The Purdy Homestead on Quaker Ridge Road

One of the treats of this Sunday’s 18th Annual Croton Arboretum Garden Tour will be a chance to see the Purdy homestead on Quaker Ridge Road and a group of 100-year-old family photographs, lovingly preserved and made available by local restaurateur Craig Purdy. Today, the property is a magnificent 23-acre estate—no longer in the family—but … Continue reading The Purdy Homestead on Quaker Ridge Road

New Croton Dam, circa 1907

Here's a nice view of the nearly-completed New Croton Dam (also known as the Cornell Dam) circa 1907. We can roughly date the image from the state of construction and the card itself because it's an "undivided back" postcard, issued during the period from 1901 to 1907. Until 1907 only the mailing address could be … Continue reading New Croton Dam, circa 1907

New Croton Dam Spillway

This photograph of the nearly completed New Croton Dam gives us a look at the spillway without the usual cascade of water. Below are details from the image, showing the immense scale of the structure—made entirely of hand-hewn stone which was cut, moved and placed without the aid of modern construction equipment. The image comes … Continue reading New Croton Dam Spillway

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 Mystery of the Lost High Bridge Watch

On January 17, 1883 the Troy Daily Times ran an ad for a lost watch that will quicken the heart of anyone fascinated by High Bridge, the covered wooden bridge that once soared above the Croton River. LOST—A small sized hunting cased, gold English watch. On the upper case is an engraving of High Bridge, … Continue reading The Mystery of the Lost High Bridge Watch

New Croton Dam, circa 1906

Here's a postcard of the nearly completed New Croton Dam, sent from Ossining on March 13, 1906.

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. ↩

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

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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