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20. GROVEVILLE PARK (L), Washington Ave. and Park St., once
an amusement resort, is now the assembly grounds and cottage colony of
the Nazarene Camp Meeting Association. The park is owned and operated
by the Nazarene Society of the Nazarene Church. The members, recruited
from a wide area, gather here in large numbers during the summer months
to receive religious education and attend daily services. About 50 one-
room cottages are scattered about under the trees for the use of visitors
who have no camping equipment.

L. from Washington Ave. on Park St., keep R.; L. on Liberty St.

21. The GROVEVILLE FLATS (R), across the creek, are a nar
row flood plain of the Fishkill. The mill and tenant houses were erected
in 1873-75 by A. T. Stewart, merchant prince of Manhattan. The mills
were a carpet factory; but now they are occupied by several small manu
facturing concerns.

R. from Liberty St. on East Main St.

22. The EAST MAIN ST. BRIDGE (Fountain Square Bridge) of
fers a view of the Mill Rapids (R) at the center of the old mill district
of Matteawan. Factory walls rise abruptly from the Fishkill. The extensive
yellow brick buildings (R), formerly the plant of the Matteawan Manu
facturing Co., makers of wool hats, are now occupied by the Braendly Dye
Works.

L. from East Main St., on Main St., L. on Tioronda Ave., R. on Van
Nydvck St.

23. The BRETT-TELLER HOUSE (L), corner Van Nydeck St.
and Teller Ave., is the oldest standing building and one of the first to be
built (1709) in Dutchess County.

This home of romantic and historic memories is a noteworthy landmark
of the Hudson valley and a splendid example of the simple, solid Dutch
architecture of its period. It is a story-and-a-half high; three long, graceful
dormers on each side of the house, project from the gently sloping peaked
roof. The house has thick stone foundations ; and the frame of massive timbers
is held together by wooden pins. The main body of the house is sided with

74



scalloped cedar shakes 4 feet long, varying from 5 to 9 inches in width
and fastened with handwrought nails. The east wing has wide clapboards.

The interior, staircase, and woodwork details are representative of the
better homes of the Colonial period. A mantel in the dining room is very
plain, with a fluted pattern beneath the shelf; another, which was put in
prior to 1800, replacing one faced with old Dutch tile, is of elaborate design
with marble facing. The dining room has two alcoves with graceful arched
and fluted columns. A large fireplace in the old beamed kitchen still has
the crane and large iron pot. The cellar door is hung on wooden hinges
and is fastened by a wooden latch which is lifted from the outer side by
a string.

The 4 acres of land on which the homestead stands was part of the large
tract of 85,000 acres acquired by Francis Rombout and Gulian Verplanck.
Verplanck died before the patent was issued. (See History.) Title to these
4 acres has never been transferred and still rests on the original patent. When
Francis Rombout died in 1691, his share of 28,000 acres "in the Wappings"
passed to his daughter, Catharyna, who married Roger Brett. (See Point of
Interest No. 12.) The Homestead is still owned and occupied by their
descendants.

After Roger Brett's early death, Madam Brett possessed and managed her
vast heritage. She presented a commanding figure as she rode on horseback
over her land, administering its affairs and promoting its development until
well advanced in years. On church and gala days she rode in her coach-and-
four, with three Negroes in attendance. She was a friend of the Indians, and
was active in community affairs, holding a partnership in the Frankfort Store
house, the region's first freighting establishment, at the Lower Landing. She
died in 1764 and was buried in the cemetery of the Dutch Church at Fishkill,
which she helped found. (See p. 82.) She left two sons, Francis and Robert.

During Revolutionary times the Homestead was occupied by Maj. Henry
Schenck, who in 1763 had married Hannah, daughter of Francis Brett and
granddaughter of Madam Brett. As Quartermaster in Washington's Army,
he stored military supplies here. The Homestead was then famed for its
hospitality and was a frequent resort of Army officers. Washington, La
fayette, Von Steuben, Abraham Yates, and other distinguished patriots
were guests.

The name Teller Homestead was applied to the house as a result of the
marriage of Alice Schenck, second daughter of Maj. Henry Schenck, to
Isaac dePeyster Teller in 1790. The latter purchased the property in 1800 in
the settlement of the estate of Major Schenck, who died in 1799. One of
Teller's daughters, Margaret Schenck Teller, who married Rev. Dr. Robert
Boyd Van Kleeck, inherited the Homestead, which upon her death in 1888
passed on to their daughter, Agnes Boyd Crary, wife of Rev. Dr. Robert
Fulton Crary, oldest grandson of Robert Fulton. It is now held in her
estate. The present occupants are the seventh generation in direct line to own
and occupy the Homestead.

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R. from ran Nydeck St. on Teller Ave., which becomes Fishkill Ave.;
L. on Ver plane k Ave.

24. MATTEAWAN STATE HOSPITAL (R), Verplanck Ave. and
Canon St., (admission 1-4 weekdays only) is devoted to the incarceration and
treatment of the criminal insane. The buildings, which are on a reserva
tion of about 900 acres, reflect several periods of construction in their varied
but harmonious architecture. All are of red brick with many barred windows.
The main unit is in the state institutional, pseudo-Romanesque style. An
other unit has red tiled roofs ; and another has small, white-trimmed windows
and a gray slate roof of low gable. The officers' residence unit suggests
Elizabethan architecture with half-timbering and leaded windows. A farm
colony and various service buildings complete the plant.

The hospital contains 1,348 patients (Aug., 1936). Completion of the
building under construction will increase the capacity to 1,421. The number
of patients has been increasing at the rate of 30 to 40 annually.

Before the State acquired the property, it was the home and training
ground of the famous John J. Scanlon trotting horses, winners and record
holders of Hambletonian races. The Abbott (2:03^4) and Kentucky Union
(2:07j4) are buried beside the readjust back of the present fence. The
pyramid which marked their graves has been removed.

L. from Verplanck Ave., on North Ave.

25. The SOUTHERN DUTCHESS COUNTRY CLUB (R), fac
ing Verplanck Ave., has for its nucleus an old Dutch building; date of
erection is unknown. It is a low built, plain stone dwelling with a wide
sweep of roof and thick walls. Early in the 19th century, it was slightly
remodeled by John Peter DeWindt (see Point of Interest No. 3) for the
use of his son, and was called "Stone Cot."

At this point is a stretch of sandy beach, rare along the river. This is a
small popular bathing place. Benches and tables are provided for picnic
parties.

Straight on North Ave. to Bank Square.

Additional Points of Interest

26. EUSTATIA, on Monell Place, is the Monell-Van Houten House,
an Elizabethan-American country home built in 1867 by Andrew Jackson
Downing, the landscape artist and horticulturalist who was lost in the Henry
Clay steamboat disaster. This was Downing's first practical example of his
conception of an American country home. Downing's widow, who was a
daughter of John Peter DeWindt, married Judge John Monell.

A short distance S. of Eustatia stood the DeWindt house. DeWindt, who
was called "the Firebrand," was a West India trader, prominent in Hudson
River commerce, and helped to develop Fishkill Landing as a port. Under
his patronage, James Mackin, a poor boy, rose later to be Senator and
State Treasurer. Mackin's wife, nee Countess Sally Britton Spottiswood,
known as the "Belle of St. Louis," was an authoress and philanthropist. On

76



the DeWindt grounds lived Clarence Cooke, an art critic of the last century.
His studio, Copy Cotte, is now in ruins.

27. The BOGARDUS-DEWINDT-VAN HOUTEN HOUSE, 16
Tompkins Ave., is a picturesqne dwelling, almost hidden from view by
lilac bushes. Erected before 1800, it was first the home of Peter Bogardus, a
local merchant, was acquired by John Peter DeWindt about 1825 and
occupied by his widow ; and was later purchased by the Van Wagenen
family. It is a good example of the story-and-a-half frame Dutch homestead
of Revolutionary times. The house has interesting details of window frames,
original trim, and original fireplaces. Except for the addition of a wing and
dormers and the removal of a Dutch oven, it is little changed.

28. The KNEVELS-STEARNS HOUSE (Sunny Fields), 75 Knevels
Ave., erected in 1835, is a weathered shingle house of frame construction with
plain gabled roof. Gertrude Knevels, a modern novelist, lived here early
in the 20th century. According to tradition, the ghost of an Indian chief,
stalking from the trees under which he used to live, frequently visits the
grounds.

29. DENNINGS POINT was early known as "the island" in Fish-
kill Bay. It was in possession of Peter DuBois under a life lease from
Madam Brett. Later, when the DePeysters came into possession, it was
called DePeyster's Point. The Verplancks owned it for a time. William
Allen, a grandson of William Allen, founder of Allentown, Pa., built a
mansion here about 1814. Only the walls remain, on the high ground at the
center of the point. This house contained an octagonal room, an eccentric
form of architecture fashionable in that era. William Allen and his wife,
according to tradition, lived here in such a lavish scale of elegance and
hospitality that they became financially embarrassed. At the end of nine
years they were obliged to sell the estate to the Dennings, who built a cause
way to the mainland and called the promontory Presqu' lie (almost an
island). Denning's famous cider mill, a large brick structure, still stands on
the inner shore. Nearby is a fisherman's cottage ; and huge reels for shad nets
are spread on the stony beach where the shoals stretch out into the little
bay between the point and the mouth of Fishkill Creek. Washington was
in the habit of landing on this promontory after crossing from his head
quarters at Newburgh. Under large oaks on the river shore he found an
orderly waiting with his horse and rode to the highway leading to New
England.

The DENNINGS POINT BRICK WORKS, at the foot of Dennings
Ave., on the "neck" of the point, is one of the more complete and up-to-
date of the electrical machine-operated yards in America. This concern began
making the widely known Hudson River common brick here in 1880.
Nearby are sites of pioneer brickyards.

30. The HOWLAND LIBRARY, 477 Main St., was established in
1872. The brick building of the Norwegian chalet type was built from plans
brought to this country by General Howland. There are 15,000 volumes
available to the public.

77



31. The SURVEYOR'S OFFICE, 181 Main St., is probably the
oldest surveyor's office in continuous operation. It contains a file of old
deeds and maps, including local charts drawn by Simeon DeWitt, official
geographer of the Revolution.

Points of Interest in Environs

32. The CASINO, at the head of the Incline Railway (See Point of
Interest No. 16) , besides being famous as a resort, is noted for the view it
commands. Under the flank of the l,200-ft.-high mountain spur, the course
of the Fishkill can be traced to the bay. Southwest, the vista extends to
the north portal of the Hudson Highlands. To the west are Cornwall Bay,
Sleeping Indian Mountain, and the terraced city of Newburgh, backed by
Snake Hill. A blue barrier on the far horizon, the Shawangunk range forms a
curtain in the west. The 4,000-ft. crests of the Catskills loom in the north
west.

Rising still higher above the Casino is the crest of MOUNT BEACON
(1,500 alt.), reached by a foot trail, 1 m. This peak has gone by the names
of Solomon's Bergh, Beacon Hill, North Beacon, and Old Beacon. The name
"Beacon" dates back to 1777 when signal fires were lighted on the moun
tain as a means of communication with military outposts in Connecticut,
Westchester, and Sandy Hook. The city has borrowed the name of the
mountain. The summit duplicates the view obtainable at the Casino.

From Mount Beacon a trail extends to SOUTH BEACON PEAK (1,635
alt.), 1 m., the highest in the Highlands of the Hudson. It is called South
Beacon Hill by the United States Geological Survey, and was named New
Beacon or Grand Sachem in Hayward's Gazetteer of 1853. Hayward writes:
"The river is visible from West Point to Tappan Bay on the south, and for
an extent of 50 miles on the north. The surrounding rich and highly culti
vated country, dotted with villages, and wanting in nothing that renders so
extensive a landscape lovely, lies as a picture before the observer." From the
fire tower which rises 75 ft. above the summit, the skyscrapers of Manhat
tan are visible on exceptionally clear days. , The Empire State Building can
be seen with the naked eye, but binoculars are necessary to bring out the New
York outer and inner harbors.



78



VI LAGE of FISHKILL



*XS/>, 'V-x
I **&*== i +\




FISHKILL VILLAGE



Railroad Stations: New York, New Haven & Hartford R. R. (freight only).
Busses: Beacon-Fishkill Bus Line, New York-Montreal Bus Line, Mohawk Bus Line.
Taxis: To Beacon, one to four passengers, $i ; each additional passenger, 2$c.

Accommodations: Union Hotel (E) ; Ye Olde Fishkill Inne (A and E) ; Elm Lodge
(A and E) ; Old Post Road Inn (A and E).

Recreation: Hiking trails over nearby mountains. Swimming in Fishkill and Clove
Creeks (stocked with fish). Skiing at Norway Ski Jump and on trails over the moun
tains.

Annual events: Middle Atlantic Ski-jumping Tournament, winter, when condition
of snow permits.

FISHKILL VILLAGE (200 alt., 553 pop.) is a residential community
at the junction of US 9 and State 52, 4.5 miles east of Beacon, 13.5 miles
south of Poughkeepsie. Sheltered by the sturdy Fishkill mountain range,
this secluded little village still pursues serenely the placid life of its Dutch
pioneers. Main Street, most important of the village thoroughfares, is broad
and gracious, arched by great elm trees. To the east and west of the re
stricted business section, stand fine old dwellings and historic churches.
Neat white houses, some with Dutch doorways opening upon the street,
lend an atmosphere of neighborliness suggestive of an earlier day. Several
more spacious mansions are set in deep lawns bordered by old fashioned
gardens and white picket fences. Among these relics of the past there are
few tokens of today's world and never an intimation of tomorrow's.

Fishkill was settled by the Dutch a few years after the granting of the
Rombout Patent in 1685. English colonists from Ulster County across
the river had seen the low, swampy land of the Fishkill valley and had
scornfully rejected it as worthless; but the Dutch, accustomed to the low
lands of their native country, were undaunted. Gradually they moved in,
cleared the wilderness, drained the swamps, and built their homes. To
the stream which flows through the valley they gave the name Vis Kil
(Dutch, fish creek), which, in its Anglicized form, Fishkill, was applied in
time to the village, the township, and the nearby mountains.

The first to occupy the land now comprised within the village limits
were Johannes Ter Boss and Henry Rosecrance, whose names appear in a
list of freeholders of Dutchess County prepared in 1740. Ter Boss was an
eccentric man. When a controversy arose in the Dutch church, Ter Boss
transferred to the Presbyterian church at BrinckerhofrVille, to which he
took his Negroes one Sabbath and sat among them, to the consternation of
the congregation.

The village probably owes its existence to the fact that here in 1731 the
settlers built their first church, in which on alternate Sabbath mornings
the people gathered for worship, many coming from as far as Hopewell
and New Hackensack. De Chastellux, the French traveler, who visited

79



Dutchess County 45 years later, found in Fishkill only one Dutch and one
English church, 12 to 14 dwellings, an inn, and a schoolhouse. Nevertheless,
he rated Fishkill as the only village in the county, outside of Poughkeepsie,
deserving mention.

This was Fishkill at the outbreak of the Revolution: in that struggle
the little village played an important part. It lay on the only practical
military route through the Highlands of the Hudson, as well as upon the
most direct route from the mid-Hudson valley to New England; it was
readily accessible to the river and to West Point; and it was the center of
a highly productive agricultural area capable of provisioning an army.

It was early anticipated that the British forces in New York would
attempt to establish direct communication with Quebec through the Hudson-
Champlain valleys and thereby isolate New England from the other rebellious
Colonies. Their path would lie through Wiccopee Pass, the narrow defile
immediately south of the village, which might easily be held by a small army
against a much larger attacking force. Quick to recognize its strategic import
ance, Washington had the pass fortified ; three batteries of artillery were sta
tioned there in 1776 and redoubts were built. On the plain to the east
ward of Fishkill, and across the creek, barracks were erected for the quarter
ing of troops, while Washington and his aides were quartered in and about
the village in homes, some of which still stand. Storehouses were built for
military supplies, and Fishkill became the military base and supply depot
for Dutchess County, and headquarters for a year of the State clothing
stores. On the good-hearted Dutch wives devolved the self-imposed task of
making additional clothes for the poorly clad soldiers and preparing supplies
for the military hospital.

The Dutch Church was converted into a prison in which Tories, deserters,
and British prisoners were confined. The English Church became the Army
hospital, in which victims of smallpox, then raging in the ranks, and men
wounded in the battle of White Plains, October 28, 1776, were cared
for. According to an eye-witness, after the White Plains engagement the
dead were piled like cordwood in the Fishkill street between the two
churches.

The New York Provincial Convention, evacuating New York City on
August 29, 1776, before the threatened invasion of the British, came to Fish-
kill. Its first sessions in the village were held September 5 of that year in
the English church, and later sessions were held in the more commodious
Dutch church until February, 1777, when it removed to Kingston.

To add to the burden of the villagers, numerous refugees, the "poor and
distressed," from New York and White Plains fled to Fishkill, where they
found asylum in the already overcrowded community. Among these was
Samuel Loudon, the Whig printer, who set up his press in the house of Robert
Brett (see Obadiah Bowne house, p. 84), and issued on October 1, 1776, the
first number of the New York Packet and American Advertiser, the first
newspaper to be printed in Dutchess County. In this house he also printed the

80



ISjflt




Reformed Dutch Church at Fis/ikill




Road t* old tending near motfth of Wapp'mger Creek



first copies of the Constitution of the State of New York, drawn up by John
Jay, the Journal of the Legislature, and most of Washington's military
orders. The State Constitutional Convention met in the Bowne house in
1776, and the following year ratified Jay's Constitution in Kingston.
Loudon continued his paper until the end of the war, when he returned to
New York.

After the war, the Dutch Church, emptied of its prisoners, was in such
disrepair, that it was deemed unfit for use as a House of God. Accordingly,
poor as they had become after bearing the burdens of war for seven years,
the congregation decided to rebuild their church. The work, begun in
1785, required 10 years to complete. All stone, timber, hauling, and labor
were donated by members of the congregation. When the building was half
done funds failed, and the villagers were obliged to borrow money from
their relatives in Long Island to carry on.

Although in 1789 Fishkill was considered important enough to be granted
a post office, one of but seven then in the State, it appears that from the
Revolutionary period to the Civil War the village grew slowly. The
construction of the Dutchess and Columbia Railroad in 1869 brought
the village a fresh impulse. A paper bag mill and other factories were
built and the town's population mounted to almost 1,000. At that time
Fishkill had four churches, a "select" school, a free school, two banks,
and a weekly newspaper. Such prosperity, however, was not destined to en
dure. Within four years the factories closed their doors, and in December,
1873, the year of the panic, a fire, said to have been the work of an incen
diary, destroyed many of the historic buildings. From this disaster Fishkill
never recovered. By 1880 its population had decreased to 800, and today
numbers but half that of 1870. The "select" school, one of the two banks,
and the weekly newspaper are gone, and only the churches, the free school,
and the savings bank remain. Most of the Revolutionary landmarks in the
vicinity of Fishkill are included in Tour No. 3.

Contemporary Fishkill is primarily the home of retired farmers and
professional and business men, and the village has known some development
as a suburb of Beacon. Foreign-born families, although they settle in the
countryside, have avoided the village itself.

FOOT TOUR (1 m.)

The tour begins at the western entrance to the village on Main St.
(State 52).

1. Adjoining the now unused airplane landing field (R) on the out
skirts of the village is the WHITE HOUSE (R), approached by a long,
straight, tree-lined driveway. Dr. Bartow White, who built it in 1805,
called it "Avenue Farm." A frame building, two stories high, with a
service wing at the east end, it is a good example of the Dutchess County
house of its period. Silver hardware w r as used throughout.

Dr. White served as a member of Congress from 1825 to 1827 and as
a presidential elector for New York State in 1840. In this house he reared

81



his ten children, one son and nine daughters, the last two of whom he
humorously named Octavia and Novenia.

On both sides of the street are substantial houses set in spacious grounds,
varying in architecture from the simple Dutch Colonial to the more ornate
style of the nineties.

2. The edge of the business section is marked by the small brick BANK
BUILDING (R), now Dean's, the shop of the village historian. The
building is little changed since the banking business was suspended in 1877.

3. East one-half block is the JAMES GIVEN HOUSE (L), a white
house with green shutters, and fenced along the street front by white
wooden pickets. It is a solid frame building of generous proportions. Its
doorway is Georgian, the pilasters of the frame grooved in the upper portion.
Given, the builder, came to Fishkill from Ireland in 1798. Prospering
as a merchant, he built this dwelling in 1811, naming it "Shillelagh," after
the town in which probably he was born. It is related that a bottle of wine
used in christening the house failed to break, an incident which was taken
to be an omen that the structure would never burn. The house was in fact
spared by the 1873 fire. Given's memory is also perpetuated in the elms
which he set out along Main Street the year he built his house.

4. The ELM at the entrance to VAN WYCK HALL (L) is the
pride of Fishkill. Planted about 1790, it now measures over 4 ft. in diam
eter. The hall is a large frame building used as a community center.

5. Across the street is the UNION HOTEL (R), a red brick build
ing occupying the site of an inn kept in Revolutionary days by James Cooper,
which may have been for a time the headquarters of Washington during the
encampment in the village. Prisoners of war were tried here. The inn
perished in the great fire.

6. Just beyond is YE OLDE FISHKILL INNE (R) formerly the
Mansion House, built by Cornelius Van Wyck in 1820. Though altered,
it retains its stout oak timbers, original doorway, and triple windows in each
gable end. Major Hatch, later manager of the Poughkeepsie Hotel (See
Poughkeepsie, p. 38) was the first host. Among the noted men who have
stopped here were President Martin Van Buren, Henry Clay, Aaron Burr,
Washington Irving, and Benson J. Lossing.

7. Across the street is the REFORMED DUTCH CHURCH (L),


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