing a very patient horse. But if you look at the sign over the horses head, the blacksmith was transitioning his business model from traditional blacksmithing to bicycle repair.
The 1890’s saw an enormous number of people getting and traveling by bicycles all over the country. The first bicycling craze started in the early 1800s with the German-made “dandy horse”. These bicycles had no pedals and were pushed along with the feet on either side; they were uncomfortable for riders and considered dangerous to pedestrians. Later versions emerged including “tricycles” or “quadracycles”, thought to be more stable.
It wasn’t until the 1860s that rotary cranks and pedals were added to the dandy horse to make it self-propelled. Styles at this time included the “ordinary” or the “penny-farthing”, also known as the "high-wheel" because of its oversized front wheel. The largest craze started in the 1890s, when the “safety bicycle” with its chain-drive and smaller inflatable tires, really took off.
Interestingly, a blacksmith in France created the original parts for the 1860s version of the bicycle.
Jan. 27, 2023
Postcard of the Main Road in Southold looking east, 1905.
We invite you to take a closer look at this image of the Main Road facing east. Notice the two pathways on the far left of the image. One is a sidewalk and the other closer to the road is the bicycle path that ran alongside the Main Road.
While we are not sure if the path ran the whole length of the Main Road in town, we know it existed as far as Peconic.
Jan. 20, 2023
This commemorative plate in our collection was made by Staffordshire and depicts the return of the Marquis de Lafayette to the United States on August 16, 1824.
The French Marquis, who served as a general under the command of George Washington during the American Revolution, fought in several important battles here. The Marquis was a great champion of human rights and independence both here and in France. The plate pictures General Lafayette landing at Castle Garden, in N.Y.C. at the start of his tour of the new nation, where he was hailed as one the country’s great heroes along his route.
The plate belonged to Mrs. Frank C. Horton of Southold.
Jan. 13, 2023
This slant top desk in our collection is an historic Hallock family relic. Dating back to the early 1700s, it is painted black and features solid brass handles.
The item was crafted by an ancestor of the Hallock family and was handed down to Joseph Nelson Hallock, who lived 1861-1946.
The desk was given to the Museum by Ann Currie-Bell, Joseph’s daughter and is on display in the Thomas Moore House at the Maple Lane Complex.
Jan. 6, 2023
We are hoping you can tell us more about two tokens that are imprinted: ‘Fun Fair’ in Mattituck and ‘Fun Fair’ in Greenport have come into our collection.
While they are from the area, they are modern and we do not have a lot of information on them. Some residents told us they remember an arcade in Mattituck.
Do you have any recollections of these tokens or how they would’ve been used?
We would also like to know where the fairs or arcades were located, what they were called, and what type of attractions they featured.
Kindly email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dec. 16, 2022
The Southold Hotel, built by William Homan Wells sometime before 1850, once stood on the corner of Youngs Ave. and Main Road
The structure originally housed not only the hotel but also a general store, the post office, a tailor’s shop, barber shop, and livery stable. In 1873, Albertson Case had his law office there.
In 1875, the sixth owner of the hotel, F.L. Judd, made extensive changes to the building. He removed the shops, installed a ballroom, large dining room, and kitchen and added porches on the south and east sides. He also moved the livery stable farther away from the building.
Theodore Hoinkis purchased the hotel around 1900. Business started to fall off in the 1920s as regular seasonal visitors started to build their own bungalows rather than rent rooms long term. Hoinkis and his wife decided it was time to retire and built their own bungalow on the north side of the property in 1924.
The hotel was sold to Southold Savings Bank in 1926. Rather than wreck the building, it was divided into multiple parts and moved. The section with the large overhang was moved down Main Road east of the fire house and became the home of J. William Thompson. Another section was moved to Cottage Place and was remodeled for William Booth, later becoming John P. Carroll's home. Mary Purcell bought part to use as a garage. Thomas and Edward Butler bought the last section and moved it to the North Road.
Dec. 9, 2022
From the toy collection of Christopher B. Moore – this charming horse-drawn fire engine features a removable ladder and some of its original paint.
While the various fire departments in Southold Town had drawn up districts that determined which company would respond to a fire – this was not the case in the cities, where rival departments might meet rushing to the same fire and, sometimes, might engage in a brawl to determine who was going to fight the fire.
Nov. 11, 2022
For centuries tourists have been bringing home mementos of their travels.
Brought to Southold by Kay Salmon after visiting New Zealand in 1966, this beautiful and unique doll is outfitted in traditional Maori dress and was created by Ms. Salmon’s Maori guide, Mini of Whakarewarewa.
The doll’s clothing was handwoven and assembled by Mini in in the tradition of the Whakarewarewa people.
Nov. 4, 2022
Many people have heard of Whitney M. Hubbard (1875-1965), a local artist and teacher, and can recognize his work. We hazard to guess that only a small group of people could identify him by face.
This photograph was taken by Marge Tuthill in the living room of Hubbard’s home in Greenport in 1963 and puts a face to the name (and to his artwork). Hubbard moved with his family to Greenport in 1888 and after leaving to attend college, returned for his remaining years.
He taught art locally and was a prolific painter himself especially 'en plein air'(in the open air).
Oct. 28, 2022
In 1844, the Long Island Railroad finished laying the tracks out to Greenport. The train provided local residents with an alternative method of transportation not only in and out of the city, but to the other hamlets in town. Local letters and diaries note the residents took a car (a slang term for the train) to visit family members as well as to travel in and out of the city.
This particular toy train set is from circa 1870 and came from the toy collection of Christopher B. Moore of Greenport. The set was presented to the Museum in 1961 and is part of our collection.
Oct. 21, 2022
This is Deziah Perkins Fanning Tuthill (1874-1949), however this article is not about Deziah. It’s about the photographer, whose name you can see at the bottom of the image.
This type of photo is called a cabinet card, and if you see enough of them from the Southold area, you would notice that a number of them were taken by the Howard family.
Garrett Williamson Howard (1837-1921) and his wife Mary E. Devoe Howard (1839-1912), and their children moved from Brooklyn to our area, sometime between 1865 -1870. The family first lived in Greenport then moved to Arshamomaque.
Garrett Howard worked on his own for many years. Then his eldest child, William G. Howard (1861-1915) joined him in the business. Eventually, William married Anna Howard and split off to form his own photography studio, first on Shelter Island, then later in Sag Harbor.
One of our dearest wishes is to find the records from this business, so we can discover the names of the many photographs that are unlabeled in our collection. So if you know where these records are for the Howards, or for one of their rivals, let us know! Email: Info@SoutholdHistorical.org or call: 631-765-5500.
Oct. 14, 2022
This beautiful horse from our collection belonged to Rosalind Case Newell. One can only imagine the restraint a child would’ve needed to resist the temptation of sitting on this horse, which likely would've crushed it.
Rosalind received this horse, whom she named Fleetfoot, from her mother in 1895.
Fortunately, she kept him in wonderful condition. The Museum received the horse in 1998, and it is now part of our vintage toy collection.
Oct. 7, 2022
“Potato Accident,” July 27, 1945.
Pictured here is a horse-drawn carriage filled with potato sacks. However, we also see spilled sacks and potatoes have fallen out onto the road. The truck, which was following the cart, ended up having to stop in the center of the road.
While most of us can relate to being stuck behind a farm vehicle at some point in our lives, hopefully we have not had potatoes falling out in front of us.
Such is the life of a driver in a rural community!
Photo: Charles Meredith (1889-1966).
Sept. 30, 2022
The Old Crows’ Club, Peconic, c. 1900
Around 1900, one of the more popular social activities on the North Fork was to belong to a club. Men’s clubs, such as the Old Crows Club pictured here, attracted men from almost all over town.
Orient had an Old Crab’s club; the rest of Southold had the Old Crows. According to the reverse of the photo, the men of the Old Crows Club are posed at the "Crow’s Nest at Peconic, NY, Suffolk County, Long Island.” Meetings of the group were sometimes called the Caw-Caw. This image was taken at the Caw-Caw annual banquet.
From left to right - 1, Capt. S. Truman Preston, 2, Capt. Monroe L. Biggs, 3, Mr. Fred Klipp, 4, Capt. E. M. Rowland, 5, Capt. Joseph H. Harris, 6, Mate Charles Anderson, 7, Ex-Judge William E. Shipman, 8, Mr. George W. Young," (9 & 10 left blank). Nearly all of the members pictured here were residents or businessmen from Greenport.
Sept. 23, 2022
It’s apple season again and that means all the wonderful things that go along with it.
This item in our collection is an apple crusher and press, used for making cider by the Samuel Moses Terry and Jesse H. Terry family at Bayview, Southold.
Apples are loaded into the top bin. The larger wheel has a crank handle that turns the gears that then crush the apples into pieces. The crushed apples fall into a bag in the barrel below. The bag of crushed apples is then put in the press, where a bit of muscle would be needed to press the apples into juice!
It could also be used for grapes, but this item predates the emergence of Wine Country.
Sept. 16, 2022
This image in our collection is Nassau Point Beach in 1947.
The photo was taken before the road was paved and the parking lot existed. At this time, you would’ve parked along the shoulder between the beach and the dirt road on the way down to Nassau Point.
Today, residents can pull into a paved parking lot.
Photo: Charles Meredith.
Sept. 9, 2022
Whalers often came home to Southold with souvenirs of the distant lands that they visited during their time at sea. At the Horton Point Lighthouse, unobtrusively hanging on the wall is a carved decorative wooden war club from the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific.
The islands, which are located in the middle of the ocean, were formed from volcanic eruptions and populated sometime in the 10th century by voyagers from West Polynesia. It was a popular port of call for whaling ships during the 19th century.
The upper section of the club in the collection features the stylized face and body of a crouching man who wears a large teardrop shaped head dress. Geometric shapes appear above and below him. Another stylized human appears crouched on the lower handle.
Sept. 2, 2022
Would you ever guess that this odd looking piece of farm equipment in our collection was actually a very innovative horse hair clipper?
The first clipping ‘machines’ were made at the turn of the century, before electric clippers were invented, and one worker would crank the handle, which engaged a pinion that transmitted power to the flexible cord and the clippers at the end. The clippers revolutionized barn work, reducing the time to clip a horse substantially.
Photo by Riverhead Photo Club photographer Michael O’Connor.
Aug. 26, 2022
This image of Depot Lane in Cutchogue was taken in 1961 after a snowstorm.
On the right side in the foreground is the studio of Charles Meredith, whose photos often appear in our Collections Corner. In the background is Our Lady of Ostrabrama Church.
Aug. 19, 2022
“One tablet every 2 hours with water”, read the instructions from this 1937 prescription envelope that’s in our collection. Today, we are accustomed to receiving our prescriptions in little orange/brown bottles. However, back then, your prescription might have been given to you by the doctor in a small envelope such as the one pictured here.
Also noteworthy are Dr. Stokes office hours. Notice that he is only open from “1 to 2 and 6 to 8 p.m.” This is likely because during the rest of the day he, like other doctors of the time, made home visits.
Aug. 12, 2022
This image in our collection is of the Sound View Motel beachfront in 1963.
You can see the beach was much wider then. The scene looks to be idyllic. The perfect place for a stroll along the water’s edge.
Aug. 5, 2022
This blue colored photo is known as a cyanotype.
The image was taken from the top of the Southold Presbyterian Church steeple looking north. The railroad tracks can be seen running across the center of the image.
The house in the foreground is the house next to Town Hall. The smaller house no longer stands.
July 29, 2022
This postcard depicts the former St. Patrick’s Church and Rectory in 1905. It was located on the land where the current Town Hall sits.
Before it became St. Patrick’s, the church building was the Southold Collegiate Institute. The school closed down, and it was sold to Rev. Joseph Brunemann in 1863 to give the growing Roman Catholic parish a place to worship. In 1868, the building was turned so the gable end was facing the street. Wings were added to the sides of the building as well as an entryway on the front. In 1870, a new rectory was constructed next to the church to the east.
In 1927, the Catholic parish built a larger church and rectory to the west of this and the original property was sold to the town. In 1946, the structure was disassembled and moved to Sound Avenue where it was rebuilt as a house.
July 22, 2022
This section of a finback whale skull is part of our collection at the Nautical Museum at Horton Point Lighthouse, located in one of the outbuildings called the Oil House. When visiting, some people notice that the skull is too large to have ever fit through the door and so the question arises, how did it get in there?
Cliff Benfield provided the answer when he showed us some photos of when the Oil House was being rebuilt. The original, heavily damaged building had long been torn down. First, the whale bone section was delivered and then lifted by crane onto the foundation of the original structure. Then a new shed was built on the foundation to enclose the bones.
The finback whale is the second largest animal in the world. They can weigh 50-70 tons, with a length of around 80 ft.
July 15, 2022
This chest accompanied Captain Henry Green on the ship Sabina around the “Horn” to San Francisco from Long Island in 1849 as many locals headed to the California “Gold Rush”.
The Sabina had a crew of whale-ship captains who had no commands, along with other local residents who decided to try prospecting for gold. Individuals from both the south and north forks of Long Island were included among the Sabina’s passengers and crew. After a disappointing year, Capt. Green returned home overland, crossing the continent by horse and carriage, 19 years before the completion of the transcontinental railroad.
His signature, and the name of the ship Sabina, can be seen on a label affixed to the left side of the chest. Bequest of Myra Case, 2006.
July 8, 2022
This striking looking ship is the Steamship Saratoga, which was painted by Antonio Jacobsen (1850-1921).
The ship was a turn of the century hybrid ship. Built in 1907 in Philadelphia, the ship had both sails and masts and a steam screw propulsion system. The ship was 6391 gross tons with net tonnage of 3963. It was 413 feet long, 50.2 feet wide, and 17.2 feet deep. The engines had an estimated 5,000 horsepower. The Saratoga was a passenger ship with a crew of 138.
During the late 19th century the Saratoga made a regular voyage back and forth from New York City to Havana, Cuba. It was one of the many immigrant ships bringing people to Ellis Island.
June 28, 2022
Ever have the drawstring pull out of a pair of pants or the hood of a sweatshirt?
Apparently, having a drawstring “malfunction” was not a new problem. Today, a handy person could use a paperclip to rethread the drawstring.
In the past a person could use a threader like the one seen here. It’s made of bone and is flat. The eye is just big enough to accept a drawstring ribbon – and it could easily move through the pocket meant to hold the drawstring.
June 14, 2022
While doing research, some delightful things always pop up. This 1932 photo of the original Port of Egypt is one of those items.
Raymond and Edward Dickinson were the original founders of the business. They organized fishing parties, hired out boats and sold bait.
Brothers William Sr., Herb, and Herman Lieblein purchased the fishing station on Southold Bay in 1946. It continues to operate to this day, primarily as a boat dealership and marina.
June 14, 2022
May 27, 2022
At the onset of the Spanish American War, the U. S. government found it prudent to set up defenses along the coast of Long Island to protect the nation’s interests. After all, New York was one of the largest and most important commercial centers in the country.
Three forts were constructed in Southold. These were: Fort H.G.Wright on Fishers Island, Fort Michie on Great Gull Island, and Fort Terry on Plum Island.
Construction of Fort Terry started in 1897, and it remained ready for use through 1948, when it was declared ‘surplus.’ As an artillery post, it had been heavily armed during times of earlier conflict. The intent of the fort was to guard against hostile ships heading toward NYC. The fort was also used for training and summer encampment between wars, and as a supply depot and ‘look out’ for German submarines during WWII.
Apparently, there was also time for some recreation.
Pictured here: Members of the 43rd Coast Artillery Company baseball team with silver trophy in front of barracks at Fort Terry.
May 20, 2022
The ferry service that connects the North Fork with the mainland has been carrying passengers from Orient Point to New London since the 1950s.
Operating year-round and ferrying an estimated one million passengers annually, this illustrated ad promises a “short, direct and traffic free” experience while passengers “relax in comfort” and enjoy the scenery.
May 13, 2022
It's spring, and 'wedding season' is approaching. Did you know that the tradition of the bride wearing white is relatively new?
For centuries, brides would have worn whatever was their best dress to get married. In 1884, Hattie Davidson married Edward Tuthill in this brown taffeta dress with sparkly silver buttons and ruffled velvet hem that was lined with brown cotton.
April 30, 2022
Talk about eye-catching advertising!
In the early 20th century, Chase and Sanborn literally had their ad in your hands and in front of your eyes. Before air conditioning was invented just about every household had a hand-held, folding fan to use during warm weather. This folding paper fan is from the collection here at Southold Historical Museum. On one side is an attractive, colorful, sweep of flowers.
The reverse has an advertisement for Chase and Sanborn Teas. Chase and Sanborn, which was started in 1862, imported and sold both coffee and tea.
April 15, 2022
The bonnet pictured here with beige lace, lavender grosgrain ribbon, bows and streamers, and lined in silk is called a poke bonnet. Traditionally, poke bonnets have a long brim which extends past the face and adds more room for decoration. This style was especially popular in the 19th century.
This bonnet was donated to the Museum by L F Howell.
April 8, 2022
With our farming heritage, Southold Historical Museum has a significant collection of farming tools and equipment. One such object is this hay tedder or hay conditioner.
Hay tedders and conditioners were used to move grain/hay in the fields so it would dry evenly. The one pictured here would be drawn by tractor.
It was donated to the Museum by Edward Booth.
March 18, 2022
This quilt with the shamrock border is called a "Signature Quilt" or a "Friendship Quilt." The quilt is made up of 90 blocks that would have been embroidered separately and then pieced together. The blocks have flowers/plants and many have initials – presumably each embroider’s. The red thread on the white fabric is considered redwork, which was popular in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century.
The quilt was made by friends and family for Gladys Marion Bergen Tuthill (1893-1981). It was donated to the museum in 2007.
March 11, 2022
You might be wondering why the collection of the Southold Historical Museum has dog-sledder, his sled, and his team of dogs? These charming figurines were created by Edwin S. Conklin, who was well known for his wood carvings. Conklin who was by trade a carpenter and painter, showed his talented work across the country.
March 4, 2022
We have no information on this stylish early car, other than Charles Meredith photographed it somewhere in Southold in 1958. The vehicle which was built from an old carriage, has a rudder protruding from the center of the seat for steering.
The car has no insignia on it so we believe it to be home made.
If you know the history of this car, please let us know!
February 11, 2022
From the Collection of Southold Historical Museum:
Charles H. Meredith(1889-1966), Sage Brickyard, 1957, Photograph.
This is a 1957 image of the former Sage Brickyard. The Arshamomaque area is known for the particularly fine clay that was used for brickmaking. Locally, the Sage and Sanford Brickyards produced millions of bricks during the period from 1887 to 1939.
The 1938 hurricane caused bay water to flood into the clay pits in Arshamomaque. As a result, Sage Brickyard closed. Remnants of the brickyard are visible today as a portion of the column still stands. Additionally, the products made in these brickyards can be found all over North Fork. Next time you walk past a brick building, be sure to check out the names molded into the clay!
February 4, 2022
Photo caption - The Albertson House, c. 1915
The Albertson House was located on the southeast corner of Main Road and Youngs Avenue. It was one of the largest and most impressive residences on Main Road. Though likely built for G. P. Horton circa 1857, William Conklin Albertson (1850-1899) and his wife Jennie Wells Albertson (1855-1897) are most closely association with it.
W. C. Albertson ran a local farm produce shipping and supply company. After his death in 1899, the house was operated by W. F. Mitchell as a boarding house. Later still, it served as the Town Clerk’s office (1930-40s). The Albertson House was demolished to make way for a new Bohack Supermarket in 1955-56. This is the present location of Southold IGA.
January 21, 2022
The concept of identification tags on soldiers is relatively new. It wasn’t until 1906 that the U.S. Army began issuing metal disks like the one seen here. This tag was given to Frank S. Doyle of Pennsylvania who served at Fort Michie on Big Gull Island. Doyle served in the Army as a mechanic from 1917 to 1918; he never was shipped overseas.
January 14, 2022
This silver soup spoon was once used by diners at the restaurant stamped on the handle. Built in 1784 by Major Gilbert Horton, the home which sat on Bay View Road, was much better known as its later, much-expanded version, the General Wayne Inn.
During the early 1950’s, the establishment was Mrs. Sutherland’s Cedar Beach Inn. By 1958, the business was renamed after Revolutionary War General Anthony Wayne, nicknamed ‘Mad Anthony’ of Waynesboro Pennsylvania.
Sadly, after years of neglect, the building was razed in 2014.
December 17, 2021
Pedal cars! What fun it was to find a pedal car by the tree on Christmas morning. This snazzy jeep model must have been among the popular post-World War II toys available in the late 1940s.
Pedal cars actually go back almost as far in history as the automobile. The earliest cars were seen in Europe in the 1890s.* The earliest pedal cars date to almost the same time!
*We realize that many readers will be scratching their heads about this statement regarding cars dating back to Europe in the 1890s. Many of us have learned that Henry Ford invented the car in 1908. This date commemorates the year that Ford invented a way of mass-producing cars (namely the Model-T) making cars more readily available to the middle class.
December 10, 2021
This sleigh, a Portland Cutter from the late 1800s, is quietly sitting up in the rafters of Reichert Barn. This style is considered one-seater - well you might be able to fit two if you really smushed together. The sleigh, which belonged to Elizabeth and Stewart W. Horton of Skunk Lane, Peconic, was the fancy speedster of its day. It was built by the Sturtevant-Larrabee Co. of Binghamton, NY. Founded in 1881 by James W. Sturtevant and H. Chester Larrabee, the company built carriages as well as sleighs. In response to the evolution of cars, Larrabee went on to found the Larrabee Truck Company. This sleigh was donated to the museum by Roland C. Horton in 1962.
December 3, 2021
“Ice Boating” Photo by Frank Hartley, circa 1900
Back in the early 1900s, ice boating was a popular pastime during the cold winter months. There were several ice boat clubs on Long Island, including the Orient Ice Yacht Club The history of ice boating in Orient dates back to the 1880s with ‘races’ recorded there dating back to 1905. Ice boaters sailed on local waters including Hallock Bay, Great Pond in Southold, Swan Pond in Calverton, Great South Bay in Bellport, and Lake Ronkonkoma. Other clubs include South Bay Scooter Club, formed in 1904, and Mecox Bay Ice Boat Club.
The thrill of the sport is in the acceleration. A smooth surface with no friction and a stiff wind can propel the crafts to incredible speeds, sailing up to five times the speed of the wind. The early iceboats were almost exclusively stern steerers, gaff or marconi rigged.
November 12, 2021
Goldsmith's Inlet/Peconic Gristmill
There have been many mills in the Town of Southold. The one that stood at the top of Mill Lane in Peconic is perhaps the most remembered. It was originally built on the Sound in 1839 as a tidal mill. In an effort to increase efficiency, the owners added a tower with vanes to catch the wind in 1870. Thus, the mill used both the power of the wind and the tides.
The mill arms were severely damaged in the Thanksgiving Blizzard 1898. The storm tore the windmill and tower from the building. According to Rosalind Case Newell, the tower was never restored. Instead, the tidal mill was used with just its original water wheel for several more years. Eventually, modern mechanization made local mills such as this a relic of the past.
The building was left derelict, slowly collapsing into itself, until it was finally taken down in 1906. The mill is still talked about today, and the water channel continues to be of interest to many.
November 5, 2021
“A Dull Day”, 1886
Benjamin R. Fitz (1855–1891)
Sometimes, our initial response to a painting is related to the subject and not to the quality of the painting itself. This is one of those paintings that conjures up uncomfortable feelings because the produce seller looks cold and tired. But isn’t it remarkable how well the Fitz was able to convey those feelings?
The painting depicts a common sight on the urban streets of the nineteenth century. This woman might have been a member of the working poor, or she might have been a farmer’s wife spending the day selling some of her family’s produce to make some extra money.
In this painting, Fitz recorded the world around him, both real-life activities and real-life feelings.
October 22, 2021
Do you recall this logo for Krupski’s Pumpkin Farm in Peconic? This sweatshirt which is part of the collection of Southold Historical Museum reads “Krupski’s Pumpkin Farm, Main Road, Peconic, Long Island, New York."
Today, Krupski’s is well-known for the variety of pumpkins they grow and sell. Their “jack-o’-lantern” display for Halloween is also a local favorite. But the Krupski family only started farming pumpkins in the mid-1970s.
Going back five generations, the first Krupski farm was established in 1909 in Peconic. It was located on land that is now used to grow grapes. Today, Krupski Farm still grows a wide selection of pumpkins but also sells other seasonal vegetables and fruits
October 15, 2021
Corn Husk Dolls
Corn husk dolls are a practice originally used by the Indigenous People who lived in the area we now call Southold. The English Settlers adopted the technique as well. Corn husks are very mendable once soaked in water and can be manipulated into doll shapes. Once dried, the corn husks will retain the shape.
These two dolls are part of the collection of Southold Historical Museum. They have more intricate details including leather clothes and beadwork. Typical dolls would use the cornhusks for all the details. Today, we use corn stalks and husks to decorate our homes. Perhaps you want to grab an ear of corn off the stalk and try soaking the husks to make a doll?
October 1, 2021
David Rothman and Albert Einstein, 1939
Last week’s collections corner featured Howell’s Drug Store which is part of today’s Einstein Square. This week, we feature a bit more about Albert Einstein’s time on the North Fork.
A couple of years ago, Einstein Square was dedicated as the open area adjacent to the building as well. Why Einstein Square, you ask?
In 1939, Albert Einstein (1879-1955) walked in off the street into Rothman’s Department Store looking for a pair of sandals (or as David Rothman mistakenly thought he was asking for “sundials”). Einstein had left Germany during a time when Jews were threatened. He summered on what was then called Old Cove Rd in Nassau Point in 1937, 1938 and 1939. The summer of 1939 is famous, as it was from the house in Nassau Point that Einstein signed the letter written to President Franklin D. Roosevelt regarding the scientific project that the Germans were believed to be working on. In response to this letter, the Manhattan Project was set into motion, and the first atomic bomb was developed.
Einstein did indeed purchase sandals at Rothman’s Department Store, women’s size 11 says the story. He is wearing them in the photos taken of him with David Rothman strolling Nassau Point. Einstein spent many musical evenings with David and other musicians and summers sailing on his boat, the Tineff (which means junk in Yiddish). His love of this area is documented in a collection of letters written in his hand, copies of which are held by Southold Historical Museum.
September 24, 2021
Howell’s Drug Store c.1890
Last week’s collections corner featured a trade card that was distributed by Howell’s Drug Store. This week, we feature an image of Howell’s c. 1890. The back portion of the building began its existence, circa 1873, as a pharmacy. By 1882, a much larger building was constructed and occupied by H G. Howell’s Drugstore. From 1906-1922, the building housed Millard W. Golder’s Drugstore. Following Golder’s, David Rothman moved the young Rothman’s Department Store from the north side of the street into this building. After close to 100 years, the building was sold by the Rothman family and now operates as Southold General, a café and general store.
September 17, 2021
This trade card came from H.G. Howell’s Drug Store which was located on the Main Rd. in Southold during the late 1800’s – circa 1882-1905. Historically, trade cards were used like an advertisement - to help promote products. They would be printed by the manufacturer and distributed through local stores. This one is for Hughes’ Witch Hazel which according to the card can be used for a number of different conditions including toothaches, faceaches, and many others.
September 10, 2021
Do you ever wonder what a building used to look like? Or what businesses were in it? This familiar building is one of those buildings. Once the site of Reeve Lumber, the building still stands on the south side of the road in Mattituck next to the Mattituck Library. The photo was taken of the structure in 1961.
September 3, 2021
Recently, we got an intriguing research request. A museum in Wheeling, West Virginia, wrote to us looking for information on Camp Linsly, which was in our area in 1915. The page pictured above, which notes that the camp was on Southold Bay at Peconic, was attached to the email they sent.
After some fruitless research, we were unable to turn up any information on Camp Linsly. However, the second picture showing the water was very, very familiar. After reviewing our postcard collection, we discovered that the view was actually Jockey Creek! And the image was identical to a postcard in our collection.
It appears that the Linsly Military School of Wheeling, West Virginia rented a house on Jockey Creek and advertised it to the parents of their students as a summer school camp.
If anyone has any additional information about Camp Linsly, we are all ears!
Email email@example.com or call 631-765-5500 with more information.
August 27, 2021
This image from the New York Public Library is entitled “Lear Green escaping in a chest.” Some enslaved men and women across Long Island tried to escape by fleeing to the Native American reservations, hiding either in New York City or one of the surrounding colonies, or when possible, heading out to sea.
Often, when people think about the institution of slavery, they envision huge Southern plantations where large numbers of enslaved Africans were brought as laborers. These plantations thrived off the backs of those who were forced to serve. Slavery existed in the North, in New York. on Long Island, and in Southold Town as well. As far back as 1654, Nathaniel Sylvester brought enslaved people from the West Indies to work on his large estate at Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island.
We can document that Samuel Landon, who held the position of Southold Town Supervisor for twelve years, enslaved at least five people. The Samuel Landon home (also called the Thomas Moore House) is located on the Maple Lane Complex of Southold Historical Museum. We even know the names of the 5 enslaved people - Zipporah, Prince, Simenne, Caesar, and Condie. We know that Caesar and Condie were the children of Simenne. Also, we know that after Zipporah was manumitted by Henry Landon sometime after he inherited her. However, we know little about the daily life of these five people of Southold.
To learn more about Enslavement in Southold, visit the Maple Lane Complex on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4:00pm.
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library. "Lear Green escaping in a chest." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed August 26, 2021. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47df-79bc-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
August 20, 2021
This 1938 photo of Woodward Brothers Market was taken by Charles Meredith. The location is just west of the Henry W. Prince Building on the north side of Main Road. The store opened in the late 1930s and was operated by Bill and Stuart Woodward of Mattituck. Prior to the store, the Victorian Fanning House stood on this spot. Later years brought a Royal Scarlet Store to this building (1952), and auto parts store, a café, and it is currently occupied by an Italian Restaurant (Maroni).
The lettering on the windows says “Delicatessen” and “Fancy Fruits”. Close examination of the west window, reveals the reflection of the “ Charles F.” and the words “luncheonette” of Kramer’s Drug Store which was directly across the street.
August 13, 2021
Wood and Metal
4' x 2'
Before potatoes could be shipped, they needed to be picked, cleaned, and sorted. All stages of the harvesting required laborers. Long Island potatoes were a staple, high in demand, especially during the years surrounding WWII.
This hand-operated potato sorter is from the Leslie Wells Farm in Aquebogue. The machine separates the smaller potatoes or "chatts" from the larger potatoes which could be sold. Various sizes are sorted by using different inserts.
August 6, 2021
Workers Playing Cards on the Main Road by William Porter, c2014.
The museum’s collection embraces not only the past but also the present. This charming painting, by William Porter shows life in the present day. Men relaxing in the shade, pass time by playing cards. In viewing the work, you can almost feel the heat of the summer’s day.
July 20, 2021
Jean Barber, 1986
The name of our community, Southold, which was founded by Reverend John Youngs, is a variation of the town where he came from in England - Southwold. Like many communities in England, Southwold consists of tightly packed houses surrounded by sprawling countryside.
Southwold was first mentioned in 1086 when the Domesday Book states that Southwold was a fishing port. Three years before Columbus came to the New World, in 1489, Southwold received a town charter from King Henry VII.
Located along part of the southern edge of the North Sea, the municipality also has a lighthouse. This painting by Jean Barber shows the view of the lighthouse from North Parade, a street that runs along the waterfront. Unlike our Horton Point Lighthouse in Southold, New York, the Southwold lighthouse does not stand on the shoreline. The Southwold lighthouse is erected one block inland, surrounded by houses and businesses.
July 23, 2021
Today, Southold High School’s year book is entitled The Snuffbox. However, when the school first started publishing yearbooks, it took a while before the school settled on one name. The earliest Southold High School yearbook we have in our collections is The Oracle from 1908. But we also have The Comet from 1911, The Sphinx from 1913, The Zenith from 1916, The Patriot from 1918, The X-ray from 1922, and The Owl from 1923. The first Snuffbox appeared in 1924, and the name has stuck ever since.
July 16, 2021
This historic barn was built around 1750 on a farm in the Pine Neck area of Southold. In 1961, the Breidtstadt sisters, the last owners of the farm, gave the barn to the museum. The only way to move the structure safely was to completely disassemble it. The building and its foundation was then carefully reassembled at the Maple Lane Complex.
Today, the barn houses a transportation exhibit, featuring carriages and sleighs from the North Fork. The Barn Annex was built in 1966 to house small farm equipment and handmade tools. It also contains a carpenter shop exhibit.
June 25, 2021
Historic Culinary Traditions
During the 19th century butter molds or stamps were common in many houses. This stamp was carved by Captain Henry Green for his wife Roxanna in 1850. The stamp, which is more than an inch in diameter, was created to decorate the butter before it was served at the table.
June 18, 2021
This 1931 photo by Charles Meredith looks west from just past the intersection of Main Road and Youngs Avenue in Southold.
There are some familiar sights like the Southold Savings Bank, now the Southold Town Annex. Just past the bank is the Prince House which is no longer existent and the Prince Store/Building which today is part of Southold Historical Museum.
On the other side of the street is the Socony service station and the Van Deusen house, which later lost its cupola and gained a large brick extension across the front. Beyond that you can see the building that became Rothman’s Department store, which today is part of Einstein Square.
June 4, 2021
Aerial view of Southold and Bayview in the 1930s
This image shows how much our area has changed in the last 90 years. As you can see, Southold was intensely agricultural, with the vast majority of land being farmed. The Main Road is centered in the image and can be identified by the line of trees that shaded the road. The little round white circle in the foreground is the intersection of Boisseau and the North Road.
May 28, 2021
This late 19th century image was from the Corey Family. It was very common for clubs or other groups to rent one of the local sailboats to take them for a sail for the day. Sometimes the voyage would have a destination such as the South Fork; other times the boat would meander around Peconic Bay.
May 28, 2021
The group of men in this image are all working together to work a pumper at the Poggatticut Hotel fire on Shelter Island. The hotel which overlooked the North Ferry, had several names over the years, Manhansett House being the most popular of its names. In 1922, the upper reaches of the building caught fire. The fire was so large, that the Greenport Fire Department brought over three pumpers and men to help fight the flames. Many of the guest rooms were ruined either by the fire or by the water pumped to stop the conflagration.
May 14, 2021
Southold 1909, E. Belcher Hyde Map
Sometimes it is surprising when a road is missing on a map. If you look at this image, notice that Traveler Street (spelled with two Ls) ends at Beckwith Avenue. The roadway was only extended in 1970 – as a way to relieve summer traffic woes.
May 7, 2021
1961 Southold Town Clerk’s Office
At one point, the town offices were located in multiple buildings across Southold town. This building was originally built in 1871 as the Presbyterian Chapel on the Main Road in Southold. In the 1960s, it was the Southold Town Clerk’s office. The building was moved around the time when the Southold Town Hall was built (circa 1976). It is now situated on Travelers Street, east of Southold Post Office.
APRIL 23, 2021
In 1937, Phil Weckesser’s Gas Station, Store, and Tavern was located on the North Side of Main Rd. in Southold. The site sold Gulf gasoline, candy, and Breyer’s ice cream. On the right was Phil’s tavern. The Tavern later moved across the street to the corner of Main and Hobart. Today, delis occupy both of these locations.
APRIL 16, 2021
This is a photograph of two artists, William Ritschel (1864-1949) and Orlando Rouland, A.N. A. (1871-1945). In the summer of 1899, they decided that it would be a novel adventure to live on the wreck of the barge Escort. The wreck was just west of Goldsmith Inlet on the shores of the Long Island Sound in Peconic. Even though the wreck was tilted over on one side, the artists still managed to live and paint on it, as well as host local artists for social gatherings.
APRIL 9, 2021
Are there still some that recall the Cutchogue Railroad Station? This photo from 1937 shows the second station house to serve Cutchogue. In 1962, the station and stop were decommissioned by the Long Island Rail Road due to dwindling ridership.
APRIL 2, 2021
This interior photo of the First Presbyterian Church of Southold shows a sanctuary that looks somewhat different than today. In the late 1800s, the church had an impressive pipe organ in the front of the sanctuary. The First Presbyterian Church of Southold was not the only church to have this layout. Orient Congregational Church and Orient Methodist Church also had their pipe organs in the front of the church during this time period. The idea was that music was such an integral part of the service that its creation should be “showcased” in the sanctuary during the service.
March 26, 2021
John Holland (1840-1914) is considered by many to be the father of the modern submarine. While he lived and worked in New Jersey, Holland established a workshop in New Suffolk to test his inventions.
In this circa 1900 photo by Fred Strickland, Percy Tuthill stands next to one of Holland’s submarines along the shoreline of Peconic Bay.
March 19, 2021
This black and white photo by Charles Corey was taken between 1880 and 1910 at the Southold Train depot. Workers are unloading barrels of cauliflower from the wagons onto the station platform. The barrels are heading to New York City markets.
March 12, 2021
March is Women’s History Month!
Did you know that the women's suffrage movement was a decades-long fight to win the right to vote for women in the United States. It took activists and reformers 80+ years to win that right.
At a time when suffragists were viewed as "Radicals" by some, and thought to alienate many American women, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was considered a more traditional and modest organization for women to join at the time. After 1891, the WCTU adopted women’s right to vote as part of their platform. The thought was that the right to vote could help them achieve their temperance agenda. The Southold WCTU petitioned their congressman to support bills in accordance with their movement.
Passed by Congress June 4, 1919 and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote.
Ella Boldry Hallock, the mother of Southold Historical Society’s founder Ann Currie-Bell, was a member of Southold WCTU.
March 4, 2021
Some of the 19th-century elections would be considered as rough and tumble as our more recent elections. This political cartoon in our collection is a local copy of one by Edward W. Clay entitled Notice to Quit, March 4th 1841.
The image is of the eviction of Martin Van Buren from the White House by his Presidential successor William Henry Harrison. Harrison is perhaps most well-known for spending the shortest amount of time in office. He spent one month as President before dying of pneumonia.
February 26, 2021
1936, Mattituck Mill and Iron Swivel Bridge
Built in 1821, the Mattituck mill served the farmers in the area for eighty-four years. When its long time miller, Joshua Terry, died in 1905, the mill was soon converted into a bar and restaurant by Otto Mandefrau, who also started encouraging customers to sign their names on the beams and shingles inside the building.
February 19, 2021
November 15, 1955
This photo is of Southold Savings Bank before the extension was added to the back of the building. The bank built this building and moved into it in 1928. The bank’s first floor was one wide open room with the safe and a horseshoe counter in the center of the room. The back of the building had a partial second floor with a meeting room for the Trustees.
February 12, 2021
Helen Kroeger (1892-1986)
Helen Kroeger was a part of Caroline (“Dolly”) Bell’s merry band of friends and artists who crisscrossed the North Fork seeking ever more beautiful vistas for their plein air painting excursions. One can only begin to imagine the painting, critiquing and picnicking that took place on these artistic adventures.
Helen Kroeger was born in New York City, where she first trained as a schoolteacher. She then studied at the venerable Art Student’s League, under the guidance of such important painters as George Grosz and Frank Vincent du Monde. Kroeger, who is sometimes classified as a “Peconic Impressionist,” actually painted in a broad range of styles, from traditional landscapes to an almost expressionistic paintings, always with a light and elegant touch paired with a keen and discerning eye. Like many of her peers, she painted landscapes in Pennsylvania and seascapes in Gloucester, Massachusetts. She began visiting and painting on the North Fork in the 1930’s.
In New York, in the early in the 1940’s, she met Otto Kurth, a successful, Munich-born illustrator and painter of maritime scenes. Kurth was married and never divorced, but moved to Mattituck with Helen Kroeger permanently in the 1960’s. They built a life and a home and a studio, known as “The Anchorage” there. They became an intrinsic part of the artists’ community on the North Fork. Helen became especially close to Caroline Bell, who lived nearby in Mattituck.
When Kurth’s wife Julia died in 1965, he and Helen finally married. Tragically, he died just a few weeks after they wed.
Helen Kroeger was listed in the Blue Book of American Painters and showed her work frequently at both the Old Town Arts and Crafts Guild and the Little Gallery in Mattituck She also exhibited her work at other important venues, including the Museums at Stony Brook (today’s Long Island Museum) and the Guild Hall in East Hampton and at other venues across Long Island. She continued to teach and paint in Mattituck until her death in 1986.
February 5, 2021
While searching in a drawer for something else, this very interesting poster popped up.
In 1852, the LIRR ran a special train to bring people from the East End of Long Island into New York City to see the Fair of the American Institute, which some consider a precursor to the World’s Fair and to see the Cattle, Horse and Pig Show. The Fair of the American Institute took place at Castle Garden at The Battery (today known as Castle Clinton National Monument), and the Cattle, Horse and Pig Show was held at Madison Cottage which soon after became the site of Franconi’s Hippodrome and later the Fifth Avenue Hotel.
The train left Greenport at 9 A.M. on October 21st. The return ride was at 9 A.M October 22 or 3:45 P.M. October 23. The cost for the round trip into the city set riders back $1.00 in 1852. Wow!
January 29, 2021
Summer 1961 - Southold Town Beach
The small white building at the edge of the parking lot is Jack’s Shack, known for providing snacks and burgers to hungry beach goers. Not only has Jack’s Shack disappeared, but a good portion of the shoreline in the background is also now gone.
January 22, 2021
Greenport Theatre Poster, 1941
While television existed, the theater was still the place people went to see the latest films from Hollywood. If you stopped in at Greenport Theatre sometime during March or April 1941, you could have seen one of the following shows:
Footsteps in the Dark – a respected investment advisor (Errol Flynn) has a double life as a mystery writer and ends up investigating the murder of a client.
So Ends our Night – Three German refugees (Frederick March, Margaret Sullavan, and Glenn Ford) from the war who are hiding, fearing deportation from the U.S.
Land of Liberty – a 1939 documentary that traces the history of the United States.
Blondie Plays Cupid – 1940 comedy based on the cartoon character Blondie and Dagwood, played by Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake. In the film (one of 28 made) Blondie meets a couple (Charlie and Millie) who need her help to elope.
January 15, 2021
Four-mule Wagon at Camp Wikoff
Have you ever heard of Camp Wikoff in Montauk? Following the Spanish-American War, soldiers were sent to quarantine and convalesce at Camp Wikoff before rejoining the civilian population. The remote location was considered to be ideal to isolate these men. Unfortunately, the camp conditions became somewhat controversial at the time, but local residents from East Hampton came to the aid as nurses.
Frank K. Hartley, a photographer of Greenport, made a trip out to Camp Wikoff. This photo, which he took of the Four-Mule Wagon, is part of the collection of Southold Historical Society. It sure makes you realize how far military vehicles have come since 1898!
January 8, 2021
Did you know that the first photographs were taken 30 years before the American Civil War? It wasn’t until the war that the medium was popularized in the United States.
In 1839, Louis Daguerre introduced the daguerreotype to an interested audience in Paris. Henry Fitz, Jr. was one of the people who attended Daguerre’s lecture. Intrigued by the phenomenon of capturing images from life, Fitz brought the technology back to the United States and began experimenting.
This image is a copy of one of the first photographs ever taken in the United States. The subject is Henry Fitz, Jr. himself! The original daguerreotype is now in the Smithsonian, but Southold Historical Society has copies of Fitz’s early images of himself and his family.
December 18, 2020
This is a program from a 1916 play “Esmeralda” that was performed at Belmont Hall in Southold. Belmont Hall, which was the twin of the building that currently houses Academy Printing, stood on the plot of land across from today’s Southold Free Library. Currently, the space is occupied by a town parking lot. At the turn of the century, Belmont Hall was Southold’s Lyceum, a place where people could come to hear lectures as well as to see plays and musicals. The Lyceum movement ended around the Great Depression.
It is fascinating to examine the businesses that supported the program. How many do you recognize? In 1916, the Bank of Southold stood across the street from Belmont Hall and the Southold Hotel stood on the northwest corner of Youngs and the Main Road.
December 11, 2020
Can you guess what this artifact might be used for?
It’s a sausage stuffer. You would grind the meat, blend it, and use this device to stuff it into the sausage casings. Do you stuff your sausages today? Most of us do not, but I bet those that do have a more modern utensil (like maybe a stand mixer attachment).
December 4, 2020
This stylish 1910 ladies coat has a specialized purpose - it’s a duster. Dusters were developed for use in cars, in the days before roads were paved and before cars were enclosed! The coat, which is very light-weight, was created to keep the dust off of ladies clothes as they rode in the newest transportation technology. This particular duster belonged to Anna Billard Wells.
November 18, 2020
New York began requiring dog owners to get a yearly permit in 1894. Dog licenses came in a variety of shapes, from butterflies (as pictured here) to circles, crosses, or hearts. This dog license from Southold was issued in 1908.
November 11, 2020
When this first came into the historical society we said - what in the world is it? Turns out this was used to sew closed bags of potatoes on the Jenning’s farm in Southold.
Unfortunately, we know what is does but not what it is called. So, we have tentatively decided to name it as a Potato Baler. If you have a more precise name for it please let us know!
November 4, 2020
Before 1862, the US government was not the only organization printing currency! Any organization could print money and circulate it. Prior to the Civil War, local banks and even hometown businesses would print and distribute their own money. Citizens regularly checked their local newspapers to find out the current “value” of the bills before using them. This five dollar bill was printed in 1853 by the Cochituate Bank of Boston, MA. The bank was incorporated in 1849, but failed in 1854. It was used locally. This bill possibly survived because the bank went out of business a year after it was printed and could no longer be redeemed. The last owner of the bill, who lived in Southold, had no way to pass it along or redeem it and probably tucked it away in hopes that it would someday be of use.
October 30, 2020
The title of this photo is, “Harvesting Wheat”, 1946. It brings to mind how fast technology has changed our lives. Today, this harvest would be baled by the harvesting machines and neatly stacked on the trucks.
Unfortunately, the trucks are a little too far away to identify the farm. But this photo, taken by Charles Meredith, is quintessential “North Fork”.
October 23, 2020
Late last year, two cardboard fruit baskets were donated to the Historical Society for the collection. The baskets are wonderful local representations of the farming aspects of Southold. Unfortunately, we have been unable to find any information on D & B Fruit Farms of Southold. If you know anything about this farm, give us a call or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 16, 2020
A Famous Family Visits…
Sometimes people contact the Historical Society to let us know they have something related to our history but are not yet ready to donate. Last year, we were contacted by a former camper at Pinecrest Dunes. He sent the picture that you see above… It took a couple of months, but happily he decided to send us the notecard the image was on! For those too young to recognize the family, the Munsters were a popular TV sitcom about a wholesome family of “monsters” that while unusual in appearance, were in behavior the typical American family. The show ran from 1964-1966. The show starred Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Butch Patrick, and Pat Priest.
Apparently, Pinecrest Dunes in the 1960s had a “visit” from the famous family. The camp vehicle was pressed into service. Camp counselors and Dave Struber, our donor, who was selected to be Eddie Munster, were put into costume and then the “family” hopped into the car and not only visited the camp but also toured Southold!
October 9, 2020
Photo: Sunrise Hotel, Southold 1949.
Although the door has been moved and there have been some changes to the façade, this building is fairly recognizable. It is the current North Fork Table and Inn. After its time as the Sunrise Hotel, this second empire building became the Southold Inn. The owner Dom Zito sold it in 1975 to Robert and Christine Hascoat who turned it into La Gazelle. It then became Coeur Des Vignes owned by George, Donna Marie and Arie Pavlou. In most recent years, the building has been owned by and operated as the popular North Fork Table and Inn.
October 2, 2020
Wendy Prellwitz (1950--)
More than a century separates the painter Wendy Prellwitz from her great-grandparents, artists Henry and Edith Mitchill Prellwitz, who were key among the founders of the “Peconic School.” Wendy works in their studios in Peconic and lives in High House, the home they once shared, high on a bluff overlooking Great Peconic Bay. One can easily sense that she feels informed and inspired by them both. Like her forbearers, Peconic is the place where she continues to evolve as an artist. Thanks to a careful typescript written by her grandfather, Edwin Prellwitz, we today know of the comings and goings of many of the original artists who settled on the North Fork.
Growing up in Pittsburgh, Wendy painted and drew constantly. She attended Rhode Island School of Design and went on to become an architect in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Yet somehow the art of her great-grandparents and the lure of Peconic were always in her mind. She and her father, retired engineer Sam Prellwitz, realized that the studios housed an unknown treasure-trove of paintings by Henry and Edith. Wendy promoted the “discovery,” resulting in exhibits of these previously hidden works, at The Museums at Stony Brook and the Spanierman Gallery in NYC.
Wendy Prellwitz paints outdoors and in Henry’s studio, inspired by her great-grandparents’ palettes and visions. Not content to record just what she sees, Wendy is constantly thinking about the qualities of light and hue, of movement and of stillness. Inevitably, many of Henry and Edith’s subjects — docks, boats, fields, and the area’s unique light — are echoed in her work. Yet Wendy is a thoroughly modern artist, creating strong and expressive landscapes that reach toward abstraction. Water is a preoccupation. She reveres “its impermanence yet endurance ... the sea’s cyclical certainty of rise and fall, and the vast, boundless quality of an infinite beyond.”
As an active and innovative printmaker, Wendy is always experimenting, often applying printmaking techniques to her paintings. For Wendy Prellwitz, making art yields a sense of discovery, “that wonderful sense of surprise.”
Scientists have not yet discovered the gene for art making, but clearly it’s in Wendy Prellwitz’s DNA. She notes, “In Peconic, I wake up to golden dawn light spilling over the bay into my bedroom, and walk on the beach in the morning, soaking in the atmosphere and light effects. Feeling the sun on my skin, watching the waves, ripples, and tide turning, noticing the reflections of clouds — every day is different.”
September 25, 2020
Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door…
The history of mechanical mousetraps appears to start after the Civil War. This multi directional mousetrap takes the guesswork out of which way to place the trap. Don’t ask us how it works – we have never tried to set it.
September 18, 2020
If you have ever visited the Reichert Family Barn at the Southold Historical Society Museum Complex, you might have noticed this barrel sitting quietly in the corner of the annex. Unassuming in appearance, the barrel is reputed to be one of the earliest items in the collection. According to the records of the Society, Daniel Horton who donated the barrel in 1960, stated that the family believed the barrel was used by Barnabas Horton during his journey from England to the New World.
September 11, 2020
A challenge to our regulars! Do you recognize this room? Do you know the furniture?
Although the room has changed some over the years, this is indeed the parlor of the Ann Currie-Bell house. Today, the chair and settee have beige upholstery. Now does it look familiar?
Notice the stained glass window on the west wall. We had thought a couple of years ago about reproducing the window that appears in the photo, but alas it was too much money! Perhaps one day?
September 4, 2020
Have you ever driven down the North Road and wondered what it looked like before it was widened? Or where the original road was?
This 1965 photograph in our collection answers both questions. Looking east, the two lane paved road is what later became the west bound lanes of today’s four lane divided highway.
The red barn on the right side of the photo still stands, but the old Wickham house that once stood in front of it was moved to the Cutchogue-New Suffolk Historical Council before the road was widened. Also interesting to note is that the road was not Route 48 at that time. It was called Route 27!
August 28, 2020
When was the last time any of us got together for a beach picnic like this!
This photo, circa 1935, depicts a picnic feast at the beach up in Peconic Inlet. Joseph Hallock is on the left in the chair with a fedora; Tom Currie-Bell is next to him; and Ann Currie-Bell is just in front of them with the stocking cap. Also, pictured are Genevieve Albertson, Ethel Dickerson and Adelaide Hill. This looks like a wonderful day out - with dessert on the menu!
August 21, 2020
This photo depicts Main Road Southold, circa 1890. Note how quiet the corner of Youngs Avenue and Main Road is! The Southold Hotel is in the foreground. Next door is the Henry W. Prince family house, and just west of that is his brick store that the Historical Society currently occupies.
August 14, 2020
Irving Ramsey Wiles (1861-1948) was one of the most important American Impressionists and portrait painters of his day. Art was in his DNA; his father, Lemuel Maynard Wiles, was also a widely acclaimed and exhibited artist.
Wiles was born in Utica, New York. He first came to the North Fork at the invitation of Edward August Bell, who was instrumental in starting what was to become the Peconic School, a loosely associated group of important painters who fell in love with our area’s bays, creeks, and Sound-front, our harbors and fields and woodlands. Like the many painters who followed the original group, Wiles was enchanted by the North Fork’s ever-changing light, as it sweeps from Sound to Bay.
His life as an artist began as a student of William Merritt Chase, with whom Wiles began to study when he was a boy of twelve. At New York City’s Art Students League, he studied with such important artists as Thomas Dewing. Later, he studied in Paris with none other the Carolus-Duran, the teacher and mentor of John Singer Sargent.
Starting in 1895, along with his father, Wiles began a summer painting school in Peconic. The Old Mill at Goldsmith Inlet was a favorite spot for the Wiles and their students to paint.
After staying in varying hamlets on the North Fork, Wiles bought a 10-acre bay-front stretch along Indian Neck, where he built a cottage and several studio buildings. There, he and his father continued to paint and to teach. He also taught at the Art Students League and the National Academy, of which he was an important member.
He painted society portraits, portraits of important politicians and of major performing artists. But it is for his beautiful, contemplative landscapes, domestic scenes and maritime paintings, especially of scallop boats, that Wiles is best remembered today.
Wiles had one enormous and tragic flaw: When it came to money, he was hopelessly profligate. He died penniless, supported by his daughter, the artist Gladys Lee Wiles, in Peconic, in 1948.
August 7, 2020
Yes, the color of the photo is actually blue! This is a cynotype of one of the three fire departments that once protected Southold hamlet from fire. The Protection Engine Company’s fire station stood on Beckwith Avenue. The second floor of the building was a meeting room
The fire company moved out in 1937, when the three fire departments consolidated together to form the Southold Fire Department and their new brick building across from Maple Lane was completed. The Beckwith station still stands minus its tower on the corner of Beckwith and Travelers Street.
July 31, 2020
Here is a photograph of the Southold Town School District #7 (Peconic) School bus from 1937.
Pictures of workhorse vehicles such as this school bus are rare. If anyone remembers the Southold Town School bus, please let us know what color it was.
July 24, 2020
Caroline Bell (1874-1970) known as “Dolly,” was a North Fork hunter/gatherer. She hunted beautiful outdoor vistas to paint and gathered a like-minded group of students and artists to accompany her on her adventures.
Born into a renowned family of studio photographers, Bell’s family moved around a lot and lived mostly in hotels. Childhood summers were often spent in Mattituck. After her mother died in 1907, Bell moved to Mattituck, where she eventually built a home and studio.
Initially self-taught, she studied painting with Edward August Bell and Whitney Hubbard. Later, she became associated with painters in Rockport and Gloucester in Massachusetts, studying with Emile Gruppe and Anthony Thieme.
As a teacher, Bell never charged for lessons, living on family money and sales from her work. She would determine a North Fork spot to paint, and then place each student at what she felt was an ideal vantage point. She exhibited widely on Long Island, in New England and in New York City, and was a member of many prominent art associations.
Caroline Bell was strongly drawn painting to boats and boatmen, and it is for these works that she is most remembered. She traveled widely, but always returned home to her beloved Mattituck.
July 17, 2020
Not many remember this fairytale looking house when it originally sat at the end of Maple Lane in Southold. Nicknamed Wormwood Hall, it was called Rosemary by the William Joost family that owned the house.
When the family began summering here from Brooklyn in 1895, they purchased the S.B. Terry property, subdivided, and sold most of the land to the Bliss family. The section they kept had a small cottage which they enlarged and turned into the fairytale building you see here in 1908. The home was later floated by barge to Bayshore Road in Greenport where it remains today.
July 10, 2020
This photograph depicts the East Marion-Orient Causeway, in 1961, before the seawall was built.
In the foreground the waves have cut away enough of the land that the utility pole is in danger of collapse. Lester Albertson, the Town Supervisor at the time, requested the concerning area be photographed. The barrier and wall were installed along most of the length of the causeway to hold back the erosion.
July 6, 2020
Thomas Currie-Bell (1873-1946) was the husband of Southold Historical Society’s benefactor and founder, Ann Currie-Bell. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and studied there at the Royal Scottish Academy and in London at the Royal Academy of Art, where he specialized in portraiture.
He met Ann Hallock in France in 1928. He was there painting, and she was traveling with her parents. The following year, he came to Southold, and they were married. He built a studio filled with windows and skylights on Hallock family property at Paradise Point. As both a painter and a magazine illustrator, he met with considerable success and exhibited widely, both in Europe and throughout the U.S. Ann and Tom wintered in Florida, where his work was included in many art exhibits. His passion was racing his boat, the “Bluebell,” leading to his local nickname, “the Skipper.” Ann and Tom Currie-Bell had no children. But she was deeply committed to the history of Southold. She was both visionary and generous, leaving her charming Victorian home, its contents, and its adjacent property to create and endow the Southold Historical Society. The house and its property, along with Tom’s paintings in our collection, are her important and enduring legacy in our town.
July 4, 2020
The United States flag with 13 stars and 13 stripes was adopted by the Continental Congress in 1777 and was used until 1795 when Kentucky and Vermont became states. This flag was found by the Latson family in their grandparent's Southold home and donated to the Society in 2009.
June 26, 2020
People love souvenirs and stores love to sell them to visitors! We are not too sure of how popular this item might have been used as a souvenir in 1900. But, this very pretty glass bathtub has printed along its side, "Souvenir of Southold, LI NY". It may have been used as a holder for items like toothpicks or matches.
June 19, 2020
Steam-motor sailor, Saratoga
by Antonio Jacobsen
This handsome painting that hangs in the Horton Point Lighthouse shows an odd hybrid ship that was built during the turn of the century. Half sailing ship and half steam ship, the Saratoga was built in 1907 in Philadelphia. The ship had a steam screw propulsion system, whose engine had an estimated 5000 horsepower. It was 413 feet long and 50 feet wide. The ship’s gross tonnage was 6,391 pounds. The ship was an immigrant ship and ran between Havana, Cuba, and Ellis Island in New York. She had a crew of 138 sailors.
June 15, 2020
Joseph Beckwith Hartranft (1890-1982), affectionately known as “Uncle Joe,” was a familiar fixture in and around Southold. He was the son of Joseph Hartranft, the area’s beloved country doctor, and the grandson of sea captain Sherburne Beckwith. Their house, the Beckwith-Stevens house, still stands at the corner of Main Street and Beckwith Avenue.
After he retired as a paint company executive in the 1940’s, he set up a studio in town, where he painted prolifically. It is estimated that he made some 2000 works in an impressionist style, both in town and all over the North Fork.
June 11, 2020
This odd stick is the Little-Wonder Vacuum Cleaner made by the Beck Manufacturing Company of New York and West Haven Connecticut. This was one of the many new labor saving devices that came onto the market around 1900. To make it work, you had to grasp the wooden handle at the top and pump it in and out of the tube to create the suction to vacuum. This vacuum came from the Willsway house on Hobart Street in Southold. We feel exhausted at the thought of anyone even trying to clean with the Little-Wonder.
June 8, 2020
Henry Prellwitz (1865-1940) was the son of Prussian immigrants who kept a cigar store on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He attended City College and then the Art Students League, where he studied with such important artists as Thomas Dewing and Robert Reid.
He traveled widely throughout Europe, spending time at Monet’s Giverny with a host of other visiting artists. After moving to Peconic with his wife, the artist Edith Mitchill Prellwitz in 1911, Henry Prellwitz painted in a variety of styles, including impressionism and tonalism. He painted landscapes and seascapes, and was especially drawn to the winding roads and byways of the North Fork. Like Edith, he was the endlessly dazzled by the play of sunlight and moonlight on the bay that stretched before their home, High House. His works are in major museums and collections. As Treasurer of the National Academy, he saved it from insolvency when, a few months prior to the Crash of October 1929, he converted their assets to gold. Ronald Pisano, who was the first scholar to recognize “The Peconic School,” noted that Henry and Edith Prellwitz were “one of the best-kept secrets in art history.”
June 4, 2020
This unassuming punch bowl which has been displayed in the Thomas Moore/Samuel Landon house for many years has a very interesting note attached to its record.
According to the donors, the bowl is a Lowestoft Chinese bowl from the 1700s. It was used by Captain James Fanning and some members of Wickham family during the American Revolution to drink a toast after giving their allegiance to the King.
Can the story be proven… sadly no, but the story and to some extent the bowl does represent the divided loyalties that existed in Southold during the war.
May 28, 2020
Traveling salesmen sold blue panes of glass to the rural population as a cure-all for diseases, broken legs, tuberculosis, and any malaise you might dream up. The sun filtered through the colored glass to the patient on the bed and supposedly killed all germs and stopped infection! This pane which has been installed in the master bedroom at the Ann Currie-Bell house was used by Mrs. David Austin Horton, Bay View, Southold.
May 26, 2020
Edith Mitchill Prellwitz (1864-1944) wasn’t playing hard-to-get when she refused Henry Prellwitz’s entreaties to marry her. She had studied at the Art Student’s League in New York City with such luminaries such as William Merrit Chase, and at the Academie Julien in Paris. A woman of her time, she felt she could not fulfill the roles of both wife and of artist—and artist came first. She wrote, “I will not be a dabbler. I cannot and care not to marry. I would rather die than live long in this humdrum way.”
But persistence was Henry’s long suite and he eventually persuaded her to marry him, promising always to honor her as an artist.
In 1911, driving east, they spotted an old farmhouse that was due for demolition. They had it taken apart, barged and rebuilt on Indian Neck in Peconic, near the summer homes of their good friends, artists Irving Wiles and Edward August Bell. “High House” sits on a cliff overlooking the vast expanse of Peconic Bay. Henry built twin “His and Hers” studios adjacent to the main house, and always kept his promise.
Edith, who was one of the most important American painters of her time, holds the honor of being the first woman ever to be chosen as a member of the National Academy. She founded the Woman’s Art Club, which later became the National Association of Women Artists. Both Edith and Henry Prellwitz painted in a variety of media and created works with varied subject matter, landscapes, seascapes, marine paintings and allegories. Their works hang in major collections including the Metropolitan Museum. Their great-grandaughter, artist Wendy Prellwitz, lives in High House and paints in their studios.
May 21, 2020
This is a photo of the Albertson livery in Southold with Corey Albertson, Harry Howell, and Clinton Carrole holding two horses in front of the barn. Writing on the back of the photo identifies the barn as the Corey Barn (now gone). The barn originally stood on the east side of Youngs Avenue at the intersection of Youngs Avenue and Travelers Street.
May 18, 2020
Whitney Myron Hubbard (1875-1965) was a familiar sight in and around Greenport. From the time his father moved the family from Connecticut to the Village, he left only to attend Wesleyan University and later, classes at New York City’s Art Students’ League. After teaching school in Greenport for several years, Hubbard declared himself an artist, and became an incredibly prolific one. The Village and its surrounding fields and woods, shorelines and harbors, were his world. He painted in watercolor, oils, tempera and drew with pastels and experimented in a range of styles, including Pointillism, Impressionism and realism. Sailboats, fishing boats and schooners were favorite subjects, as were portraits of his beloved wife, Ruth, often painted in their beautiful English-style garden.
Money was never plentiful in the Hubbard household. Hubbard taught outdoor classes, charging a mere $3.00 a class. Many of his pictures are small in format, because he often was unable to buy canvases or canvas boards, and resorted to painting on cigar or candy boxes. He sometimes bartered his paintings, or sold them for a pittance. Ruth supplemented their income by giving voice and piano lessons. During his long lifetime, his works were exhibited widely. They are included in collections all over the country and in libraries, historical societies, museums and private collections throughout Long Island. Southold Historical Society owns many of his works.
May 14, 2020
Can you help us identify where this photo was taken?
The description we have of the photo “the Elwood Garage area, looking west.” Two sets of gas pumps, Sinclair and Socony, are identifiable in the photo as well as Elwood Garage. Across the street is Fischer's garage.
We would love to expand the description. Please share what you know and remember. Perhaps you might even have another photo of the garage you’d like to share?
May 7, 2020
“Whiskey in the Jar”
If you read the box carefully you will see that this bottle of whiskey was for medicinal use only! That’s because during Prohibition, if your doctor determined that bending the elbow was necessary for your health, you could get a prescription for whiskey!
The government limited the number of prescriptions for this ‘cure’ that a doctor could write and carefully oversaw the production of medicinal whiskey. The punch line in old movies as a person takes a drink and says, “it’s for my health” had a different meaning for people during the Prohibition.
April 30, 2020
An odd item in the collection of Southold Historical Society is this fraternal ribbon for the Foresters of America. The red, white, and blue striped ribbon has a brass metal frame and pin, holding a round multicolored medallion with the symbol of the F. of A. This was a typical ribbon given to members when they joined or attended conferences of the organization. The pin has a red satin underlying ribbon with "Court Yennicock, NO. 495, F. of A., Southold, N. Y."
The organization can be traced to a British club whose mission was to care for the sick. The American version of the group became independent from the UK Foresters in 1874. In the United States, the group was one of the leading fraternal benefit societies. At its height in 1906, the membership tipped just over a quarter of a million.
While Court Yennicock, F. of A. no longer exists in Southold, the larger parent group still operates out of Toronto, Canada.
April 23, 2020
Southold Historical Society discussed the changes in agriculture and the prominence of vineyards, question arose about what we collect? When does something become historic? What about contemporary artifacts? How do we decided what is significant?
Southold Historical Society decided that vineyards and wineries are very much a part of our contemporary history and artifacts related to them are worthy of collecting. But what artifacts can we collect from the vineyard farming and wineries? Unfortunately, much of the equipment used to cultivate grapes and make wine is enormous. As we found out with our antique farm tool collection, we simple do not have enough room to store large items.
What we can collect are small artifacts, like vintage bottles of wine. This is an autographed bottle from the first year of Hargrave Vineyard.
April 17, 2020
Like maps, aerial photos can be intriguing. As time goes by and development inevitably takes place, it is fascinating to look at old photos for landmarks and see the changes that have occurred. Years ago, the late Donald Tuthill, flew overhead in his airplane and used his camera to capture this view of the largely undeveloped land. The photo is of the intersection of Boisseau Avenue and the North Road, which at the time was known as Route 27. While the view may look different now, those who have lived in and visited our area for many years can still see this landscape in their mind's eye.
April 9, 2020
When we began writing a description for this photo, the idea was to compare the small size of this IGA grocery store to the significantly larger sizes of grocery stores today. In this photo, you can see there are just three aisles for shoppers to browse. Signs in the windows that advertise fryers for 27 cents a pound and Campbell's soup for 10 cents a can!
April 2, 2020
The building dates back to pre-1858. Southold Historical Society is proud to be stewards of the Bayview School house.
Do you recognize this farm building? With the front door enlarged – it can be hard to identify the Bayview School house in this photo. The school was closed in 1926. Like so many other buildings in the town, instead of being demolished, it was reused. In this case, the structure became a machine shop on the Dickerson family farm. In 1990, the family gave the building to the town as a monument for the 350th anniversary. It was moved to the Historical Society in 1990 and is now used to teach the educational history of Southold.
March 27, 2020
It is always amazing how far items from Southold wander across the country. Take for example this pennant. It was made between 1900 -1920. This type of flag was sold or given to high school students as a school spirit item. It’s not an item that you would expect to wander too far from the area.
We received a call from a gentleman who told us that he bought an auction lot and found the pennant included in the box. When he sent the pennant to us, we found that he was from Brownsburg, Indiana!