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Southold, New York
Town of Southold
Southold Free Library
Southold Free Library
Country United States
State New York
County Suffolk
 • Total 404.5 sq mi (1,047.6 km2)
 • Land 53.7 sq mi (139.1 km2)
 • Water 350.8 sq mi (908.5 km2)
Elevation 0 ft (0 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 21,968
 • Density 410/sq mi (158/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 11971
Area code(s) 631
FIPS code 36-69463
GNIS feature ID 0979508

The Town of Southold is one of ten towns in Suffolk County, New York, United States. It is located in the northeastern tip of the county, on the North Fork of Long Island. The population was 21,968 at the 2010 census. The town also contains a hamlet named Southold, which was settled in 1640.


Southold NY Presby PHS831
Southold Presbyterian Church and Founders' Monument, Southold, N.Y.

The Algonquian-speaking Shinnecock tribes lived in eastern Long Island before European colonization.

Southold was settled by English colonists in 1640, and in most histories is reported as the first English settlement on Long Island in the future New York State. Lion Gardiner established a manor on Gardiners Island in East Hampton a year earlier in 1639. The Dutch colonists, who had arrived in the region earlier, had settlements to the west- Fort Orange (later renamed Albany by the English) in 1615 and New Amsterdam (later renamed Manhattan) in 1625.

English Puritans from New Haven Colony in Connecticut settled in Southold on October 21, 1640. Under the leadership of the Reverend John Youngs, with Peter Hallock, the settlement consisted of the families of Barnabas Horton, John Budd, John Conklin, John Swazy, William Wells and John Tuthill. They had purchased the land in the summer of 1640 from the group of Indians related to the Pequot of New England, who lived in the territory they called Corchaug (now Cutchogue). Settlers spelled the Indian name of what became Southold as Yennicott.

New Haven supervised Southold until 1662, and it was under the Connecticut Colony until 1674. Both colonies sought to establish the town as a theocracy. New Haven did not permit other churches to operate at all, while Connecticut allowed freedom of religion.

In 1650, the Treaty of Hartford established a boundary between Dutch and English claims, roughly through Oyster Bay, dividing the Dutch colony to the west and the English to the east. When the Dutch took control of the colony of New York in 1673, the English-settled eastern towns, including Southold, East Hampton and Southampton, refused to submit; the Dutch attempted to force the matter by arms, and the colonists of the towns repelled them, with assistance from Connecticut. When New York was retaken by the English in 1674, these eastern towns preferred to stay part of Connecticut. Although Connecticut agreed, the government of James, Duke of York forced the matter for them to be part of the Province of New York. Governor Sir Edmund Andros threatened to eliminate the residents' rights to land if they did not yield, which they did by 1676. The Duke of York had a grudge against Connecticut. New Haven had hidden three of the judges who sentenced his father King Charles I to death in 1649.

The town called as its second minister a Harvard graduate from Hingham, Massachusetts, Rev. Joshua Hobart, son of Rev. Peter Hobart. The latter was the founding minister of Old Ship Church, the nation's oldest church in continuous use. Rev. Joshua Hobart was installed in 1674 and served until his death in 1717, when he was 88 years old. Rev. Hobart's brother Josiah was one of the earliest settlers and initial trustees of East Hampton, Long Island, as well as High Sheriff of Suffolk County.

The name Southold is believed to be an elision of Southwold, a coastal town in the corresponding English county of Suffolk. John Youngs, the minister who was one of the founders of the Town, was born and brought up in Southwold, Suffolk, England. Youngs was a member of St. Margaret's Church in nearby Reydon. Within the Town's limits is an area known as Reydon Shores, perhaps a reference to the Reydon, England known by Youngs. The Town's name also may refer to a "holding" to the south [of New Haven]), from whence the original settlers hailed.

In 1650, the population of Southold was about 180, growing to 880 by 1698. The harbor at Greenport was important in trade, fishing, and whaling, because it rarely froze over. Settlers developed the interior land for agricultural purposes.

In the late 19th century, the Long Island Rail Road extended its line on the North Shore to Greenport, and summer vacationers would travel to the destination by train. Due to the light on the North Fork from water on both sides, the area attracted many artists, including William Merritt Chase.

Long used for potato farming, in the late 20th century, large areas of the North Fork were redeveloped as vineyards. This area of Long Island has developed a respectable wine industry. In November 1994, the village of Greenport voted to abolish its police department and turn responsibility for law and order over to the Southold Town Police.


The town is at the northeastern end of Long Island, New York on a peninsula called the North Fork and its extensions Plum Island, and Fishers Island. The Long Island Sound separates the town from Connecticut. The eastern end of the peninsula, near Orient Point, is north of the Town of Shelter Island, but the town is separated from the South Fork of Long Island by the Great Peconic Bay and the Little Peconic Bay. The western end of the town is the border of the Town of Riverhead. It is twenty-one miles from Orient Point to the border with Riverhead. Robins Island, a protected open space in Great Peconic Bay, is also part of the Town of Southold.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 404.5 square miles (1,047.6 km²), of which, 53.7 square miles (139.1 km²) of it is land and 350.8 square miles (908.5 km²) of it (86%) is water. The town has approximately 163 linear miles of coastline.

Significant coastal fish and wildlife habitats within the Town of Southold, include: the Mattituck Inlet Wetlands and Beaches, Fishers Island Beaches, Pine Islands and Shallows, the Goldsmith Inlet and Beach, Pipes Cove Creek and Moores Drain, the Dumpling Islands and Flat Hammock.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 3,219
1800 2,200 −31.7%
1810 2,613 18.8%
1820 2,968 13.6%
1830 2,900 −2.3%
1840 3,907 34.7%
1850 4,723 20.9%
1860 5,833 23.5%
1870 6,715 15.1%
1880 7,267 8.2%
1890 7,705 6.0%
1900 8,301 7.7%
1910 10,577 27.4%
1920 10,147 −4.1%
1930 11,669 15.0%
1940 12,046 3.2%
1950 11,632 −3.4%
1960 13,295 14.3%
1970 16,804 26.4%
1980 19,172 14.1%
1990 19,836 3.5%
2000 20,599 3.8%
2010 21,968 6.6%
Est. 2014 22,248 1.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 20,599 people, 8,461 households, and 5,804 families residing in the town. The population density was 383.5 people per square mile (148.1/km²). There were 13,769 housing units at an average density of 256.3 per square mile (99.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 93.53% White, 2.91% Black or African American, 0.07% Native American, 0.45% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 1.51% from other races, and 1.47% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.77% of the population.

There were 8,461 households out of which 26.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.8% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.90.

In Southold town the population was spread out with 21.5% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 26.5% from 45 to 64, and 23.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 93.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $49,898, and the median income for a family was $61,108. Males had a median income of $46,334 versus $31,440 for females. The per capita income for the town was $27,619. About 4.1% of families and 5.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.2% of those under age 18 and 5.4% of those age 65 or over.

Communities and locations

Villages (incorporated)

  • Greenport, near the easternmost tip of the mainland.

Hamlets (unincorporated)

  • Cutchogue, in the western part of the town, originally a farming village
  • East Marion, in the eastern part of the town
  • Fishers Island, a hamlet located on Fishers Island
  • Laurel, by the western town line
  • Mattituck, in the western part of the town, settled in 1680
  • New Suffolk, in the southwest part of the town
  • Orient, the eastern tip of the mainland
  • Peconic, in the central part of the town, southwest of Southold village
  • Southold, the hamlet of Southold, settled in 1640.

Other census designated places (CDPs)

Other communities

  • Arshamonaque, between Greenport and Southold village
  • Bay Haven, on Little Peconic Bay
  • Bay View, on Great Hog Neck
  • Beixedon Estates, a private community east of Southold village
  • Cedar Beach on Great Hog Neck, southeast of Bay View
  • Cove, The
  • Cutchogue Station, north of Cutchogue
  • Fleet's Neck, South of Cutchogue
  • Founder's Landing, the historic center of Southold Village
  • East Cutchogue, located east of Cutchogue
  • Eastwind Shores
  • Laughing Water, near Great Hog Neck
  • Nassau Farms
  • Nassau Point, on Little Hog Neck
  • Oregon, along the vicinity of Oregon Road between Mattituck and Peconic
  • Orient Point, at the eastern tip of the mainland
  • Reydon Shores, on Great Hog Neck (named after Reydon in Suffolk, England the birthplace of the wife of the Rev. John Youngs).
  • Stirling, north of Greenport
  • Terry Waters on Little Peconic Bay
  • Waterville, north of Matttituck



  • The Long Island Rail Road's Main Line is the sole line within the Town of Southold. Passengers can go to New York City via Mattituck, Southold and Greenport Stations. The line is also used by the Railroad Museum of Long Island.

Bus service

  • The Town of Riverhead is served primarily by Suffolk County Transit bus routes, although Hampton Jitney buses are available for trips to New York City.

Major roads

See also: List of county routes in Suffolk County, New York
  • NY-25.svg New York State Route 25 is the main west-east route in the Town of Southold, and as such is almost entirely named "Main Road." Two truck routes of NY 25 also exist.
  • NY-114.svg New York State Route 114 enters and exits the Village of Greenport via the ferry to Shelter Island
  • Suffolk County 48.svg County Route 48 (Suffolk County, New York) is a major west-east county road between Mattituck and north of Greenport. The NYSDOT once planned to upgrade the road into part of the Long Island Expressway.
  • Sound Avenue was a former segment of New York State Route 25A, which is unmarked, but still serves as an important thoroughfare from Wading River along the north shore into Mattituck.


  • Mattituck Airport
  • Charles Rose Airport


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