Historical Sites and Landmarks in Rockland Co. NY

Located in the Town of:
Stony Point

thanks to the Rockland Online Directory

Town of Clarkstown

New City - formerly at northeast corner of Route 45 & New Hempstead Road - Operated by John Coe. On two occasions Continental Army troops encamped here. Maj. Tallmadge and his dragoons halted here when taking Joshua Heft Smith and Mjr. John Andre from West Point to Tappan in 1780.

Remnants still exist on the southwest corner of Strawtown Rd & Germonds Road, West Nyack. The last witchcraft trial in New York State supposedly took place at this gristmill in 1816. Jane (Naut) Kannif, a widow of a Scottish physician, was knowledgeable about herb medicines and was accused of practicing witchcraft. At the mill, Naut was weighed against a large brass-bound Dutch Bible on the large flour balance. Jane outweighed the Bible, was judged innocent and set free. The mill operated into t-he 20th century to grind flour. The hub of the water wheel still exists as does the dam and mill pond. There is a marker at the site.

DUTCH GARDEN New City - Designed by Mary Mowbray Clarke in 1933-34 as memorial to county's early settlers. In 1935 it won garden of the year award from Better Homes & Gardens magazine. Master craftsman Biaglo Gugliuzzo of Garnerville created walks and latticed walls of Haverstraw brick. Still standing is Tea House with carvings, some representing aspects of Dutch-American history, others of motifs popular in 1930's - Popeye, the Baker Cocoa and Old Dutch Cleanser maids. Now a county park. Markers on site. Beautiful display of flowering bulbs in spring.

250 Germonds Road, West Nyack - Site of First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of New Hempstead (name in reference to many who moved here from Hempstead. L.I.). built 1750-51, replaced 1871 by present Clarkstown Reformed Church, 107 Strawtown Road. Note gravestones inscribed in Dutch and those bearing names of 40 veterans of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 and of the Hill family, which produced three generations of artists and a renowned scientist. Markers on site.

(New Hempstead Presbyterian Church) 474 New Hempstead Road,east of Route 45, New City - Second oldest church in Rockland County, this church was organized in 1734 by English settlers from Hempstead, L.I., who wished to have services In English rather than in Dutch as in the Reformed Church- Present structure was built in 1820's near site of original church. Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Coe's Tavern was located west of church.

HOOK MOUNTAIN STATE PARK Upper Nyack - Early Dutch settlers called Hook Mountain "Verdrietlg Hock" ("Tedious Point"). Said to be site of final local Indian encampment. 1825. Registered as National Natural Landmark along with adjacent Nyack Beach State Park.

20 Zukor Road. New City - On grounds of Historical Society of Rockland County. A farmhouse of Dutch colonial style built 1882. Contains an open fireplace for cooking demonstrations. The four-acre site also has a museum, herb garden and nature trail. Museum open Tues.-Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Tours of Blauvelt House Sunday. 1 to 5p.m. Other times by appointment. Telephone 634-9629.

N. Broadway near Birchwood, Upper Nyack - Built 1818-1814 of native stone and hand-hewn timbers by members of Methodist Episcopal Church, this is county's oldest church building. It has been in continuous use as house of worship since 1814. Marker on building.

Main Street, New City original seat or government was Tappan when Rockland was Orange County "South or the Mountains." When fire destroyed the courthouse and "gaol" In Tappan in 1773, a more centrally located site (New City) was purchased in 1774. The courthouse was temporarily quartered in various places, such as Coe's Tavern, until the new building was completed In 1784, delayed by the Revolution. New City became seat of government of newly formed Rockland County in 1798, Present structure is third to be built on the site. Historical marker at the site.

Route 9W, Rockland Lake, Congers Used by the Indians as a summer campsite, the lake was called Quashpeak." ice was cut here and shipped to New York City from 1831-1924. It was packed in sawdust and stored in large ice houses. In the 1860's, a railway was built to carry the Ice from the lake, over the mountain and down to the docks on the Hudson River, Main source of water for lake is believed to be a spring. The great demand for the Ice was due to the high quality of the water. Now a state park, having a nature center.

Town of Haverstraw

A neighborhood within West Haverstraw - Received name from Garner family which operated textile printing industry on Minisceongo Creek near Railroad Avenue beginning 1838. Markers on site and on Calico Hill to the east.

In Dutch, "Haverstroo" means "oat straw,"possibly suggested by the wild oats that grew at the waterfront beds of natural clay in the area made Haverstraw a great producer of bricks until WW II.

HIGH TOR Haverstraw - Highest point on South Mountain. During the Revolution, it served as an important lookout for British activities on the Hudson. A blue-marked trail, the Long Path, may be taken 2 miles eastward from Central Highway along the crest of South Mountain to High Tor. Halfway is Little Tor, the second highest peak on South Mountain.

Congers - Haverstraw. near where Route 304 runs into Route 9W. At Midnight. September 21, 1780, Maj. John Andre landed at this point below Rt. 9W. to confer with Maj. Gen. Benedict Arnold, who gave secret information about West Point fortifications and forces to Andre. At dawn, the conspirators adjourned to Joshua Hett Smith's house in West Haverstraw to complete their plans. Historical marker above site on Rt. 9W. "Clove" is from Dutch for "pass."

Town of Orangetown

ANDRE MONUMENT Andre Hill, south of Old Tappan Road, Tappan; 1/2 mile west of Railroad Crossing - Marks reported site of execution of Maj. John Andre, hanged for espionage, Oct. 2,1780. In 1821, Andre's remains were exhumed, taken to England, and buried with honor in Westminster Abbey. George Washington said of Andre, "He was more unfortunate than criminal...an accomplished man and gallant officer"

BRAUNSDOFIF PARK Pearl River, Central Avenue & S. Main Street - Named after Julius Braunsdorf, first industrial developer of Pearl River and inventor of various models of sewing machines, newspaper printing presses, carbon arc light bulbs, and electric generators. His sewing machine factory is now the Dexter industrial complex. Braunsdorf installed first indoor lighting in the world in U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

CAMP SHANKS MUSEUM AND MONUMENT The monument is located at Independence Avenue & Lowe La. off Western Highway, Tappan. The museum is located on South Greenbush Road near the intersection of Routes 303 and 340 and is open on weekends. - Camp Shanks ("Last Stop U.S.A.") served as a major staging area for American troop embarkation and debarkation, 1943-46. During WW II over 1.3 million G.I.'s were out-processed from Camp Shanks, to Europe and North Africa. Italian and German POW's were housed and repatriated here. Covered 2,040 acres. After the war became Shanks Village, an emergency housing project for student veterans, until 1956.

by Daniel De Clark was sold to John DeWint in 1746. This national landmark is reportedly the oldest dwelling in Rockland County. George Washington and his staff lived here during the Andre Trial. Also on the grounds are 1810 Carriage House Museum, and 5 -acre arboretum with tagged trees and shrubs. Museum and house open daily 10- 4. Call 359-1359.

Main Street,at Gedney, Nyack -. Built in 1817 by John Green of local sandstone, now covered with stucco, painted yellow. This is the oldest house standing in Nyack. Green started the first lumber yard in Nyack and later opened a store. House is a private residence

Site on Sparkill Ck. below Route 9W Viaduct, Sparkill-In early 1800's John Moore. a black American, operated a saw and grist mill and from 1810-15, a caning mill. A person of many skills. he is regarded as having made some of the finest millwheels in Rockland County.

Kings Highway & Old Tappan Road, Tappan - Built of stone in 1729, considered to be oldest parsonage in continuous use in United Stafes. Architecture is typical Hudson Valley Dutch colonial, ornamentation on exterior being added later. Restructured 1788; frame wing added about 1830. Marker at site.

Front lawn of Lederle Laboratories, N. Middletown Road, Pearl River - An 18th- century legend tells of a little girt named Maria who wandered from her home in Tappan and died of hunger and exposure. Tradition says that villagers found her bones near the massive boulder.

South Nyack - Established 1897 by Dr. A.B. Simpson as the Missionary Training Institute. Considered to be first school of its kind in North America, Simpson Hall, built 1897, is believed to be one of oldest wooden institutional structures and largest Victorian structure in the Hudson Valley.

Foot of Main Street, Nyack - Begun 1834 by Isaac S Blauvelt on vessel named "Donkey," an anglo corruption of Dutch "donk ya," or 'thank you." Ferry remained in service until the opening of Tappan Zee Bridge in the l950's. This spot was also the start of the Nyack Turnpike, first direct highway across Rockland County.

Nyack - Stone Indian relics and heaps of oyster shells found along the shore of the Hudson indicate this was a favorite fishing spot of the natives. In 1675, the first white man settled in Rockland County at Nyack. Three major industries once thrived here: sandstone quarrying for New York City building (ca. 1800-40), boat building - sloops, steamboats, and then pleasure craft and WW I & WW II submarine chasers (ca. l8l5-l948), and shoe manufacturing (ca. 1828-1900).

110 Main Street, Tappan Built in 1752 by Dutch Colonials, this historic tavern bore witness to the signing of the Orangetown Resolutions of 1774, among America's first separationalist documents and was the site of the imprisonment and execution of the infamous British spy, Maj. John Andre. Exclusive historic preservation efforts retain the charm of this operating colonial tavern. Open every day for lunch and dinner. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. National Landmark status, and commended by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Marker at site Telephone 359-5476.

Formerly Tappan Landing. Tappan Slote ("Slote" is Dutch for "ditch," referring to cut passage through marshy mouth of Sparkill Creek: "kill" is Dutch for "creek"). Served as eastern terminus of New York & Erie Railroad, completed from here to Dunkirk, N.Y. in 1851, then the longest trunk line in U.S. Still remaining is 4000-ft.-long pier into Hudson River once used for loading and unloading trains and boats. One can walk, or drive with a pass, to end of it. Tallman Mountain State Park to the south. A backer and first president of railroad, Eleazar Lord, built a stone mansion. "The Cedars." now called "The Castle," on mountainside overlooking Piermont. Private residence.

Kings Highway, Sparkill - In 1847 Eleazar Lord, first president or New York & Erie Railroad, donated 200 acres of his property on Mt. Nebo for cemetery. He envisioned it becoming major burial place for New York City residents. Its best-known grave (on the third plateau) is that of John C. Fremont, The Pathfinder." California's first governor and senator. Eleazar Lord's family plot is on the lower south slope.

Palisades (Sneden's Landing, Rockland) The Sneden family operated a ferry at Sneden's' Landing along with Jeremiah Dobbs, who operated from the opposite shore (Dobbs Ferry). Begun by Dobbs in 1898. the ferry service was one of the oldest in 'the region and continued until 1944. In 1775. when Martha Washington drove from Mt. Vernon to Cambridge, Massachusetts to meet her husband, venerable ferry mistress Molly Sneden (1709-1810) piloted her across the Hudson River.

Kings Highway, Tappan - Organized as Low Dutch Christian Reformed Chunch of Tappan 1694, it is oldest congregation in Rockland County. Its first structure built 1716 (worshipers met in homes before this), was site of the trial of spy, Maj. John Andre. later condemned to death, and of Joshua Hett Smith, tried for and acquitted of treason. Present structure built in 1835. It has box pews to help keep in warmth from little footstoves brought by worshipers in winter. In cemetery are buried original settlers of county, early ministers of church, and Revolutionary War soldiers. Some stones inscribed in Dutch. Marker at site.

Nyack - Complete in 1955 across the Tappan Zee (Dutch for sea) portion of the Hudson River, it dramatically changed Rockland County from a rural to a suburban community as New Yorkers moved from the city to the country.

Kings Highway to west of Tappan Reformed Church, Tappan - Site of first Orange County courthouse (until 1798 Rockland County was a part of Orange Co.). Burned down in 1773, along with the jail. Later the Andre trial was held In the Church, the only building in Tappan suitable for the assembly of a military court. The green also had a whipping post and stocks, a stray cattle pound and, during the Revolution, a Liberty Pole (a flag pole).

Town of Ramapo

50 Schoolhouse Road, east of Rt. 45. Chestnut Ridge - One-room *schoolhouse, now a museum, owned and operated by the east Ramapo Central School District. Built in 1890 and used until early 1970's when pre-kindergarten classes were held there. Open most Sundays 2:30 p.m. Telephone 577-6099 or 354-1518.

West of At. 59 & 306 intersection, Monsey. An Indian encampment where numerous artifacts have been found. Some rock shelters still visible. Rockland County was inhabited by the Munsey band of Lenape, or Delaware, Indian, of the Algonqulan linguistic stock. The New York & Erie Railroad was 1ater built through the glen.

Route 45 & South Mountain Road, Pomona - Possibly oldest fruit farm in United States, operated by the Concklin family since 1717. "Pomona" is taken from Latin word for fruit.

Route 17, base of Terse Mountain, Ramapo - Producer of cut nails, wood screws, cotton cloth, and spring steel in first hair or 19th century. Founder, Jeremiah H. Pierson, was influential in building Nyack Turnpike and New York & Erie Railroad across the county. Cotton mill still standing on east side of road.

Brick Church Rd., New Hempstead - This historic church, known as Brick Church, was established in 1774. Its church yard contains the graves of Revolutionary soldiers and some original settlers. Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Historical markers at the site.

College Road, Suffern - Originally home or first pastors of Brick Church until parsonage farm sold 1837 to Superintendents of the Poor for use as the Almshouse. College was established in 1959. Original farmhouse is part or administration building.

Sloatsburg, originally Pothat. Named after the Sloat family, who settled in area about 1760. Jacob Sloat, a mechanical genius, opened a mill in 1815 for making cotton cloth. He successfully turned to making cotton twine exclusively after patenting process for dressing it in 1840. At peak, produced 8,000 lbs. par week. Ceased operations in 1878, Original Sloat stone house was a tavern, a regular stop on New York to Albany stage route, and' during Revolution, a headquarters for American troops stationed in the Ramapo Pass, A private residence, Listed on National Register of Historic Places.

From Suffern to Monroe - Main route of travel through western Hudson Highlands. Main road was Albany Post Road,, one of oldest in the state, which served as stagecoach line between Albany and New York City and was heavily traveled in winter when the Hudson River froze over the 20 miles of road through the Pass became Orange Turnpike (now St. 17) In 1800, tolls were collected until 1886 to maintain and improve road. N.Y. Thruway now runs through the Pass. South entrance in Suffern was garrisoned during the Revolution.

John Suffers settled here in 1773 and built a tavern and inn on northwest corner of Washington & Lafayette Avenues (marker on boulder at site). When the first post office in Ramapo was established hare in 1797,hamlet named New Antrim after Suffern's native village in Ireland. Suffern served as first Rockland County judge, 1798-1806. Hamlet renamed Suffern in 1850. Suffern's tavern sheltered many Continental Army officers. including Can. Washington and Aaron Burr, commander of the troops guarding the Ramapo Pass. Torn down about 1856. On triangle at Lafayette & Washington Avenues is Revolutionary cannon and statue of WW I soldier. Marker on cannon.

61 Washington Avenue, Suffern (Municipal Building)-Open September - June Sundays 2 to 4 p,m. except for major holiday weekends. Houses collection on Suffern history. Traveling Trunk program is available for classroom use, 4th-7th grade. Trunk holds items representing Rockland history from 1741-1841 Handicapped accessible. For special group tours phone 357-3667.

Stony Point

Between Jones Point & Bear Mountain - Once owned by a Dr. Grant, who cultivated vineyards 1858-68, and developed the lona grape on the Island. Site of U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot during WW I, supplying American & British warships. Provided ammunition for U.S. Navy in early stages of WW II. Marsh between island and shore now a bird sanctuary and registered as a National Natural Landmark. Markers on site.

Stony Point, site just north of Stony Point Battlefield - An important river crossing for American troops and supplies during the Revolution. and link between New England and the states to the south,- thus. the importance of capturing Stony Point from the British in 1779

State historic site, off Route 9W, Stony Point - Occupied by the British in 1779. In a surprise midnight attack on the fortifications in July 1779, General Anthony Wayne and his American Light Infantry defeated the British. Special events held yearly. Site has museum, lighthouse built 1828 to guide ships through the narrow part of the Hudson River, and outdoor signs telling about the battle and where the fortifications were. Park operates April 15 through last weekend of October. Musket and artillery demonstrations and cooking and camp life demonstrations. Riverviews. Guided and self-guided tours. No admission charge. Weekly hours, Wed.-Sat. 10 n.m. - 5p.m., Sun; 1-5 p.m. Closed Mon. and Tues. Open Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. Telephone 788-2521.

Route 9W, Bear Mountain State Park, on site of Fort Clinton - Has a nature trail, exhibits of geology and local history (excellent one on Indians and on Dan Beard founder of Boys Scouts of America), . and outdoor zoo of native animals, binds, and reptiles. Telephone 786-2701.

Harriman State Park. Ramapo - Highest peak in western Rockland County, overlooking the Ramapo Pass and remnants of once-thriving Ramapo Iron Works. During Revolution, the Torne served as a lookout for British ship movement on the Hudson. Legend tells that Gen. George Washington lost his watch on the mountain and it may still be heard ticking up there in a crevice of rock.

thanks to the Rockland Online Directory