J.J. Sullivan Hotel & Tweed’s Restaurant Restoration

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2001 newsletter of the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities. It is reprinted with permission.

The restoration of the turn-of-the-century J.J. Sullivan Hotel and Tweed's Restaurant & Buffalo Bar, located in Riverhead, NY, has been completed. The J.J. Sullivan Hotel, a quaint 14-room hotel with turn-of-the-century rooms restored, has occupied this site since 1896.

The restaurant and hotel played an important role in the political intrigue for over 100 years. The owner’s research says that the hotel was known as the Tammany Hall of the County Seat.

This excellent photograph clearly shows the word “Hotel” over the door to the left, which accesses the stairs to the rooms above. The door at the right with its canopy is the entrance to the restaurant and bar.

The rooms are above the bar & restaurant, which is a long narrow room with its large magnificent original mahogany bar that is reported to date back to the 1893 Chicago Columbian World's Fair. Filled with artifacts from Riverhead’s heyday, the restaurant is handsomely furnished with comfortable armchairs, Victorian style lighting fixtures hanging from the original tin ceiling, and a working oak fireplace mantel from a mansion in Charleston, South Carolina. It is reminiscent of the Victorian style restaurants of a hundred years ago.

Because Riverhead is the County Seat, the hotel and bar were frequented by important politicians, especially from New York City. Such politicians were Charles Murphy, head of Tammany Hall, and Boss Tweed. J.J. Sullivan who held the #1 Tammany card and died tending bar in 1947.

Of special interest is the building's facade which is made of rusticated concrete blocks and has an undulating gable. The restoration of this building, in the very heart of Riverhead’s historic central business district, is a great boost for the town.

Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities
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