Explore A Slice Of Hudson Valley History In Poughkeepsie
Vibrant Dutchess County City Offers A Window Into The Past
Poughkeepsie has always held a special place in Hudson Valley history. Dutch colonist Myndert Harmense Van Den Bogaerdt and English colonist Robert Sanders purchased the land in 1686. Growth happened fast, and the first church was founded in Poughkeepsie in 1720. The city serves as New York State's second capital. When the town of Poughkeepsie was incorporated in 1799, the rest of the community split off and eventually became chartered as the city of Poughkeepsie. However, the town and city are usually seen as one whole place, given the name "Poughkeepsie," and a combined population of 74,751.
Poughkeepsie also bears the charming name The Queen City of The Hudson, and the city has a proud riverside heritage. There are two Hudson crossings in the town. The Walkway Over The Hudson is an ex-railroad bridge from the nineteenth century. It is now a pedestrian walkway that spans the river. The mid-Hudson toll bridge is a significant traffic thoroughfare.
Get Close To History In Poughkeepsie
You will never be short of interesting historical sites to see in Poughkeepsie. The city has several historic districts that are worth visiting:
- Union Street Historic District started life as a simple footpath connecting the settlement of Poughkeepsie to the Union Store on the riverfront. In 1767 the trail was developed into a proper street, and homes started springing upon it. The district covers eight blocks, and 173 buildings are considered "contributing buildings" that add to the area's historical importance.
- Academy Street Historic District was the first planned neighborhood in Poughkeepsie. It contains many buildings from the eighteen and nineteenth centuries. The land was part of a farm in 1805, and later in the century was sold to a group of speculators. This purchase turned out to be fortuitous, as the district's smaller lots meant they could build plenty of houses in different styles.
- Mount Carmel is a vibrant historic district that is popular with visitors. The Walkway Over The Hudson crosses over the neighborhood, and every year the St Anthony's Street Festival draws visitors from far and wide. Mount Carmel historically welcomed a large number of Italian immigrants. The area is still home to several authentic Italian bakeries and eateries and is known locally as Little Italy.
- Garfield Place Historic District is only two blocks in length, but those two blocks are well worth visiting to see the grand historic homes. Garfield Place was started life in an area called the "Little Commons." In the early nineteenth century, the van Kleeck family sold the Little Commons to Bronson French. In 1836, the French sold it to some local businessmen who saw that the area's fantastic Hudson views and proximity to the Poughkeepsie settlement made it prime real estate. Today, the site is home to some of the most desirable properties in Poughkeepsie.
While you are strolling around Poughkeepsie's historic districts, there are two buildings that you will not want to miss.
The Building at 73 Mansion Street is an excellent example of Queen Anne style architecture. When the neighboring area of Balding Avenue was granted Historic District status, the awarding body excluded 73 Mansion Street because its style did not match the Balding homes in the rest of the street. The building was finally recognized in its own right, and it is worth a stroll past to see the striking architecture and the colored glass window inserts.
When you are finished, take a trip to nearby Hyde Park to see the Vanderbilt Mansion. The mansion is one of the most prominent Hudson River estates and features 54 rooms arranged in the Beaux-Arts style, which was popular in Paris in the nineteenth century. The house is beautifully furnished with period pieces, and you can also take a stroll around the Italian Gardens.
Get To Know Poughkeepsie's Famous Residents
Poughkeepsie has many interesting historical sites – but did you know it is also the birthplace of some fascinating figures? Some innovative Poughkeepsie natives include:
- Pioneering botanist William Henry Brewer was involved with the first California Geological Survey. He was also Yale Sheffield Scientific School's first Chair of Agriculture and a former member of one of Yale's oldest secret societies.
- The inventors of the famous Smith Bros' Cough Drops. William Wallace Smith and Andrew Smith created the first cough drops sold in North America. At first, the drops were sold from glass jars on the pharmacy counter, but by 1872 the brothers had created a branded box to sell them in. They even had portraits of themselves stamped on the packaging so imitators could not steal their idea.
- The man who gave the world Scrabble. Alfred Mosher Butts invented the well-loved game of Scrabble in 1932. He wanted to include elements of both chance and skill. He studied the New York Times' front page to work out how often each letter appeared, and therefore how often it should appear in the game. He named his game Lexiko, and then Criss Cross Words, before settling on Scrabble.
SERVPRO Helps Poughkeepsie Residents In Stormy Weather
Unfortunately, the Poughkeepsie area is familiar with storms and floods. In August of 2020, a severe storm brought down trees and left many homes without power. It is distressing to see your home damaged by flooding after a storm, but SERVPRO is on hand to help:
- We Are Faster To Any Size Disaster – you can rely on us to call you back within an hour from your first call and to arrange a visit within four hours.
- We operate safely – our teams come with overalls, long gloves, aprons, and respirators so we can work safely even in contaminated floodwater.
- We monitor drying using high-tech equipment. We use moisture probes, thermo hygrometers, dehumidifiers, and thermal imaging to monitor moisture levels and ensure your home is dry.
- We dispose of contaminated items and take care of cleaning salvageable items, including furniture, linen, toys, household utensils, and drapes.
- We choose from a range of deodorization techniques such as ULV fogging, spot cleaning, and odor eating pellets so that your home smells fresh.
You can rest assured that we will discuss all plans with you before proceeding.
If you need help dealing with flood damage, call SERVPRO of NW & SE Dutchess County at (845) 635-4550.