Hurley Village Stone Houses
The Dutch Stone Houses of Hurley Village and Vicinity National Historic Landmark was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination documentation.  Adaptation copyright © 2010, The Gombach Group.
The Dutch Stone Houses of Hurley Village and Vicinity National Historic Landmark consists of three geographically discrete components along the fringes of the Esopus Creek flood plain: a) the Hurley Village District; b) the Hardenbergh House; and c) the Matthias Ten Eyck House. These components are interrelated by their association with the early Dutch settlement of the Esopus Valley and by their characteristic Dutch stone buildings.
The Hurley Village District
The Hurley Village District is strung out in linear fashion along what is variously known as Main Street or Hurley Street. This street runs from northwest to southeast, perpendicular to and on the southeastern side of the Esopus Creek flood plain. The Hurley Village District contains ten stone houses — most of early to mid-18th century date — built by the area's Dutch families. These buildings, especially along the east side of the street, are built along the line of the present sidewalk and are relatively close to one another, so that the effect is one of a tightly compacted street front.
The Dutch stone houses in the village share common characteristics with one another and with the Hardenbergh and Matthias Ten Eyck Houses outside the district. All, with one exception, are 1-1/2 stories in height with gable roofs of moderate pitch. Additions have generally been made laterally, so that the overall effect is of a long, low building. All are constructed of Ulster County limestone, sometimes laid up as random rubble, sometimes coursed and squared. Trim is wood, and chimneys, usually located at the interior of the gable are brick. The condition of the buildings is good to excellent.
Also within the Hurley Village District are a cemetery associated with the early settlement, a vacant lot adjacent to the cemetery, and a mid-19th century frame church, as well as a scattering of frame houses ranging in date from the early 19th to early 20th centuries.
The three elements of the Dutch Stone Houses of Hurley Village and Vicinity National Historic Landmark reflect the influence of early Dutch settlement in the Hudson Valley. Hurley Village contains one of the largest concentrations of early stone houses still in a village setting; the Hardenbergh House, while close to the village and sharing its Dutch antecedents, is additionally significant for its associations with Sojourner Truth; and the Matthias Ten Eyck House is representative of the Dutch farmsteads which surrounded and were related to the village.
Hurley was founded in 1662 as Nieuw Dorp by Dutch and Huguenots from Wiltwyck (now Kingston), a few miles away. A year later the new village was attacked and burned by the Esopus Natives; at least part of the Native Americans' grievance was that they had not been paid for their lands. The village was soon rebuilt although many of the Huguenot settlers moved from Hurley to found New Paltz (a portion of which is also a National Historic Landmark district). Thus, the rebuilt village largely reflects the culture of the remaining Dutch.
Nieuw Dorp was the last village in the region to be established under Dutch authority. The settlement, along with the remainder of New Netherland, was transferred to English control in 1664. Its name was changed in 1669 to Hurley, although it remained a Dutch village in language, customs and architecture. Its growth in the early 18th century stemmed mainly from its location along the Old Mine Road, which linked Dutch settlements in the Upper Delaware Valley with Kingston.
The extant stone houses date principally from the early to mid-18th century, many decades after the change to English control. The persistence of the Dutch heritage is evident in the architectural tradition even at that late date, although some English influences can be seen. The Dutch elongated cottage of stone, frequently with multiple entrances, remained the prevailing form. Roof pitches, however, became less steep, while formally organized facades became more common.
Although culturally insulated, Hurley saw its share of notable events. In the fall of 1777, the American General George Clinton made his headquarters at the Houghtaling House en route to Kingston, although that city was burned before he could complete the journey. Hurley became a haven for refugees from the Kingston fire, and the home of the Council of Safety. The Council met at the Jan Van Deusen House from mid-November to mid-December, earning Hurley a place in history as temporary capital of New York. During this same period of activity Lt. David Taylor, a British spy, was captured, detained in the DuMond House (Spy House) and later hanged.
Hurley's significance, however, stems not so much from its historical role as from the preservation of its 18th century stone houses. Unlike so-called "towns," which are self-conscious specimens, Hurley has continued to evolve through daily habitation and use. Thus, houses from the 19th and 20th centuries (including 20th century stone versions of the 18th century houses) coexist with the earlier buildings, and the early houses exhibit a variety of changes made during the past two centuries. The overall effect is of a 200-year old residential main street containing a nationally significant collection of Dutch stone houses, frame houses built up to the mid-19th century locally significant as part of the significant architectural evolution of the community and later non-contributing yet compatible residential buildings.
Not all Hurley's early stone houses are in the Hurley Historic District. Two blocks away on Schoolhouse Road is the Hardenbergh House, significant architecturally as an early Dutch Colonial stone house, and historically as the early home of Belle Hardenbergh (better known as Sojourner Truth). Destined to become one of the most noted female orators on abolition and women's rights, Sojourner Truth (c.1797-1883) lived here in slavery until she was sold in 1810.
Hurley was also the focus of farms settled by the Dutch in the surrounding countryside. Several of these were located on Hurley Mountain Road (and still exist with varying degrees of integrity). One of the most notable is the Matthew Ten Eyck House, bearing its construction date — 1750 — in iron numerals on the front facade. Its significance is as a rural architectural expression of the same heritage which produced the village houses. Still located on a working farm whose other buildings have been replaced as agricultural technology has advanced, the house and its setting comprise this element of the landmark.
In sum, the three landmark components — the Hurley Historic District, the Hardenbergh House and the Matthias Ten Eyck House — represent the early settlement and development trends of the Dutch who played such a vital role in the colonization of the Hudson River Valley. Within the landmark are both village and rural stone houses, impacted only slightly by later development. In addition, the landmark encompasses sites of important historical association.
Eberlein, Harold Donaldson and Cortland Van Dyke Hubbard. Historic Houses of the Hudson Valley. New York: Bonanza Books. 1942.
The Junior League of Kingston, N.Y. Survey of Buildings in Historic Ulster County. Kingston, N.Y.: The Junior League of Kingston, New York, Inc. 1969.
The Junior League of Kingston, N.Y. Early Architecture in Ulster County. Kingston, N.Y.: The Junior League of Kingston, New York, Inc.
Reynolds, Helen Wilkinson. Dutch Houses in the Hudson Valley Before 1776. New York: Holland Society of New York. 1929 (Reprinted: Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1965).
Hine, C.G. The Old Mine Road. 1909 (Reprinted: Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1963).
Dillion, James. "Hurley Historic District." National Historic Landmark nomination form. National Park Service, September, 1976.
Magruder, Cheryl. "Van Deusen House and the Historic District of Hurley, Hurley, New York." A Report to the New York State Historic Trust, April, 1968.