Reichert Family Center
The building shown c.
1900 when occupied by Frank T. Wells
The Reichert Family
Center and Cosden Price Gallery
~ A Brief History of the Building ~
The Reichert Family Center and Cosden
Price Gallery was known locally as the Beckwith store.
It is located on the north side of State Route 25 in the
hamlet of Southold, Suffolk County, New York. Located on
property once owned by early 17th century Southold
settlers John Conklynge, Richard Cark, and John Salmon,
the building was built by the Lester family before 1850.
The Hon. Thomas S. Lester Sr. (1782-1817) was a
prominent local resident and states attorney whose son,
Col. Thomas S. Lester Jr. (1811-1885), amassed a fortune
and donated the first clock for the steeple of the
Southold Presbyterian Church.
The store building was sold by Thomas S. Lester,
Senior’s widow, Mary H. A. Lester, to G. P. Horton in
1858 along with eight acres of land. George P. Horton
was a master builder in Southold during the mid-19th
century and was responsible for many important
structures, including his own mansion which was later
known as the Albertson House, located on the corner of
Youngs Avenue and Route 25.
In April of 1864, the building and four acres, were
acquired by Capt. Sherburne Beckwith (1822-1896), who
hired local carpenter William H. Corwin in 1867 to build
his new home just west of the store building. Beckwith
came to Southold from Connecticut in 1849 to run a ship
chandlery in Greenport, located east of Southold. He
retired to Southold in the 1860s where he ran a small
dry goods business from his store building. His
descendants would own the building until 1984.
Following Beckwith’s death, the store was leased to and
occupied by Frank T. Wells, who ran his own dry goods
enterprise from the building in the early 20th century.
The building was leased by Arthur F. Gagen for his
insurance business in later years. During the mid-20th
century, part of the shop was subdivided into two
spaces, with Capt. Beckwith’s grandson, Joseph Beckwith
Hartranft (1890-1982), using his portion as painting
studio and gallery. Hartranft was a very successful
local painter, continuing a tradition that began with
the arrival of many other artists during the 19th
Following his death in 1982, the building and
neighboring Beckwith house were sold separately, the
store being acquired by Robert W. Gillispie, III.
Gillispie ran his “North Fork Real Estate” business from
the shop for almost thirty years until his own death in
2009. He was a life member of the Southold Historical
Society, and it was from his estate that the Society
purchased the building in 2011.
Today, the building is used as an
exhibition space for the Society. It has been
named in honor of the Reichert family, who helped to
fund the restoration of the structure. In
addition, the inside gallery is named for the late Carol
Cosden Price, whose generous bequest helped make the
purchase of the building possible.