Chelsea is an historic hamlet along the east bank of the Hudson River. It has a large collection of homes built from ca. 1835 through the 1930s.
Chelsea, served by the New York Central Railroad, is a quiet hamlet shielded on the east by the hilly bulk of the Van Wyck Ridge rising nearly 400 feet, and still retains the riverside atmosphere of its former shipping days. Picturesque frame houses stand close together in narrow streets which border the shore. Small river craft, sale and motor-powered, line the waterfront.
The broad promontory upon which the village lies was called Low Point by the shore-dwelling Indians. This was to distinguish it from the higher promontory at New Hamburg, up the river. Taking its name finally from the Chelsea Paper Mill, a short-lived enterprise, the settlement had been earlier known as Castle Point, Carthage, and Carthage Landing.
Chelsea has always been a riverman's village. Several captains well known in river history have made it their last anchorage, among them Captain Moses W. Collyer, a one-time sailing master and co-author with William E. Verplanck of Sloops in the Hudson. Chelsea was really a seaport, avers the captain, recalling the halcyon days when nine captains and their ships, besides fishermen with their smaller craft, sailed from here. The Chelsea Yacht Club, instituted by Captain Collyer about 1870, was originally an ice yacht club. Many of the fastest of winter craft skimmed over the frozen river out of Low Point.
A shipyard was formerly operated here by a man named Carman, who is locally claimed to have been the inventor of the center-board. The sloop Matteawan, built by him, was the first boat in which his invention was installed. He also originated other devices, and even constructed a steamboat in the face of sailing masters' skepticism.
Other industries came and went, among them Knox's stream flour mill, and Chelsea Paper Mill, and a Portland cement experiment. It is said that the first Portland cement in America was produced here.