The Suffolk County Historical Society was founded in 1886 by a group of forward-looking county residents. The Civil War had recently ended; the country had just celebrated its Centennial; and Americans were thinking about their heritage and how to preserve it. The founders of the society realized that in a rapidly changing world, if something were not done to record the county’s history it would soon be lost. The County Seat of Riverhead was chosen as the logical place to found the new society, and County Surrogate Judge James H. Tuthill became the first President. The society began collecting items almost immediately, and the first displays were placed in a small glass case in Tuthill’s Riverhead office.