Lost Landmarks

Mark Forlow, the historian for the Village of Cold Spring and the Town of Philipstown, owns a collection of more than 1,000 historic local postcards. We asked him to select a few of his favorite Philipstown landmarks that are no more. His comments appear with each image.

First Reformed Church

This church stood where the Butterfield library is now. In fact, the library was built on its foundation. Philipstown had a lot of churches. The old Methodist church was the building that now has C&E Paint. The tower is gone. But that’s why it’s called Church Street.

Methodist Episcopal Church

Another lost church. This stood near the intersection of Route 9 and Fishkill Road. The steeple was taken down after it was hit by lightning. Later, the church became a private home. Then, in 2006, the building was demolished to make way for a connector between Fishkill Road and Route 9. The dirt road in the foreground was Fishkill.

Julia Butterfield Hospital

This is a view of the hospital, which was later torn down, looking northwest. The site is now the Butterfield development.

Cragside

Julia James was left this country estate, along with $500,000 and a home at 400 Fifth Ave., in New York City, when her husband, Frederick, died. She later married Gen. Daniel Butterfield. Built in 1852, the house was located where Haldane High School now stands. The street leading to the school is called Craigside, but that’s a misspelling. It got its name because it was located near a large rocky crag.

Hill Country Hotel

This was a grand vacation hotel in Garrison; I’m told it would have been in the vicinity of the current Garrison School. [Ads promoting the hotel appeared in Brooklyn newspapers between 1906 and 1913.]

Undercliff

Before Route 9D went north to Beacon, Cold Spring had Main Street going east and west, Chestnut Street going south and Morris Avenue going north. Morris ended about where Route 9D now starts to go downhill. At the end of the avenue was this country home, which was owned by George Pope Morris [1802-1864], a co-founder of the New York Evening Mirror. His claim to fame is the poem, “Woodman, Spare That Tree!”

Haldane High School

This building was on the site of the Tots Park. It was built in the 1890s and taken down in the 1950s. The Lyons family found a film of it being demolished that is posted on YouTube [below], and it’s heartbreaking, especially when the crane knocks off that beautiful peak. I’ve heard from old-timers that they used to slide down the fire escape in the back of the building like a huge slide. I also have photos of classes posing under the front archway.

The Highlander

This was one of the ferries that ran between West Point and Garrison. There was another called The Garrison and one called The West Point. Until the Bear Mountain Bridge was built in 1925, this was the only way across. The nearest ferry north traveled between Fishkill Landing [now Beacon] and Newburgh.

Mary Powell

This is an example of a passenger boat that would have stopped at Cold Spring in the 19th century. The Mary Powell was one of the faster and more beautiful boats. After Gen. George Custer’s body was brought east a year after his death at Little Big Horn, the Mary Powell carried it from Poughkeepsie to West Point for burial.

Imperial Hotel

This hotel was on Division Street and owned by Harry Caskey of Nelsonville. It burned down in 1914.

Mckeel Brothers Garage

This was a postcard advertising the garage in Nelsonville. You can see all its affiliations: Chevrolet, Buick, AAA, Sunoco.

Roroyare

This Italianite home was situated on the east side of the railroad tracks on the bluff above what is now the Depot Restaurant. It was owned by Gen. John E. Campbell [1821-1905] and later his widow.

Beverley Robinson House

The house, which stood on Route 9D in Garrison, was the headquarters during the Revolutionary War of Gen. Benedict Arnold, and it was from this house that he fled to the river after realizing that he was about to be revealed as a traitor. It burned down in 1892.


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2 thoughts on “Lost Landmarks

  1. Nice to see the Hill Country House postcard! It was located northeast of the intersection of Snake Hill and Route 9. The Highland House was located on the grounds of what is now the Garrison School.

    Hill Country House opened in the early 19th century (1805-1810) as a hostelry to serve the stagecoach trade on the Highland Turnpike toll road which had been opened at that time as a smoother less hilly alternative to the Old Albany Post Road. The hotel was originally owned and operated by the Croft family who also owned an iron mine near Indian Lake.

    The railroad opened in 1849 and signaled a boom in resort building along the line. The Crofts began enlarging and remodeling the original small stagecoach inn around 1850, transforming it into a 40-room summer resort over the next 20 years. In the mid 1860s, the hotel was purchased by wealthy industrialist, Allan G. Newman, owner of Mountain Home, a 600-acre estate on Snake Hill Road.

    Newman was the main benefactor of the South Highland Methodist Church and a leader in the local temperance movement. His sole reason for purchasing the hotel was to ban the sale of alcohol on the grounds. Newman was upset that the Hill Country House served alcohol across the street from his church.

    Newman died in 1896 and the business was sold to hotelier C.H. Hilton. I believe that this photo was taken during his ownership. Hilton reapplied for a liquor license and added eight additional bedrooms and a dining solarium. During prohibition the Hill Country House was raided several times for distilling and selling alcohol.

    By 1939 new owners had renamed the hotel as The Garrison Inn. They featured a large orchestra and ballroom dancing. The Garrison Inn at the intersection of Route 9 and Travis Corners Road is not to be confused with the hotel of the same name which operated in Manitou on Route 9D in the 1960s to 1970s.

    I sort of remember hearing that the building was either damaged in a fire or demolished around 1960. It was replaced by the corrugated steel garage building which exists today. Some outbuildings walls and fences still remain on and near the former site.

    Kelly, who grew up in Manitou, runs an architectural history research service and is the historian for the City of Newburgh Architectural Review Commission.

  2. I just wanted to add a brief note about the Hill Country House.

    After purchasing the former Croft House hotel, A.G. Newman and his daughter Miss Easton used the hotel as the main building of the Mountain Home Seminary School. Classes were also conducted on Newman’s estate grounds 1/4 mile west of Hill Country House on Snake Hill Road. Newman had salvaged a two-room schoolhouse from a military academy in Ossining and had it moved to Garrison by barge. He connected the schoolhouse to his mansion. Newman’s mansion was destroyed by fire in 1980-81. The school was in operation from 1864-1898.

    I’ve seen ads from 1850s newspapers referring to the hotel as both Croft House and Hill Country House.

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