Wappinger, New York

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Wappinger, New York
Town of Wappinger
Wappingers Falls Historic District "Downtown"
Wappingers Falls Historic District "Downtown"
Official seal of Wappinger, New York
Seal
Location of the Town of Wappinger, New York
Location of the Town of Wappinger, New York
Coordinates: 41°35′20″N 73°53′59″W / 41.58889°N 73.89972°W / 41.58889; -73.89972
Country United States
State New York
County Dutchess
Town of Wappinger May 20, 1875
Government
 • Type Town Council
 • Town Supervisor Barbara Gutzler (R)
 • Town Council
Area
 • Total 28.6 sq mi (74.1 km2)
 • Land 27.3 sq mi (70.6 km2)
 • Water 1.3 sq mi (3.4 km2)
Elevation 197 ft (60 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 33,523
 • Density 1,200/sq mi (450/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 12590
Area code(s) 845
FIPS code 36-78157[1]
GNIS feature ID 0979595[2]
Website Town of Wappinger

The Town of Wappinger is located in Dutchess County, New York. The population was 27,048 at the 2010 census. The name is derived from the Wappinger Indians who inhabited the area. Wappinger's boundaries are Fishkill to the south, Sprout Creek to the east, the Hudson River to the west,and the Wappinger Creek and LaGrange to the north. Wappinger is centrally located being just 70 miles north of New York City and boasting a large waterfront along the Hudson River.

History[edit]

The town of Wappinger, originally a part of the town of Fishkill, was formed on May 20, 1875, and lies wholly within the limits of the historic Rombout Patent, granted in 1685.[3] The town was first settled around 1714.

The Wappinger People were a loose confederation of tribes living from the eastern banks of the Hudson River, from modern northern Dutchess County, south into Westchester County, and eastward into north-central Connecticut into the Connecticut River valley south to the Long Island Sound. They spoke an eastern-Algonkian Native American language. Culturally they are closely related to the Lenape People (Delaware Indians) to the west and south of Wappinger lands; also related to the Mahican People to their immediate north and to the Metoac Peoples of Long Island. “Wappinger” means “easterner” in most Algonkian languages. The town is made up of many historic hamlets that makes up the whole history of Wappinger. The population of the Town of Wappinger was 4,389 in 1900. The town historians of Wappinger are Brenda VonBurg and Joey Cavaccini.[4]

Historic districts[edit]

Wheeler Hill Historic District is a federally recognized historic district located in the town of Wappinger in Dutchess County. It includes 49 contributing buildings, 15 contributing sites, and four contributing structures. It encompasses the estates of Obercreek, Elmhurst, Edge Hill, the former estates of Henry Suydam and William Crosby, and Carnwath Farms that were developed between 1740 and 1940. Also included are two 18th century riverfront commercial structures, the Lent / Waldron Store and Stone House at Farmer's Landing.

  • Carnwath Farms Historic Site & Park was originally built in 1850 for William and Lydia Willis, relatives of the Mesier family in nearby Wappingers Falls. Willis was a retired hardware merchant from New York City. He sold the house in 1855 and then built Obercreek. The property was purchased by civil war General G. Barclay, then was sold to his son in law, Francis Robert Rives; later his son inherited the estate, who was elected supervisor of Wappinger in 1900. Around 1910 the property was sold to Samuel Untermyer who was famous for defending William "Boss" Tweed By the 1920s the Order of the Brothers of Hermits purchased the property and built the dormitory building and chapel in the mid-1980s. The property is now owned by the town of Wappinger as a park, with hopes to restore the Manor House, Carriage House, and other structures on the property.[5] It is also home to the Sports Museum of Dutchess County, and soon to be the home of the Town of Wappinger Museum & Visitor Center.
  • Obercreek was built by William H. Willis in 1856 as a new home after he sold Carnwath Farms just down the road. Since the Willis' were related to the Mesiers the estate was passed down to them and finally to the Reese family, who currently owns the house to this day.
  • Samuel S. Sands built "Elmhurst" in 1865. Sands was a banker and broker in partnership with William Henry Reese and joined the New York Stock Exchange in 1854. He acted as broker for a number of important financial interests, including the Astors. Sands died at the age of sixty-six at his country estate, July 26, 1892.[6] Now Chapel of the Sacred Mirrors.
  • The brother of artist James Augustus Suydam, Henry Suydam was descended from an old New York City merchant family. He started a successful tea business before retiring some time in his 40s to turn to his private interests of writing and art. In 1846 Henry Suydam purchased a farmhouse and a parcel of surrounding land from Job Angel for his country estate. In 1882 he privately published a book detailing the history of his mother's family, the Mesiers, combined with a history of the Zion Episcopal Church.[7] His home was demolished in September 2013


The Wappingers Falls Historic District is in the center of the Village of Wappingers Falls in Dutchess County, New York, United States. It is a 90-acre (36 ha) area roughly centered along South Avenue and West Main Street NY 9D and Wappinger Creek. It includes Mesier Park in the center of the village and many adjacent residential neighborhoods, roughly bounded by Elm, Park, Walker, Market and McKinley streets. Much of the district was built in the wake of the industrialization of Wappingers Falls in the 19th century, and its styles represent a cross-section of that century. However, the contributing properties include older buildings, such as the ca. 1740 Mesier-Brewer House, and newer ones like the Village of Wappingers Falls Police Station, formerly a post office designed under the supervision of Franklin D. Roosevelt during his presidency. In 1819 a small cotton mill was built in the hollow created by the creek as it descends from the Wappinger Lake to drain into the nearby Hudson River. By 1856 it had become one of the largest print works in the country. A fire that year destroyed the original buildings completely, but they were immediately rebuilt and continued in operation until 1931. The streets on the hillside opposite the mill are lined with frame houses, mostly duplexes, built by the mill for its workers. The two halves of the district, and the village, are connected by an 1884 stone arch bridge that replaced earlier wooden structures. The village's business district, along Main Street north and south of the creek, is lined with three-story Italianate row buildings dating to the years after the Civil War. The residential streets to the southwest are filled with larger houses in a variety of 19th-century styles, from Greek and Gothic Revival to Second Empire and Queen Anne. Two significant contributing properties separately listed in the Register date to the pre- and post-industrial eras. The Mesier-Brewer House in the center of the village is a well-preserved pre-Revolutionary stone and wood home common in the region. Across from it at the junction of East Main Street and South Avenue is the fieldstone village hall. It was originally built as one of five post offices in the county designed in stone at the insistence of Roosevelt, a native of nearby Hyde Park. In the late 20th century a new post office was built two blocks to the east and in 1995 the village moved its operations there from the American Legion Hall on Spring Street. The police, who had been working from the Mesier Homestead, joined them.

In 1984 the district was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It is described as a "collection of distinct nineteenth-century structures linked to the development of an important Hudson Valley industrial center."

Hamlets in the town of Wappinger[edit]

Downtown Chelsea, NY
  • Chelsea – A hamlet in the southeast part of the town near the Hudson River, formerly Low Point and later, Carthage Landing. The hamlet's post office was established in 1840 as Low Point. The current post office was the former 1875 district school.
  • Diddell – A hamlet in the northeast part of the town. Diddell was on several traders routes for caravans in the 1700s. By the 1800s the Maybrook/Dutchess County Rail Road created a train station here. It is also home to the Robinson Lane/Van Dyne Cemetery; the oldest stone dates back to 1751.
  • Hughsonville – A hamlet situated one mile south of Wappingers Falls and derives its name from William Hughson,one of four brothers who emigrated from England. A post office was established there in 1847.[8] It is believed that Captain Kidd's treasure is buried here.[citation needed] The Hughsonville Fire Dept. is the oldest fire company in the town of Wappinger and is now celebrating 100 years of service to the town of Wappinger
  • Middlebush, situated about a mile south-east of Wappingers Falls, was an early business center. A post office was located there in 1824 that also served residents of Chelsea. The first Baptist church in the town was organized there in 1782. Abm. Van Wyck deeded the Society a piece of land for a site for a church and burying ground. In 1830 that meeting house became the property of the Methodist church, and was used by them as a house of worship until the present Methodist church in Wappingers Falls was erected in 1869, when it was taken down and the material used in the construction of the barn and sheds connected with that church.[8]
  • Myers Corner – A hamlet on County Route 93 and 94. Named after John Myers of Holland and is a hamlet of four corners, it was mostly farm land but had a doctor, a school and a tavern.
Dutchess County Airport, New York
  • New Hackensack – Johannes Schurrie was an early settler in the town. He came, about 1740, from Hackensack, New Jersey, from which the hamlet derives its name.[3] Most of the early settlers were of Dutch and German descent.[9] A portion of NYS route 376 is known locally as New Hackensack Road. The Main Street was present day N.Y.S. Route 376 and had a post office and several stores until the widening of the Dutchess County Airport in the early-mid-1900s.
  • Swartwoutville: A hamlet in the southeast part of the town and it was established in 1775. Named after General Jacobus Swartwout. Swartwoutville once had a main street and several village shops. It is also home to the Swartwout Homestead (1779) and the Swartwout Burial Ground which is one of the oldest cemeteries in Wappinger. Swartwoutville a historic hamlet within Wappinger, is home to several 18th and 19th century homes and remains of former stores. Historic Swartwoutville was formed in 2009 to help recognize the hamlet by placing signage at the six entrances of the hamlet
  • Wappingers Falls –In the year of 1741, two Dutchmen, Nicholas and Adolphus Brewer, purchased 750 acres of land around the falls and built the first stone house in the village near the present Mill Street. In 1742, the Brewers built a mill on the east side of Wappinger Creek.[10] Nicholas Brewer built the Mesier Homestead, which he sold in 1777 to Matthew VanBenschoten, who, in turn, sold it to Peter Mesier, a merchant from New York City.[3] The local waterfall was important for early industrial development. The Village of Wappingers Falls was incorporated in 1871 and included the adjacent settlement of Channingville,which was on the west side of the Wappinger Creek. In the late 1700s-mid-1800s the east side was known as Franklindale. In 1909, the Garner Print Works were sold and became the Dutchess Bleachery. The plant, which at times employed as many as 1150 people, stopped printing calico but continued as a bleachery and dye works.[11]
  • All Angel's Hill – All Angels Hill was originally known as Mount Hope and then Underhill Road, which is the highest point in the town of Wappinger. During the American Revolution a beacon was placed at the top of the hill to alert the troops stationed at the Fishkill Supply Depot if the British ever came up that way. In the 1850s William Marvin, a farmer, owned about 200 acres between the vicinity of the present Pye Lane and Myers Corners. His daughter Charlotte married New York doctor Anthony Underhill. In the mid-1800s, the Underhill family built a house on her father's land. In 1903 the property was purchased by the All Angels Episcopal Church in New York City as part of its ministry to the poor. To give poor mothers and children a respite from the oppressive city summers, the church maintained All Angels’ Farm, a forerunner of the Fresh Air Fund. The church had used the former Underhill Mansion as a chicken house until it was torn down for safety reasons.[12]

Parks[edit]

• Robinson Lane Complex • Martz Field • Schlathaus Park • Spook Hill • Quiet Acres • Airport Park Soccer Fields • Card Road • Fleetwood • Castle Point & Monument • Chelsea Boat Ramp • Rockingham Soccer Fields • Reese Park • Ye Old Apple Orchard • Carnwath Farms Historic Site & Park

Toponyms[edit]

  • Wheeler Hill Road was once known as Rives Avenue or hill, after Francis Rives who purchased the former Willis estate in 1870 and named it Carnwath Farms.[13]

Notable people[edit]

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 28.6 square miles (74 km2), of which, 27.3 square miles (71 km2) of it is land and 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2) of it (4.62%) is water. Part of the west town line is located at the Hudson River, and borders Orange and Ulster Counties.

Transportation[edit]

US Route 9 passes through the town. Dutchess County Airport – is located in the New Hackensack part of the town. Also the Dutchess County Bus Transit "Loop" passes through town.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 26,274 people, 9,793 households, and 6,992 families residing in the town. The population density was 963.3 people per square mile (372.0/km²). There were 10,144 housing units at an average density of 371.9 per square mile (143.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 86.18% White, 4.96% African American, 0.24% Native American, 4.29% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 2.44% from other races, and 1.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.87% of the population.

There were 9,793 households out of which 34.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.1% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.6% were non-families. 23.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.17.

In the town the population was spread out with 25.4% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 98.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $58,079, and the median income for a family was $66,273. Males had a median income of $49,007 versus $31,444 for females. The per capita income for the town was $25,817. About 3.2% of families and 4.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.1% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°35′10″N 73°55′01″W / 41.58611°N 73.91694°W / 41.58611; -73.91694