3 hotels from the North Fork’s past

The Griffing Hotel

The Griffing Hotel

Griffing Hotel, Riverhead

Described as Riverhead’s “first hostelry” in a 1972 pamphlet celebrating the town’s bicentennial, Griffing Hotel was founded around 1748 by the Griffing family, which maintains a downtown presence with Griffing Hardware. The inn stood on Main Street near Griffing Avenue, opposite the former Riverhead Theater.

“There are many interesting stories and legends connected with this veritably ancient property,” reads a 1924 County Review article. “It is pretty well authenticated … that a wandering squad of British cavalry bivouacked there during the War of the Revolution and stabled their horses in the public room.”

In 1844, the hotel was rebuilt as the larger, four-story Long Island House. According to the Suffolk County Historical Society, a hostess named Elizabeth Hudson, who worked at the hotel between 1889 and 1913, was regularly lauded by guests for her “delicious meals, pies and cakes, as well as her company.”

Hudson died in 1924, five years before the Long Island House burned down.


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The Miamogue Hotel

The Miamogue Hotel

Miamogue Hotel, South Jamesport

Built in 1875, this four-story waterfront inn had the distinction of being the tiny hamlet’s first big hotel. Destroyed by fire in 1895, the Miamogue was rebuilt two years later and expanded further when its owner, I. Seymour Corwin, purchased and then demolished a smaller neighboring hotel, the Sunnyside House. In 1932, the County Review reported that the Miamogue’s new owners, Henry A. Ramsauer and Henry Koferl, had been charged with second-degree arson for allegedly setting fire to the hotel in order to recover a $50,000 insurance policy. Nobody was injured in the incident, which took place before the hotel opened for the summer season. The Riverhead men were acquitted of the charges in May 1933, possibly because a defense attorney successfully indicated the fire was actually caused by two of the prosecution’s witnesses. The Miamogue Hotel was never rebuilt.

Hotel

Southold Hotel

Southold Hotel, Southold

Located at the corner of Main Road and Youngs Avenue where Capital One bank is located today, the Southold Hotel was constructed around 1830 as a store for William Homan Wells, who later altered its use to include an inn.

The hotel was sold in 1873 to J. Wickham, who sold it to Frank Judd two years later. Judd enlarged the structure and added a croquet lawn.

The hotel’s final owner was Theodore Hoinkis, who operated it until it was fully dismantled in 1926.

“Goodbye old Southold Hotel,” reads an article from a 1925 issue of the County Review: “The march of progress is ever toward change and improvement and soon will see a fine building in its place to show this old-time village is still alive.”

Once it was dismantled, various sections of the building were moved to other parts of Southold. The Southold Savings Bank then relocated to the site.

Additional source: “Hotels and Inns of Long Island’s North Fork” by Geoffrey Fleming and Amy Folk

This story was originally published in October 2015

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