** Exhibit Extended
through October 10th, 2010!!
JUNE 23, 2010
Exhibition on the Cosden Estate to Open in July!
NY. The Southold Historical Society will open a new
exhibition in late July documenting the history of the
Cosden Estate, one of the largest estate properties that
existed on the North Fork. The exhibit will open to the
public, Saturday, July 24, 2010 and be open through
October 10, 2010. It will be on display in the Mayne
Memorial Gallery, located in the Ann Currie-Bell House
on the corner of Main Road and Maple Lane, in Southold,
NY. The exhibition will be open Saturday, Sunday, and
Wednesday, from 1-4pm.
The exhibition, entitled “Ever
Eastward: Alfred H. Cosden and his Estate at Southold,”
details the life of Cosden and the creation of his Long
Island estate named “Eastward.” The 40+ acre estate was
located along Soundview Avenue just north of Southold
Alfred Cosden was, in addition to
being a successful businessman, a famous horse breeder
and racer and his stable won many important
competitions, including the Belmont Stakes in 1928.
That year his racer “Vito,” beat out other horses to
claim the top prize on Long Island. Between 1905 and
1935 Cosden owned dozens of horses and won an equal
amount of competitions and prizes up and down the East
“There has been intense interest in
the Cosden estate for years,” stated Geoffrey K.
Fleming, the Society’s Director. “Because only portions
of the estate remain today, it has become part of local
lore and new residents are always interested in how it
came to be built here,” he continued.
Alfred H. Cosden was a wealthy
pharmaceutical executive, originally from Delaware. He
and fellow friends Edward Cahoon and Joseph Marshall
built large estates here in Southold, but none was more
elaborate than the Cosden Estate.
The architect hired to design the
estate was James L. Burley, a well respected New York
City architect, and designer of Cahoon’s nearby mansion,
“Over-the-Sound-Villa.” In 1916 the large house and
estate were completed and that summer the Cosden family
moved into their new home. Unlike many such houses,
this one was not a vacation house. It was to be the
year-round residence of the family.
The Cosden estate was large by any
standard. It was composed of more than forty acres of
woodlands, pasture, and gardens. The house sat opposite
a specially designed golf course that was established by
Cosden. The mansion lot was four acres, overlooking the
bluffs and Long Island Sound and from the house there
was an elaborate ninety-eight step staircase down to the
private beach below. The grounds were designed to be
comfortable and to encourage visitors to stroll and
examine the magnificent variety of trees, shrubs, and
Across from the main house on Mount
Beulah Avenue were a number of the service buildings.
First, there was the complex that contained the stable,
garage, pump house, and barn, which was designed to
house horses, to provide an area for milking the cows,
and to provide a place to protect the family’s
vehicles. Behind this complex was the large tractor
shed that stored the equipment used to maintain the
South of the complex were two
houses, the Superintendent’s Residence and the
Gardener’s Cottage. A pair of lovely Georgian Revival
brick structures, the northerly one served as the
residence of William V. Cosden, Alfred’s brother and
superintendent of his estate. In the southerly located
one, the gardener and other servants were housed.
The estate itself was sold and the
mansion demolished in 1940. Today several of the
outbuildings survive as private homes while the
surviving ornate iron fences and gate posts mark
portions of the once grand estate.
The exhibition will include a
number of period photographs of the mansion and grounds,
as well as period black & white films taken on the
estate during the years 1927 – 1930. “The films are
extremely special to us here at the Society as they show
the family enjoying the estate in a manner that cannot
be conveyed simply through the use of still
photography,” stated Fleming. Other items included in
the exhibition will be trophies from Cosden’s racing
career as well as a portrait of “Druien,” one of his
In addition to the objects in the
exhibition, the Society has published a new hardcover,
illustrated book detailing the history of the estate
which will be available for purchase. It contains over
seventy period images of the Cosden family, the mansion,
grounds, and activities the family enjoyed while living
in Southold. The book was researched and authored by
the Society’s Director, Geoffrey K. Fleming.
For further information on this
exhibition (and images), please contact the Southold
Historical Society at (631) 765-5500 or online at