Pine Island, New York

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Pine Island, New York
Pine Island, New York is located in New York
Pine Island, New York
Pine Island, New York
Coordinates: 41°17′52″N 74°27′35″W / 41.2978°N 74.4597°W / 41.2978; -74.4597
Country United States
State New York
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code845

Pine Island is a hamlet in the town of Warwick in Orange County, New York, United States. It is the largest community in the Black Dirt Region, which is famous for its "black dirt onions." It gets its name from its slight elevation over the surrounding land. In the days before the nearby Wallkill River was rerouted to control flooding, it would often be an actual island for a period in the spring.


Pine Island is known for its black dirt. This rich soil is the result of constant flooding during the retreat of glaciers during the last ice age, about 12,000 years ago. The "muck," as it was called, plastered shallow lakes that today make up the fields, or "flats." Much the same as a peat bog, these areas are known for their prolific fossil production, particularly those of ancient mastodons. Into the 1800s the swamps still lingered, surrounding what is greater Pine Island.[1] It was then that these lakes were first drained to be utilized for their superior growing capabilities. The Wallkill River winds through this region and drops a mere 11 feet. When flooded, small islands emerged, Pine Island being the principal one.

When locals first tried to alter the route of the river, obstacles lay in river bed obstructions and man-made dams for the purpose of water-powered mills. Farmers wanting to eliminate the constant threat of flood could not afford to pay the local mill owner to lower his dam, so they dug a series of ditches and canals to drain the "Drowned Lands."[2]

Between 1829 and the turn of the century a series of votes, rulings, arrests, injunctions, dam destructions and repairs ensued during what became known as the Muskrat (dam destroyers) and Beaver (dam builders) War.[3]

In the early 1900s, German, Polish and Dutch immigrants did the work of draining the swamp bogs with a network of ditches. These efforts exposed "a sulfur and nitrogen-rich black soil that in some places is 30 feet deep." This area continues to have a strong Polish ethnic heritage, particularly in the Pine Island farming community.[4]


Pine Island is part of the Warwick Valley Central School District. Faced with declining town-wide school enrollment and a budget gap, the Warwick school board voted to close Pine Island Elementary, the smallest of the four district elementary schools, at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.[5] Pine Island students now attend Sandfordville Elementary School. Books from the closed school library were donated in 2013 to the Rhame Avenue Elementary School in East Rockaway, New York to replace those damaged by Hurricane Sandy.[6] The school was reopened in 2020 for all Warwick Valley School District Kindergarten children for the 2020-21 school year. It will also be open for the 2021-22 school year. [7]


Pine Island Taphouse-Taphouse that serves local beer, wine, and ciders

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The History of the Black Dirt Region". Pine Island NY Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  2. ^ Snell, James P. (1881). "Drowned Lands of the Wallkill". History of Sussex and Warren Co., NJ.
  3. ^ Snell, James P. (1881). "Drowned Lands of the Wallkill". History of Sussex and Warren Co., NJ.
  4. ^ "From New York's Black Dirt, a Glacial Secret Told by Onions". New York Times. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  5. ^ Warwick Votes to Close School
  6. ^ Library Collection from Pine Island Elementary School to be loaned to Rhame Ave. Elementary School in East Rockaway
  7. ^ Troop 407 Girl Scout Opens Soup Kitchen in Pine Island
  8. ^ In Step With Tradition
  9. ^ Saint Peter Lutheran Church - Center for Volga German Studies
  10. ^ 'No Reservations' Needed at the Quaker Creek Store in Pine Island.
  11. ^ Local alcohol enterprises on tap for Hudson River Ventures' Eldridge
  12. ^ Fellowships; A Genius in the Vegetable Patch

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°17′52″N 74°27′35″W / 41.2978°N 74.4597°W / 41.2978; -74.4597