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Southold’s register of historic landmarks expands for the first time in a dozen years

For the first time in more than a decade, Southold Town has added properties to its register of historic landmarks.

After public hearings yesterday, the town board designated the Terry House on Main Road in Southold, the Second Parsonage on Hobart Road in Southold, and the Race Rock Lighthouse near Fishers Island in Long Island Sound as historic landmarks.

Historic Preservation Commission chairman James Garretson was clearly delighted with the decision, calling it a “feather in our cap” and adding, “It’s been a very exciting day. We’ve done three properties and we all should be congratulated.” The last time properties were added to the register was in 2004, he said earlier yesterday.

The Terry House, named after the brothers who built it in 1783,  is owned by Southold Historical Society’s director, Karen Lund Rooney. Rooney purchased the home in 1999 and currently lives there with her husband John.

Over the years the Terry House has had several additions added and is presently about double its original size. Rooney has worked hard to maintain the character of the home and has kept renovations to a minimum.

The Terry House on Main Road in Southold. Photo: Katharine Schroeder
The Terry House on Main Road in Southold. Photo: Katharine Schroeder

“I’ve done no renovations to the original rooms. I’ve kept them the way they were. Hopefully I’ve brought them back to the way they were in the late 1700s/early 1800s.  It’s the original flooring and the original construction of the individual rooms. And we use the fireplace all the time.”

“John and I feel that we’re caretakers of the house and we want it on the historic register so that it can never be torn down and so that it can be preserved and recognized for its place in Southold’s history.”

Like the Terry House, the Second Parsonage on Hobart Road has also been added to over the years. The original structure was built in 1674, making it one of the oldest houses in Southold. It still has its original beams and floors and, according to Garretson, “all the additions have kept in keeping with the house. That’s a real special thing. And I think this is the third feather in our cap.”

The Second Parsonage on Hobart Road, Southold. Photo: Katharine Schroeder
The Second Parsonage on Hobart Road, Southold. Photo: Katharine Schroeder

Race Rock Lighthouse, which is owned by the New London Maritime Society, was also added to the historic register. The Gothic Revival style lighthouse was completed in 1878 and sits to the southwest of Fishers Island, protecting ships from the dangerous Race Rock reef.

Jim Grathwohl, a member of the Historic Preservation Commission, and former chairman of the board of the Old House on the Cutchogue Green encouraged more people to come forward and apply to have their houses added to the register.

“Historic preservation is good business. It draws people here. People have come here for years to see our magnificent architecture spanning 300 years or more.”

Race Rock Lighthouse. Courtesy photo.
Race Rock Lighthouse.
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Katharine Schroeder
Katharine is a writer and photographer who has lived on the North Fork for nearly 40 years, except for three-plus years in Hong Kong a decade ago, working for the actor Jackie Chan. She lives in Cutchogue. Email Katharine