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State Historic Markers :: Historical Area Markers in New York State - Page One

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FOREWORD

George Washington may or may not have been the first to call it the future "Seat of Empire" in America, but it is certain that he was impressed by New York State as he toured it in 1782. And even that long ago, there were good reasons why a visitor might foresee the greatness of this newly independent State.

This had been the home of the formidable Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy; it had been a frontier challenge of sturdy Dutch traders and French missionaries before the English came and conquered. It had been a hotly contested battleground in the war just ended and the site of such crucial victories as Saratoga, as well as the early defeats on Long Island and Manhattan. It was the home of Washington's invaluable allies in nation-building, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton and Philip Schuyler.

Toward fulfulling its early promise, New York has given the Nation men and ideas that have changed its history in every generation - De Witt Clinton and the Erie Canal, Joseph Smith and the Mormon Church, six Presidents, including both Roosevelts, writers on the scale of Melville, Cooper, and Whitman - the list could go on for pages. And history is still being made in this fourth century of discovery and growth.

This booklet has been prepared to serve as a guide to the Historical Area Markers of New York State. Since its inception in 1960, the purpose of this marker program has been to indicate some of the more significant trends in the history of New York. The area markers usually do not commemorate specific individuals or events, since these are already memorialized by smaller State Historical Markers. The texts of the markers are listed by geographic area.

The Office of State History has prepared and verified the accuracy of each text. Erection and maintenance is by the agency listed on the credit line of each marker. Usually, this has been the New York State Transportation Department, and the Office of State History owes a special debt of gratitude to that department for its cooperation and assistance to the Historical Marker Program for the past 40 years.

Notes for web version: The marker texts are listed according to the region in which they stand, not according to the region which they refer to. Sometimes a marker in one region refers to a historic location in another region. The original published reference numbers are retained with the locations listed below so the text can be cross-referenced to the maps in the 1970 booklet. Each region had its own map, with locations starting at #1. Additional numbers following the sign text indicate duplicate historic markers at different locations.

The regions by which the listings were segregated usually included a set of complete counties. In some cases counties were split between two regions.


New York City and Long Island (KINGS, NEW YORK, RICHMOND, QUEENS, NASSAU, SUFFOLK, BRONX)

CENTRAL LONG ISLAND

The first settlers came from New England and in 1653 established Huntington. Settlements spread along the north shore and early in the 18th century to the south shore. Many of the newcomers obtained rights to their land from Wyandanch, a famous sachem of the Montauk Indians. Later, a few favored individuals acquired large landholdings to form St. George and Sagtikos manors.

During the American Revolution, the British controlled Long Island, using it as a base for operations against the mainland. Patriot spies under Abraham Woodhull obtained information about enemy maneuvers. American forces harassed the British from land and sea, capturing the outposts Fort St. George (Mastic) in 1780 and Fort Salonga (near Northport) in 1781.

The scrublands of the area supplied quantities of firewood. Salt hay was harvested in shore marshes, and baymen brought in great loads of oysters and clams from ocean waters. Local industries were established in port villages, and the coming of the Long Island Railroad in the 1840's aided their development. Aircraft production began early in the 20th century and became a leading industry. Small colonies of summer residents became permanent communities, and following World War 11 new suburban areas developed.

#1 - Route 495, Long Island Expressway, south of Commack
#2 - Route 495, Long Island Expressway, 1/2 mile west of Commack Road

LONG ISLAND

Long Island reaches 120 miles eastward from the mouth of the Hudson River into the Atlantic Ocean. Early inhabitants were attracted by its surrounding waters or its fertile lands. Montauk Indians made wampum from its sea shells. Dutch farmers from New Netherland in 1636 began moving to the western part of the island, and some years later New Englanders settled at the eastern end where they engaged in seafaring activities. In the first half of the nineteenth century, whalers sailed from Greenport and Sag Harbor for distant waters of the world. Bays and coves provide harbors for fishing craft, beds for gathering shellfish and ports for sportsmen engaged in deep sea fishing. Parts of the shoreline are used for raising Long Island ducks.

Once heavily wooded, the island later be came important for its truck farming. This was greatly expanded by the building of the Long Island Railroad. Potatoes and cauliflower are principal crops.

The twentieth century brought industrial growth. Aircraft production has become a prominent industry, and airfields here lead in international transport. Since 1946 the Brookhaven National Laboratory has pioneered in developing peaceful uses of atomic energy.

#3 - Route 24, between Riverhead and Hampton Bays
#4 - Route 27, eastbound, east of Hampton Bay

LONG ISLAND THE EAST END

Shinnecock Indians, a subdivision of the Montauk tribe, were the original inhabitants on the east end of Long Island which extends from Shinnecock Bay to Montauk Point. The first settlers crossed from Massachusetts, in 1640, landed at Conscience Point, on Great Peconic Bay, and established Southampton. Other New Englanders followed, attracted by the fertile soil and sandy beaches, and developed communities of farmers and seafarers.

Off-shore whaling began soon after the first settlement. In the early 19th century, ships sailed from Sag Harbor to capture whales in many parts of the world. Severe storms often wrecked ocean-going vessels in the treacherous surf off shore, and East End residents rescued crews and resolutely salvaged cargoes. A lighthouse at Montauk Point has been a guide for mariners since 1796.

East End farmers in the 18th century built windmills to grind grain or pump water. Their cattle once grazed among, sand dunes, and their fertile farms still grow quantities of potatoes. At the end of the 19th century, the area became well-known for its summer vacationers. Famous American artists gathered here; golfing began on a course in the Shinnecock Hills in 1891; and South Hampton and East Hampton became fashionable resorts.

#5 - Route 27, east of Bridgehampton

ROOSEVELT FIELD

The level, treeless "Hempstead Plains" - a unique Long Island attraction since colonial days - was ideally suited for flying fields. Glenn Curtiss made the first flight here in 1909 in his "Gold Bug," which resembled "an enlarged box kite."

In the decades following, aviation fields spread across the plains, and aviators, inventors and manufacturers made it the "cradle of American aviation." The original Mineola Field was renamed in World War I to, honor President Theodore Roosevelt's son, Quentin, an aviator, who was lost over France.

Charles A. Lindbergh took off from here in the "Spirit of St. Louis" on May 20, 1927, and landed 33 1/2 hours later in Paris. His historic solo trans-Atlantic flight added to Roosevelt Field's fame and, by capturing the popular imagination, started a new era of aviation progress. Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, Clarence Chamberlain, Wiley Post, James Doolittle and other aviation pioneers established many notable records during the 1920's and '30's in flights from the busy field.

With the opening of other airfields following World War II, flying at Roosevelt Field declined and finally ceased in 1951. Five years later the site was transformed into a major suburban shopping and business center.

#6 - Roosevelt Field Shopping Center, Garden City, Long Island


The Hudson Valley (COLUMBIA, DUTCHESS, PUTNAM, WESTCHESTER, ROCKLAND, ORANGE)

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Columbia County, which extends from the Hudson River to the New England border, was formed in the late 18th century from parts of two 17th century land patents. Early settlers came from Holland, followed by squatters from New England and German refugees. The area was on the main route of travel between New England and the West. This is perhaps why the region was well known in the 19th century as a resort area.

The county occupies a prominent place in the cultural history of the United States. Several famous artists, including Frederick Church, lived here. Church's personal view of Persia is embodied in his house - Olana. Other important people connected with the area include Washington Irving. The Van Alen House, which was the home of Helen Van Alen, supposedly the original of Katrina Van Tassel in Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow, is near Kinderhook. The Ichabod Crane School was near the Van Alen Home. Edna St. Vincent Millay lived for several years at "Steepletop" near Austerlitz. Perhaps she was thinking of the countryside around her Columbia County home when she wrote:

"All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood."

#1 - Taconic State Parkway, near Harlemville, northbound

COLUMBIA COUNTY

The Van Rensselaer and Livingston patents included parts of the area now comprising Columbia County, which extends from the Hudson River to the New England border. The earliest settlers here were Dutch, but they were followed in the 18th century by squatters from New England and some German Palatine refugees along the river. The overland route from New England passed through the Dutch villages of Claverack and Kinderhook. Lebanon Springs was famed as an 18th century spa.

Landholding followed the pattern of the large Livingston and Van Rensselaer grants, and there was conflict over tenure in the Colonial period. Disputes also arose over leases along the New England border. Eviction of tenants for non-payment of rents in the 1840's brought intimidation of sheriffs by disguised bands, known as "Calico Indians." The "Anti-rent Wars" were suppressed by militia called out by Governors Seward and Wright, but reforms in the land system followed.

After the Revolution, New England fishermen from Nantucket settled in Hudson, which prospered as a shipping, fishing and whaling port. It also had shipyards, a ropewalk and tanneries. Later, cement works exploited the limestone quarries. Farming continued as a principal occupation of the area, however, with stockraising in the highlands.

#2 - Taconlc State Parkway, east of Philmont, southbound

DUTCHESS COUNTY

Dutchess County, extending from the Hudson River to the Taconic Mountains, stretched originally from Westchester to Albany County. It was formed in 1683 and named for the wife of the Duke of York. Principally a rolling upland, cut by streams and deep valleys, it was divided into large land grants. Dutch settled along the river banks before 1690. In the 18th century the interior was occupied by French Huguenots, German Palatines, and Quakers from Connecticut and Long Island.

Ore deposits in the Taconics, led to small iron works in the 18th century. Shipbuilding flourished in river communities. In the 1830's and '40s, whalers from Poughkeepsie ventured to distant seas. Abundant water power contributed to the growth of textile factories. Twentieth century industries include publishing and manufacture of dairy appliances and business machines. The interior is still a prosperous agricultural area, specializing in fruit, livestock and dairy products.

Poughkeepsie was settled in 1687 and is the county seat. The State Legislature met there several times between 1777 and the 1790's. Vassar College was founded there in 1861. Large estates of wealthy and prominent families, such as those of the Roosevelts, Vanderbilts, and Ogden Mills, have occupied prospects along the Hudson.

#3 - Taconic State Parkway, Town of Stanford

THE EASTERN BORDER

Mahican and Wappinger Indians once inhabited the area between the Taconic Mountains and the Hudson Valley. Dutch settlers first occupied the riverfront so that latecomers settled in these highlands. Palatine Germans came from the ill-fated tar camps on the Hudson. A group of Friends from Westchester formed a settlement named Quaker Hill.

Yankees and Yorkers disputed the boundary between New York and Connecticut, which was settled in 1731 by creation of The Oblong, a tract two miles wide and fifty-one miles long, from which Connecticut withdrew. Incensed over high rents and evictions from their lands, tenant farmers under the leadership of William Prendergast in 1766 rebelled against their landlords.

During the Revolution many large landholders were Tories, while their tenants joined forces with the patriots of New England. When in 1777 Col. Henry Ludington's militia company was called to the relief of Danbury, Connecticut, his sixteen-year-old daughter Sibyl, a female Paul Revere, according to tradition, rode through the countryside summoning his men.

Iron manufacture was an early industry here, but the region remained rural. Drovers once herded cattle to the New York City market, but later dairying prevailed.

#4 - Route 22, north of Pawling

LIVINGSTON MANOR

In 1686 Governor Dongan confirmed the grant of a manor of 160,000 acres of land along the Hudson River to Robert Livingston (1654-1728). Livingston, as lord of the manor, exercised extensive powers over land and tenants. In 1715 a new patent gave the manor a seat in the colonial legislature. The founder's third son, Robert, was given a 13,000 acre tract in the southern corner of the manor, where in 1730 a house was built and named "Clermont." During the Revolution this lower manor house was burned. Rebuilt and occupied by Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, it gave its name to Robert Fulton's steamboat, which the chancellor sponsored.

Tenants on the manor were few until 3,000 Palatine refugees were settled there by Governor Hunter in 1710 to make naval stores. With the failure of the project, they moved on to Schoharie. Later, more tenants arrived and the crops, mines and manufactures of the manor flourished.

The numerous Livingston family played prominent roles in the colony and early State, and, as aristocracy, dominated the life of this area. They were attacked in the "Anti-rent Wars" of the 1830's and 1840's and lost their manorial privileges but continued to reside on their lands.

#5 - Taconic State Parkway, northbound, Town of Gallatin

NEWBURGH AREA

Palatine German refugees from the religious wars of Europe settled on these river banks in 1709, and Dutch and French Huguenots followed. During the Revolution, control of the Hudson River was important for British strategy and for American defense. To block British advance up the river in May 1778, an iron chain, with two-foot links forged at nearby Sterling Iron Works, was stretched across from West Point to Constitution Island. On July 16, 1779, General Anthony Wayne stormed and captured Stony Point. West Point was fortified and garrisoned. Its betrayal by Benedict Arnold in 1780 was thwarted by the capture of his British collaborator, Major John André. General Washington's headquarters were at Newburgh, 1782-83, General Henry Knox's headquarters were at Vail's Gate, and the last cantonment of the Continental Army was at Temple Hill.

River traffic, first by sloop and then by steamboat, brought increased population and commerce. Small factories sprang up, and Newburgh, as a thriving port in the nineteenth century, was linked to the interior by turnpikes and later by railroads. Fruit growing flourished in the highlands.

The Catskill Mountains attract tourists and provide vacation resorts. Goshen, site of the original Hambletonian event, is famous for trotting horse races.

#6 - Thruway, southbound, at Modena Service Area (milepost 66)
#7 - Thruway, northbound, at Plattekill Service Area (milepost 65)

RAMAPO VALLEY

The steep, barren Ramapo Mountains, with elevations of less than 1300 feet, isolated this region from the mainstream of developments in the Hudson Valley. The Ramapo River, flowing from Round Lake near Monroe into New Jersey, provided a natural route through the mountains and the path of a Delaware Indian trail. Permanent settlement in the valley, beginning about 1710, was slow until after 1740.

During the American Revolution, Amerlcan forces, defended the strategic Ramapo Pass to forestall British advances. From the Ramapos, Claudius Smith, a Tory brigand, made raids on patriot settlements. Following the war, some Tories, Hessians, Dutch, Negroes and Indians sought refuge in the mountains. Their descendants lived in seclusion in the Ramapo wilderness, largely cut off, until World War II, from developments around them.

Sterling Iron Works, dating from 1751, produced during the American Revolution the iron chain used to obstruct British progress up the Hudson. Iron foundries, cotton mills and small industries developed in the valley. Following arrival of the Erie Railroad in 1841, the area became a source of vegetables and dairy products for New York City. Many fashionable estates appeared in the vicinity. Recently the region has become one of suburban communities.

#8 - Thruway at Sloatsburg Service Area (milepost 33)

THE SENATE HOUSE-1676

Clinton Avenue, Kingston

The Senate House is so called because the first elected Senate of the State of New York met in this building on the morning of September 9, 1777.

Colonel Wessel Ten Broeck built this house for his home in 1676 in the tiny village of Esopus (Kingston). In front of it, on a hill, there stood stockades which enclosed the settlement against Indian attack. This historic home was purchased by the State in 1888.

An adjacent museum houses a notable portrait gallery, rich manuscript collections, and other Hudson Valley memorabilia.

#9 - Thruway, northbound, at Plattekill Service Area (milepost 65)

WASHINGTON'S HEADQUARTERS

Liberty and Washington Streets, Newburgh

General Washington came to the farm home of the Hasbrouck family in Newburgh on April 1, 1782. He occupied the house until August 19, 1783, while his troops were encamped at Temple Hill, a few miles away.

There were trying months while a peace treaty was being negotiated with Great Britain. It was a time of restless inaction for the troops: of discipline maintained with difficulty.

It was at Newburgh, among the General Orders of the Day, August 7, 1782, that General Washington proposed the establishment of the Order of the Purple Heart.

Adjacent to the headquarters is a regional museum.

#10 - Thruway, southbound at Modena Service Area (milepost 66)

WESTCHESTER COUNTY

The rugged shore of the Hudson River and the rocky hills north of Manhattan did not encourage early settlement. Patents were issued in 1639 to Jonas Bronck (Bronx) and in 1646 to Adriaen Van der Donck (Yonkers). After the overthrow of Dutch rule in 1664, manorial patents were issued for Van Cortlandt, Philipsburg, Pelham, Fordham, and Scarsdale manors, on which tenants paid a yearly quitrent. In the eighteenth century these were subdivided, but large landholdings prevailed.

In the Revolution General Washington's troops, retreating from Long Island and Harlem Heights, fought the British at White Plains, October 28, 1776, and then crossed the Hudson River to New Jersey. New York City remained in British hands and Westchester was largely Loyalist in sympathies. In 1779, New York State confiscated the lands of leading Tories, but the pattern of large estates remained after the Revolution, some owned by patriot leaders such as Pierre Van Cortlandt, John Jay and Gouverneur Morris.

River front and picturesque valleys became sites for homes of prominent New York families, while artists and writers, like Washington Irving, found here a romantic setting. Population increased, with many residents commuting by a network of railroads and highways to New York City.

#11 - Thruway at Ardsley Service Area (milepost 6)


The Catskills (DELAWARE, GREENE, SULLIVAN, ULSTER)

THE ANTI-RENT WARS

The anti-rent agitations of the 1830's and 1840's originated in the landowning system of colonial New York. Grants of extensive estates in the 17th and 18th centuries gave to the Van Rensselaers, Livingstons and other owners considerable power over land and tenants. Many of their manorial privileges lasted into the 19th century.

Hardworking farmers, who could not purchase land on the manors but could only obtain perpetual leases, objected to the powers exerted by the aristocratic landlords. Periodic outbursts of unrest culminated in the "Anti-Rent Wars." Down-rent sentiments inflamed Albany, Rensselaer, Schoharie, Ulster and Columbia Counties, and hostility became particularly vehement in Delaware County.

Men disguised themselves with masks and calico cloaks. Blasts on tin horns rallied these "calico Indians" to block with force attempts by sheriffs to collect rents or evict defaulters. After a deputy was killed in 1845, Governor Silas Wright sent the militia to restore order in Delaware County.

Following that peak of excitement, antirent disputes became immersed in politics. The Legislature and the State Constitutional Convention of 1846, acting on the antirent complaints, abolished the landowners' privileges and limited the terms of future leases. Other manorial rules gradually disappeared.

#1 - Route 10, east of Delhi

THE CATSKILLS

The majestic Catskill Mountains hover over the west bank of the Hudson River as it wends its way south. These gentle peaks, with their deep ravines, irregular ridges and rocky slopes, long remained wild and desolate. Although small settlements began here prior to the American Revolution, the real population boom did not begin until after the war. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, many people, primarily New Englanders, built homes in several of the Catskill valleys.

In the 19th Century residents of this area utilized the forests in several occupations. Chief among these were lumbering, tanning, and furniture making. The scenic beauty of the woodlands was also responsible for attracting tourists to the area, thereby starting the resort industry.

The Catskill Forest Preserve was formed early in the 20th century to preserve the beauty of these mountains. Because of this effort the scenic loveliness of the region is still available to everyone. On a clear day a person can see Washington Irving's word painting of the Catskills take form:

"They are clothed in blue, and purple, and print their bold outlines on the clear evening sky."

#2 - Route 17, east of Hancock

CATSKILL MOUNTAINS

The rounded peaks and deep glens of the Catskill Mountains have contributed to the pleasure, economy, and culture of generations of New Yorkers. Delaware Indians roamed these woodlands before they were partitioned for settlement. In 1708 the colonial governor, Lord Cornburry, granted to Johannes Hardenberg and associates a patent of two million acres which was divided in 1749 into forty-two tracts.

Catskill forests supplied timber for early lumber mills and tanneries; and furniture factories flourished in the nineteenth century. The Delaware and Hudson Canal was opened in 1829, providing transportation through the Delaware and Rondout Valleys from Port Jervis to Kingston, but was abandoned in 1899. Water from mountain streams stored in great reservoirs - Ashokan, Cannonsville, Neversink, Pepacton, and Rondout - is conveyed by aqueducts and tunnels to supply New York City.

Famous in literature as the setting for Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle, the Catskills' scenic beauty was reflected in the romantic landscapes of the "Hudson River School" of artists.

Resort hotels and boarding houses popularized the region for vacationers. In 1904 the Catskill Forest Preserve was created by New York State to safeguard its natural resources for the benefit of future generations.

#3 - Route 17, near Liberty

CATSKILL MOUNTAINS

The deep ravines, irregular ridges and rocky slopes of the Catskill Mountains long remained wild and desolate. Small settlements began in mountain valleys before the American Revolution. After the war, population grew steadily as New Englanders streamed into the higher areas, which they called the "cold lands." The Ulster and Delaware Turnpike was begun in 1802 to connect Kingston and Walton through mountain passes used by present highways. After 1875, the Ulster and Delaware Railroad, later part of the New York Central system, wound its way from Kingston to Oneonta.

Timber and water power made lumbering the principal occupation. Great stands of hemlock supplied bark for tanning leather. Furniture makers and hoop shavers once labored here. Bluestone quarrymen and glass blowers also used the resources of the area. Catskill vistas attracted many artists and inspired such writers as Washington Irving and John Burroughs. The mountains have long been famous as a resort area. In 1904, the State established the Forest Preserve to safeguard forever the natural resources.

Water from mountain streams stored in great reservoirs - Ashokan, Cannonsville Neversink, Pepacton and Rondout - is conveyed by aqueducts and tunnels to supply New York City.

#4 - Thruway, northbound (milepost 99)
#5 - Thruway, southbound, at New Baltimore Service Area (milepost 127)

THE CATSKILL MOUNTAINS

The Catskill Mountains tower above the Hudson River as it winds its way past one of the most popular resort areas in the United States. These time-worn mountains were called Kaatskill (Cat Creek) by Dutchmen of the seventeenth century, probably because of the wildcats that once roamed the area.

This group of gently sloping peaks, only two of which exceed 4,000 feet, have contributed to the pleasure, economy, and culture of generations of New Yorkers. During the nineteenth century, Catskill forests supplied timber for lumber mills, tanneries, and furniture factories. They also provided the setting for several literary works, the most famous being Rip Van Winkle. The scenic beauty of the area has been depicted in the landscapes of many artists.

Early twentieth century conservationists, fearful that the natural resources of this region would be stripped, created the Catskill Forest Preserve. Through the work of this State agency, fields have gone back to woodlot and the shorn hills have grown new timber.

#6 - Route 17, east of Rockland

THE CATSKILL MOUNTAIN HOUSE

The enchanting Catskill Mountains early in the 19th century attracted vacationers who found there romantic associations, relaxation and grateful leisure. Steamboats, stages and early railroads brought travelers to these heights where they revelled in a glorious view and absorbed the healthful mountain air.

In 1824 the Catskill Mountain House, an imposing hostelry, was built on this site. Greek-revival in style, with a classic portico of 13 Corinthian columns of gleaming white, it dominated the slope from an elevation of 3,000 feet. Guests came up the Hudson River and journeyed from Catskill Landing on stage or carriage over winding mountain roads. Later the Catskill Mountain Railroad made the connection as far as Palenville; and after 1894 an inclined railway eased the last ascent.

Distinguished guests in the latter 19th century - including General Sherman, Presidents Grant, Cleveland and Theodore Roosevelt - gave the hotel a reputation as a social center. Other resorts were built in emulation, but the Catskill Mountain House was pre-eminent.

As modern highways and high speed transportation superseded the steamboat, stage coach and railway connections, the great mountain resorts lost their clientele and fell into decay. Only the commanding view of this historic resort now remains.

#7 - Route 23-A, between Haines Falls and Tannersville

CATSKILL MOUNTAINS - SHANDAKEN AREA

The deep ravines, irregular ridges and rocky slopes of the Catskill Mountains long remained wild and desolate. Small settlements began in mountain valleys before the American Revolution. After the war, population grew steadily as New Englanders streamed into the higher areas, which they called the "cold lands." The Ulster and Delaware Turnpike was begun in 1802 to connect Kingston and Walton through mountain passes used by present highways. After 1875, the Ulster and Delaware Railroad, later part of the New York Central system, wound its way from Kingston to Oneonta.

Timber and water power made lumbering the principal occupation. Great stands, of hemlock supplied bark for tanning leather. Furniture makers and hoop shavers once labored here. Bluestone quarrymen and glass blowers also used the resources of the area. Catskill vistas attracted many artists, and Washington Irving and John Burroughs wrote about the surroundings. The mountains have long been famous as a resort area. In 1904, the State established the Forest Preserve to safeguard forever the natural resources.

Shandaken Tunnel, 18 miles long, was dug to connect Schoharie Reservoir with Esopus Creek, thus feeding the Ashokan Reservoir, a source of water for New York City since 1915.

#8 - Route 28, near Shandaken

HUDSON VALLEY

Following Henry Hudson's voyage in 1609, the Dutch in 1614 established a trading post near the future site of Albany; permanent settlement was made at Fort Orange (Albany) in 1624. Esopus (Kingston) was settled in 1653 and other villages in the next century.

Huge land grants, begun with the Van Rensselaer patroonship and followed by the Livingston, Philipse and Van Cortlandt manors in the 17th century, gave the valley an aristocratic quality. French Huguenot, German Palatine, Dutch and English farmers then came and cultivated wheat and flax. In the 1840's tenants protested the manorial survivals in anti-rent riots.

River transport was strategically important in the Revolution, although the British never gained control of the Hudson. Sailing sloops and, after Robert Fulton's "Clermont" (1807), steamboats carried passengers, and freight. Poughkeepsie, Newburgh and Hudson were seaports from which, until the middle of the 19th century, whaling expeditions, ventured to distant waters.

The "lordly Hudson" inspired writers like Washington Irving and the "Hudson River School" of artists, including Thomas Cole. Imposing residences and some unique structures contributed to the valley's enchantment. Scenic beauty, natural resources, rich history and economic assets have combined to make the Hudson a great waterway.

#9 - Thruway, southbound (milepost 103)
#10 - Thruway, northbound, at Malden Service Area (milepost 103)

JOHNSON HALL - 1763

Johnstown

Sir William Johnson (1715-1774), Indian trader, statesman, diplomat and colonial empire builder. In 1763 he built Johnson Hall, the center of his estate and the scene of many Indian conferences.

Coming from Ireland in 1738, Johnson traded with the Indians and acquired great influence over them. After defeating the French at Lake George in 1755, he was created a baronet and made Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Northern Colonies. In 1766 he ended the Pontiac uprising, and in 1768 negotiated the Treaty of Fort Stanwix.

At Johnstown, which he founded and colonized, Johnson Hall stands as a monument to his constructive achievement.

#11 - Thruway, northbound (milepost 99) Removed for relocation to Route 12, Oneida County: 7/2000

KINGSTON AREA

Dutch settlers at Esopus were troubled by hostile Algonquin (Esopus) Indians, who were finally pacified by Governor Peter Stuyvesant in 1658. In 1661 Wiltwyck, later Kingston, was settled and remained strongly Dutch after the English conquest in 1664.

While New York City was in British hands during the Revolution, the Constitution of New York State was proclaimed at Kingston, April 20, 1777. Later that year Kingston was burned by the British.

In the nineteenth century, river traffic by sloop and steamboat brought commerce and industry to Saugerties, and Kingston. Boat building, brick making and the quarrying of bluestone proved profitable. By 1900, cement manufacture was extensive. Transportation to the interior was improved by turnpikes, the Delaware and Hudson Canal and the West Shore Railroad.

Westward, the Catskill Mountains provide natural resources and recreation. Early lumber mills and tanneries used timber and bark from the forests. Later, construction of the Ashokan Reservoir supplied water for New York City. Scenic beauty and romantic associations have been celebrated by artists of the "Hudson River School" and by writers, like Washington Irving. Forests and wild life are protected by the Catskill Forest Preserve created in 1904. Resort hotels and boarding houses have popularized the area for vacationers.

#12 - Thruway, southbound, at Ulster Service Area (milepost 96)

OLD MINE ROAD - D. AND H. CANAL

Minisink Indians traveling between the Delaware and Hudson Rivers followed the valley which they called Shawangunk ("southward"). Later the name was applied to the mountains to the east. Colonists early in the 18th century used this same level route, which was then called "Old Mine Road" from legends that Dutch prospectors had used it to reach copper or silver deposits in New Jersey. By 1756, it was, a highway used by wagons and stagecoaches.

Anthracite coal mines in Pennsylvania needed an outlet to city markets, and this led Maurice and William Wurts, merchants of Philadelphia, to construct the Delaware and Hudson Canal. With John B. Jervis as chief engineer, the 108-mile canal from Honesdale, Pennsylvania, to Kingston, on the Hudson, was completed in 1828. A long section of the new canal paralleled the overland route. Coal was the principal cargo, but canal barges carried lumber, cement and other products as well as passengers. This traffic brought growth and prosperity to the region. Railroads, first built to feed the canal, gradually took over until little coal was carried on the canal. It was abandoned in 1899.

A modern highway follows the old thoroughfare, chiefly serving the famous Catskill resorts.

#13 - Route 209, north of Wurtsboro

THE SENATE HOUSE - 1676

The Senate House is so called because the first elected Senate of the State of New York met in this building on the morning of September 9, 1777.

Colonel Wessel Ten Broeck built this house for his home in 1676 in the tiny village of Esopus (Kingston). In front of it, on a hill, there stood stockades which enclosed the settlement against Indian attack. This historic home was purchased by the State in 1888.

An adjacent museum houses a notable portrait gallery, rich manuscript collections, and other Hudson Valley memorabilia.

#14 - Thruway, southbound, at Ulster Service Area (milepost 96)

SCHUYLER MANSION - 1762

Clinton and Catherine Streets,Albany

Major General Philip Schuyler (1733 - 1804), soldier and statesman. In 1762 built The Pastures, the house today known as SCHUYLER MANSION.

Schuyler was a wealthy landholder who moved easily in the aristocratic circles of Albany and New York. In 1755 he married Catherine Van Rensselaer; their daughter Elizabeth in 1780 married Alexander Hamilton at The Pastures.

Commanding the Northern Continental armies early in the Revolution, Schuyler served later in the State Legislature and in the United States Senate. He was an advocate of the State canal system.

Schuyler Mansion in Albany is one of the great historic homes of America.

#15 - Thruway, northbound, at Malden Service Area (milepost 103)


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If you have questions, or wish to obtain more detailed information about this subject, please contact:

George Hamell
Email:ghamell2@mail.nysed.gov

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