Churn Back Time: Southold Historical Society Ice Cream Social Returns

Ice cream social
Photo: Dragan Grkic/123RF

Southold Historical Society’s Annual Ice Cream Social is back by popular demand, this year taking place this Saturday, August 10 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Maple Lane Museum Complex, located on the corner of Main Road and Maple Lane, opposite the Southold Firehouse. In addition to ice cream, the Historical Society will serve popcorn, lemonade and hot dogs. Admission to the grounds is $5 for adults, while children 14 and under enter free.

Southold Historical Society has put on a summer ice cream social for many years. Executive director Deanna Witte-Walker is excited that the event is slated to return for yet another summer, explaining, “The ice cream social had long been a very popular event in our community. Children would look forward to the social each summer, and families would make certain to be in town that weekend.”

The first recorded ice cream social in this country—when England ruled, before the Revolutionary War—was in 1744, when Maryland’s governor Thomas Bladen served ice cream to his dinner guests. They became more common around 1800, and Thomas Jefferson even held one in the White House in 1802.

Attendees of Southold’s ice cream social will enjoy live music and face-painters on site, while local history buffs will offer tours of the grounds. The Historical Society maintains more than a dozen buildings in Southold Town, which date back as far as 1750—about the time ice cream socials originated in America. They are additionally in possession of an extensive archival collection detailing some of Southold’s early families. The Ann Currie-Bell, Thomas Moore House, Gagen Blacksmith Shop and the Robert P. Long Print Shop are all part of the museum complex, and will be open for tours during the ice cream social.

This summer’s art exhibition On the Waterfront is also on view in the Ann Currie-Bell House, with 10″ x 10” prints for sale in the Reichert Family Barn.

For additional information on this and other Southold Historical Society events and activities, visit or call 631-765-5500.

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