11/23/18 6:01am
11/23/2018 6:01 AM

Born in Greenport in 1945, Joe Townsend has compiled many stories about the North Fork during a life that has seen him become the village’s youngest mayor, a town councilman and a community leader in the areas of conservation and historic preservation.

Our digital content director, Grant Parpan, sat down with Mr. Townsend at his home in East Marion this September for an hour-long conversation about growing up here, how the community has changed over the decades and his battle in recent years with ALS.


Conversation is a twice monthly long-form interview with a wide range of individuals with connections to the North Fork. This week’s episode was sponsored by Peconic Bay Medical Center.

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03/02/15 10:00am
03/02/2015 10:00 AM
Bill Kanz of Orient ice boating on Great Pond in Southold. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Bill Kanz of Orient ice boating on Great Pond in Southold. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Before the invention of the airplane, the fastest moving vehicle on the planet was an ice boat. Ice boats can fly on solidified water. All it takes is a stiff wind, a flat ice surface and an adventurous soul.

Bobby Abel of East Quogue, who has been involved in ice boating for 46 of his 51 years, said it is “like flying on land. There’s nothing like it.” (more…)

01/21/15 8:00am
01/21/2015 8:00 AM
Joe Townsend shows off the Southold Indian Museum’s collection in 2012. (Credit: Beth Young, file)

Joe Townsend shows off the Southold Indian Museum’s collection in 2012. (Credit: Beth Young, file)

You may soon find glass cases containing Native American artifacts at local businesses and other public spaces around Southold Town. The exhibits are part of a plan the Southold Indian Museum is working on to gain exposure to the museum’s collection of artifacts.  (more…)

10/21/12 5:00pm
10/21/2012 5:00 PM

A team of former collegiate rowers featuring two current and one former North Fork resident finished first in the 60-and-older division of the 48th Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston Saturday.

The Motley Rowing Club senior masters eight team included 67-year-old East Marion resident Joe Townsend, 54-year-old Greenport resident Rob Buchanan and 65-year-old former Greenport resident Dick Curtis, currently the varsity rowing coach at Salisbury (Conn.) School.

The Motley crew finished the three-mile course on the Charles River in 16:49.47, placing ninth overall in the 50-and-older division, which was won by the Palm Beach (Fla.) Rowing Association in 15:49.78.

It should be noted, however, that the average age of the Palm Beach crew is 50, while the average age of the Motley crew is 61. No other 60+ team finished inside the top 20 teams in the 50+ race.

Townsend and Curtis rowed at Boston University; Buchanan at Princeton.

08/05/12 3:00pm
08/05/2012 3:00 PM

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Joe Townsend, who recently became a member of Southold Indian Museum’s board, points out items in the museum’s collection.

It’s been 50 years since a group of nine amateur archeologists, many of them local farmers who discovered Indian artifacts while plowing their fields, founded the Southold Indian Museum.

The sleepy museum, owned by the Incorporated Long Island Chapter of the New York State Archaeological Association, is open just two days a week this time of year (and only one day in the winter), but it’s one of the few places on Long Island with such a treasure trove of Native American artifacts.

On Saturday, Aug. 19, the museum will hold a 50th anniversary celebration at McCall Vineyards in Cutchogue, which sits alongside Fort Corchaug, the historic settlement of the Corchaug Indians.

Greenport insurance broker Joe Townsend, who has been a member of the museum’s board for about a year, is chairing the event. He said the museum is also looking for new board members, as most of its founding members have now died.

“We would like to get more people involved. A lot of people who founded the museum are gone,” said Mr. Townsend, who found his first “point,” as arrowheads and other projectile points are called, about 20 years ago. He’s been collecting artifacts found throughout the North Fork ever since.

An entire display case of Mr. Townsend’s finds, along with those from many local farms, including the Krupski Farm in Peconic and the Latham Farm in Orient, are on display at the museum.

The museum has one of the best collections of Algonquin pottery in the Northeast, as well as some points dating back as much as 10,000 years. It also owns a 60-acre flint mine in Coxsackie, N.Y.

In the brick building’s basement across the street from the Custer Institute astronomy center on Main Bayview Road in Southold, are many more artifacts than the museum has space to display, many in shoeboxes waiting to be catalogued.

Mr. Townsend said he’s noticed trends in places where artifacts are found. In the Goldsmith Inlet area of Peconic, for example, many have found basalt tools, while in Hallocks Bay in Orient, they tend to find wampum.

He said he’s hoping to encourage more local people who might have Indian artifacts — or who might want to help keep the museum open during Saturday evening hours, when the neighboring Custer Institute is open — will join the volunteer effort for the benefit of future generations.

Tickets for the Aug. 19 benefit are $125 each, and come with a one-year membership to the museum. The event takes place from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Call 988-9345 or email [email protected].

The food is being donated by several local chefs and Braun Seafood Company, D’Latte Café, Harbes Family Farm, Jedediah Hawkins Inn, Krupski Farms, Latham Farms, Lenz Wineries, The Market Café, McCall Vineyards and Widow’s Hole Oysters.

[email protected]