Celebrating the Life of David Crawford

By Mary McTamaney

October may not be the month we think of gathering at the river the way we do for the River Swim in July or the Waterfront Festival at summer’s end but in 1825 there were big crowds gathered along Newburgh’s shore to witness something that would change our community forever. A flotilla of sailing boats and steamboats paraded past our shores toward New York City’s harbor having started out in Buffalo along the new Erie Canal.

The Erie Canal was an engineering marvel carved through the southern tier of New York State that connected the world port of New York City to the nation’s western frontiers beyond the Great Lakes. Goods could be exchanged along this waterway on barges that floated everything from farm produce to mineral resources down to hungry markets. Continue reading

Our Early Nineteenth Century Port

By Mary McTamaney

This is the high time of year for seeing cruise boats o the Hudson. All sizes and types of boats are taking people out for sightseeing, for dinner or for a longer trip up the valley and back again. Newburghers enjoy counting the many new boats they see passing our shores (and hoping more of them will stop at our shore in years to come).

Watching a couple of attractive-looking long-distance river cruisers go by this week prompted me to look back at some of the chronicles written about river trips of long ago. From the days of sail and booking a berth on a packet sloop through the days of the grand “floating palaces” – the steamboats – the Hudson River has been our road through eastern New York and the water road into the interior United States for many decades. Continue reading