• Local History & Interest

    Silent Pete

    “His shack is a hodgepodge of tarpaper strips, wood, tin, and an old brown blanket over the low doorway. The hut is in the center of a sparse clump of trees and refuse strewn underbrush, north of the Graham School property in Hastings. Smoke curls out of a rusty chimney, rising from a cracking fire in an old stove inside.” The Herald Statesman, Yonkers, N.Y., May 19, 1938 Sleepy Hollow Country has seen its share of reclusive and mysterious characters. The most famous of these was the Leatherman who from 1857 to 1889 walked an annual 365 mile clockwise loop through Westchester and Fairfield counties. He was reported to sleep…

  • Weird & Unexplained

    Exploding Mosquitoes!

    “Tarrytown, N. Y.—Mosquitoes in Cortlandt street, North Tarrytown have become gasoline drunkards and are terrorizing the town.” Nyack Evening Star, November 23, 1911 Imagine if you will, a flying menace. A tiny insect of prolific numbers, small enough to slip into any house, stealthy enough to land on your person without being noticed. Imagine the mayhem if that abundant pest were the common mosquito and it developed a taste for gasoline, turning itself into a flying Molotov cocktail. On October 15, 1911 James Brady of Cortlandt Street became the first victim of the North Tarrytown plague of exploding mosquitoes. News articles are mixed on the source of the gasoline, with…

  • This is a trade publication ad for the Holt Egg Beater and Cream Whip produced by the Holt-Lyon Company of Tarrytown, New York.
    Local History & Interest,  Vanished Sleepy Hollow

    Holt-Lyon Company

    Over the course of its existence, the Holt-Lyon Company manufactured a variety of hand-powered kitchen appliances like cream whips and egg beaters, bread slicers, and mayonnaise mixers. Holt-Lyon incorporated around the year 1900 for capital of $20,000 (about $700,000 in 2023 dollars). The business was the joining of forces by Nelson Lyon, who had manufactured egg beaters near Albany, New York, with Thomas Holt, who held patents for improved egg beater designs. The partners leased a factory on the Tarrytown, New York waterfront for their steam-powered equipment. Hand powered egg beaters and similar hand-held mixers first appeared in US patents filed in the 1850s. Their innovative utility made them household…

  • A postcard of the Hotel Florence, Tarrytown, New York, with several early 20th century cars park out front.
    Local History & Interest,  Postcards,  Vanished Sleepy Hollow

    The Florence Inn

    From 1819 to 1964 the northwest corner of the intersection of South Broadway (Route 9) and Franklin Street was occupied by a rambling old house that for much of its existence was a popular inn. Known first as the Franklin House and later as the Vincent House, Florence Inn and Hotel Florence, it served locals and travelers along the Albany Post Road. In their History of the Tarrytowns, local historians Jeff Canning and Wally Buxton record a parade of notable visitors to the Florence: President Martin Van Buren often stopped while in transit from his home in upstate Kinderhook, NY to Washington, DC; Woodrow Wilson lodged there while giving a series…

  • Local History & Interest,  Postcards

    Russell and Lawrie Post Cards

    Founded by Frederick A. Russell and James T. Lawrie, the Russell & Lawrie drugstore originally occupied the first floor of the Washington Building at Main Street and Broadway in Tarrytown, a Tudor-style building which in 1894 replaced the pre-Revolutionary Edward Covenhoven inn. The drugstore moved a couple blocks up Broadway after fire swept the building in 1965. Like their crosstown rival, Farrington’s Drug Store, Russell & Lawrie published a series of souvenirs post cards, some of which we collect here. Russell & Lawrie card numbered A5888 shows Tarrytown’s Depot Square with the Orchard Street district intact. The entire row of buildings behind the train station were demolished in the name…

  • Local History & Interest,  Postcards

    Farrington Post Cards

    Like his rivals at Russell & Lawrie in Tarrytown, drugstore owner Edward Farrington had a line of souvenirs. Farrington’s Drug Store was located in the corner of Beekman Avenue and Washington Street in North Tarrytown. Farrington employed a numbering system for his images, typically a six digit code on the image side of the card. In the mid-2000s former Rockefeller archivist Lucas Buresch catalogued Farrington’s “Lost Postcards of the Rockefeller Estate” with notes on each. 404,416 Residence of J.D. Rockefeller, Pocantico Hills, N.Y., showing Sunken Garden and Japanese Tea House. Farrington is incorrect. The Rockefeller family refers to it simply as the “tea house”. The interior is in the style…

  • A color drawing of an American shad (Alosa sapidissima) by Duane Raver commissioned by the Fish and Wildlife Service.
    Local History & Interest,  Van Tassel Feast

    Shad: America’s Founding Fish

    “Fain would I pause to dwell upon the world of charms that burst upon the enraptured gaze of my hero, as he entered the state parlor of Van Tassel’s mansion . . . Such heaped-up platters of cakes of various and almost indescribable kinds, known only to experienced Dutch housewives! There was the doughty dough-nut, the tenderer oly koek, and the crisp and crumbling cruller; sweet cakes and short cakes, ginger cakes and honey cakes, and the whole family of cakes. And then there were apple pies and peach pies and pumpkin pies; besides slices of ham and smoked beef; and moreover delectable dishes of preserved plums, and peaches, and…

  • Weird & Unexplained

    The Hudson River Sea Serpent

    In the world of mythical creatures, the Loch Ness monster is king of the hill–a superstar of international fame at the center of a multimillion dollar tourism industry. Nessie has staying power, too, with the beastie first sighted by St. Columba around 564 CE. Here in New York State we have a few aquatic monsters of our own. The eastern side of the state has Champ (or Champy, depending who’s telling the tale) the gentle giant of Lake Champlain. The village of Perry in the western end of the state boasts the Silver Lake Sea Serpent. Here in Sleepy Hollow Country we’ve had our own rash of monster sightings in…

  • A photo of Bannerman Island and Castle in the Hudson River, off Beacon, New York.
    Local History & Interest

    Bannerman Castle 

    “The sloop continued labouring and rocking, as if she would have rolled her mast overboard. She seemed in continual danger either of upsetting or of running on shore. In this way she drove quite through the highlands, until she had passed Pollopol’s Island, where, it is said, the jurisdiction of the Dunderberg potentate ceases.” -The Storm-Ship, by Washington Irving Bannerman Castle, one of the Hudson Valley’s most prominent ruins, sits like a sentinel at the North Gate to the Hudson Highlands. In Washington Irving’s short story “The Storm-Ship”, this small island marks the northern end of the domain of The Heer of Dunderberg, a Dutch goblin king who vexed many a sailing…

  • An historic postcard of Kidd Rock on the shore of the Hudson River in Kingsland Point Park, Sleepy Hollow, New York.
    Folklore,  Pirates of the Hudson

    Kidd’s Rock

    “This has long been the name of a rock that is part of the river-wall on the outer side of Kingsland’s point. There is a summer-house built over the rock and if there were ever golden riches beneath it, or if there are treasures hidden there still, it is not (fortunately) the duty of a sober historian to tell.” –Chronicles of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, by Edgar Mayhew Bacon Kingsland Point, today a waterfront park in Sleepy Hollow, was once part of an estate owned by Ambrose Kingsland, a wealthy whale oil merchant who served one term as mayor of New York City. Kingsland also owned land nearby in Tarrytown that…