When Newburgh Produced Pianos

By Mary McTamaney

Imagine walking to the foot of Broadway in the decade before the Civil War. Newburgh was still a village. The harbor was full of sloops and schooners. The clop of horse hooves was heard moving in every direction. Wagons hauled every kind of material along the wide dirt road: bales of hay, bars of iron, bags of flour, yards of cloth, sacks of groceries and so much more. Among the wagonloads of goods were pedestrians wending their way among herds of pigs and sheep. Continue reading

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

Connecting Highways for Newburgh Prosperity

By Mary McTamaney

Delays are expected on parts of Interstate Route 84 this week as connecting ramps for Exit 5A are completed that will funnel traffic directly in and out of Stewart Airport. Drivers on both Route 84 and the New York State Thruway will soon be able to reach the airport for flights or freight services without traveling our local roads. Stewart Avenue (Route 747) was recently opened giving drivers a way to cross between Route 207 and Route 17K, a trip that used to require a miles-long loop east or west of the airport property. 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

The Way West

By Mary McTamaney

Fall foliage is just passing its splendid peak of perfect colors. Anyone I walk or ride with can’t help pointing to an especially vibrant shade of red or orange as leaves flutter to the ground. It is a time when, despite the need to conserve fuel and avoid gas expenses, people can’t help one or two rides into the countryside. When relatives from abroad visited recently and wanted to take a short trip to test out their rental car, they went west along the two-lane highways that pass hills and farms and reveal the beauty of Orange County. They came back amazed at the extent of our natural resources. Continue reading