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Germantown Town

Germantown Town Hall is located at 50 Palatine Park Road, Germantown, NY 12526; phone: 518-537-6687.

Beginnings [1]

Germantown, formerly a part of the extensive Livingston Manor, is, as the name suggests, firmly associated with the settlement of the region in the early 18th century by Germans from the war-ravaged Palatinate. This town originally contained 6,000 acres which constituted the acreage purchased by the British Crown in 1710 from Robert and Alicia Livingston, for the settlement of a contingent of Germans who were to be employed in activities to benefit the British Navy, namely the manufacturing of tar, rosin and other materials essential to English naval operations. The location came to be known as East Camp, so as to be distinguished from West Camp, the latter on the opposite side of the Hudson River in northeastern Ulster County. Among the more prominent of the families associated with the early settlement of the region was the Rockefeller family; a stone house built by this family ca. 1750. While some of the original Palatine settlers left this area in the decades following their initial arrival, other families remained and it was they who shaped the development of the area, with the hamlet of Germantown, located approximately a mile east of the Hudson River, emerging as the most settled section. Agriculture in the region followed a predictable pattern, with the cultivation of grains characteristic of the 18th century, being replaced in the 19th century by the cultivation of market produces such as fruit—including grapes, pears, apples, cherries and berries. Services were provided to area farmers in the Germantown hamlet, with the Hudson River serving as the primary line of transportation and communication prior to the arrival of the railroad.

  1. William E. Krattinger, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Dick House, Germantown, Columbia County, New York, nomination document, 2008, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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