The Southold Historical Society said goodbye to a building it has owned since 2011, but its memory will continue with another building on its grounds.
Deanna Witte-Walker, executive director of the Southold Historical Society, said the 54127 Main Road building, formerly known as The Reichert Family Center, was sold in September. The Center housed the Cosden Price Gallery, named after Carol Cosden Price, who donated funds to purchase it. It was restored back to its features from the early 1900s when it was purchased by the society in 2011, with money donated from Charles and Helen Reichert.
The historical society underwent a reorganization of its properties recently, and they found there was a building on the main grounds at 55200 Main Road in Southold that used to be a former director’s office, called the Pettit Center, but it hasn’t been used for that purpose in over three years. The Pettit Center will now be used to display exhibits instead of the Reichert Family Center. The Pettit Center was placed on the market in 2016, but was taken off when the society decided to sell the property at 54127 Main Road.
“We decided we could reorganize our buildings and use that space, so we no longer needed the building on the Main Road,” Ms. Witte-Walker said. “Also, the other buildings are all together down at our museum complex, so it keeps everything closer together, our collections and our exhibits.”
The 54127 Main Road building is not a landmarked building. It was originally known locally as the Beckwith store and was built before 1850 by the Lester Family. In April 1864, the property was purchased by Sherburne Beckwith, a ship captain who moved from Connecticut in 1849 to run a ship chandlery in Greenport. His descendents owned the building until 1984. The building that stands today was built in the 1940s.
It was restored back to its features from the early 1900s when it was purchased by the society in 2011 with its own funds, and was refurbished with money donated from Charles and Helen Reichert, along with other donors. The society is dedicating the barn, formerly known as the Pine Neck Barn, which is in the center next to the Gagen Blacksmith Shop and behind the Bayview School on the society’s property, after the Reichert family instead.
“We’re so thrilled they were able to support our work with the building at 54127 Main Road, and we felt badly that in selling it we were selling what we had put their name on,” she said.
The Pine Neck Barn was donated by the Breitstadt family in the 1960s and dates back to the 1700s. It is well-known in town for the annual Candlelight Tour with a visit from Santa every year.
“[The barn] is really the centerpiece of the complex,” she added.
“It really wasn’t named after anyone, so now we’re able to honor the Reicherts, honor their support of the Society and put their name on that barn,” Ms. Witte-Walker said.
The building at 54127 Main Road was sold to Maroni Cottage Inc., which also owns the former Jeni’s Main Street Bistro. They were unable to be reached before publication.
The barn will be officially renamed The Reichert Family Barn Sunday, Nov. 4, at noon. After the dedication ceremony, light refreshments will be served.
Photo caption: The former Reichert Family Center building sold in September. (Rachel Siford photo)