History


The history of the Townsend Manor Inn dates back to the booming days of the early 1800's when shipbuilding, whaling and other related industries were fueling the fires of the local economy. As the town expanded, the increasing land values made speculating in real estate a profitable enterprise and in 1820, Silas Webb, having decided to launch such a venture, purchased 40 acres of land, well situated on Stirling Basin . He subdivided the tract and began to sell off small parcels from which he derived a considerable profit over the years.


In 1835, a prosperous whaling captain named George Cogswell built a large residence on the property, which is now Townsend Manor Inn. Captain Cogswell lived here until 1849 when, possessed with "Gold Rush Fever," he moved to California in search of gold. For the next 75 years, the residence changed hands several times.

The name Townsend is one of the oldest family names in America and dates back to Salem , Massachusetts in 1638. A short time after arriving in Salem , Henry, John and Robert Townsend came to settle at Oyster Bay , Long Island and later Henry moved to East Williston . Years passed and in 1902, one of Henry's descendants, Joseph Lawrence Townsend, decided to sell his farm in East Williston and retire in Greenport. Nine years after his death in1916, his widow, Lillian Cook Townsend, bought the Cogswell residence.

Impressed with the air of dignity and quiet charm surrounding the stately, white-pillared mansion, she decided to convert it into an Inn and in 1926, after restoring and slightly altering the interior, she opened it as "Ye Olde Townsend Manor Inn." It remained under the Townsend's ownership until 1954 when the Gonzalez family, the current proprietors, purchased the Inn .