Editor’s note: Beacon was created in 1913 from Matteawan and Fishkill Landing.

150 Years Ago (March 1874)

After the Matteawan Enterprise reported that eggs were selling for 20 cents per dozen [about $5.44 today] and butter for 32 cents per pound [$8.70], the editor of The Cold Spring Recorder expressed skepticism, noting that in Philipstown eggs were 40 cents per dozen and butter was 52 cents per pound.

Scarlet fever was raging in Matteawan; even Dr. Stack’s children were sick.

Alexander Cauldwell of Newburgh built a boiler for the Seamless Clothing Manufacturing Co. in Matteawan that was 60 feet long and had 80 tubes.

William Tracy, a Poughkeepsie mailman, found himself stuck at the Fishkill Landing station after the last train. It took him nearly three hours to walk the 16 miles home.

John Ireland of Matteawan, while drunk, fell from a passenger train traveling at 30 mph through Cold Spring but escaped injury.

James Philips of Fishkill was arrested for allegedly poisoning his wife but released for lack of evidence.

Of 19 soldiers tried before the Court Martial at Fishkill Landing, with Maj. George Dennis presiding, 12 were found guilty and fined $2 to $10 each [$55 to $275].

The trestle work that stretched from Dutchess Junction to Dennings Point cost $100,000 [$2.7 million] to install but would be removed once the ferry dock was completed on the north side of the point.

Three men competed to see who could eat the most oranges in one sitting; the winner ate 24 and the runner-up, 23.

According to The Fishkill Standard, a woman who got off a northbound train on a Monday morning at Dutchess Junction realized she was not in Poughkeepsie and grabbed the handrail of the stairs to return to the now-moving train. George Davids, a reporter for the Poughkeepsie Eagle, grabbed her hand, put his arm around her waist and lifted her onto the train, probably saving her life. When the conductor came for tickets, the woman mistook him for Davids and rebuked him for “putting your arm around a lone woman’s waist,” which caused nearby passengers who had witnessed the rescue to break out in laughter.

125 Years Ago (March 1899)

Samuel Weeks sued Principal Gordon Miller of the Matteawan Union School, claiming that Miller had whipped his 12-year-old son, George, so severely that he required medical attention. According to one account, the boy had refused to stop playing marbles near the school.

The Archdeaconry of Dutchess endorsed a proposal to separate the parishes of St. Andrew’s and St. Luke’s.

Anna Winters, 15, of Fishkill Landing, married grocer Samuel Allison.

Dr. I.P. Stanbrough promoted his dentistry practice in Matteawan as being “practical, scientific and reliable.”

When an attendant at the state asylum at Matteawan attempted to break up a fight, the two “lunatics” broke his arm.

100 Years Ago (March 1924)

Dr. D. Mandell, a chiropractor who specialized in “chronic and nervous ailments,” announced he would close his New York City office and expand the hours at his Beacon office at 472 Main St. from three to five days a week.

A guard at the Matteawan State Asylum for the Criminally Insane was sentenced to four months in prison for beating an elderly prisoner with his fist and nightstick. According to testimony, the inmate provoked the attack by reading one of the guard’s newspapers without permission.

John Valis, a laborer on the construction of the Melzingah reservoir dam, was awarded $4,100 [$74,000] in workers’ compensation after his right leg was crushed in a concrete mixer. Valis, who spoke little English, asked for a lump sum so he could return to Italy, where he said it would be cheaper to live.

The Appalachian Mountain Club led a 10-mile hike from Storm King over Breakneck to Lake Surprise, then to the summit of South Beacon, descending by Devil’s Ladder to Beacon.

Raymond Kieb in 1938
In 1924, Dr. Raymond Kieb was sent to Sing Sing to evaluate death-row prisoners.

Raymond Kieb, superintendent of the Matteawan asylum, was one of two doctors who visited Sing Sing to conduct mental health examinations on 10 of the 19 convicted killers on death row. The physicians were sent by Gov. Al Smith to preclude any last-minute claims of insanity.

William Pearse, the principal of Beacon High School, suspended all sports until an investigation could be completed on a fight between the Poughkeepsie and Beacon boys’ basketball teams. By one report, a Beacon player threw a punch, which prompted the taxi drivers who had brought the squad to Poughkeepsie to rush onto the court, followed by other spectators.

Beacon officials began a campaign to improve mail service from New York City, noting that a letter posted to Poughkeepsie or Albany at 7 a.m. was not advanced until the departure of the 1:54 p.m. mail train. Another problem, they said, was that northbound mail trains did not have sorting clerks aboard.

Guards at the county jail assumed a woman visiting Ernest White, a Beacon man accused of abandoning his children, was his wife. In fact, she was Lillie Milensky, who had been named by Mrs. White in her divorce filings. A judge put an end to the visits. “We will at least stop the courtship of divorced people and the co-respondents while they are in jail,” he said.

Petitions circulated to charter a Beacon chapter of the Benevolent and Protected Order of Elks.

Construction was underway for a brickyard north of Beacon that would daily manufacture 150,000 stiff-mud, pressed bricks with smooth surfaces for “fine” construction.

Wappingers Falls canceled its ongoing boys’ basketball series with Beacon following a game that was repeatedly stopped by officials because of fights and arguments. Wappingers star Charley Leroy said he received 19 scratches and had his jersey torn.

75 Years Ago (March 1949)

The American Legion post said it was ready to give Dutchess County 4 acres of land it owned in the Town of Fishkill, including a pond, for a public park.

The Texaco Oilers from Beacon defeated Schatz, 34-32, in Poughkeepsie to clinch the Dutchess Industrial Basketball League title with a 12-2 record.

75 years ago march 1949 ad
An advertisement from March 1949 for the Emmadine ice cream plant in Beacon

Sponsored by the Men’s Club of the First Presbyterian Church, the Blackface Minstrel of 1949, with a cast of 60, performed two shows at the Roosevelt Theatre.

After pleading guilty to passing a bad check for $70 [$900] at a Poughkeepsie clothing store, a New York City man was remanded to Beacon to answer a charge of passing a bad check for $15 [$200] at the Whitestone Hotel.

The state Education Department ordered the Beacon school district to reinstate William Hamm as director of physical education. It ruled that while the school board had eliminated Hamm’s title and reduced his annual salary by $750 [$10,000], he was still doing the same job.

The state suspended the liquor license of the Beacon Elks for 10 days after an inspector discovered slot machines in its clubhouse.

Beacon’s three fire companies agreed to a request by the mayor that only one leave the city at a time for parades or conventions.

Rabbi Irwin Isaacson of Beacon spoke on “the place of the Jew in American life” at a forum on racial tensions hosted by Trinity Methodist Church in Poughkeepsie.

LOST BEACON — Mary Fris shared this painting on Facebook by the late Mary Fitzwilliam that is owned by her son, John Fitzwilliam, a clockmaker in New Hampshire. “My mother could’ve done that watercolor of Beacon in about 1950, visiting my aunt and uncle, James and June Fitzwilliam,” he said. “The painting hung in my parents’ bedroom for decades.” It shows a building owned by John Durkin at East Main and Leonard streets that was torn down in the late 1950s. The building on the right is the former fire station.

50 Years Ago (March 1974)

After scoring a school-record 41 points against Roosevelt, Rodney Paulin had 26 in the boys’ basketball team’s 75-72 victory over Kennedy in the first round of the Section I, Class B tournament. In the second round, George Hughes scored a career-high 32 points in a 73-59 win over Irvington. In the title game, Paulin scored 32, including making one of two free throws with no time left to force overtime, but Beacon fell to Peekskill, 80-77. [Paulin and center Joe Simmons were inducted last year into the Beacon High School Athletic Hall of Fame; Hughes was inducted in 1998.]

Fifty volunteers spent a Saturday morning removing counters from the Fishman building at 313 Main St. to make room for the Howland Public Library. The lumber was delivered to the Sloop Restoration, which planned to build a dock.

In response to a resident who suggested that the City Council survey voters for their thoughts on a tax issue, Mayor Robert Cahill said: “I’m not interested in a public opinion poll. I will do what I think is best for the majority of the people, not what the majority of people want. They’re two different things.”

The managers of the Chemprene rubber plant and Beacon Piece Dyeing and Finishing Co. said they might be forced to close after the city’s largest gas station, Gallagher Shell, shut off its pumps. The station owner was protesting his allocation from the state Fuel and Energy Office, which was rationing gas because of a national shortage. The managers said the “pump out” could prevent employees from getting to work.

Two consultants hired to create a master plan for the city told the Planning Board that Beacon had a potential for 25,900 residents because only 50 of its 1,430 acres were being used for high-density residential developments. [Beacon’s population was about 13,000.]

A Beacon man who was accused of being drunk when he killed a 22-year-old Army officer in a crash on Route 9D was sentenced to five years of probation.

A traffic and safety committee recommended to the City Council that, because of congestion, parking be eliminated on the south side of Main Street between Tioronda and Fishkill, and the west side of North Elm between Church and Oak.

The Planning Board approved a site plan for Highview Apartments, a Conklin Street development that would include 239 condos and 97 townhouses on the site of the former Matteawan Hospital.

The private Craig House psychiatric hospital was hiring registered nurses, promising “excellent working conditions on the beautiful grounds and a friendly atmosphere.”

A 26-year-old Beacon man who was convicted of burglarizing the Fishkill Landing Lumber Co. and certified as a drug addict was sentenced to five years of probation, including up to one year as a patient at a Drug Abuse Control Commission facility. Under a previous state law, certified addicts had to spend their entire sentence at a facility unless they were cured.

At a City Council meeting, Mayor Cahill said he was “aghast” to learn that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had bulldozed a “buffer zone” of trees between the Penn Central parking lot and a planned $225,000 [$1.4 million] riverfront park.

25 Years Ago (March 1999)

A local real-estate broker said that the 292,000-square-foot former Nabisco plant on the riverfront had been “removed from the market,” fueling speculation that the Dia Center for the Arts planned to open a modern art museum. The Beacon assessor estimated the city would lose about $50,000 [$93,000] annually in tax revenue if a nonprofit bought the 28-acre site, but City Council Member Steve Gold said thousands of visitors could provide a financial boost for local businesses.

Dia announced its plans the following week, saying it would spend $15 million to $20 million [$28 million to $37 million] to renovate the building, which had been donated by its owner, International Paper.

For Women’s History Month, the Howland Cultural Center hosted an exhibit of artwork by four sets of sisters.

After Cheryl Brown dragged her unconscious 81-year-old grandfather from their burning home at 25 Cliff St., two firefighters restarted his heart with a defibrillator.

Kenneth Stevenson, the pastor of the Everlasting Covenant Christian Ekklesia at the Beacon Theater, completed his third book on the Shroud of Turin. In it, he explained how “equidistance letter sequencing” he had discovered in Scripture authenticated the linen as the burial garment of Jesus. “I found the following encoded in both English and Hebrew: shroud, image, light and son,” he said. [In 1988, radiocarbon dating by three labs had determined the linen was made between 1290 and 1390, and other evidence points to the image as a 14th-century painting.]

Pastor Kenneth Stevenson of Beacon was considered an expert on the Shroud of Turin.

The city agreed to back a state grant application by Scenic Hudson to build a 15-acre park on Route 9D to provide easier access to Mount Beacon. The only access was from Reservoir Road and a trail at the east end of Main Street.

The city applied for state funds to build a $65,000 [$121,000] bike path from Verplanck Avenue to the site of a proposed $30 million [$56 million] high school on Asylum Road. The path would alleviate the need to build a sidewalk, which could not be done with grant money.

As part of Reading Week, Rep. Sue Kelly visited Sargent Elementary to read The Garden of Abdul Gasazi to a fourth-grade class.

Beacon residents voted 2,455 to 421 to approve construction of the high school, with the state paying 90 percent of the cost. Even after several additions, the current building, constructed in 1915, was too small for its 800 students.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

A former longtime national magazine editor, Rowe has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Idaho and South Dakota and has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University. Location: Philipstown. Languages: English. Area of Expertise: General.

Join the Conversation


  1. I look forward each week to the Looking Back column. On Palm Sunday I was surprised to read a celestial reference from March 1999 about a local minister/author who had published his third book on the Shroud of Turin. It may be one of those topics best researched on our own.

    The minister/author claimed that Scripture provided a type of “equidistance letter sequencing” that validated the Shroud as the burial cloth of Jesus. It could be true, but it doesn’t meet the scientific method expected of the most studied artifact in history.

    The Current then added an advisory quote for its readers, “In 1988, radiocarbon dating by three research labs had determined the linen was made between 1290 and 1390, and other evidence points to the image as a 14th-century painting.” Radiocarbon dating is an Uber accurate measure to date the age of organic material. This finding was supportable up until a few years ago when the raw data was analyzed for the first time by outside scientists resulting in multiple challenges to the dates of the linen.

    Various peer-reviewed articles referencing the raw data, including one in Nature, recommended the study to be set aside due to anomalies in the raw data sets. The 1290-1390 age of the cloth is no longer supportable. Broadly supported research now says that science is unable to claim the image is a painting, a rub or a scorch. But this does not answer the key questions: Who is the man on the linen, and what process produced his image? People should not be too elated or disappointed with the lack of an answer. Whose faith in Jesus Christ can rest on an author’s interpretation of scripture as a codex, or on the efficacy of lab work on an ancient piece of linen!

    This topic hooked me in 2023 after I watched a Barrie M. Schwortz video. In the video he claims 94 separate disciplines had done research and experiments to understand or replicate the image of the unknown man on the linen, and still, we have no answer. There is an open $1 million prize to the person(s) who proves the printing method. Schwortz presented a site with consolidated research called shroud.com.

    Schwortz is a disruptive, compelling actor as he discusses the first Shroud team in 1978 from Los Alamos National laboratory. Their transcendent team used an analog scanner called a VP-8 to scan and display a photo of the images on the linen. The result was earthshattering. They loaded various 2D photo images for comparison. They found that the photo of the 2D image on the linen was the only 2D photo that reported in 3D. Until recent digital software, it was unthinkable to scan a 2D image that reports in 3D. The researchers doing this work illuminate their unique individual gifts from their Creator, by rising above personal beliefs looking for truth. I find it to be all very good stuff, for anyone.

  2. The carbon dating of the shroud was performed by tests that were found to be made on repaired threads or cloth, which gave incorrect dating, e.g., not the cloth of the original shroud. However, a new dating technology using original cloth samples has placed the fabric within the time of Christ. Other evidence found was pollen in the shroud that could only come from ancient Palestine. In addition, shroud samples matched fabric known to have come from the siege of Masada, Israel, in 55 to 74 AD. Information was excerpted from the report of Dr. Liberato de Caro of Italy’s Department of Chemical Sciences and Material Technology.

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