The organic development of hamlets is particular to the mid-Hudson region. By contrast, early New England towns were settled by a homogenous group that organized a central green with “the” church, and roads radiated out in a planned fashion. Locally, hamlet’s emerged by the early 19th century usually at a stream that accommodated mills, and a core set of skills and services like blacksmithing, and a post office. Towns like Clinton and Milan never developed a town center. An important part of Dutchess County worthy of preservation, in addition to the Great Estates, in addition to the greater number of smaller buildings, is the underlying landscape unique to the area.
DCHS Trustee David Turner pulls from his expansive collection to feature views into our past. Each post made during the month of May 2022, historic preservation month, will be curated here. At the bottom of this page you will find a report from our 1919 Yearbook, it is a list of early hamlets, many of which do not exist today.
Hover over image for description, click to enlarge:
View up the Oblong Valley from Amenia Union, NY c1908. This vintage postcard looks north, showing the farmland along Leedsville Road. The church on the bottom left still stands as a private residence on Amenia Union Road, but without its steeple.
Red Oaks Mill Road from New Hackensack Road, Town of Lagrange NY c1906. On the left you can see the old mill named after the surrounding red oak trees. The house on the right still stands but is now vacant.
General Store and Post Office in Bulls Head, Town of Clinton, NY c1910. Located at the intersection of Old Bulls Head Road and Pumpkin Lane, this building was once the center of the small community of Bulls Head. The old store still stands today and is now a nicely kept private home.
The New Bridge at Swartoutville, Hopewell Junction, NY c1910. Today this is Route 82 just east of the intersection of All Angels Hill Road. Showing the bridge just after its completion, area residents and workmen line the span, admiring the new addition to the hamlet.
Ackert Hook, Town of Rhinebeck NY c1908. I believe this was the one room school house for the hamlet. This building, now a private residence, still stands at the intersection of Ackert Hook Road and Primrose Road. In fact, the large tree at the far left of the photo, still stands proudly at that corner today as well.
The Largest Tree in the County, Wassaic, Town of Amenia, NY c1908. The largest tree in Dutchess County today is the Dover Oak, located where the Appalachian Trail crosses West Dover Road in the town of Pawling.
Central New England Railroad Engine passing the Glenham Railroad Station, Town of Fishkill, NY. Although the station has long disappeared, the tracks still remain. This view, looking from Old Town Road to Washington Avenue, shows the train heading east away from Beacon and towards Fishkill and further on to Brewster.
Whaley Lake Inn, Town of Pawling, NY. Perched on a hill, the Whaley Lake Inn had a commanding view of Whaley Lake and surrounding hills. The popular hotel still stands today as a private residence on the west side of the lake along Route 292.
D.M. Vandewater’s Store, Verbank Station, Town of Union Vale, NY c1909. Verbank Station, more commonly known as Verbank Village was a small hamlet just west of the larger hamlet of Verbank.
Vanderwater’s Store, shown here, specialized in faming equipment, seeds, and fresh vegetables. Located near the small freight station in the hamlet, the store was able to furnish the needs of the many farmers in the area, as they passed by his store on the way to shipping their produce to the city. This building still stands, as a private residence, on Verbank Village Road.
M.J. Sweet General Store, Shultzville, NY c1910. The house to the left no longer stands but the store still remains. This is one of the only general stores that still operates today. Nicely restored, the store called the Golden Russet still sells items you’d find in a general store plus a nice cafe of freshly made food.
Main Street, Rock City, Town of Milan, NY. Rock City, known for its large “Fork in the Road” sculpture, is situated at the intersection of Route 199 and Route 308 where the towns of Milan, Rhinebeck and Red Hook meet. This view, looking west, is now Brooklyn Heights Road looking towards Route 308. You can see the old Battenfeld General Store on the far left behind the early automobile. Although the barns no longer stand, the Battenfeld Store, and the store across the street are now private residences.
Maple Hill Farm, Billings, Town of Lagrange, NY. Located on a small hill, this center hall colonial house had a commanding view of the surrounding farm fields. The house, with the addition of dormer windows in the roof, still stands at the intersection of Route 82 and Burdick Road.
Edgewater Mansion, Barrytown, Town of Red Hook, NY. Built in the 1820s as a belated wedding gift to Margaretta Livingston from her father John R. Livingston. In the 1950s, the house was owned by author Gore Vidal. He would run his unsuccessful 1960 congressional campaign from the house. Today, Edgewater is owned by the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust.
Old General Store, Beekman, Town of Beekman, NY. Today, the old General Store has been restored and converted into apartments on Beekman Road. Even the old barn has been converted into a private home.
George’s Farm & Restaurant, Dutchess Junction, Town of Fishkill, NY. Located on Route 9D, south of the city of Beacon, George’s Farm was a popular stopping point for auto tourists driving up from the city. Both buildings still stand and have been converted into apartments and a private home.
Main Street, Lafayetteville, Town of Milan, NY. Located on the far left is the Lafayette House Hotel. The yellow buildings just beyond that were the General Store and Post Office. Sadly, the colonial houses on the right side of the image no longer stand. The old Lafayette House and Post Office Buildings do still stand on Route 199, just east of the Taconic Parkway.
Dutchess & Columbia Railroad Wreck, Stissing, Town of Stanford, NY. Photo taken on May 13, 1893, two days after the accident. The back of the photograph states, “Head on collision between two freight trains on first trestle east of Stissing.” Railroad accidents were a common occurrence at the time. Luckily a passenger train was not involved.
Church at Clove, Town of Union Vale, NY. The small community of Clove is tucked in a quiet corner of Dutchess County. With the nearest railroad station at Poughquag in 1900, the hamlet never grew much larger than its colonial past. Consisting of a small general store, church, blacksmith shop, school and creamery, the hamlet was a close knit community. Today, the church still stands on Clove Road and is occupied by the Valley Bible Fellowship Church.
Point Street, New Hamburg, Town of Poughkeepsie, NY. Little has changed from this old view of the hamlet. Mostly tucked between the railroad and the river, New Hamburg still has many of its historic buildings.
“Driftwood” Summer Home of the Collyer’s, Chelsea, NY c1915. The Collyers have a long history of sailing on the Hudson River. John Collyer, born in the early 1800s, owned the Sailing Sloop “Benjamin Franklin” that sailed from Poughkeepsie carrying crockery to various ports along the Hudson. His son, Moses W. Collyer would grow the family business by sailing the Schooner “Iron Age” and “Henry B. Fidderman”. By 1878, he had moved onto Steamers and captained the Henrietta Collyer, which transported Iron and Limestone.
In 1899, Moses built his home “Driftwood” on River Road South. By 1915, Moses was retired, using the house in Chelsea as a summer home and living the winters at 829A Greene Avenue in Brooklyn. Note the small sapling on the left side of the porch in the old photograph is now a giant, eclipsing the size of the impressive house.
Camp Rest, Rochdale, Town of Poughkeepsie, NY c1920s. Located at the northern end of the hamlet on Rochdale Road, Camp Rest was a vacation spot for the thrifty vacationer. Camping in these large tents was popular for ordinary city dwellers trying to escape the heat and cramped conditions in Poughkeepsie. Wappingers Creek ran along the back of the campground with views of rolling hills and lined by shade trees. Today Rochdale is a quiet hamlet, hidden off Route 44 between Poughkeepsie and Pleasant Valley.
General Store in Mabbettsville, Town of Washington, NY.
Located at the intersection of Route 44, Mabbettsville Road and Little Rest Road, the hamlet of Mabbettsville is still a busy hamlet. With Ruge’s Chevrolet the largest landmark in the area, it would be easy to miss the small deli & convenience store on the corner. The building actually has a long history has the local general store going back over a 100 years. Even the old house next door to the general store still stands along with its large historic barn.
Colors of the 7th Infantry, Camp Whitman, Green Haven, Town of Beekman, NY c1916. A powerful image showing the 7th Infantry of the New York National Guard marching into Camp Whitman. The military camp would house over 15,000 troops by the time this photograph was taken in the spring of 1916. Here, surrounded by rolling hills in a quiet corner of the Town of Beekman, these men would learn soldier fieldcraft, leadership and logistics that would prove vital for their future service.
This unit was the first from New York State to join the defense of the US Border in Texas during the Mexican Border War. Arriving in July of 1916, the 7th Infantry was stationed in McAllen Texas, defending ranchers from raiders commanded by the revolutionary Pancho Villa. By February of 1917, Pancho Villa and his revolutionaries were pushed back into Mexico and US Troops had left Mexican territory. Many of these men would return to New York expecting their service to be completed.
Just two months later however, these men would be called on again to serve with the declaration of war against Germany. The 7th Infantry would be combined with other units and renumbered the 27th Division of New York. On April 20th 1918, the 27th Division left New York headed to Belgium. Participating in their first action at Dickebusch Lake and Vierstratt Ridge in Southern Belgium, their biggest test would be at the Hindenburg Line, a 90 mile long German fortification.
In September of 1918, the 27th Division, in conjunction with other American, English and French divisions were able to push the Germans back to the Le Selle River. Signaling the end of the war, it would only be a few months before Germany would sign the Armistice and surrender.
The fierce fighting would cost both sides dearly. The 27th Division lost over 1,400 lives during their eight months of fighting. Over 6,000 service men were wounded during the battles, some of which would die of their wounds once they returned home. All told, the 27th division suffered a total of 8,209 assorted casualties (dead and wounded) throughout the course of the war. Let us remember these brave soldiers and the countless other men and women that have served and sacrificed this Memorial Day.
General Store & Post Office, West Pawling, Town of Pawling, NY. It would be easy to miss this old stone house as you drive down Route 55 between Pawling & Poughquag NY. But if you turn onto Old Route 55 and stop at its intersection with Route 292, you’ll find this historic house still standing. The area, sometimes refered to as “Stonehouse” was a popular stopping point for travelers between Connecticut and Poughkeepsie for hundreds of years. At the time of this photograph, around 1900, the house was the areas general store and post office. The man pictured holding his horse, was the owner of the house and store and was known to be a thorn in the side of local government. At one point, even trying to secede the area from Dutchess County and joining Putnam County.
Although the general store and post office portion of the building no longer stand, the original Dutch Colonial Stone House still stands. Even the tree to the right of the house in the old photograph still stands today.
DCHS YB 1919 Original Settlements