The Hudson River
Note: portions of the text below were adapted from Up the Hudson, contained in The Empire State: Its Industries and Wealth, published in 1888. Adaptation copyright; © 2010, The Gombach Group. Photo: at Rhinecliff, Dutchess County.
A sail up the Hudson is a pleasure that no true American can deny himself of and that no foreigner who has ever been charmed by the beauties presented will refuse to avail himself of. Both the metropolis and the State owe much of their pre-eminent advantages to this noble river. Being connected with the great Western lakes by the Erie Canal and numerous lines of railroads, and with Lake Champlain and Canada, also by both canal and railroad, and with Delaware River and the coal region of Pennsylvania by the Delaware and Hudson Canal, it becomes a main trunk of an immense commerce. It forms, indeed, one of the great connecting links of the chain which binds the east and west, and bears upon its bosom the noblest steamers the world ever saw, and in a vast number of other craft the traveller and the merchandise to and from the American metropolis. Its waters were the theatre of the first successful attempt to apply steam to the propelling of vessels, and the very first to witness the application of caloric to the same purposes. The one dates from 1808 and immortalizes the names of Fulton and Livingston, and the latter from January, 1858, immortalizing the name of Ericcson. Little did those who saw the commencement of the era of steam navigation dream of the extent of its application to the purpose of commerce, and as little may the lookers on of today foresee the vastness of the project initiated by the later discovery.
The Hudson River rises by two main branches in the mountains west of Lakes Champlain and George. The east, or Schroon branch, passes through Schroon Lake, and the other branch rises farther west by various head streams, the two uniting in the southern part of Warren County, about forty miles from their respective sources. After a course of fifteen miles south the Hudson receives the Sacandaga River. It then runs east by south fifteen miles to Hadley's Falls, and thence twenty miles north by east to Glens Falls. It then flows south forty miles and receives from the west its principal tributary, the Mohawk. Its fall in this distance is 147 feet; thence running a little west of south 156 miles it enters the ocean at Sandy Hook. The whole length of the river from its source to its entrance into New York Bay is a little over three hundred miles, and so straight is the river between Albany and New York that the distance by water is less than that by land. The influence of the tide is felt a little above Albany. It probably does not flow so far. It is navigable for large ships 118 miles above New York to Hudson, and for sloops and large steamers to Albany, 145 miles. Sloops and steamboats proceed six miles farther to Troy, and sloops by a dam and lock to Waterford, eight miles above Albany. Through a considerable part of its course its banks are elevated, particularly on the west side, and in some parts are high, rocky and precipitous. No part of the Union presents more picturesque scenery than the banks of the Hudson, and the passage through the Highlands above New York City is grand. Here the mountains, over 1,400 feet high, come down to the very margin of the stream. Above the Highlands the banks continue high and, in some places, precipitous, opening now and then as if to afford glimpses of a charming country on either side, until some thirty miles more have been passed, when the banks become still less abrupt, and the lofty range of the Catskill Mountains is seen to the westward. The remote sources of the Hudson are among the highest peaks of the Adirondack Mountains, four thousand feet above tide water. The mountain ranges through or near which the Hudson passes are part of the Appalachian system. The Highlands are a continuation of the Blue Ridge, which, after crossing Pennsylvania and New York ends in the Green Mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire. The Catsbergs and Hilderbergs are continuations of the westward ranges of the Alleghany.
But we are bound for a sail up the noble river, and for an inspection of the frowning precipices and towering hills and prosperous cities and towns that hedge it in on each side. As the steamer floats out from its pier on to the broad bosom of the stream the eye catches a glimpse of the lower part of the river over which are gliding ferry boats like so many huge turtles; puffing and snorting little tugs, dancing on the waves as if of cork; ponderous steamers that have either just come from battling with, or are stealthily stealing away to face the tempests of the Atlantic; farther on, standing majestically in the shining bay with uplifted hand, keeping watch and ward over the portal of the land of the free, is the Statue of Liberty; and, still farther away, the narrow passage into the outer bay, where the rugged shore of Brooklyn juts out into the deep waters and where is presented the bold front of Staten Island, that picturesque combination of highlands, forest and sea, rimmed round with villages and destined to be covered with suburban homes.
On the west of us is New Jersey's most populous city — Jersey City — with its three miles of water front, the actual meridian line where the wheels of continental railway traffic meet the keels of ocean steamships, for here, of the more than one hundred thousand miles of North American railway lines, but a small fraction fails to connect with the steamship fleets that carry the commerce of the world over the ever restless hillows. To the north of Jersey City is the busy and growing City of Hoboken, sending out from its water front turtle-shaped ferryboats to the shores of the metropolis, and dispatching passengers by the Delaware, Susquehanna and Western Railroad, into the heart of the land of mosquitoes and peaches and into the regions of the far West, and, by its elevated railway carrying local denizens on to Jersey Heights, whence can be seen the smoky chimneys and heaven-pointing spires of Newark, the hills of Orange, studded with picturesquely located mansions — the abodes of wealth and culture — and a variety of cities that have rapidly grown from the dimensions of hamlets into large and prominent centres of manufacture and commerce, while at the feet lie stretched the valleys of the Hackensack and the Passaic, with their waters meandering to their confluence with the ocean, through extensive tide-water flats, which forever will be redeemed from the overflow of the waters and furnish cheap and level grounds needed for railway sidings, for long wharfs on deep water frontage, and for yards and buildings required for the storage and handling of bulky commodities and raw materials; all of which are destined to play an important part in enhancing the further growth and prosperity of the leading city of the Empire State.
From Hoboken the banks of the river to the east of us begin to gain in height, and just to the north of the city stands out boldly on the summit of the elevation Castle Hill, the site of the Stevens mansion, and near by, with its face on a fine public square, is the Steven's Institute of Technology. Around these are clustered many elegant residences of wealthy New Yorkers, and the spot, once possessing a very rural aspect, is now assuming quite an urban appearance. From this point upward the east bank rises higher and higher into the rugged and storm-beaten Palisades. To the east of us, the whole bank of the river almost as far as the eye can carry, is occupied by dilapidated-looking wooden piers, shipping craft of every conceivable design and size, and commerce from every part of the habitable globe. Continuing our progress up the river between Hoboken and Weehawken we have pointed out to us the locality of Elysian Fields, formerly a beautiful park, but now retaining few traces of the rural walks which once made it a delightful and favorite resort of pleasure-seeking New Yorkers. Its attractions now are such as are afforded by baseball matches, boat races and other athletic sports. Weehawken was called by the aboriginal inhabitants Weehawk, but custom has added the termination now usually given the appellation. Weehawken is the eastern terminus of the West Shore line of railway, and it is the spot where, in 1804, Hamilton and Burr ought their memorable and fatal duel on a plateau in the rocky bank of the river. The plateau is raised a few feet above the river, just below the precipitous cliff that marks the southern end of the Palisades.
On the east bank are distinguished on the high ridge Clarmont House, the Riverside Park, with its noble drives, and a glimpse is obtained of the spot where lie the remains of General Grant. Beyond is the Bloomingdale Lunatic Asylum, Manhattanville, Audubon Park, Carmansville, the home of Audubon, the naturalist, the New York Institute for the Deaf and Dumb, and Jeffery's Hook, a point jutting into the river, and the site of an old fort, where Washington landed, but re-crossed at Fort Lee, just before Washington Heights were captured by the British in 1776. Fort Lee is ten miles from New York, and the site of the old fort there is distinguished by a flag staff on the bluff. Here are large summer hotels, and Fort Lee is a very popular place of resort for New Yorkers in the hot months. The traveller has now reached the lower end proper of the Palisades, and the unbroken wall of columnar trap-rock stretches for a length of fifteen miles along the eastern bank of the river. These rocks vary in height from 300 to 500 feet above the water, and are crowned by a heavy growth of timber. On the opposite shore are Washington Heights, with Fort Washington at the summit, a scene of memorable military activity in the days of the Revolution. The fort here commands the river above and below as well as the neighboring country. It formed the end and citadel of an irregular line of works extending along the northern part of the island of Manhattan.
On the top of the precipitous walls of the Palisades is a broad table land, where thousands upon thousands of people have made their homes, and the population here is being constantly increased by the railway facilities now afforded for reaching the heights. The Palisades at its southern end is being laid out for a park and gardens, and buildings are increasing in number rapidly. This spot, like an island in the atmosphere, hung in all its sylvan wildness over the roofs, and ways of men presents an outlook which for beauty of scenery is simply amazing. Not that it is vaster in extent than may be seen from other summits, but that it groups features of grandeur so diverse and opposite, such a range of the boldest contrasts, from the largest scale of man and civilization back to the monstrous chaos, all right under an eye poised in midair. The topmost mast of the largest ship is far, far below you. Out in the distance, on one hand, is the ocean, and out, on the other hand, stretching westward to the Kainapo mountains, is a measureless magnificence of scenery, while between are the great rivers, the Hudson, Hackensack and Passaic, converging into the wonderful harbor of New York, with their countless fleets and shining sails and bustling flotilla — all down, almost plumb down, it seems, beneath your eyrie crag. And still about you in this weird altitude, is a world above a world of green groves, lawns and homes of happy people. The upper end of the Palisades is still nearly all forest.
Two miles beyond, on the east bank, is Spuyten Duyvil Creek, or Harlem River, meets the waters of the Hudson, whence the pump tower at that great engineering structure, the High Bridge, crossing the Harlem, is visible over the hills. The houses which cluster on the upper side of the creek is known as Spuyten Duyvil, but the name was originally applied to the creek itself, which connects the Harlem with the Hudson, thereby forming Manhattan Island. Through its estuary, tidewater flows, the currents meeting at or near Kingsbridge, about a mile from the Hudson.
Spuyten Duyvil is a name ascribed by Dietrich Knickerbocker (Washington Irving,) to Anthony Van Corlear, the redoubtable Dutch trumpeter, who, being bound on an important mission to the land, and finding himself unable to procure a boat, swore that "en spuyt den duyvil "he would swim the creek." He plunged into the stream, and when half way across was seen to struggle violently until no longer able to resist the Duyvil, who was doubtless tugging at his legs. He raised his trumpet to his lips, sounded a blast and disappeared.
On the opposite side of the creek is one of the highest points of the Palisades, known as the Lydecker Peak. Here stood the Palisades Mountain House, commanding charming scenery and possessing beautiful drives round about it. It was destroyed by fire June 3, 1884. At the foot of the Palisades at this point is a dock, connected with which is a carriage road leading over the heights to Englewood, N. J. On the right—on the east bank—are Westchester Heights, the site of old Fort Independence, and a little further on, 14 miles from New York City, is Riverdale, a country residence for New York merchants. About a mile and a half beyond this is Mt. St. Vincent, an educational institution under the control of the Sisters of Charity, who bought the property known as Font Hill from the celebrated actor of a bygone day, Edwin Forrest Near here is Tappan Bay or Tappan Zee, which is an extension of the Hudson, varying from 3 to 4 miles wide, and 11 miles long, terminating at Piermont, where the Palisade formation ends, and where is the boundary between New York and New Jersey. Passing the old residence of Forrest, the traveller reaches, on the east bank, Yonkers, the flourishing city of over 20,000 inhabitants, located at the mouth of the Neperah, or Saw Mill River. Neperah is the name given by the Indians, signifying "rapid water village," which fitly describes the series of falls and rapids with which the stream joins the Hudson. Yonkers is derived from the Dutch "Yonk-heer," signifying the heir of a family. Hudson anchored his vessel hereabouts, and traded with the Indians. Passing from Yonkers, Spring Hill Grove and Dudley's Grove are reached, and beyond these, 21 miles from New York, is Hastings, containing many beautiful country seats. Garabaldi, the Liberator of Italy, when he kept a soap and candle factory on Staten Island, is said to have been extremely fond of this suburban retreat. A mile farther on, on the same bank of the river, is Dobbs' Ferry, with its many handsome villas and cottages, the residences of many New York merchants. In the olden times a Swede, named Dobbs, kept a ferry here, hence its name. The Tappan Zee Bay here widens to four miles in extent. When the British had won their dearly bought victory at White Plains, five miles to the east, in October, 1776, they concentrated their forces at this place. Two miles beyond Dobbs' Ferry is the beautiful Village of Irvington, built on the sloping hills on the east side of the river, overlooking the tranquil bay of Tappan. This is a modern village, named in honor of Washington Irving, and noted as one of the most aristocratic suburbs of the great metropolis. A little to the north of the village is Sunnyside, the home of Irving, and which may be seen from the deck of the steamer. Here he wrote several of his immortal books, here he died November 28, 1859, and his remains lie in that very "Sleepy Hollow" near Tarrytown made famous by his facile pen. Opposite to Irvington, on the west bank, is Piermont, before referred to, where the Palisades recede from the shore and lose their precipitous character. The ridge, however, continues in a series of hills, obtaining a height in some places of nearly 700 feet, but nowhere resuming the peculiar Palisade formation. A long pier here projects into the river and is a terminus of a branch of the Erie railway connecting with the main line at Suffern, 18 miles west Tappan, where Andre was tried, condemned and executed in 1780, is two miles to the rear of Piermont. The bank of the river at this point is frequently heavily mantled with the common white cedars, which form an attractive feature of the landscape.
Overlooking the river and the Palisades to the southward, and commanding a distant view of the Ramapo Mountains and the Hudson Highlands to the west and north, Tarrytown is pleasantly located on the hillside. It is a busy, flourishing little city, located 20 miles from New York. Nearly opposite Tarrytown, nestling at the foot of a precipitous bill, is the little town of Nyack, with its population of between four and five thousand inhabitants and one of the prettiest spots on the Hudson. The Tappan Zee on this side of the river presents a mountainous sweep in the form of a semicircle from Piermont, the semicircle being complete in a series of bluffs familiarly known as the Hook at the northern extremity of the Tappan Zee. These bluffs have a strong resemblance of the Rock of Gibraltar. A mile above Nyack is Upper Nyack, and a little beyond this is the famous Rockland Lake, located among the hills, opposite Sing Sing, and which is the source of the Hackensack River and this is a great ice quarry in winter. It is 750 feet above the Hudson, from which it is separated from Hook Mountain, which elevates its head 610 feet. A point here abuts on the river, known as Verdritege Hook, but more commonly spoken of as "Point no Point." From this stage the traveller soon enters the Haverstraw Bay, which is five miles wide and the widest part of the Hudson, extending from Croton Point to Verplanck's Point on the north; and here is obtained the first view of the West Shore Railroad. A little below Haverstraw is High Torn Mountain, and beyond this is the village of Haverstraw, on a high bank or plateau with its two miles of brick yards. To the north of the village is Treason Hill, where Arnold met Andre at Joshua Hett Smith's, and two miles farther north is Grassy Point. Opposite to these places, on the eastern bank of the river, are Sing Sing, 30 miles from New York, the white marble State prison near the river; the mouth of the Croton River, a mile north of Sing Sing; Croton Point, at the junction of Tappan Bay and Haverstraw Bay just above Croton River; Teller's Point, where the Vulture anchored when she brought Arnold to meet Andre; Croton Village, Montrasse's Point, and Verplanck's Point. The latter and Stony Point mark the upper end of Haverstraw Bay. Between the two Points the river is only a half mile wide, which fact, together with the commanding positions afforded by the adjacent hills, rendered this an important pass during the Revolutionary era. Here was located King's Ferry, an important avenue of communication between the Eastern and Middle States, and it was to go across this ferry when Andre left Arnold on his fatal journey.
Stony Point and Verplanck's Point had upon them in Revolutionary times strong fortifications and commanded the passage of the river. The importance of the Hudson River as a base of operations was early recognized by Washington and his generals. Soon after rounding Verplanck's Point, Peekskill may be observed near the Highlands, on the east bank of the river. At this point, in going up the river a stranger concludes that the river follows the base of the high hills stretching to the eastward, and this delusion is aided by the wide creek or inlet which opens in that direction Peekskill gained its name from Jans Peek, a Dutch skipper, who ran his ship aground up this creek and then decided to locate in the neighborhood for the rest of his days. Peekskill is a pleasant village, and behind it are the ruins of Fort Independence, and hereabouts is the Franciscan Convent Academy of Our Lady of Angels. The late Rev. Henry Ward Beecher had a country residence a little east of Peekskill.
Opposite Peekskill on the western shore is Kidd's Point, now Caldwell's landing. Above the village rises the rocky and weather-beaten crags of the Douderberg or Thunder Mountain, while on the west bank is Anthony's Nose, with an altitude of 1,200 feet; and between the two, and apparently shutting in the river, lies Iona Island, a popular summer resort. When Henry Hudson sailed up the river, he thought, on approaching this spot, that his progress was finally brought to a close and that the arm of the sea up which he imagined he was sailing had ended here among the hills. The steep sides of Anthony's Nose, which descends sharply into the river, at one of the most perfect bends in all its course, are dark with rock and forest and thick with undergrowth; and the coloring of the whole is so stern and sombre, even in the sunlight, that there is about the mountain an air of majesty that makes it by far the most prominent of the chain in which it stands.
The Grand Douderberg juts sharply into the river from the shore opposite the Nose, and a mile and a half below it in the stream's course. Around this mountain of thunder the summer storms collect; and its summit is best known to those who have seen it with the frown of a cloud sweeping over it, and the sound of the coming tempest already heard about its sides. We are in the very land of Irving now.
Near to Anthony's Nose, Brocken Kill empties itself into the Hudson, and almost from its mouth to its source is full of romantic cascades; and between Iowa Island and the east bank of the river is what is known as The Race. On the west side of the river, and nearly opposite to Anthony's Nose, is the mouth of Montgomery creek. On the rugged heights above and below the creek stood forts Clinton and Montgomery, which were, in 1777, the principal defenses of the Hudson.
As the steamer rounds Iona Island the historic Highlands of the Hudson come into full view, and soon after passing the former site of Fort Montgomery, the gray ruins of Fort Putnam appear crowning the height above West Point, fifty-one miles from New York. On the east bank of the river, where is a stone wharf and two or three small buildings may be seen a little cove. This is the point from which Arnold started in his hasty flight to the English ship Vulture, then lying in Tappan Bay; and on the hill, a short distance away, is Robinson's house, where Arnold was breakfasting when he received news of Andre's seizure. Nearly opposite, and a little above Beverly Dock, where Arnold made his hasty flight, Buttermilk Falls are to be seen breaking in snow white foam over a black sloping rock. Highland Falls, a prosperous village, stands on the stream above the falls. About a mile below, the Government Landing at West Point is Cranston's Landing, and several of the steamboats halt at both landings. From the sides of the mountain here the most charming and picturesque views are to be obtained. Indeed, the Hudson at this point presents the most enchanting scenery in its course, and the natural beauties of this delightful spot have won the admiration of artists, poets and the most brilliant descriptive writers. No one needs to be told that West Point is the great U. S. Military Academy, and that has furnished the army and the ranks of statesmen with men whose names will figure upon the pages of history as long as time shall endure. Above West Point Landing is West Point Village.
Opposite West Point, and fifty miles from New York City, is Garrison, named in honor of a distinguished family of Revolutionary fame. It is surrounded by the most picturesque views of the Hudson, and is connected with some of the most stirring scenes of Revolutionary days. On the same side of the river are two noted rocks, the Two Brothers, and beyond these is Cold Springs, fifty-four miles from New York, and noted for its iron foundries and the Parrot Guns cast here and used so successfully in the war of the Rebellion. Immediately above Cold Springs is Bull Hill, or Mt. Taurus, rising to a height of 1,586 feet, and still farther above this elevation, and separated from it by a valley, is Breakneck Hill, with an altitude of 1,187 feet. At the foot of Bull Hill is a promontory known as Little Stony Point. On the opposite side of the river are two majestic hills, Cro' Nest and Butter Hill. The former is the one next above West Point, and is 1,418 feet high, and is separated by a romantic and delightful valley from Butter Hill. Cro' Nest was a name given to a deep rocky depression near the summit of the mountain, and the scene of Rodman Drake's beautiful poem, "The Culprit Fay," is laid among these hills. The precipitous front of Cro' Nest, overlooking the river, is known as Kidd's Plug Cliff, a name derived from a singular projecting mass of rock near its summit. We are now in the heart of the Highlands with the Storm King, known as the Klinkerberg to the Dutch, a neighbor of Cro' Nest, one of the grandest peaks in this mountainous region. The majestic Storm King and his fellows form the most glorious mountain groups that stand sentinel over the noble stream. The name of Storm King was given to this lofty peak by Mr. N. P. Willis, and it is now more commonly used than its original appellation of Klinkersberg. The mountain which rises to a height of 1,529 feet is an object of interest to travellers up the Hudson as the northernmost point of the Highlands.
A short distance from the Storm King, on the west bank, is Cornwall Village, fifty-six miles from New York. Its location is a beautiful one, it possesses many fine residences, and in the summer season it is a popular and fashionable resort. Entertaining summer visitors has become the characteristic business of the town, and during the hot months is a scene of constant round of gayety. The town has many fine hotels, and is altogether a very flourishing place. It commands a fine view on the east bank of the Breakneck Mountain, South Beacon Hill, and North Beacon Hill. South Beacon Hill has an elevation of 1,685 feet, and North Beacon Hill 1,471 feet. Both peaks command a prospect which have gained them considerable celebrity. During the Revolutionary War the latter hill was used as a signal station. Looking to the westward, as soon as the Storm King ceases to obstruct the view, the summits of the Shawangunk Mountains may be seen winding their way to the northward, and almost connecting with the blue outline of the distant Catskills. Just at the upper entrance to the Highlands is Pollipel's Island, a rocky hit of ground, the origin of which, in the opinion of the Indians, was of a supernatural character. The notorious Captain Kidd was suspected to have deposited treasures on this Island and in the neighboring hills, and for the hidden wealth frequent searches have been made by parties who pinned their faith, to the suspicion. Fishkill Landing is located on the east bank of the river, sixty miles from New York, and it is, so to speak, the port of Fishkill, which lies five miles inland and occupies a romantic situation, being surrounded by lofty and rocky hills, full of wild and picturesque ravines. At the Landing the Matteawan Creeks falls into the Hudson, and at Fishkill the stream supplies water-power for several large mills and factories. A short distance south of the Fishkill Landing Station of the N. Y. C. & H. R. R. is the Hudson river terminus of the New York and New England Railroad, the station being called by the latter company Fishkill-on-Hudson. At this point a large tract of land has been reclaimed from the river, and upon this land tracks have been laid, and the place is now a thriving railroad centre. Connection is made with the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railroad at Newburgh, upon the opposite sides of the river by means of a large transfer steamer.
Newburgh is sixty miles from New York, and is one of the most prosperous as well as one of the largest of the cities located on the banks of the Hudson. Its site is an elevated one and it commands a magnificent view of the Highlands and the Matteawan Mountains. The city rises in a succession of terraces from the river until it attains an altitude of 300 feet above the stream. In the southern part of the town is an old stone house, now owned and kept in repair by the State. This was the headquarters of Washington, when the American army was located at New Windsor, two miles south, and it contains many interesting relics of the Revolutionary War. The last surviving member of Washington's life guard was buried in 1856 at the foot of a flag staff which stands near the house, and the grave is surmounted by a monument bearing a suitable inscription. Four miles farther up the stream the pleasant little village of Low Point (see Chelsea) stands on the east bank of the river, and opposite to this, on the west shore, is a flat rock, now mantled with cedars. On this rock Henry Hudson and his companions witnessed an lndian pow-wow at night with all its hideous accompaniments of fire and war-paint. Henry gave to the rock the name of Duyvels Dams Kamer, an appellation it has ever since borne. Two miles beyond, on the east bank, the Wappinger's Creek empties itself into the Hudson where the town of New Hamburg stands. Two miles from the town the creek lies some attractive falls. On the heights above the town some splendid views of the Hudson and of the surrounding locality are obtained.
Sixty-six miles from New York, and on the west bank of the river, Marlborough is located amid beautiful surroundings, groves of Arbor-Vitas being plentiful hereabouts. Five miles beyond this, on the same side of the river, is Milton Ferry, or Barnegat, a pleasant little village; and still farther on, and before reaching Poughkeepsie, Locust Grove, the country seat of Professor S. F. B. Morse, of telegraphic fame, is reached.
Poughkeepsie may be seen from a long distance up and down the river. It is built on a tableland, two hundred feet above the Hudson, on its east bank, and 75 miles from New York City. Poughkeepsie is a corruption of the Indian name given to the cave which once existed at the mouth of Fall Kill. Two peculiar elevations are situated on the river side, the one on the south being named Call Rock, from the fact that the inhabitants used to hail from its summit passing vessels. The Dutch settled here about 1618 and the city was incorporated in 1854. The State Legislature met here in 1777 and 1778, when the British were in possession of New York and had burned their former meeting place at Esopus. The State Convention for the ratification of the Federal Constitution met here in 1778. Poughkeepsie has a very healthy situation, and everything which contributes to make it attractive as a place of residence. Its streets are beautifully shaded, and the city has earned the complimentary of the "Queen City of the Hudson." The Vassar Female College is located here, and is the most complete establishment for the education of women in the world.
On the west bank of the Hudson and opposite Poughkeepsie is Highland Village, possessing many fine drives and much beautiful scenery. Hyde Park is situated on the same bank of the river as Poughkeepsie, and five miles farther north. It was so named in honor of Sir Henry Hyde, one of the early British governors of New York. The village proper stands on a fine fertile table-land, half a mile to the east of the river, where a bend between the rocky bluffs. About a mile above Hyde Park landing is " Placentia" the former home of the late James K. Paulding, one of the pioneers of American literature and the friend of Washington Irving. Five miles beyond Hyde Park, and eighty-five miles from New York City, Staatsburg stands on the east bank of the river. From this point northward the banks of the river lose that precipitous aspect which has thus far distinguished them, and they slope less sharply from the stream. Five miles above Staatsburg, on the east bank, is Rhinebeck, a flourishing village standing two miles back from the Hudson, and containing an extensive vein of gold-bearing quartz, which yields the precious metal in paying quantities. Rhinebeck is one of the principal points of entry to the Catskill mountain region. Opposite, on the west bank of the Hudson, is Rondout, now a part of the City of Kingston, with which it was incorporated in 1878. Here the Rondout Creek enters the Hudson. Its mouth is the eastern end of the Delaware and Hudson Canal, which joins the creek two and a half miles above. The canal, which extends to the vicinity of the Pennsylvania coal fields, was completed in 1828. Rondout is the point of departure for the southern part of the Catskill range, including the Overlook Mountain. Three or four railways have connections here. Kingston, which was settled in 1614 and was three times destroyed by the Indians before the white men could secure firm and peaceful possession, was formerly called Esopus. It is located on Esopus Creek, which at that point approaches within about two miles of Rondout, and then curves to the northward, entering the Hudson 12 miles above. In 1777 the State Legislature met here and formed a Constitution. From Kingston the mountain railroads run up into the Catskill region.
Barrytown, which was formerly known as Lower Red Hook Landing, is situated 96 miles from New York. Two miles above it, near the eastern shore, is Cruger's Island, a beautiful spot, made so by both heart and nature. Near the southern end, in a grove, stands a ruin imported from Italy by a former proprietor of the island. Four miles above Barrytown, and 100 miles from New York, Tivoli, a small village with a railway station and a steam ferry stands on the east bank of the river. Passengers by train for the famous Overlook Mountain House alight here and cross the river by the ferry. Passengers on the river steamers bound for the same destination leave the boats at the Saugerties Landing, and thence go by stage 12 miles to the Overlook. Colonel De Peyster owns an old mansion near the village which came near being destroyed in 1777 by the British, who were intent upon visiting Claremont, the residence of the Livingston family, to burn it. They stopped at the old mansion by mistake, and the then proprietor succeeded, with the aid of some choice wines, in convincing the soldiery of their error. Saugerties is an important village on the west side of the Hudson, about a mile higher up the stream than Saugerties. It is near the mouth of Esopus Creek, which is navigable to the village. Saugerties is noted for its flagstone quarries, iron-works and paper mills. In the rear of the village and in the mountains is Plattekill Cove, a remarkably wild and rugged chasm, affording scenery of singular beauty and grandeur. Through the gorge passes a road winding up to the Catskill Mountain House.
Germantown is located 105 miles from New York, on the east side of the river, but cannot be seen from the boat. A large white building standing near the river close by the landing for Germantown, is the Riverside Cemetery. From Germantown a magnificent view of the Catskill Mountains is obtained. Six miles farther north, and on the western shore, is Catskill Landing, near which the Cats Kill stream, after winding through rocky bluffs, with a deep channel navigable for a mile, empties itself into the Hudson. Here the Catskill Mountain Railroad has its station, and passengers are carried into the heart of the Catskill range of hills, which have been celebrated in verse and prose, while one of the most popular and successful actors of the day has made Irving's character of Rip Van Winkle, with the mountain region where he lived and slept, familiar to the English speaking world. The Catskills are growing more popular year by year with the denizens of the crowded cities who come up here in their thousands in the hot seasons to spend the periods of their relaxation from business. The whole region of the Catskills, with their towering peaks, deep ravines, flowery dells, picturesque cascades, musical waterfalls, and rugged crags, is full of untiring attractions to all who visit it.
Pursuing our journey up the Hudson, we arrive at the beautiful city of that name standing on the east bank of the river 115 miles from New York. Hudson City is built upon a promontory stretching into the river, and commanding the most enchanting views of the surrounding country. The city has expanded itself up the sides of Prospect Hill, which attains a height of 200 feet. Hudson City, which is the capital of Colombia County, and has a population of over 10,000, was, in the early commerce of the river, a place of great importance, as it was at the head of ship navigation. Directly opposite Hudson is the Village of Athens, which was originally fixed upon as the place of junction of the Erie Canal with the Hudson. Shipbuilding and brick making are largely carried on here. Above Athens and Hudson, on the east side of the river, is Roger's Island. In the days of the Revolutionary war this island was covered by a dense forest and behind it the merchants of New York hid their shipping. Four miles north of Athens is a promontory on the west side of the river with a lighthouse tower on top, called Four-Mile-Point, and formerly Chaney Tinker. Immediately opposite this is the estuary of the Columbiaville Creek, on which is located the village of Columbiaville, which contains several large flannel mills. After passing the prosperous villages of Coxsackie, Stuyvesant, New Baltimore and Schodac, the traveller arrives at Coeymans, 132 miles from New York and located on the west bank of the river. It is named after one of its earliest settlers. A little below the village, and near the west shore, is a high rocky island, on which four of New York's counties meet, namely, Columbia, Rensselaer, Greene and Albany. The island was called by the Dutch, Bear Island, and on it stood the Castle of Rensselaerstein, where Nicholas Kroon, the representative of Killiun Van Rensselaer, the patroon, enforced passing vessels to dip their colors and pay tribute, or run the risk of being shattered to pieces and sunk by the heavy guns of the fort. Knickerbocker's History of New York contains an amusing account of the whole difficulty between the Patroon at this island and Governor Kieft of the New Amsterdam. Three miles above Coeymans, on the eastern shore, the compact Village of Castleton is crowded on the steep slope, from which may be seen, nine miles away, the house tops, chimneys and spires of Albany. The place was formerly called Overslaugh, and there has always been in the river at this place a serious obstruction to the passage of vessels. In 1790 the State made provision for improving the channel, but all efforts in this direction were useless until the present system of dykes, which stretch for several miles along the river, was completed, by Congress in 1868. For some miles before reaching it, Albany, the capital of the State, is seen on the west bank of the river, and the town of Greenbush on the opposite shore.
Greenbush is a translation from an old Dutch name and may have been appropriate originally. The population consists chiefly of employes on the various railway lines which join here from the various districts of the Eastern States and from New York, though along the river bank above and below the town proper there are many handsome residences. In 1775, during the French War, Greenbush was a military camp, and in the war of the Revolution an extensive barracks for American soldiers was established here, whence troops were despatched to the Canadian frontier.
The city of Albany is an interesting old city, and since its first settlement has undergone several changes in its nomenclature. It was first known as Beverwyck, then as William Stadt, next as New Orange, and, finally, as Albany. The city stands in about the middle of the County of Albany, and its confines embrace a strip of land about one and a half miles wide, extending 13-1/2 miles in a northwest direction, to the northern boundary of the county. Albany's growth has been principally during the present century. It was incorporated in 1686 and in 1714 the inhabitants only numbered 3,329, five hundred of whom were slaves.
When the city was one hundred years old it contained less than 10,000 inhabitants. Steam navigation on the Hudson, and the opening of the Erie Canal, were boons lo the city, and led to a vast increase in population and commerce, so that, in 1880 its people numbered 90,758, against 80,000 in 1875. In 1676 the entire city was embraced within the region of Steuben, Pearl and Beaver streets, and it was surrounded by wooden walls with six gates and with openings for guns. The walls were thirteen feet high, and made of timber about a foot square, and some parts of this wall were standing as late as 1812.
Six miles above Greenbush, on the same side of the river, is the busy and prosperous city of Troy, with its population of 56,747. The greater part of the city as built on an alluvial flat, three-fourths of a mile wide, between the Hudson and the high bluffs that edge it in on the east. Mount Ida, which consists chiefly of clay and is noted for several disastrous landslides, stands directly east of the city, while the bluff Mount Olympus, is located on the east. Breaking through these hills in narrow ravines and forming beautiful cascades and a waterpower that is utilized, are the Poesten Kil and Wynant's Kil. A dam thrown across the Hudson also affords waterpower and renders the river above the city navigable for canal boats. The manufactures of the city are of a varied and progressive character, and the city being at the head of tidal water, steamers run to it daily. In addition to its water communication by the Hudson River, the Erie Canal and the Champlain Railroads connect the city with every part of the country. Troy received its city charter in 1816 and in 1862 a fire destroyed about forty acres of its dwellings and did damage to the amount of about $3,000,000. Elsewhere we shall have occasion to refer to this thriving and interesting city.
West Troy is an important manufacturing centre, and a valuable adjunct to the city. It contains the U. S. Arsenal, comprising more than thirty buildings of brick and stone, and covering an area of about 100 acres. This is the chief government manufactory of gun carriages, machinery, equipment, ammunition and military supplies.
A short distance from Troy, and located on the Mohawk River, a tributary of the Hudson, is the great manufacturing city of Cohoes. The water of the whole river is dammed up for manufacturing purposes, and has a total descent of 103 feet; and at the Cohoes Falls it flows over a rocky declivity 78 feet in height, of which 40 feet is a perpendicular fall. The main fall is 900 feet in width and the banks are precipitous, rugged and wild. The river is spanned by a railroad bridge 900 feet in length. The Erie Canal runs through the town, where it rises from the Hudson River by a series of eighteen Locks, to the northerly part of Watervliet, three miles above, where the canal crosses the river in a stone aqueduct, 1,137 feet long, 26 feet high, and resting on 26 piers. Cohoes is noted for the immense cotton factories of the Harmony Mills Co., and also for many knitting, axe and edge tool factories. Four miles above Troy, located on an angle, formed by the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers, is the village of Waterford, where excellent waterpower is obtained from the falls in the Mohawk.
Green Island, the lower end of which is opposite the city of Troy, with which it is connected by bridges, was occupied as a camp during the Revolution by General Gates. Mechanicville, situated 11 miles above Green Island, and lying partly in Half Moon, but principally in Stillwater, Saratoga County, and 62 miles from New York, is an incorporated village, possessing large manufactories of linen thread and paper. The famous battle grounds of Bemis Heights, where the engagements were fought which resulted in the surrender of General Burgoyne to General Gates in 1777, are located in the township of Stillwater. Mechanicville is an important railroad junction. The upper part of the Hudson beyond this point is one of great rural beauty and is intersected by railroads that permit of its easy exploration by those who are interested.
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