History on the River

Underhill Brick
If you’re walking on Elliott Way, south of the Yacht Club, you’ll see some red bricks scattered among the rip rap along the shore. These all appear to be what were called Croton Point bricks, made at the William A. Underhill Brickyard on the northern end of the point. Some Underhill bricks were stamped with his initials (WAU) but others, like the partial example shown above, were stamped IXL, a clever bit of self-promotion meaning “I excel” at brickmaking.

During the height of the brickmaking industry in the 1850s there were more than 25 brickyards on the shores of Haverstraw Bay and in Croton there were five in the area between what is now Half Moon Bay and the end of Croton Landing Park.1

Underhill Steamshovel

For some nice examples of WAU bricks see this post, History Underfoot.

  1. United States Coast Survey. Hudson River No. VI, Topographical Survey by F.H. Gerdes. August, 1854. ↩︎

History Underfoot

WAU Bricks

While visiting a home in the Harmon area the owners proudly pointed out the Croton Point bricks used in the floor of what had originally been a large covered porch. Well-worn from more than a century of use, many are stamped with the initials of William A. Underhill, who used the clay deposits to make bricks on the north end of Croton Point while his brother, Richard T. Underhill developed his famous vineyards on the southern end. The house also features other Underhill bricks, stamped with the letters IXL (a clever bit of self-promotion meaning “I excel . . . at brickmaking”), and stonework by masons who worked on the New Croton Dam.

For additional information about the Underhill brickyard, see this article written by Robert Underhill’s great-great-great-great-granddaughter.