Main Road may soon receive official historic designation

07/24/2014 8:00 AM |
A six-mile stretch of Main Road could be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The corridor includes Aquebogue’s Old Steeple Church, built in 1862 and designed by a farmer with no architectural experience, as well as Aquebogue Cemetery, which dates back to 1755 and contains the graves of numerous Revolutionary War soldiers. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

A six-mile stretch of Main Road could be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The corridor includes Aquebogue’s Old Steeple Church, built in 1862 and designed by a farmer with no architectural experience, as well as Aquebogue Cemetery, which dates back to 1755 and contains the graves of numerous Revolutionary War soldiers. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

It’s a stretch of road where Benjamin Franklin placed mile markers and early 20th-century car racers ran the road ragged, hitting speeds up to 70 miles per hour at a time when horses were the dominant mode of travel.

It’s a corridor that today still offers a step back in time, with homes dating back as far as the 1700s — one to 1709 — among fields that have been tilled for centuries.

It’s an area where property configurations established over 350 years ago are still evident, reflected in the unusually close proximity of many old farmhouses, as well as most of the north-to-south streets that intersect the road.

There’s no doubt that Main Road is a historic corridor. Now, that designation may become official for part of it.

The Riverhead and Southold landmarks preservation groups, as well as the organization Save Main Road, are more than two years into the process of filing an application to get a stretch of Main Road placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Main Road historic district would begin at the intersection of Main Road and Route 105 and extend eastward for six miles to a point just beyond the Riverhead/Southold border — specifically, at Laurel Lake Road, just before the preserve.

The district would comprise 354 parcels — 312 in Riverhead and 42 in Southold — and include some of the farmland abutting Main Road.