• A painting of Ericstan, home of John James Herrick.
    Local History & Interest,  Places & Landmarks

    Ericstan: The Lost Castle of Tarrytown

    Once upon a time, in Sleepy Hollow Country, there were not one, but four impressive stone “castles” in the region. Two of these are still in the landscape today: Carrollcliff and Lyndhurst. The remaining two are no longer standing and lost to time. One had featured prominently, overlooking the village of Tarrytown, with towers and wisteria-covered walls that commanded one of the best views of the Hudson River. This lost castle was Ericstan. Architect Alexander Jackson Davis was busy designing and building residences in the Sleepy Hollow region in the early 19th century. He was an artistic acquaintance of George Harvey, the artist who designed Sunnyside for Washington Irving, and…

  • Van Cortlandt Manor house in Croton-on-Hudson is reputed home to several ghosts.
    Local History & Interest,  Places & Landmarks

    Van Cortlandt Manor

    Just above the Philipsburg Manor’s northern boundary, at the junction of the Croton and Hudson Rivers, is another local representation of the early Dutch colonial period: Van Cortlandt Manor. The Van Cortlandt family established this massive 86,000-acre estate that was bounded to the west by the Hudson River, to the east by the borders of Connecticut, and stretching to the north 10 miles. Today, it is a National Historic Landmark with various architecturally significant buildings and landscapes. First Lord of Van Cortlandt Manor Stephanus Van Cortlandt was well-known historically as the first American-born, Dutch Mayor of New York City in the 17th century. His youngest sister’s second husband was Frederick…

  • The writing study and library at Sunnyside remain much like they were at Irving's death.
    Local History & Interest,  Washington Irving

    The Man, The Myth, The Legend: Washington Irving. Part 2: A Traveling Literary Lawyer

    “To me the Hudson is full of storied associations, connected as it is with some of the happiest portions of my life. Each striking feature brings to mind some early adventure or enjoyment; some favorite companion who shared it with me; some fair object, perchance, of youthful admiration, who, like a star, may have beamed her allotted time and passed away.” Washington Irving, The Life and Letters of Washington Irving, by his nephew Pierre Irving, 1869. At the age of fifteen and the end of his education, young Washington Irving did not follow an academic path to Columbia College like some of his brothers. Education was a “drudgery” to Irving,…

  • Sunnyside, Washington Irving's home, sits on the shore of the Hudson River.
    Local History & Interest,  Places & Landmarks,  Washington Irving

    Sunnyside: Mr. Irving Builds his Dream House

    “I am more and more in the notion of having that little cottage below Oscar’s house, and wish you to tell him to endeavor to get it for me. I am willing to pay a little unreasonably for it, and should like to have it in time to make any alterations that may be advisable, as early as possible in the spring.” The Life and Letters of Washington Irving, Vol. 3, pg. 30. Dutch immigrant Wolfert Acker lived in a modest farmhouse that was part of the many tenant properties on the Philipse Manor. It was situated on the Hudson River in a small hollow in the land on a…

  • The Boutonville Oak in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is reputedly haunted.
    Ghosts & Spooks,  Local History & Interest

    Tragedy at the Boutonville Oak

    Let’s hike in the woods of the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation to the Boutonville Oak. We can thread along roads and trails, traverse hollows, and make our way along densely wooded hillsides. It is a nature preserve of nearly 4,400 acres and one of Sleepy Hollow Country’s largest parks. It has a deep and storied history and the many points of interest can lead from one legend to the next. History of the Boutonville Oak Embedded on the far eastern border though, towers an ancient and gnarled oak tree. Known locally as the Boutonville Oak, for its proximity to the hamlet of Boutonville, this sentinel in the landscape took root…

  • Photograph of Grand View village hall.
    Ghosts & Spooks,  Local History & Interest

    The Ghost of Grand View

    “It was not long after that when towels were mysteriously removed from the bathroom and left in fantastic shapes in various parts of the house. Whenever all the occupants left the house, things were sure to be turned topsyturvy. Clocks stopped, trunks were unlocked, furniture displaced, but there was never any evidence that these things had been done for the purpose of plunder.” The New York Herald, August 27th, 1908. The Ghost of Grand View Arrives Something strange was happening in the Blauvelt house in the summer of 1908. It began when Mrs. Blauvelt came home to find what appeared to her to be an elderly man sitting on her…

  • Sunnyside, Washington Irving's home, sits on the shore of the Hudson River.
    Local History & Interest,  Washington Irving

    The Man, The Myth, The Legend: Washington Irving. Part 1: A Venturesome Urchin!

    The year was 1783. The day was April 3rd. The place was 131 William Street, Manhattan, New York. It was a surreal week for those residing in old Gotham. After eight arduous years of occupation in the city, the British had called a ceasefire, effectively ending the American Revolution. We were no longer the colonies, but the United States. A new republic! There was a collective sigh of relief from the former colonists. William Irving, Sr. was a Scottish merchant and former petty officer of the British Navy, and his Cornish wife, Sarah Sanders were two of those who were consoled by the end of the hostilities. Right after their…

  • Color postcard showing Andre Brook in Patriot's Park in Tarrytown, NY.
    Local History & Interest,  Places & Landmarks

    Patriot’s Park

    Located on the cusp of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow lies a rolling green space known today as Patriot’s Park. Named for being the famous location of the capture of John André by local patriot militiamen in 1780, the park boasts the capture monument and memorial, but also features other last vestiges of other pieces of local history and folklore. The earliest known historical act of significance where Patriot’s Park is located today is the capture of British Officer, John André as he was attempting to escape from behind enemy lines after helping infamous traitor Benedict Arnold. A large poplar tree supposedly marked the capture site, which was located about 200…

  • Ghosts & Spooks,  Local History & Interest

    The Baychester Depot Ghost

    Andrew J. Parker died “suddenly” at the age of 63 in September 1885 in the village of Pelham, NY. For most of his life, he worked as a chemist, and in Pelham, he had been the manager of the Neptune Powder Mill, a dynamite company. As an employee of a dynamite manufacturer, he lived much longer than anyone of that time would have figured; as it was a volatile and dangerous trade. But he was lucky to have survived and retired to spend time with his family. News reports at the time never explained exactly how Parker died, but not being blown to pieces was perhaps the most unexpected part…

  • The manor house at Philipsburg Manor is reflected on the millpond.
    Local History & Interest,  Places & Landmarks,  Van Tassel Feast

    Philipsburg Manor

    Drive North on Route 9 out of Sleepy Hollow and you’ll suddenly find yourself amidst trappings of a bygone era. An iconic white-washed stone building rests adjacent to a large and placid mill pond. Additional buildings, such as a mill and a barn linger nearby, framed by large picturesque trees. Squint and you might think you took a wrong turn and ended up in the wrong century. This is the remaining vestige of the early-18th century in Sleepy Hollow Country: Philipsburg Manor. The Lord of Philipsburg Manor In the 1680s, dutch immigrant, Frederick Philipse I had amassed nearly 52,000 acres of land on the eastern side of the Hudson River,…