In the mid 1600s, a group of colonists from New Haven, Connecticut crossed Long Island Sound and settled in the township of Southold, which includes what is now the Village of Greenport. Over the course of its long history, Greenport has been known by several different names including Winter Harbor, Stirling, and Green Hill. At a public meeting in 1831, the name Greenport was officially adopted.
Because of its deep and protected harbor, Greenport became a major whaling port between 1795 and 1859 and enjoyed a bustling shipbuilding industry as well. By the mid 1800s, the menhaden fishing industry was in full swing and employed thousands of people. The Long Island Railroad arrived in 1844 and was a driving force in the development of Greenport and the North Fork as local farmers used the railroad to ship their harvest to markets.
Greenport became a huge oystering center during the first half of the 20th century and at one time there were over a dozen oyster processing plants in town. As the oyster industry began to shrink, the Village turned its attention towards tourism and has developed into a vibrant destination for visitors from all over the world. In 2011, Forbes magazine named Greenport one of the prettiest towns in the United States.
To learn more about our Maritime history, please visit our Maritime Museum with its wealth of examples and historical information. For more information about the railroads, visit Greenport's Long Island Railroad Museum.
In 1997, The Devil's Own starring Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt was filmed in and around Greenport, mainly at the Greenport Yacht and Shipbuilding Company. Harrison Ford spent much of his free time visiting with the locals at the Harborfront Deli on Front Street.
Poet Walt Whitman is said to have taught one semester at Greenport High School.
The antique carousel in Mitchell Park was built in 1920 and donated to the Village by the Northrop-Grumman Corporation in 1995.
During Prohibition, Greenport was a thriving center for rum running.
Long Beach Bar “Bug” Light is one of only four offshore lighthouses in the United States that receives visitors. You can visit Bug Light on a Lighthouse Tour through Greenport's East End Seaport Museum.
In 2011, Forbes Magazine voted Greenport "One of America's Prettiest Towns."
Greenport has been dedicated a Tree City for 9 years in a program sponsored by The National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the state forestry agencies.
In 2012, Yachting Magazine voted Greenport one of the 50 best yachting destinations in North America.
In 2012, Long Island was chosen as one of the top 10 Wine Destinations in the USA. Greenport is mentioned specifically as a popular place to visit when touring local wineries.