This Week in Riverhead History: Reeve Farm preserved, downtown changes

Reeve Farm BE 0812-99 NR

The following stories from our Riverhead archives were published between 15 and 90 years ago this week: 

15 years ago this week

• A first: state funds buy farm

Riverhead town officials announced on Aug. 5, 1999 that for the first time ever they had used state funds to purchase development rights on local farmland.

The nearly $600,000 purchase preserved 61.5 acres of Sound Avenue farmland cultivated by the Reeve family for generations and a neighboring eight acres farmed by the same family.

The state paid for 75 percent of  the purchase, with the rest coming from the town’s open space acquisition fund.

• Slow skating on Splish Splash rink

The Riverhead Town Board granted Splish Splash a one-year extension to receive approvals to construct a hockey rink and theme restaurant on the grounds of the amusement park.

The theme park president said he was committed to the project, but couldn’t say for sure when it would be built. It wasn’t.

20 years ago this week

• Drastic changes planned for downtown Riverhead

Here are some highlights of an Aug. 4, 1994 report about traffic changes coming to downtown Riverhead:

— “Main Street probably won’t be a through street anymore.”

— “There’ll definitely be a 751-space two-story parking structure between Roanoke and East avenues on the north side of Main Street.”

— “Court Street is destined to become the town’s main thoroughfare.”

— “Almost all of [the $6 million traffic plan] is to be done at no cost to town taxpayers.”

— “at the soon to be refurbished Suffolk Theater.”

• Report outlines options for SWR’s future

A study released on Aug. 4, 1994 suggested that the Shoreham-Wading River School District close Briarcliff Elementary School in Shoreham in light of a “spatial and financial crunch” within the district.

The New York City demographer who conducted the study gave the district nine options for reconfiguring elementary school enrollment, seven of which would have led to the closure of Briarcliff.

While the school didn’t close in 1994, it finally did this year.

35 years ago this week

• 13 injured in van accident

Thirteen people, including a child, were injured when a summer camp van they were driving in crashed on Remsen Road in Wading River. The driver, a Brooklyn man, was ticketed for driving while intoxicated.

40 years ago this week

• Route 58 called an eyesore

The development of Route 58 remains is a hot topic in Riverhead today. But complaints about the corridor stretch back decades.

Take this paragraph published in the Aug. 8. 1974 issue of The Riverhead News-Review for example:

“Route 58 has become Riverhead’s main thoroughfare by proxy. It has become the street by which most people will measure the town. It has become the town’s biggest eyesore garnished with signs promoting suntan lotions, the armed forces and cigarettes.”

65 years ago this week

• Nervous cow sends owner to hospital

Riverhead farmer Michael Shubert was sent to the hospital with a broken leg after he was run over by one of his cows, according to the Aug. 5, 1949 issue of the Riverhead News.

Mr. Shubert was spraying the cow with pesticides when the cow “apparently opposed the idea,” we wrote.

90 years ago this week

• Riverhead Savings Bank: A dream of the future

The Riverhead Savings Bank building was constructed in 1924 and the staff at The County Review absolutely  loved it.

Here’s what they had to say about the building in the Aug. 8, 1924 paper: “Fairer than could be our fairest dream of a future Riverhead rises the beautiful white marble building which is to be home of the Riverhead Savings Bank. Of classic lines, of stately columns, of perfect proportion, of finest marble, the new structure dominates our town.”

We reported in the same edition that the Sound beach at the end of Pier Avenue, now known as Iron Pier Beach, had emerged as the most popular summer hotspot. W. Sweezy Conklin reported that his refreshment stand had “done a rushing business.”