The Mystery of the Underhill Medal

How did a silver medal from 1847, awarded to R.T. Underhill for the grapes he grew on Croton Point, end up buried in a garden on Long Island? That’s what reader Mike S. wants to know. “Many years ago, possibly 25 or so,” he writes, “my grandfather was turning his garden in Shirley, New York. … Continue reading The Mystery of the Underhill Medal

Hidden in the Trees

This magnificent Hudson River School painting, Hook Mountain, Near Nyack, on the Hudson by Sanford Robinson Gifford, shows the view looking west from the southern shores of Croton Point. Hidden in the trees in the foreground is the rooftop and cupola of Richard T. Underhill’s Italianate villa, which he built in 1846 and christened “Interwasser”. … Continue reading Hidden in the Trees

The Season of the Vintage

Now that “Autumn is touching with wary finger the wealth of forest and orchard, and carefully-tended garden spots,” let’s open our copy of the New York Times—from October 23, 1862—and read the letter, The Season of the Vintage, the Croton Point Vineyards, to learn about the “commodious and cool” wine cellars, the clever “Yankee” solution … Continue reading The Season of the Vintage

Croton Cider—Then & Now

If you want to introduce kids to Croton’s agricultural heritage, take them to Thompson’s Cider Mill on a Saturday to watch proprietor Geoff Thompson and his crew turn bushels of heirloom and traditional apples into old-fashioned apple cider. They may not use the antique cider-making equipment that’s on display outside the mill, but the process … Continue reading Croton Cider—Then & Now

Ruins of the Underhill Wine Cellars

These undated photographs—probably taken in the 1920s or 1930s—show portions of what was then the ruins of the Underhill wine cellars on Croton Point. They were made by Leslie V. Case, who was superintendent of the Tarrytown Schools for more than 30 years. The photographs are glued to the pages of one of Case’s scrapbooks, … Continue reading Ruins of the Underhill Wine Cellars

You Need Not go to the Rhine to See Vineyards

In September 1859, The Gardener’s Monthly published an account of a trip to Croton Point, which the author says was “visited through the summer by numerous travellers, who are permitted to drive through the grounds.” We’re lucky that Dr. Underhill allowed such free access to his property because this brief article gives us tantalizing details … Continue reading You Need Not go to the Rhine to See Vineyards

Croton Point, 1898

This fascinating map of "Teller's Point or Croton Point" was drawn by Edward Hagaman Hall for an article published in the March, 1898 issue of the magazine The Spirit of '76. In addition to recording the roads and buildings, Hall provided a numbered key (see below) to points of historic interest. Edward Hagaman Hall was … Continue reading Croton Point, 1898

Dr. Underhill, a Patriarch and a Man of Renown

"Among all the rich and luscious terrestrial fruits which gladden the heart of man and delight his taste and renovate his health," wrote the Eclectic Magazine in April, 1864, "none surpass in variety and value the fruit of the vine. . . . In all ages and in all countries, where the soil and climate … Continue reading Dr. Underhill, a Patriarch and a Man of Renown

R. T. Underhill—Doctor, Winemaker, and Investor in the First New York City Elevated Railway

The amazing thing about searching with Google is that not only can you find a needle in the internet haystack—sometimes you find needles you weren't even looking for, like this story of Richard T. Underhill's involvement in the West Side and Yonkers Patent Railway Company, the company that began the New York City transportation system. First … Continue reading R. T. Underhill—Doctor, Winemaker, and Investor in the First New York City Elevated Railway

The Underhill Vineyards, 1867

In October 1867, Harper's Weekly published a full-page wood engraving of the Underhill vineyards. Entitled "Gathering Grapes—An October Scene on the Hudson," the image takes us back to the time when Richard T. Underhill was the "grape king" of Croton Point. How significant were the Underhill vineyards? In his multi-volume History of Wine in America, … Continue reading The Underhill Vineyards, 1867