In the beginning of the 20th century, the town saw an influx of Polish immigrants. This led to the creation of Polish Town, where the popular Polish Town Fair is held annually.
Riverhead is the agricultural apex of Long Island, with 20,000 of the 35,000 acres of the island's farmland located within the town. The town is also home to four separate beaches which are open year round. Iron Pier, Wading River, and Reeves Beach each offer boating access for residents and visitors alike.
European colonists purchased the "Southold land" from the local Algonquian-speaking Native Americans and Shinnecock Indian Nation in 1649. An additional portion was purchased from Col. William Smith and divided among settlers in 1742.
The town of Riverhead was created in 1792 as part of new jurisdictions after the American Revolution. The New York State Legislature divided it from the town of Southold, New York, which lies to the north and east. Riverhead was separated at the behest of its inhabitants, who "represented to the Legislature that their town is so long that it is very inconvenient for them [people of western regions of Southold] to attend at town meetings, and also to transact the other necessary business of the said town, and have prayed that the same may be divided into two towns". The poor western sections of Southold, with no harbor and little commerce, were thus divided. On March 13, 1792, the Legislature passed a bill splitting off this section under the name River Head. The new enclave's first town meeting was scheduled to be held April 3, 1792.
River Head was named the county seat of Suffolk County (called a "county town" at the time), and its name was later combined as Riverhead.
By 1902, its approximate population was 2,500.
The north town line is delineated by Long Island Sound with Connecticut on the opposite shore. The east town line is the border of the town of Southold. The town is partly on the North Fork of the county. The eastern terminus of the Long Island Expressway is in Riverhead.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 201.3 square miles (521 km2), of which 67.4 square miles (175 km2) is land and 133.9 square miles (347 km2), or 66.53%, is water.
Communities and locations
Calverton (small part in the Town of Brookhaven)
Laurel (partially, with the Town of Southold)
Manorville (mostly in Town of Brookhaven)
Wading River (small part in Town of Brookhaven)
Hallock State Park Preserve
Wildwood State Park
The Long Island Rail Road's Main Line is the sole line within the Town of Riverhead. The only active station is Riverhead, which is also used as the western terminus of the Railroad Museum of Long Island.
The Town of Riverhead is served primarily by Suffolk County Transit bus routes.
The town of Riverhead contains a minor private-use airport known as the Calverton Executive Airpark, originally the Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant, Calverton.
|Interstate 495 (Long Island Expressway)|
|New York State Route 25A|
|New York State Route 25|
|Suffolk County Route 58|
|Suffolk County Route 105|