Looking Back in Philipstown

What happened this month 25, 50, 100, 125 and 150 years ago

150 Years Ago  (September 1872)

An express train from Albany struck and killed Hezekiah Dykeman, 72, a 50-year resident of Philipstown, about 2 miles south of Garrison. According to a witness, Dykeman, who worked as a flagman, was tightening a loose joint in the rails when he was distracted by a northbound freight and surprised by the southbound express. He was survived by his wife and six adult children.

Daniel Pratt, an eccentric known as “the great American traveler,” visited Cold Spring. “We were glad to see him — travel,” quipped the editor of The Cold Spring Recorder. Pratt would claim in 1874 that he had traveled 200,000 miles, seen 27 states, met 16 Native American tribes and seen five presidents inaugurated. His offbeat lectures on “the harmony of the human mind,” the solar system, world history and his own life were popular on college campuses.

Officer Morrison stopped a beating by four men of a stranger near the dock. He was told the victim, Maxmillian Griner, had stabbed John Gallagher in the abdomen with a pocket knife during a quarrel. Griner testified that he had asked the men where he could find a drink because Thurmbichler’s was already closed, and offered to buy a round. But he said the men instead demanded his money, saying they’d buy their own drinks. Because all the lawyers in town were in Carmel for county court, the justice adjourned the hearing until their return.

James Schegel, who supplied the revolver that was used in a bank robbery in Cold Spring in 1870 that left a man dead, was spotted wandering around the village in his Navy uniform. He had enlisted a few days before the crime.

125 Years Ago (September 1897)

The steamer Sirius failed to stop as advertised at Cold Spring on Labor Day, leaving about 100 disappointed passengers on the dock, because it was at capacity with Odd Fellows members on an excursion from Fishkill to Coney Island.

Eugene Connors of Boston was struck and killed near the railroad bridge south of Constitution Island by a southbound passenger train. When the train stopped at Garrison, the engineer noticed blood and a man’s cap on the front of the engine; Connors’ body was found the next morning.

Irving Lloyd, manager of the Catskill Mountain House, returned home to Cold Spring after the resort closed for the season.

Catskill house

The Catskill Mountain House was managed by a Cold Spring resident.

The Cold Spring Village Board raised the license fee for peddling bread and cake from $1 to $10; for general peddling from $10 to $20; and for selling products from a vehicle from 50 cents to $1 per day.

The Ladies’ Aid Society of St. Mary’s Church organized a “fair of the Zodiac” in which tables were set up to represent each month of the year with themes such as winds, roses, harvest and Christmas.

George Hustis purchased the milk route of James Brewster. [Hustis Dairy would make deliveries for the next 123 years, until it closed on Dec. 31, 2020.]

Hustis-Dairy-Barn

The Hustis Dairy barn on Route 9 is all that remains of the 123-year-old farm, which once covered 500 acres. (Photo by Michael Turton)

At a meeting of the Cold Spring Hose Co. No. 1, Capt. Henry Metcalfe suggested that cannon-sized firecrackers be exploded to signal a general alarm.

After a baseball game between athletic clubs from Garrison and Peekskill on Iona Island was called in the fifth inning, a Peekskill newspaper lamented the constant grousing by the players, which it said “makes people sick of the game of baseball.”

Bridget McMahon, who shot and killed Patrick O’Malley in October 1896 at her saloon near Highland Station, was acquitted by a jury in Carmel.

William Raftery, who relocated from Cold Spring to California from 1849 to 1852 for the Gold Rush, died at age 61.

Items lost on the roads: A silk umbrella with a bone handle and a photo album containing views of Hamilton, Scotland.

William Pollock of Fishkill Landing [Beacon] leased a building on Stone Street to open a steam laundry.

The Recorder reminded veterans and pensioners that, while they were exempt from village, county and state taxes, they still had to pay school taxes.

The Rev. John Scott, a former pastor at the Baptist Church, was reported drowned while swimming at Coney Island. A week later, The Recorder printed a correction with the headline, “Not Dead.”

Lillian Foster of Cold Spring was among the passengers rescued from the steamer Catskill before it sank following a collision with another steamer near 60th Street in New York City. She was reported to be home recovering from bruises and shock.

catskill steamer

A Cold Spring woman survived a collision in 1897 between the steamers Catskill (shown after being raised from the water) and St. John. (Mystic Seaport Museum)

The Haldane principal recommended that the district raise Miss Green’s salary by $50 because she was also teaching drawing.

Charlie Warren, the longtime milkman, was all smiles on his route after he became a grandfather.

Alfred Pearsall, the elocutionist, presented scenes from the Civil War in story and song during a benefit for the Garrison Society of Christian Endeavors.

Several home lots were sold in the newest section of the village, north of Main Street and east of Fishkill Avenue.

Perry Ferris, of Putnam Valley, died at age 58. He was on his way home from Cold Spring with friends when his head fell to his shoulder. A veteran of the Civil War, he had recently received word that his pension application had been approved with $2,000 [about $71,000 today] in back pay.

A granite monument for Sylvenus MeKeel, who died in 1892, was installed at Cold Spring Cemetery. It stood 10½ feet high and weighed 3½ tons.

100 Years Ago (September 1922)

Two Bronx residents were killed when their car overturned on the state road. They were among five people traveling to Kiskatom for Labor Day, where other family members were waiting. Two others were seriously injured and the fifth was unhurt.

Marion Wilson left for Babylon, New York, where she was a teacher; Helen Cooley left for Rumford, Maine, where she had been hired as a music teacher for the first four grades; and Anna Inman, newly graduated from Syracuse University, left for the Village of Florida in Orange County to teach Latin and history.

James Childs was summoned to appear before Justice Ladue on a charge that he had violated the taxi ordinance after he was seen with Lake Surprise campers in his truck. Childs said he had not received any pay and the judge dismissed the charge.

A two-reel comedy produced by Harry Williams was shown following the features at the Hillcrest Theatre. Williams also was working on a six-reel comedy he and his crew shot in 1921 in Philipstown with local residents as extras.

Margaret “Grannie” Robinson, who had lived in her Garrison home for 69 years and been a member of St. Philip’s Church for 70 years, died at age 88.

A meeting was held at Town Hall to organize a Public Health Nursing Association. The nurse would assist the school physician and also make house calls for a suggested fee, or at no charge.

Short on players, the Cold Spring baseball team had to recruit spectators against visiting Liptondale and lost, 11-3.

The Cold Spring board held a meeting at the firehouse to consider a proposal to purchase, for $8,000 [about $141,000], the 21-acre Foundry Dam property that included the brook and two reservoirs that provided the village with water.

The Hudson River Day Line bought the Bonner brickyard at Verplanck’s Point to create a recreation park called Indian Point.

John Haldane Flagler

John Haldane Flagler

John Haldane Flagler, a Cold Spring native who sold his company, the National Tube Co., to U.S. Steel, died at age 86 at his summer home in Greenwich, Connecticut. His fortune was estimated at $20 million to $30 million [about $350 million to $530 million]. He founded the steel tube works in Boston to supply the rapidly expanding oil fields in Pennsylvania; at its height, the firm employed 4,700 men. Services were held at his home on Park Avenue in New York City.

A convoy of about 25 cars carrying members of the Dutchess County Historical Society were greeted at the county line by Stuyvesant Fish, vice president of the Putnam County Historical Society, for an annual tour of Philipstown historic sites that included the North Highlands home built in 1730 by David Hustis, Continental Village and St. Philip’s Church in Garrison.

A man’s body was found along the road near the Hill Country House in North Highlands; it was supposed he had been hit by a car.

Leslie Merritt, 13, of North Highlands, was seriously injured when, while swinging from a vine, he fell about 30 feet and struck his head.

The Recorder shared this joke: Brown: “Black, you appear embarrassed. Has your little boy been asking you questions?” Black: “No, my wife has.”

The state police stopped a car in North Highlands that had traveled from Montreal loaded with illegal alcohol. Its two occupants fled.

50 Years Ago (September 1972)

The Old Foundry Corp., which owned the West Point Foundry property, said it planned to build a 125-room Hilton hotel and 330-slip marina while preserving the ruins as a tourist attraction that could draw as many as 200,000 visitors annually. The village clerk said the project would “put Cold Spring on every tourist map” and become “one of the greatest boons for the Hudson Valley in 100 years.”

David Dahlia, a senior at Haldane High School, where he excelled in football, basketball and track, was killed in a car crash on Route 9D a mile north of the Dutchess line. He was survived by his parents and seven siblings.

The Wappinger Savings Bank, founded in 1869, and the Fishkill Savings Bank, founded in 1857, merged to create the Mid-Hudson Savings Bank. The Fishkill bank operated a branch on Chestnut Street (now Wells Fargo).

Kenneth Atherley of Lane Gate Road sent a complaint with photographs to the state Department of Environmental Control to alert the agency to mounds of exposed garbage at the Philipstown dump. He noted a fire had been smoldering in the pile for months. Atherley said the town kept the dump open five days a week but only provided funds for the garbage to be buried twice a week.

25 Years Ago (September 1997)

After a sting operation, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department arrested a 26-year-old Wappingers Falls man and four teenagers for selling LSD and marijuana from a parking lot adjacent to Haldane High School.

First responders were busy on Labor Day. In Garrison, a car went off Snake Hill Road into the woods and a man nearly drowned swimming at the Landing. In Cold Spring, a couple from Beacon was leaving Sandy Beach in their 18-foot boat when it hit heavy wake, split in half and sank within 90 seconds.

Elliott and Jessie Hammond, who operated Hammonds Groceries for more than 35 years on Main Street in Cold Spring, celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary.

The Philipstown Forum, a newly formed group, asked the Town Board to enact a moratorium on cell tower applications to allow time to adopt land-use laws.

Following the hookup to its new water filtration plant, Cold Spring discovered serious leakage problems, with nearly 90,000 gallons — or about a quarter of the supply — lost daily, and a puzzling 280 gallons being used per minute between midnight and 2 a.m. The village shut off service completely for five hours overnight to repair one leak: a fire hydrant at Main Street and Route 9D that had no shut-off valve.

The board of the Garrison Fire Department voted not to sell its station on Upper Station Road. Most of the 85 residents at the meeting said they wanted the department to keep the station rather than consolidate at its new building on Route 9. When the board noted that it didn’t have the manpower for two stations, members of the audience expressed surprise and offered to help recruit more volunteers. The board said it would review the situation in six months.

The Garrison fire department installed a dry hydrant at Manitou Crossing, ending the practice of throwing linked tubes into the Hudson to draw water to a pumper.

A ceremonial groundbreaking was held at the 28-acre Philipstown Park on Route 9D, which had been part of the Malcolm Gordon School campus. At the same time, The Hastings Center moved from Westchester to the former school building.

The Philipstown Town Board discussed a local law that would allow residents to operate bed-and-breakfasts.

 

One thought on “Looking Back in Philipstown

  1. The item about the founding 125 years ago of Hustis Dairy brought back memories of milk deliveries to 119 North Road in Beacon. My sister and I would bring in the bottles. Glass bottles of milk. Seven kids. My mother couldn’t keep enough milk in the house. [via Instagram]

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