Streets of the North Fork

Postcard courtesy of Mattituck-Laurel Historical Society
The southern section of Love Lane in Mattituck was originally called Railroad Avenue and ended at the tracks.

This is the first installment in an occasional series on the history behind the names of some Southold streets.

Just where exactly does Cupid strike? And what kind of arrow does he use? Well, in the 1950s, it was the drive-in movie theater, working its magic on young lovebirds and igniting romance like a spark plug to an engine. But in the 1850s, it was the rein-in wagon stop, and Love Lane was the location of choice.

According to records taken from the Mattituck-Laurel Historical Society and the Southold Free Library’s Whitaker Collection, the street name “Love Lane” has its roots in the mid-19th century, when young couples took their wagons down a secret path in the woods at night, parking at Mattituck Creek where watchful eyes couldn’t see. The path led north from the railroad tracks and eventually became known as “Lovers’ Lane.”

In 1864, a man named Samuel Brown bought the property surrounding Lovers’ Lane and shortened the path’s name to “Love Lane.” Shortly thereafter, according to Mattituck historian Norman Wamback, Mr. Brown laid out another path running south from Mattituck Creek just east of Love Lane. Knowing the history of the romantic location, he named the path “Maiden’s Lane” and sold building lots along both roads.