Southold and Southampton Celebrate 375 Years in 2015!

Southold Historical Society in Southold
Southold Historical Society in Southold, Photo: Stacy Dermont

This year is a big one for both the North and South Forks of Long Island. English settlers first arrived on the forks in 1640, and so this year marks the 375th anniversary of both Southampton and Southold Towns. Those English didn’t waste any time setting up Presbyterian churches, and so the First Presbyterian Church of Southold is also celebrating 375 years and they, together with the Town of Southold, have planned a year-long anniversary celebration throughout 2015.

The festivities kicked off with a cocktail party at Brecknock Hall in Greenport on January 17, but the honorary convocation is going to be held jointly with the Town of Southampton and the First Presbyterian Church of Southampton this Saturday, March 7 at 3 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Southampton. The church is located at 2 South Main Street in Southampton, and the convocation is open to everyone at no charge.

Southampton has a long history of celebrating its anniversary every 25 years, but this convocation involves a bit of hatchet burying on both sides. Southold and Southampton have long had a friendly rivalry as to which town is the oldest English settlement in New York.

“We say we got here in June. Southold says it wasn’t until August,” explains Tom Edmonds, Executive Director of the Southampton Historical Museum. “It’s all done in good humor.” Though Southampton has held convocations every 25 years at the First Presbyterian Church of Southampton to commemorate its anniversary, this convocation will be unique because Southampton has invited Southold town to be involved.

Putting their friendly rivalry aside, Southold and Southampton Towns and Presbyterian Churches have come together to celebrate their mutual heritage. The convocation will feature speakers such as Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski, representing Southold, Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, representing Southampton, Dr. Peter Kelly from the First Presbyterian Church of Southold, and Dr. Richard Boyer from Southampton’s First Presbyterian Church.

The convocation will also showcase music performed by Southampton’s First Presbyterian Church Choir, Showers of Blessings, and the Southampton High School Choir.

The 375th Anniversary celebrations continue in April, starting with a “ringing of the bell” for submarines at New Suffolk Beach on April 12.

Next up for Southold is a Douglas Moore memorial concert on April 18. Moore, who died in 1969, was a composer, a native son of Cutchogue in Southold Town who is best remembered for his opera The Ballad of Baby Doe. And for those who won’t be able to make it out to the East End in April, a second Douglas Moore memorial concert is
scheduled for August 8.

The First Presbyterian Church of Southold begins their events with a Victorian Tea on June 14.

The largest event held by the church, however, will be the Homecoming Weekend and Artisan Fair, which will take place from July 10 to July 12.

Southold Town’s signature event will be a parade on August 1.

Come the end of summer, the rivalry between Southold and Southampton returns with The Southold/Southampton Sports Challenge, held on September 20 by the First Presbyterian Church of Southold.

The final event planned (so far) by the Church is the 375th Anniversary Commemorative Worship Service on October 18.

Potential autumn events coordinated by Southold Town include a tour of the historic homes and a volunteer day.

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