Before 1862, the US government was not the only organization printing currency! Any organization could print money and circulate it. Prior to the Civil War, local banks and even hometown businesses would print and distribute their own money. Citizens regularly checked their local newspapers to find out the current “value” of the bills before using them. This five dollar bill was printed in 1853 by the Cochituate Bank of Boston, MA. The bank was incorporated in 1849, but failed in 1854. It was used locally. This bill possibly survived because the bank went out of business a year after it was printed and could no longer be redeemed. The last owner of the bill, who lived in Southold, had no way to pass it along or redeem it and probably tucked it away in hopes that it would someday be of use. 
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Check out our past Collections Corner highlights here!

Art Sale Preview

Our online Art Exhibit and Sale, “10 Squared: North Fork in Winter” begins Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 9am.
The sale is on a first come, first served basis and will run through December 15, 2020! Don’t miss your chance to own a one of a kind art piece created by a local artist! 
To preview available art, visit: 


A World Unto Itself:

the Remarkable History of Plum Island, New York

Islands are by nature mystical, mysterious and mutable. So it seems fitting that Plum Island, located at the tip of Long Island, NY is shaped like a question mark. But, this island is different – it is unlike any other island anywhere in the world. After the Montaukket tribe sold Plum Island to an Englishman in 1659 for a coat and a few tools, it was owned for 250 years by a handful of families who had the instincts and cleverness to persevere through both the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Little by little, they sold their land to men with power, money and plans to develop the island as a summer resort. Instead, however, the Spanish-American War sparked concern about U.S. coastal defenses. And as the century turned, Plum Island was transformed into Fort Terry, a heavily armed military installation. It was during that era that it served as the site of one of the most infamous court martials of the 20th century, one that would effectively sanction the exclusion of homosexuals from the military for decades to come. For the 60-plus years since the Army’s departure, research conducted at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center has generated numerous breakthroughs in the diagnosis and prevention of animal diseases worldwide. But for many in the 21st century, Plum Island – heavily patrolled and off-limits to virtually everyone – remains shrouded in secrecy and is viewed with skepticism to apprehension about what really goes on there. Through its many incarnations, Plum Island has managed to remain in a semi-natural state. Today, it provides a rare glimpse of what much of the Northeast was like before it was gripped by “progress.” At the same time, it bears the marks of the human history that has unfolded there. For the first time this new book reveals the long hidden history of this unique island. Richly illustrated and annotated, this book is a must for anyone interested in the history of one of the most mysterious and fascinating islands on earth.


Unfortunately, our Annual Candlelight Tour and Tree Lighting will be taking a hiatus this year. While we thoroughly enjoy seeing crowds of people celebrating on our museum complex, we want you all to stay safe this holiday season.
Instead, we would like to add to some extra cheer to the season and to the museum complex by way of special decorations. We are seeking donations of some traditional holiday décor to use outside. Some of our buildings date back to the 1700’s. Think period, traditional, natural!
Our volunteer decorators have some suggestions, but we are open to other ideas as appropriate:
  • Green Garland (evergreen type)
  • Roping
  • Green wreaths
  • Pine cone wreaths
  • Bows made with traditional fabrics (burlap, wool, etc)
  • White outdoor lights
  • Outdoor spotlights
  • Outdoor extension cords
If you have any of the above items that you would be willing to donate, please call our office at 631.765.5500 ext 1.
Thanks so much. We are looking forward to some extra special decorations at the Southold Historical Society Museum Complex this year!


For the safety of our staff, volunteers and the community during the COVID-19 crisis, Southold Historical Society locations including the Nautical Museum at Horton Point Lighthouse, the Museum Complex and the Treasure Exchange Consignment Shop remain CLOSED to visitors at this time. Should you need to visit the Society office, please call ahead to schedule an appointment. 631-765-5500.
From all of us at Southold Historical Society, thank you for your continued support.
For any questions, please email info@southoldhistorical.org.


Thank you to our 2020 business sponsors!


10 Squared Online Art Exhibition and Sale Entitled: North Fork in Winter on sale November 15 – December 15, 2020
Looking to donate to Southold Historical Society? 
Click the link below!





AAQ / Resource: Buzz Chew Chevrolet – Cadillac