The Village of Kinderhook 1609 - 1976

The American Revolution Bicentennial Administration designated Kinderhook Village a "Bicentennial Community" in January 1976. The Kinderhook Village Bicentennial Committee published a brochure in commemoration of our Nation's 200th Birthday on July 4, 1976. This publication was reprinted in 1981, and is copyrighted by the Village of Kinderhook, New York © 1976.

Kinderhook 1609 - 1976

by Frank L. Amoroso

The story of Kinderhook harks back to the early days of New World exploration by the Dutch. In 1609 when Hendrick Hudson sailed up the river which bears his name today, it is probable that the most northerly anchorage of the Half Moon was in Kinderhook waters. (As a matter of perspective, it must be remembered that many of the historic references to Kinderhook are not attributable to Kinderhook Village exclusively, but apply to the larger area encompassing the northwestern corner of Columbia County, including, but not limited to, the Town of Kinderhook [and the present-day Town of Stuyvesant, which was divided out of the original Town of Kinderhook around the turn of this century. -ed.]) While at anchor the Dutch ship aroused the curiosity of Mohican children who assembled to view the strange vessel. Thus Hudson denominated this place "Kinderhoeck", Dutch for Children's Corner. Appearing on Dutch maps as early as 1614, the name Kinderhook still survives and is therefore the oldest in the State.

The Mohicans who inhabited this area were a tribe of the Lenni-Lenapes which means Original People. These Indians thrived on the abundant game and rich soil and exercised control over a vast area. This dominance ceased prior to the arrival of the Dutch when a number of lesser tribes united to defeat them. The Dutch, recognizing that peace among the Indians was essential to the establishment of profitable fur trade, joined in a belt of peace at Nordman's Kill in 1617. As a result of this peace, the Mohicans were further subjugated. When their humiliation became intolerable, the Mohicans revolted.

The Indian war lasted for three years until 1628, when on the verge of ultimate victory, the Mohicans were lured into a trap on Roger's Island and were totally defeated. The conquered tribe fled across the Taghkanic hills. Although they returned a few years later, the Mohicans never regained prominence and the tribe immortalized by James Fennimore Cooper gradually died out.

Seeking to encourage colonization, the Dutch government in 1629 authorized the title of patroon to anyone who would settle a colony of over fifty people. A patroon received a grant of land and was vested with all the poser and privileges of feudal lords. Another method of fostering settlement at this time was the issuance of land patents which were grants of land usually conditioned on payment of an annual quit-rent.

Around 1640 the territory along the Hudson River south of Fort Orange (Albany) was settled. Inhabited by energetic, persevering people, the Kinderhook area developed rapidly. These settlers possessed a wide variety of skills and brought with then money, building materials, cattle, and simple farming implements. In addition to capitalizing on the area's agricultural wealth, many farmers became traders, with particular emphasis on fur. The are prospered and soon a nucleus of homes was scattered along the ridge above Kinderhook Creek in and near the present Village. This progress was hardly disturbed in 1664 when the Dutch surrendered the colony to the English.

Five years later, the government at Albany granted permission to the patentees of the Kinderhook area to elect two "fence-viewers" to supervise the roads and remedy disputes between landowners. In 1686 the Royal Governor granted the Great Kinderhook Patent which reaffirmed prior patents and organized these tracts into one township. Interestingly, one of the original thirty-one patentees was Martin Van Buren's great grandfather. Among the parcels covered by the Patent was the present site of the Village which had originally been conveyed by the Mohican Chief Emikee.

The Dutch settlers depended primarily on the river and lesser waterways for transporting goods and, aside from a rough-hewn wagon-way providing access to the river, relied on Indian trails for land travel. As traffic increased, these trails widened into bridle paths and cow lanes, and around 1670 a rudimentary network of roads existed in and around the Village. By 1685 the area was serviced by semi-weekly postal riders travelling between New York and Albany along the post road which passed through Kinderhook.

About this time many areas of the northeast became embroiled in conflicts with the Indians and the French. Fortunately, the Kinderhook area was practically free from bloodshed due to its location within the neutral ground which had been established by treaty after the Queen Anne War (1702-1713), designating the area west of the Housatonic River as neutral. Local inhabitants also believed this river was the eastern boundary of New York State, a belief which was to cause much strife.

Throughout the 1700's, there was prolonged trouble over the Massachusetts boundary line, with New Englanders claiming the Hudson River as their eastern [probably should read western -ed.] boundary and New Yorkers claiming control over land extending into Connecticut. This antagonism was further inflamed by the cultural disparity between the primarily Dutch New Yorkers and the English New Englanders. Many Kinderhook freeholders claimed title to land in the disputed area and vigorously opposed the incursions from the east. During the 1760's and early 1770's Kinderhook inhabitants were also threatened by the claims of powerful landowners in the Livingston and VanRenssalaer families. These controversies slowed this area's agricultural development and by 1763 the Village had fifteen homes and the Dutch Reformed Church.

In 1772, the English King interceded in the border dispute in favor of the New Englanders by creating the Kinderhook District and the King's District. However, final settlement of the boundary line did not occur until after the Revolution when the U.S. Congress established the present border in 1789.

The outbreak of the Revolutionary War found the Village, as well as most of the State, with sharply divided sympathies. In 1775, the division was so great that dual elections, one Tory and one Patriot, were held in the Village to elect representatives to the County Committee of Correspondence. Outside agitators further encouraged enmity between these groups and both sides frequently resorted to acts of violence. The protection of Patriot lives and property was entrusted to Committees of Safety. By the spring of 1777 Tory hostility was so great that General Gates ordered Continental troops here. Despite these instances of Loyalist partiality, many sons of Kinderhook rendered honorable service during our nation's fight for independence.

During the Revolutionary War, the Kinderhook area was the site of several historic events. In the winter of 1775-76 Colonel Henry Knox transported a vital shipment of artillery from the recently captured Fort Ticonderoga to the beleaguered City of Boston. Using ox and horse-drawn sledges, Knox led his hardy band through the frozen countryside, stopping only to rest and replenish their supplies. One of the areas traversed by Knox was the Town of Kinderhook. Our Village was the overnight resting place of Colonel Benedict Arnold in the spring of 1777 while he was convalescing from wounds received during the victory of Bemis Heights. When the redcoat army was captured by the Americans under General Phillips in 1777, the English General Burgoyne was entertained in the Village. Similarly, the American General Montgomery dined here while on his way to the ill-fated attack on Quebec.

After the Revolution was son, the area was slow to adjust to the disruption and dislocation the war had caused. Many prominent estates changed hands, either because the owners had fled to Canada or the land had been confiscated outright. In addition, there was increased settlement in Kinderhook by New Englanders. Most importantly, however, the post-Revolutionary period was one of major civic reorganization.

In 1786 Columbia County was formed in the division of Old Albany County. The County was originally comprised of seven towns whose supervisors established a County government.

Two years later the Town of Kinderhook was organized in the District which had been formed in 1772. The fact that the first town records were kept in Dutch is indicative of the strength of this area's Dutch heritage. Indeed, Dutch was spoken in Kinderhook well into the 19th century.

It was during this period of transition that turnpikes stretching in all directions were built. In 1785 the first stagecoach company between Albany and New York was chartered to run weekly coaches over the post road passing through Kinderhook. The turn of the century brought steamboat travel and helped set the stage for a period of extensive development in the Village.

The first half of the 19th century witnessed the zenith of Kinderhook's cultural and economic development. Apparently, the differences between the Dutch residents and the New Englanders had been resolved by this time, for records show that they joined forces to create a vibrant, prosperous community. The Village's first newspaper, the Kinderhook Herald, debuted in 1825. One year previous, the Columbia Academy was formally organized as a school to prepare students for the rigors of college. With a curriculum steeped in classical studies, the institution was hailed as a "pioneer organization of its kind and a model for other institutions of learning".

Being situated on a plain which was "as a garden and abounded in agricultural wealth", Kinderhook derived much of its prosperity from the land. Aside from an extensive wagon-making industry, the lack of water power prevented the Village from sustaining large manufacturing industries. Nevertheless, Kinderhook Creek was noted as one of the best in the country for fine mill sites and generated a great deal of industry in neighboring areas. Due to its location on the old post road and the excellent highways which traversed it in all directions, the Village became a major commercial center. Goods and produce from the surrounding area passed through here on their way to the river where they were easily shipped to New York markets via sloops plying the Hudson.

The considerable prosperity which resulted acted as a magnet to all manner of business and in 1836 Kinderhook was described as "one of the most important business places in the County." At the height of its success, the Village of Kinderhook incorporated in 1838.

The phenomenal growth of the Village during this period is readily apparent by a comparison of the number of houses. In 1813 the Village had "20 or 30 dwellings". By 1843, the number had grown to "86, distributed upon seven streets". Seven years later there were about 200 residences housing 1400 people. The Village's growth continued until about mid-century.

Throughout the latter part of the 19th century, Kinderhook's prominence as a commercial and economic center declined. The principal reason was the construction of rail lines in the 1850's and 1860's in other nearby areas, resulting in the establishment of commercial and industrial enterprises away from Kinderhook. In 1880 a major fire decimated the south side of the square and business district. Fortunately the Village was able to thrive on its agricultural resources and was spared the transformation which usually accompanies intensive industrial development.

Throughout its history, the Village of Kinderhook has graced the State and the Nation with many prominent people. One of Kinderhook's leading citizens was Peter VanNess who had commanded a regiment in the defeat of Burgoyne in 1777 and went on to become Kinderhook's first judge. Judge VanNess constructed the house which he called Kleinrood and which Martin VanBuren later occupied and renamed "Lindenwald". At this house, the VanNess children were tutored by a young writer whose name was Washington Irving.

During his stay in Kinderhook, Irving wrote Rip VanWinkle and garnered material for the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Although the latter story was set in Tarrytown (possibly because he was writing for a New York City audience), the principle characters were based on local Kinderhook folk. Letters subsequently written by Washington Irving attest to the fact that Ichabod Crane was patterned after Jesse Merwin who taught at the local schoolhouse.

One of Peter VanNess' sons was William P. VanNess whose main claim to fame is that, as Aaron Burr's personal friend, he communicated Burr's challenge to Alexander Hamilton and acted as his second at the fateful duel. According to local legend, VanNess gave Burr refuge in a secret sealed room at Lindenwald after he killed Hamilton.

By far the most outstanding native son was Martin VanBuren. He was born on December 5, 1782, the son of an innkeeper and farmer. After studying law, he entered public life and among the offices he held were County Surrogate, State Senator, U.S. Senator, Governor of New York, Secretary of State, and Vice President to Andrew Jackson.

His greatest achievement, however, was his election to the Presidency in 1836. Among the significant accomplishments of VanBuren's administration (1836-40) was the creation of the independent treasury system. The expression "OK" was coined by VanBuren's supporters during the campaign of 1836 when their rallying cry was "OK" or "Old Kinderhook". VanBuren was the 8th President and the first to be born in the independent United States. After his tenure as President, VanBuren retired to Lindenwald, a country estate south of the Village. He died there in 1862 and was buried in the Village cemetery.

Although Lindenwald passed to the VanBuren family after the President died, it was lost by his son John while gambling. The winner was a New York City financier named Lawrence Jerome who brought his family, including his daughter Jenny, to live at Lindenwald. Jenny Jerome, of course, was Winston Churchill's mother.


Today [that is to say 1976 -ed.] the Village of Kinderhook retains a 19th century ambience which is refreshing in its authenticity and visual attractiveness. The central area of the Village is comprised of an exceptionally well-preserved collection of 18th and 19th century architecture. With the adoption of a 1971 Zoning Law, an Historical District was designated to preserve the beauty of the older structures. In 1974 the United States Department of the Interior accepted this section into the National Register of Historic Places. By virtue of this designation, owners of buildings in the District are eligible for certain restoration incentives and the exteriors of approximately 250 buildings are protected from alteration unless the modification meets with Planning Board approval. These measures will insure the Village's unique character.

Still governed by the Charter granted in 1838, the Village is presided over by a Board comprised of a Mayor and four Trustees who are elected to two-year terms. Village elections are held on the third Tuesday in March in the Village office. All Village residents who are 18 years of age and over are eligible to vote.

The Board of Trustees is assisted in its task by the Village Planning Board which suggests new legislation, oversees the subdivision of land, and acts as the Architectural Review Board for the Historical District. Its five members are appointed by the Trustees for a term of five years.

The Village's Zoning Law is administered by the Building Inspector who is appointed by the Board of Trustees. Any proposed exterior improvements or change of building use should be brought to his attention to determine the necessity for a building permit or variance. He may be contacted through the Village Office which is open regularly and staffed by our Village Clerk. Copies of the Zoning Law are available from the Village Clerk for a nominal fee.

Matters invoking the interpretation of the Zoning Law are handled by the Zoning Board of Appeals. This Board consists of five members appointed to five-year terms and is charged with considering applications for variances and special use permits.

All in all, the Village of Kinderhook captures the vitality and progress of an agrarian Dutch village which has been transformed into a modern residential community striving to meet the challenges of the future.

--Frank L. Amoroso, Esq. [1976]

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Kinderhook - A Walking Tour

by Martha J. Horn

The Walking Tour covers most of the Historical District of the Village. Although it was originally settled in the 1700's, Kinderhook flourished in the early to mid 1800's and most of the buildings on the Tour were built at that time. Several buildings in the District were added at later dates and help to complete the picture of a Dutch community and its development throughout three centuries.

Please note that the House of History is the only house on the Tour which is open to the public. The other houses listed are private homes and we request that you view them from the sidewalk to respect the privacy of their owners.

Village Green

The starting point for the Walking Tour is the Village Green. A survey map published in 1808 indicates that the route of the New York to Albany Post Road followed the present Hudson Street and Albany Avenue. Chatham Street did not exist at that time, but was then a narrow lane in the old Reformed Church burial ground, which included, among other areas, the present bank and [former -ed.] pharmacy property. After the burial ground was relocated in 1817, Chatham Street was laid out, the construction of several buildings was completed, and the business area surrounding the Green appeared then much as it does now.

Shortly after 1854 the Green was enclosed with an iron fence. In 1882 the fence was replaced with granite coping, and the ornamental light standards and a stone watering trough were added. Of interest on the Green are: a WW I memorial, plaque describing Knox's Revolutionary War trek, the inscription on the watering trough and two cannon which were moved here in 1900.

Broad Street

This road was originally laid out in 1775 to No. 28. The homes were built primarily during the first fifty years after the Revolution by the descendents of early settlers. Across Broad Street at No. 2 is the present [now former -ed.] Post Office building. Its interior steel shutters were used to secure the building when it was a bank in the late 1800's. At that time No. 4 was a book and stationery store, and No. 6 was a jewelry store. Later, paints, drugs, and groceries were sold there. The Old Dutch Inn was known as the Lindenwald Hotel and public meetings were held upstairs. In the mid-1800's No.10 was the site of the fire company's engine house and No. 12 was a leather shop where Academy boys often gathered.

The House of History, No. 16, was built by James Vanderpoel around 1820 and is one of the finest examples of Federal architecture in the Hudson Valley. This museum is maintained by the Columbia County Historical Society and contains a collection of furniture of the Federal period, a genealogical and historical library, and paintings of the late 18th and entire 19th century.

Until 1854, Frink's Mansion House occupied the property at No. 18. At that time, this old inn and tavern was moved up the street and the present large brick home was built. When No. 20 was built in 1785, it resembled a large Georgian house, but in the 19th century a mansard roof and other Victorian trimmings were added.

The next house, No. 24, was built about 1774 and is one of the most distinguished Georgian mansions in the upper Hudson Valley. The main structure is flanked by two wings which were added about 1840, with the rear extension being added somewhat later. In October 1777 General Burgoyne passed through Kinderhook as a prisoner of war and was entertained here. The American General Montgomery dined here while on his way to Quebec. To the rear of the original estate is a small cemetery which was used to bury one owner's slaves. This cemetery is located in the present Village playground at the end of Rothermel Avenue.

The Benedict Arnold House, No. 28, was built in 1770. [It is beleived to have been built by a French physician John Quilhot.]Unlike any other gambrel roof house in Kinderhook, it rises a full two stories, rather than one and a half. Another interesting feature is its side hall entrance as opposed to the more common center hall. For many years, this building was an inn and boarding house for Academy students. This house received its name after Benedict Arnold was borne through Kinderhook after having been wounded in the Battle of Bemis Heights [Saratoga]. Supposedly, one of the door jambs was temporarily cut away because the doorway was too narrow to admit his stretcher.

Farther up Broad Street are several very early homes, most of which are not visible from the road. Information on these homes is available in "A History of Old Kinderhook" which is in the Library.

On the other side of Broad Street is No. 29, an 1836 house which was the parsonage of the Reformed Church until 1969. Proceeding back toward the Village center is No. 27, Frink's Mansion House, which was built on the other side of the street in the early 19th century. Next is the Martin VanBuren School which was dedicated in 1930 by then Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. Presently used as an elementary school [now only grades 3 and 4 -ed.], this building was refurbished in 1975 by the Ichabod Crane Central School District.

The Kinderhook Dutch Reformed Church next door has a long history, having been organized around 1677 as a mission from the Albany Church. It became an independent church about 1712 and was located in a plain structure on Hudson Street. A second edifice, also on Hudson Street, was erected some time after 1717. A third building, dedicated in 1814, was built on the site of the present church using bricks from the second church. In 1867 a fire destroyed the third church and services were held for a time in the unused Baptist Church on Albany Avenue. The fourth building was dedicated in 1869 and stands today.

At the opposite corner of Church Street is the Kinderhook Garage [since abandoned, then demolished -ed.] and the Berkshire Telephone Company office. In the mid-1800's a steam flour mill, sawmill, grain storehouse, and a brick blacksmith and cooper shop stood on this land. Between 1860-70 the Hover Hoopskirt Factory was located there and thereafter Brown Bros. operated a carriage factory, supplying coaches to southern markets. The present garage building was erected in 1910 and the telephone office in 1952. Next door [No. 17] is a small shop which was built about 1830 and has housed at various times a bookstore, newspaper printing office, and carriage showroom.

Broad Street to Hudson Street

Approaching the village center, the area from the hardware store [formerly at No. 3 -ed.] around the corner to the [former] Kinderhook Hotel on Hudson Street has had a wide assortment of enterprises. The "Fire of 1880" destroyed a tin shop, harness shop, two saloons, barber shop, hat store, post office and the Hotel. No. 3 Broad Street was built after the fire to accommodate a hardware and tin store and a shoe shop. The bandstand was constructed in the 1920's near the site of a large wagon scale. Prior to the 20's, there were band concerts held on the Green. The Treasure Shop building was built by the Kinderhook Knitting Company in 1888 and caps and mittens were made there until about 1940. The Kinderhook Hotel, built after the fire destroyed the original hotel, once attracted visitors for the summer season and is now slated for demolition.

Between the hotel and No. 10 Hudson Street stood the law offices of Martin VanBuren. The Kinderhook Memorial Library, No. 18, was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day 1933. Recently renovated to give additional shelf area, it continues to serve the community well.

Sylvester Street

Turning right onto Sylvester Street, of special interest are the buildings presently owned by St. Paul's Episcopal Church. The Parish House, No. 6, was built in 1916. St. Paul's Church was incorporated in 1851 and this Gothic Revival building, designed by Richard Upjohn, was consecrated on 1852 at its original site on Chatham Street. The building was moved next to the Rectory at No. 10 in 1868. The chapel was rebuilt in 1872 and the interior, with its Tiffany stained-glass windows, is quite beautiful. Across the street at No. 5 is the former Silvester home, built about 1800, where Martin VanBuren received his legal training from Francis Silvester.

Hudson and William Streets

The earliest settlement of the Village is located on the rise above the Creek and flats where Hudson and William Streets are now located. Returning to Hudson Street and turning right, there is a store at No. 24 which is over 120 years old. The signs on the adjacent barn are still visible. Of particular interest at No. 28 is the large bell on the side lawn. It marks the site of the Methodist Episcopal Church (1844-1956) and a covenant in the deed prohibits the owner from moving the bell. The house at No. 32 was the parsonage.

Long before the present large Victorian home at No. 38 was built, there was a small Dutch house of the high pitched roof style, supposedly one of the fifteen earliest homes. This old house stood as a rear section to the present house for many years, but was removed and replaced ca. 1950. The present house was built in the mid-19th century. On the lawn of No. 38, approximately across from William Street, stood the second edifice of the Reformed Church. The brick building was square in shape with a hip roof and belfry in the center.

The house at No. 46 was built about 25 years ago [~1950] behind the site of the popular Post Road tavern where Martin VanBuren was born. Old maps indicate that it stood quite close to the road.

Farther down Hudson Street are other early homes not visible from the road; Kinderhook Creek, originally forded and later crossed on bridges; and a view of the fertile farmland which first drew settlers to the area. Just a mile south on Route 9H is the VanAlen House, an 18th century Dutch farm restored by the Columbia County Historical Society and open to the public during the summer. About a mile farther is Lindenwald, former residence of Martin VanBuren, currently owned by the National Park Service. Restoration is imminent and the home will be open to the public in a few years.

Across Hudson Street is Jarvis Lane where many wagon-making sheds were located. Several of the nearby buildings, both on the Lane and this block of Hudson Street, were the homes and workshops of harness, wagon, and carriage makers. The home at No. 41 Hudson Street is reputed by Collier to have been Major Goes' Inn in Revolutionary War times. Across William Street is a frame house, No. 39, built in the high pitched roof style in vogue up until 1740. Originally a one-room house, this building is unique in that it is of clapboard construction and not the more usual brick. The smaller addition was constructed in the 19th century.

William Street

The widest range of architecture in the Village is to be seen by touring down this block of William Street. At the foot of Maiden Lane facing William Street is No. 26, built in 1766 as shown on the south gable end. This gambrel roof home differs from simple, farm-like Dutch houses in that its second floor was used for living quarters rather than for work and storage.

Across the road is the oldest house on William Street, No. 31, believed to have been built in 1754. This house is unusual for the area because it is built of stone. During the Revolution it was the home of the pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church. Since then, additions have changed the appearance of the original stone house.

Maiden Lane to Hudson Street

Returning via Maiden Lane to Hudson Street, the houses on the Lane appear to have been built in the 1850's and the 1950's. The early 20th century home on the corner of Maiden Lane, No. 25 Hudson Street, stands on the site of the first Reformed Church. Continuing on Hudson Street toward the center of the Village, No. 15 is said to have been used as a stockade to which Villagers retreated during the infrequent Indian attacks. Evidently the early rear section of the house was the section referred to, since the front of the house probably dates from 1760-70.

The next house, No. 13, was built about 1812 for Lawrence VanBuren, younger brother of Martin. Built in the same Federal style as the House of History, this smaller home is unusual for its side hall construction. The building at No. 9 has been an apartment house for over 120 years, and No. 7 was formerly a store. The Village parking lot land, currently owned by the U.S. Postal Service, is the pre-1800 site of an early school and subsequently was the Farmer's Hotel and then the Central House.

At the corner of Hudson and Chatham Streets is the National Union Bank of Kinderhook which commenced business in 1853 and moved to this building in 1859. The building occupies a part of the old burial ground and was built in the Federal style as a home after 1817. Laid in Flemish bond and of substantial proportions, the building was extended in 1963 on the Chatham Street side.

Chatham Street

Turning the corner on to Chatham Street, there is a building at No. 2 which housed a meat market for many years [now the Rock Shop -ed.]. Originally a frame building, it was renovated in the 1930's with a brick exterior. Next is our Village Hall which has an office, public hall and two former [fire] engine rooms. It was built in 1874 at an approximate cost of $8,000. The house at No. 8 was built shortly after St. Paul's Episcopal Church was removed to Sylvester Street in 1868.

On the other side of Chatham Street is an apartment house, No. 13, which was built in 1877 as the Union Free School [the outlines of the separate doors for boys and girls are still visible -ed.]. The [former] wine shop next door at No. 11 [now folk art] was a watch and jewelry shop in the mid-1800's and then a post office until the early 1900's. The building at No. 9 was originally built as a home around 1810. The buildings at Nos. 7, 5, 3, and 1 Chatham Street were built after the burial ground was removed in 1817. The small Federal style houses are typical village dwellings and the pharmacy on the corner [now jewelry] is an early commercial building once housing a general store.

Albany Avenue

Developed mainly after 1817, Albany Avenue is characterized by late Federal period and later 19th century architecture. The area from the [former] pharmacy on the corner to the first house on Albany Avenue was part of the old burial ground. The large brick residence at No. 4 was built after 1817. A private school was conducted in the rear of No. 10 in the late 1800's. Set wel back from the sidewalk, No. 14 was a blacksmith shop. Long unused, it was converted to a home in the early 1970's.

Despite the addition of gingerbread and newer sections to No. 28, the roof line and interior floor plan suggest that the house is an old Dutch style, perhaps older that it appears. The house at No. 32 was the parish house to the old Baptist Church which stood on the lot next door.

The site of the water tower was from 1846 until it burned in 1882 a large cotton mill which produced 28,000 yards of cotton goods per week. The water tower was erected about 1926. The houses on Railroad Avenue have been individualized over the years, but were once basically alike and were built for the mill workers. The electric power line adjacent to Railroad Avenue indicates the route of the steam railway, begun in 1890, electrified in 1900, and closed in 1929. The station stood at the corner of Albany and Railroad Avenues and was moved and made a part of the [former] Agway complex.

Farther up this side of Albany Avenue is the older section of the cemetery, some of it having been moved from the center of the Village in 1817. Martin VanBuren's grave is indicated by a sign at the entrance. Across Albany Avenue is the newer section of the cemetery and toward the center of the Village, in front of No. 61 is the 137th milestone marker of the New York to Albany Post Road.

"Fox Point" at the corner of Sunset and Albany Avenues was built about 1860, probably by J.P. Chrysler who owned the cotton mill across the street at that time. No. 41 is the supposed site of an old home which was burned during the Revolutionary War.

The Columbia Academy was incorporated in 1824 and the present structure at No. 29 was built in 1836 at a cost of $2,700. The 1843 Academy Catalogue listed courses to prepare men for college or employment in counting houses, and young ladies were offered a complete course of "solid and ornamental education". The building was sold in 1896 and was then used as a printing house for the Rough Notes, next as a knitting mill, and was purchased in 1909 by the Lindenwald Grange, its present owner, for use as a meeting hall.

Houses Nos. 27, 25, and 23 were at one time a single building called the Columbia Academy Boarding House. Built in 1847, burned and replaced about 1855, the Boarding House was sold in 1867 and had been divided by 1888. Nos. 25 and 27 were the front of the building and No. 23 was the rear extension where the Academy principal lived. Prior to the construction of the Boarding House, students boarded in private homes at $1.75 - $2.25 per week, washing included.

Farther down the street at No. 19 is a house built of boards laid flat on top of one another. This house and the one next door at No. 17 housed small private schools at one time. The Masonic Temple, No. 5 was built shortly after 1912. In the mid-1800's, No. 3 was a healing herb shop and No. 1 a grocery store.

Upon returning to the Village Green, the Walking Tour is concluded. There are many other homes, buildings, and sites worthy of note, but space does not permit listing them here. Some have been omitted because the source information cannot be verified.

--Martha J. Horn [1976]

A great deal of additional material is available from the following sources which were used in the preparation of this brochure:

Collier's "A History of Old Kinderhook" 1914
Ellis' "History of Columbia County" 1878
Historical details from the Village submission to The National Register of Historic Places compiled by Cyril Gross, Ruth Piwonka, and Dr. Roderic H. Blackburn
Village maps 1856, 1873, 1888
Descriptive material on oldest homes courtesy of Dr. Blackburn
Personal reminiscences of long-time residents who generously gave their time and memories to this project
Sketches courtesy of Beverley VanAlstyne
Cover Photograph from "The Village Beautiful"
Brochure Consultant: Ruth Piwonka

--F.L.A. and M.J.H. [1976]

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Village of Kinderhook Proclamation

July 4, 1976

To the Residents of the Village of Kinderhook:

Your Village Bicentennial Committee presents this brochure in commemoration of our Nation's 200th Birthday.

Our other 1976 projects include a spring lecture on the history of the Village, a Dutch Heritage Celebration to be held on May 15-16, beautification of Martin VanBuren's grave, repair of the Village clock in the Reformed Church tower, and sponsoring a float in the June 12 Bicentennial Parade in Hudson.

In 1975 two evenings were devoted to the reminiscences of long-time residents, 1,000 tulip bulbs were planted on the Green and at entrances to the Village, an additional 1,000 bulbs were made available to residents, a map was published outlining the history of the Village, and a Bicentennial Seal contest was held with Keith Arndt winning a $50 savings bond for his design.

The American Revolution Bicentennial Administration designated Kinderhook Village a "Bicentennial Community" in January.

We hope this brochure will be of interest to you and your family and will help familiarize new residents with our Village, its unique history, and all that it has to offer. Additional copies may be purchased from the Committee members.

The Committee invites your participation in the coming celebrations and projects, and welcomes your suggestions for additional activities in the coming months.


John Garrison, Chairman

Bicentennial Committee Members
Frank L. Amoroso J. Drew Horn
Elizabeth Barrows Martha J. Horn
Roderic H. Blackburn Elizabeth Langan
Frank Curran James R. Pigott
Ralph Duck Ruth Piwonka
Agnes Dunham Mary Glyn Thomas
Bonnie Dunham Beverley VanAlstyne

Village of Kinderhook Officials 1976
Harry A. Pulver Mayor
Richard VanAlstyne Trustee
William Hunter Trustee
Ray Tijomimem Trustee
Charles Leiser Trustee
Elizabeth D. Barrows Clerk-Treasurer

This publication is a reprint of the Bicentennial booklet published in 1976. The "Community Directory" included in the 1976 edition has been omitted in this printing.

--Village of Kinderhook, 1981

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rainbow line

Kinderhook Connection

since 01 january 2005