Beginnings: Most of the settlers who put down roots in Cutchogue after its founding about 1667 were second-generation immigrants. Newly cleared lands outside the original settlement of Southold were tax-exempt for at least three years, and homesteaders figured it might take the tax man longer than that to catch up on the backlog. So a new generation of farmers settled in to what became Cutchogue, fencing in the lands that in some cases would remain in the same family for generations. Like other North Fork communities, Cutchogue became known for its potatoes, brussels sprouts and cauliflower. The name is thought to be derived from the Indian place name Corchaug, loosely translated as ``the principal place.''
Turning Point: While potatoes are still a Cutchogue staple, a new bumper crop emerged in the 1970s when a few brave entrepreneurs planted rows of grapevines. Today, Cutchogue claims some of the pioneers of the maturing wine industry whose Long Island vintages have won a variety of awards.
Claim to Fame: Shortly before the first European settlers arrived, the Indians living in Cutchogue built a log fort as protection from invading tribes. The remains of the more than 350-year-old fort, known as Fort Corchaug, still exist in a densely wooded plot alongside Downs Creek. The fort, believed to be the only one of its kind left in the Northeast, will be preserved under an agreement signed last July with the Peconic Land Trust, a nonprofit conservation group.
This Old House: Affectionately referred to as The Old House, the 17th-Century home of Benjamin Horton still stands on Cutchogue's village green. Built in Southold in 1640 and later moved to Cutchogue, the house is among the oldest in the country, and locals say it is the oldest English-type frame house in New York State (a distinction disputed by backers of the Old Halsey House in Southampton).Where to Find More: ``Southold Town 350th Anniversary Celebration Journal'' and ``Cutchogue: Southold's First Colony'' by Wayland Jefferson, available in the Riverhead Free Library..