New York To Poughkeepsie
( Originally Published 1919 )
R. 4 § 1. New York to Poughkeepsie. 73.5 m. Via YONKERS and FISHKILL.
This section of the route follows Riverside Drive and North Broadway, commanding beautiful views of the Hudson and the Berkshires. Beyond Peekskill it follows the new State Road through the hills, away from the river.
From the Plaza or Columbus Circle, the winding drives of Central Park are followed keeping left of the Mall and the Webster statue and emerging into 72nd St., which is followed into Riverside Drive, past the Soldiers' Monument and Grant's Tomb, and across the Viaduct into Broadway, which leads across the Ship Canal.
The United States Ship Canal was the work of the U.S. Government, which planned its construction and undertook the great task of putting it through to completion. Before the year 1817 there were two small brooks running where now the line of the center of the bridgees swing span is, and these streams were developed by Curtis and John Bolton into a canal, beside which they established their quarries and marble mill. This little canal was the seed from which the later canal on so much larger a scale sprang. The original swing span was single, and not until 1906 was this replaced by the double deck swing span which is now in use.
Cross Spuyten Duyvil Creek. Irving tells us in his Knickerbocker History of the legend of the Dutch trumpeter, Anthony van Corlear, who swore he would swim across it "en spijt den duyvile," but drowned in the attempt. During the Revolution this was the southern boundary of the "neutral ground".
Ports Washington and Lee were the twin guardians of the Hudson river at the time of the Revolution. The former, on the east shore, stood at about 181st St., the latter on the Jersey shore directly opposite. Washington was in the habit of crossing between them at what is now Port Washington Point. A public ferry, called Burdette's, operated by Peter Burdette of Port Lee, was also a means of crossing, and the descendants of Burdette are still living in the town of Port Lee. It was in 1776 that the two forts figured prominently in United States history. In November, soon after the battle of White Plains, Howe opened his attack upon Fort Washington and summoned Colonel Magaw to surrender. The American officer thereupon made his famous reply, "Actuated by the most glorious cause that mankind ever fought in, I am determined to defend this post to the very last extremity." Although Howe persisted, the British losses were five to one when they finally took the fort and its entire troops on November 16, sending them to the Sugar House and other dreadful prisons in New York City. Washington with his general officers stood weeping on the opposite shore while he saw the fortress fall. The abandonment of Port Lee was now inevitable, and one of the most tragic hours of the whole war followed. Camp kettles were left on the fires, over four hundred tents left standing, and provisions enough to last 3000 men for three months were abandoned. What little baggage could be taken in wagons was hauled off while the American troops marched hurriedly back to Hackensack, barefooted, ragged, exposed to the cold November rain. The retreat left Port Lee open to Cornwallis, who came down the west shore, and both forts were now British possessions.
The route passes through Riverdale, which lies on a rocky plateau high up above the Hudson. Here is the Riverdale Country School for Boys. The Palisades on the opposite bank of the Hudson are here at their best. They extend for about fifteen miles with a height of 200 to 500 feet, and consist of a basaltic rock with a columnar formation. This trap rock was intruded as molten lava into the Triassic sandstones and developed prismatic jointing on cooling.
A mile and a half before arriving at Yonkers the route passes Mount St. Vincent, a convent which is the American head-quarters of the Sisters of Charity. The buildings include Forthill, formerly the home of the famous actor Edwin Forrest.
13.0 YONKERS. Alt 10 ft, R.R. Pop 93,383 (1910), 90,948 (1915).
Westchester Co. Settled 1646. Mfg. carpets, hats, machine products, rubber goods, electrical supplies, elevators, electric motors, and sugar. Value of Product, $33,548,000.
Yonkers is both a manufacturing center and a rapidly growing residential suburb of New York. There are two chief residential sections. The one to the north includes Amackassin Heights and Glenwood. Here is the old Colgate mansion and Greystone, on North Broadway, now the residence of Samuel Untermeyer, but formerly the home of Samuel J. Tilden, the New York politician who made such a stirring campaign for the Presidency. The other residential region lies to the south and includes Ludlow, Cortlandt Terrace, and Park Hill ad-joining Riverdale. St. Joseph's Theological Seminary (R.C., 1896) and the Halsted School for Girls, founded in 1874, are located here,
Two blocks west of Getty Square is the historic Philipse Manor House (1642). The mansion was enlarged to its present size in 1745 and was confiscated in 1779 during the Revolution because its owner, Frederick Philipse, was suspected of Tory-ism. It was later used as the City Hall, but is now owned by the State and maintained as a museum for Colonial relics. Here lived the pretty Mary Philipse, who, it is said, was Washington's first love.
On the site of Yonkers stood the Indian settlement of Nappeckamack, "rapid water settlement," centering around the rock at the mouth of Nepperhan Creek, where the natives worshiped. In 1639 it was included in the "Keskeskick" purchase made by the Dutch West India Company. In 1646 it was granted to Adriaen van der Donck, New Netherland's earliest historian and jurist. His grant was known as "Colen Donck" (Donck's colony), and his settlement be-came known as "De Jonkherr's land" (young lordes land). The latter was taken over by Prederick Philipse for his manor of Philipsburgh. Washingtones army occupied a portion of the land early in the Revolution and fought several skirmishes hereabouts.
The route bears left across Getty Square and turns right on North Broadway upgrade. At three corners at stone gates (16.5) bear left. The gates belong to the quaint old mansion recently remodeled as Long Vue Inn.
17.5 HASTINGS. Alt 12 ft. Pop (twp) 4552 (1910), 5461 (1915). Westchester Co. Mfg. wire cable and asphalt blocks. Part of town of Greenburg.
Here are the great works of the National Cable and Conduit Company, where wire and tubing are drawn and insulated wire and cables made. The road we have come over, from New York to Dobbs Ferry, except for a short stretch on either side of Yonkers, is paved with asphalt blocks of the Hastings Pavement Company, whose plant is located in Hastings.
The town of Hastings was once the estate of Peter Post, who occupied a little stone house here in the late eighteenth century. He was a patriot and assisted Colonel Sheldon in surprising a party of Hessians by giving them to understand that the Americans were in one direction whereas they were in reality in the other and ready to dash forth when the Hessians passed. The success of the ruse left every enemy dead except one, who reported Postes act, to the end that poor Post was beaten within an inch of his life. After the Revolution his house became a wellknown tavern and stood for many years.
Opposite Hastings is Indian Head, the highest point of the Palisades. A half mile beyond, on the opposite shore, is the boundary between New Jersey and New York. The top of the Hudson terrace above 'for miles and miles is occupied by magnificent estates commanding beautiful views of the river.
18.5 DOBBS FERRY. Alt 12 ft. Pop (twp) 3455 (1910), 4030 (1915). Westchester Co. Mfg. gas burners, lager beer.
This picturesque little village, which was the scene of much military activity during the Revolution because of its position on the Hudson, contains many fine country places, one of which was once Bob Ingersoll's. The Livingston Manor House, where Washington had his headquarters and where in 1783 General Washington and Sir Guy Carleton met for the final settlement of the terms on which England recognized
American independence, is situated here.
The room is preserved where the evacuation papers were signed, and also the rosewood table at which Lafayette dined, which used to be stretched diagonally across this room when many distinguished guests were gathered at its groaning board. In front of this house is the Washington-Rochambeau Monument, erected in 1894, where, as the inscription states, on July 6, 1781, the French allies under Rochambeau joined the American Army. The Misses Masters School for Girls is so identified with this place that the school is usually referred to by its patrons as `Dobbs Ferry.'
At the end of the eighteenth century Jeremiah Dobbs, a Delaware Swede, set up a ferry maintained by the family for a century and more. Dobbs Ferry had been a part of Philipse Manor and consequently was forfeited in the Revolution. In 1776 the British occupied this point and in the following year General Benjamin Lincoln, commanding the Continental Division, made this his headquarters. July 4, 1781, Washington encamped here with his army.
To the left is the Ardsley Country Club (20.5), and just beyond, Nevis, built by the son of Alexander Hamilton and named after his father's birthplace in the West Indies.
21.0 IRVINGTON. Alt 9 ft. Pop (twp) 2319 (1910), 2379 (1915). Westchester Co. Named in honor of Washington Irving.
About Irvington are a considerable number of castellated residences of half a century ago. Miss Mason's School for Girls occupies one of these buildings. To the right is the notable estate of the late Daniel G. Reed, a famous Wall Street operator. This was formerly Miss Bennett's School, now at Milford.
Beyond Irvington, the road to the left leads to Sunnyside, the old home of Washington Irving. The house is covered with ivy grown from a sprig from Abbotsford, given to Irving by Sir Walter Scott.
The Palisades here become less prominent and the Hudson expands into the lake-like Tappan Zee, ten miles long, and three to four miles wide. Just before reaching Tarrytown, on the left is Lyndhurst, and the Repton School for Boys, the estate of Mrs. Finley J. Shepard (Helen M. Gould).
24.5 TARRYTOWN. Alt 7 ft. Pop (twp) 5600 (1910), 5752 (1915). Westchester Co. Settled 1645. Mfg. drills and automobiles. Ferry to Nyack.
Tarrytown has developed from a long straggling village on both sides of Broadway, which was part of the old Albany Post Road, to a residential suburb. The residential section extends over high land commanding beautiful views of the Hudson. Northeast of the town is Kaakout (Dutch, "Kigkuit," "look-out"), the estate of John D. Rockefeller, and to the southeast in a beautiful situation high on the hills is the Hackley School for Boys. Opposite is Nyack, N.Y., reached by steam ferry (3.0) across the Tappan Zee. The Knox School, the Misses Metcalf's School for Girls, and Marymount are located here.
Tarrytown is a modification of its former name "tarwen dorp," "wheat town," on account of the large crops of wheat. It was built on the site of the Indian village Alipconk, "place of elms," burned by the Dutch in 1644. Soon after it was settled it became part of the great Philipse Manor and a manor house was built at Kingsland's Point, north of the present town. Dr. Hamilton Wright Mabie says, "There is probably no other locality in America, taking into account history, tradition, the old church, the manor house, and the mill, which so entirely conserves the form and spirit of Dutch civilization in the New World." Major John Andre was captured on the Post Road on the way from Tarrytown in 1780. A marble shaft surmounted by a bronze statue of a Continental soldier marks the spot. Washington Irving was long warden of Christ Church here.
Note. A route leads southeast from Broadway, forking left from trolley to Port Chester. At Elmsford Station (3.5) this route crosses Route 5 (p 236) to Mt. Kisco, Brewster, Pawling, the Berkshires, and Vermont. At White Plains (7.0) the route crosses Route 3 (p 204) to Bedford, Danbury, Waterbury, Hartford, and Boston. From White Plains the route follows the macadam to Port Chester (13.5) on Route i (p 72) to Bridgeport, New Haven, and Boston.
Beyond Tarrytown at the brick church, in the fork, bear left. The righthand road, which is perhaps the more attractive way, leads through the estate of John D. Rockefeller to Briar-cliff. Just beyond on the right is Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, the graveyard of the Old Dutch Church, which was built in 1699 with bricks brought from Holland. It is traversed by Pocantico or Mill Brook with the bridge across which Ichabod Crane rushed when pursued by the Headless Horseman. Both Washington Irving and Carl Schurz (1829–1906) are buried in this cemetery.
To the left of the church and bridge lies the land of the earlier Philipse manor, antedating the one at Yonkers. The spreading old white manor house still stands. In its yard is the well with the long balancing sweep described by Irving, and until recently the old mill stood, a ruin beside the creek. The actual bridge over which Ichabod Crane rode long ago fell to ruin, being a flimsy wooden affair, but its exact span was bridged by a new structure in 1912, the gift of William Rockefeller, as a permanent memorial to Irving's famous tale. Nearby is Rockwood Hall, the home of William Rockefeller.
The route next passes through Scarboro (27.5). At this point a good road leaves the river, winding up among the Pocantico Hills to Briarcliff Manor. Mrs. Dow's School is located here.
29.5 OSSINING. Alt 8 ft. Pop (twp) 11,480 (1910), 10,326 (1915). Westchester Co. Settled 1700. Mfg. stoves, metal ware, porous plasters, underwear, and marine engines
The village is finely situated, overlooking the Tappan Zee. It is a residential town for people of moderate means. Here are a number of wellknown private schools,—The Dr. Holbrook School for Boys, Mt. Pleasant Academy, and the Ossining School for Girls. Ossining has most varied industries, including Rand McNally's press and the Alcock Porous Plaster plant. On the river front is the famous Sing Sing State Prison, which has been the scene of so much disgraceful political corruption and the courageous effort of Thomas Mott Osborne to reform the institution and introduce modern methods in spite of the determined opposition of the political gangsters.
This locality derives its name from the Sin-Sinck Indians. Pormerly known as Sing Sing, its name was changed in 1901 to differentiate the town from the penitentiary. The territory about here was a part of Philipse Manor, first settled about 1700.
Two miles beyond Ossining, the road crosses Croton River, the waters of which are stored and diverted by a dam a few miles above and conducted by the Croton Aqueduct to New York. Near Ossining this is carried across a ravine by a stone arch with an 8o-foot span. Just beyond the Croton river, Croton Point extends out into the Hudson for a distance of one and a half miles, ending in Tellers Point. It was off here that the British man-of-war "Vulture" lay at anchor, awaiting the return of Andre from his conference with Benedict Arnold on the other side of the river. A party of Americans, seeing the "Vulture" lying within range, brought down a cannon from Verplanck's Point and used it so well that the vessel was compelled to drop down stream. This prevented Andre from returning on board, so he crossed at King's Ferry to Verplanck's Point and made the attempt to reach New York by land which resulted in his capture.
The route passes through Harmon (32.5), a new residential town in the course of development, and just beyond reaches
33.5 CROTON-ON-HUDSON. Alt 9 ft. Pop (twp) 1086 (1910), 2243 (1915). Westchester Co.
To the west lie the Kitchawan Hills. Here the Hudson is at its widest and is known as Haverstraw Bay from the town opposite, which lies at the base of High Tor (820 ft). Three miles above is Stony Point, marked by a lighthouse. The fort here was taken by the British and six weeks later was successfully stormed in one of the most brilliant exploits of the Revolution by `Mad Anthony' Wayne, on the night of July 15, 1779. Croton perpetuates the name of an Indian chief, Kenoten, "wind."
The route runs inland, cutting off the bend in the river where Verplanck's Point projects opposite Stony Point. It was here in 1778 that Baron Steuben, the Prussian officer, effectually taught the Continental soldiers the efficiency of drill.
Passing through Montrose, the route turns right on South St., curving left into Division St., to
41.5 PEEKSKILL. Alt 10 ft. Pop (twp) 15,245 (1910), 15,502 (1915). Westchester Co. Mfg. stoves, boilers, brick machines, hats, underwear, and yeast cakes. Value of product, $7,251,000.
Peekskill is the home of many New York business men and a number of private schools. Its manufactures are of considerable importance.
Peekskill ("kill"—"brook" or "creek") was named for Jan Peek, a Dutch seventeenth century mariner who followed Peekskill Creek, thinking he was on the Hudson, until his ship ran aground. Jan was a tapster who had headquarters on Broadway, and whose character was so "scandalous" that the sheriff reported that he found "drinking clubs on divers nights at the house of Jan Peek with dancing and jumping and entertainment of disorderly people." In spite of this, the village named for him grew to be a godly place and has boasted many fine churches.
Opposite is Dunderberg, at the foot of which Captain Kidd deposited a portion of that burdensome treasure which he spread so generously over the land, if all the local traditions are to be believed. Just south of it is Tompkins Cover with limestone quarries. To the north of Dunderberg is Iona Island with stores of naval ammunition. From here north-ward, the Hudson enters the section known as the Highlands, and the route runs inland, cutting off a bend in the river, and takes the right fork (46.o) on the new State Road which runs inland to Fishkill.
Note. The lefthand route leads to Garrison-on-the-Hudson (62.o), which lies opposite West Point, with which it is connected by steam ferry. Just above are Constitution Island and Cold Spring at the foot of Mt. Forest (1425 ft), opposite Storm King Mountain (1530 ft).
61.0 FISHKILL VILLAGE. Alt 223 ft, R.R. Pop (twp) 516 (1910), 531 (1915). Dutchess Co. Ferry to Newburgh.
The village lies in the valley of Fishkill Creek among the hills, four miles back from the Hudson. Here there are two fine old eighteenth century churches. Cooper made this village the scene of many of the incidents in "The Spy."
To the south is Mt. Beacon (1585 ft). An inclined railway ascends to the summit, where there is a casino commanding surpassing views over the valley of the Hudson and the surrounding hills and mountains. During the Revolution beacon fires were kindled here to signal the approach of the British.
Note. To the left are Matteawan and Beacon, the latter formerly called Fishkill Landing, lying opposite Newburgh, with which it is connected by a steam ferry. One of the principal routes from Pennsylvania and the West to New England crosses the Hudson by this ferry and passes through Fishkill Village, bearing left at the three corners by the church. Crossing the R.R. a mile and a half beyond, it continues over the iron bridge, turning left and following macadam to Hope-well (15.o from Beacon). Here the route bears left on macadam with the Pawling signs, past West Pawling (22.o), into Pawling (26.o). Here it joins Route 5 (p 239) to Salisbury and the Berkshires, where it connects with various routes for the principal New England points.
66.0 WAPPINGERS FALLS. Alt 100 ft. Pop (twp) 3195 (1910), 3742 (1915). Dutchess Co. Mfg. prints and overalls.
Wappinger Creek here furnishes valuable waterpower and there are large print works and manufactories of overalls here. The name is derived from that of an Indian tribe. Here the route rejoins the valley road from Beacon.
73.5 POUGHKEEPSIE. Alt 170 ft. Pop 29,598 (1910), 32,714 (1915). Dutchess Co. Settled 1698. Mfg. pig iron, mowing machines, horseshoes, automobiles, glassware, and gasoline engines. Ferry to Highland.
Poughkeepsie is built on the terraces facing the Hudson, rising 200 feet above the river and, in part, on the level plateau above. It is the scene in June of the intercollegiate boat races, in which the chief American colleges, except Yale and Harvard, have rowed annually since 1895. On the outskirts of the town, along the banks of the river, are many handsome residences and beautiful estates, some of which are still in the possession of the original Knickerbocker families. The Hudson is crossed at Poughkeepsie by the great cantilever railway bridge, constructed 1886-89. It is one and a half miles long and the rails are 200 feet above high water.
Poughkeepsie is a considerable educational center. Two miles east of the city center is Vassar College, the grounds of which include an area of over 400 acres. It is the oldest and perhaps the best known of American women's colleges and has just celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. It was founded in 1861 by Matthew Vassar, an Englishman and a wealthy brewer. There are a number of private schools, including Putnam Hall and Glen Eden Seminary, both for girls, and the long established Riverview Academy.
Poughkeepsie was settled by the Dutch about 1698 and its name is derived from the Indian word "Apokeepsing," "a safe harbor." The New York legislature met here for many years during the latter partof the eighteenth century, and in 1780 the Federal Constitution was ratified here by the New York Convention.
Note. A State Highway leads from Poughkeepsie to Amenia and the Berkshires. At the corner of Main and Market Sts., turn east with trolley on Main St., forking left at blacksmith shop (2.o) and passing on the left the De Witt Clinton mansion, to Pleasant Valley (7.o), a region of handsome estates. Continue through Washington Hollow. At the crossroads, the route turns to the left, passing the Bennett School for Girls, directly on the left, and an eighth of a mile beyond, on the right, the Millbrook Inn. After crossing R.R., pass directly through Millbrook (15.5), the main street of which leads to the lodge at the entrance to Daheim, the Dietrich estate. Here turn to the right on the State Highway which continues over the hills through the hamlets of Mabbettsville (17.5) and Lithgow (21.o), to Amenia (26.0), where the road joins Route 5.