A Van Cortlandt Manor Treasure—on eBay!

For the second time in a month we are pleased to have helped the Westchester County Historical Society acquire an important piece of Croton-related history. Last month WCHS purchased an 1804 bible owned by Abraham I. Underhill, one of the three Underhill brothers who started the flour mill on the Croton River. Today the organization … Continue reading A Van Cortlandt Manor Treasure—on eBay!

The Greatest Jubilee That New York . . . Has Ever Boasted

This month is the 171st anniversary of the “greatest jubilee that New York or America has ever boasted—a jubilee in commemoration of the greatest blessing that a city like New York could receive—the introduction of an abundant supply of pure and wholesome water.” 1 The jubilee took place on October 14, 1842 and the quote is … Continue reading The Greatest Jubilee That New York . . . Has Ever Boasted

New Croton Dam Post Card

Here's a nice Colortone postcard of the New Croton Dam. This card was published by the Ruben Publishing Co. in Newburgh, N.Y. and printed by "C.T. Art" (Curt Teich Art). The code number in the lower right corner dates this card to 1939.1 For a guide to dating Curt Teich cards, see here. ↩

The Ultimate Bird’s Eye View of Manhattan

Here’s the perfect follow-up to our recent post on bird’s eye view maps of the Croton Aqueduct—an interactive mashup of an 1836 map of Manhattan, georeferenced with satellite images of the city today.1 Using a “spyglass” map viewer you can switch back and forth between the two maps and explore 177 years of growth and … Continue reading The Ultimate Bird’s Eye View of Manhattan

Bird’s Eye Views of the Croton Aqueduct, 1879-1887

Here are two priceless “bird’s eye” views of the Croton Aqueduct, made eight years apart during the period when New York City was rapidly outgrowing the capacity of what we now call the Old Croton Aqueduct. One map looks north, showing the burgeoning metropolis in 1879—straining the water supply system with its unrelenting growth. The … Continue reading Bird’s Eye Views of the Croton Aqueduct, 1879-1887

A Different View of the Double Arch

In 1925, when Alvah P. French published his multi-volume History of Westchester County New York most of the photographs he included were contemporary, showing the county as it was in the 1920s.1 One can imagine a photographer, driving all over Westchester with a list of historic sites, stopping to take this unusual view of Ossining’s … Continue reading A Different View of the Double Arch

August 13, 1841 – “A ride to the Croton Dam”

Here is an account of a trip from Sing Sing to the old Croton Dam that took place 172 years ago today. This is from a wonderful blog that publishes the diary of Julia Lawrence Hasbrouck, who “lived and wrote the majority of her diaries in New York City . . . [and] then moved to a rural community in upstate New York, a transition that her diaries describe as a difficult one.”

096_Page 94Sing.Sing.
Friday. August. 13. teenth. 1841.

A beautifull day, the sun obscured, and a cool
breeze blowing.

Surprised by a visit from Garret, he rode up at
twelve oclock. It was his intention to take Louis, and I home with him, but there was no boat.
At three oclock, we set off to ride seven miles, to see
the Dam at the Croton water works. Our ride was very pleasant the children behaving remarkably well.
The roads are very hilly in this part of the country,
I was afraid to ride down the steep hills. A severe
freshet* last winter carried away all the bridges, so we were obliged to drive through the Croton river, to reach the spot on which the new dam, is about being erected. Four hundred men are daily employed in repairing the dam, and live in huts, on the surrounding hills. Dame nature, seems to have indulged in some wild freaks…

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Celebrating Ossining’s Double Arch

The promenade across Ossining’s famous Double Arch has been restored and will be reopened on Saturday, July 20, with an event taking place from 4 to 6 pm. To celebrate, we've assembled a group of images relating to this famous local landmark. On May 21, 1839, the Westchester Herald said the "stupendous arch" over the … Continue reading Celebrating Ossining’s Double Arch

Croton Reservoir in Central Park, Rejected Design

In 1857 the Central Park Commission held a contest to improve the landscape design of the newly opened park. Thirty three entries were submitted, only five of which have survived today. Two of the rejected designs are currently on display at the New-York Historical Society, giving us a look at the Central Park that might … Continue reading Croton Reservoir in Central Park, Rejected Design

Double Arches Promenade

The promenade across Ossining's famous double arches is being rebuilt and is scheduled to be reopened in September, 2013. Above is a post card showing the location circa 1907 and below is a photo of the site under construction today.