Exhibiting the Pride of Esopus

To Preserve, Interpret and Disseminate
the History of The Town of Esopus

The Klyne Esopus Museum, located in Ulster Park, New York, is housed in a former Dutch country church built in 1827. The museum offers a variety of exhibits about the culture, commerce and history of The Town of Esopus.
Area History in Pictures
Left to Right, 1st Row: Camp Notre Dame-Ulster Park.  Chain Ferry-Rondout.  Lime Kilns-Route 213.  Mottís Garage-Esopus.  All early 1900.
2nd row: Monastery-West Park.  Alton B. Parkerís Home-Rosemont. Colonel Payne's Barns-Esopus. Downtown Port Ewen.  All early 1900.

For information about Perrine's Bridge, please click here.

A Time Line of Important Events Affecting the Town of Esopus
Taken in part from
The Making of the Klyne Esopus Historical Society Museum (1969 - 1993)
by Mary E. Polhemus
NativeThe Esopus Indians lived in the area. Esopus which means "place of the small river or wellspring of creation."
1540The French construct a trading post south of Albany.
1609Henry Hudson sails up the Hudson River. In his Captain's log he described the Esopus area as "faire" land.
1615The New Netherlands Company received its official charter.

The slow expansion of New Netherlands, however, caused conflicts with both English colonists and Native Americans in the region. In the 1630s, the new Director General Wouter van Twiller sent an expedition out from New Amsterdam up to the Connecticut River into lands claimed by English settlers. Faced with the prospect of armed conflict, Twiller was forced to back down and recall the expedition, losing any claims to the Connecticut Valley.

In the upper reaches of the Hudson Valley around Fort Orange, (present-day Albany) where the needs of the profitable fur trade required a careful policy of appeasement with the Iroquois Confederacy, the Dutch authorities maintained peace, but corruption and lax trading policies plagued the area. In the lower Hudson Valley, where more colonists were setting up small farms, Native Americans came to be viewed as obstacles to European settlement.

In the 1630s and early 1640s, the Dutch Director Generals carried on a brutal series of campaigns against the area's Native Americans, largely succeeding in crushing the strength of the "River Indians," but also managing to create a bitter atmosphere of tension and suspicion between European settlers and Native Americans. http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/kingston/colonization.htm

1646The VanAkens settle in the area. They build houses two of which, c1660 and c1690, are still standing.
1651The area south of the Rondout Creek is first called Klyne Esopus, Dutch for "Little" Esopus. A trapper named Kit Davis lived in what is now the hamlet of Connelly along the Rondout Creek. He traded with the Esopus Indians.
1652Jan Van Vliet receives a land grant from King William of Holland.
1657 Seeing the strategic practicality of a fort located halfway between New Amsterdam and Fort Orange, Director General Stuyvesant sent soldiers up from New Amsterdam to crush the Esopus Indians and help build a stockade with 40 houses for the settlers in present-day Kingston.

Aert Jacobsen Van Wagenen settles in Wagendal.

Settlers from Holland received "patents" from the Dutch rulers for land in Klyne Esopus and Kingston area.


The Dutch lost New Netherlands to the English during the Second Anglo- Dutch War in 1664 only a few years after the establishment of Wiltwyck. Along the West Coast of Africa, British charter companies clashed with the forces of the Dutch West India Company over rights to slaves, ivory, and gold in 1663. Less about slaves or ivory, the Anglo-Dutch Wars were actually more about who would be the dominant European naval power.

By 1664, both the Dutch and English were preparing for war, and King Charles of England granted his brother, James, Duke of York, vast American territories that included all of New Netherland. James immediately raised a small fleet and sent it to New Amsterdam. Director General Stuyvesant, without a fleet or any real army to defend the colony, was forced to surrender the colony to the English war fleet without a struggle.

In September of 1664, New York was born, effectively ending the Netherlands' direct involvement in North America, although in places like Kingston, the influences of Dutch architecture, planning, and folk life can still be quite clearly seen. http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/kingston/colonization.htm

1681Fischer's patent is granted by the English.
1682The Mogowasinck Patent for land purchased from the Indians by Henry Beekman is granted.
1690The Hardenburg Patent is granted.

Building starts on permanent homesteads using field stone found in abundance in Ulster County. Many of these early houses are still standing today. The Van Vliet Homestead at the corner of River Road and Broadway was built in 1767. The Van Aken Homestead near the where the train tracks cross Clay Road was build c1696. The Lowe (Louw) family built a house which was destroyed by fire in the early 19th Century. A newer homestead on Wildflower Drive running along Hussey Hill was built in 1840.

Willem Smit works for the Hardenburgs and builds a home on what today is Church Hill Road in Rifton. It is among the oldest houses in Esopus.

1745The younger Isaac Van Wagenen of Wagendal settles St. Remy.. The Freer-Delamater millhouse is constructed.
1776 - 1783

A stone house, built above what will become Elmoreís Landing on the Hudson River becomes an inn. During the American War for Independence British officers partied there prior to burning Kingston. The property was part of a patent owned by loyalist Thomas Jones. He was stripped of his land after the Revolutionary War. The stone house forms the center of Alton B. Parkerís Rosemont Mansion.

1791The population of Klyne Esopus has grown so much that members of the Reformed Church petition the Clasis of Ulster County for a church of their own.
1796James Grier and his partner John Armstrong build a factory to make metal items such as nails at the Eddyville-St. Remy Falls.
1797Isabella Baumfree who is today known as Sojourner Truth is born at the Johannes Hardenburgh house and farm on the Swartekill Creek. The Klyne Esopus Low Dutch Church is formed and a stone church is built near the southern intersection of River Road and 9W.
1811The Town of Esopus is formed. The area had previously been part of the Town of Kingston.

Esopus establishes a system of public school districts.

For more information about school districts see Chapter XVIII in The Town of Esopus 3000 BC to 1978 edited by Roger Mabie, et al.


The Klyne Esopus congregation builds the brick church which now houses the museum.

All slaves in New York State are freed. Sojourner Truth is free.

1835Perrines Bridge which is still standing, is built across the Walkill River in Rifton. It is the oldest surviving covered bridge of its design in New York State. It is named for James Perrine a French.
1840The hamlet of St. Remy is named after a town in France by.Abram B. Hasbrouck.
1842Ascension Church, an Episcopal church, is built in West Park for parishioners who had previously crossed the Hudson River to attend services in St. James Church in Hyde Park.
1851The Pennsylvania Coal Company builds coal depot near the mouth of the Rondout Creek. A town named after John Ewen, the company vice- president is laid out and becomes Port Ewen.
1853The Port Ewen Reformed Church opens on Salem Street.
1858The Methodist Church in Port Ewen is opened. The population of the town reaches 4,700.
1861Jeremiah W. Dimick purchases the mill at Arnoldton. His estate known as Woodcrest is owned by the Hutterian Society of Brothers today.
1870The first bridge across the Rondout Creek connecting St. Remy with Eddyville is opened to traffic.
1871Future Chief Justice of the New York Court of Appeals, Alton B. Parker of Cortland, NY comes to Ulster County to teach school.
1873Naturalist John Burroughs lives at Riverby in West Park. He is visited by presidents and poets such as his friend Walt Whitman.

The Catholic Church of the Presentation opens in Port Ewen.

For more information about churches in Esopus see Chapter XVII in The Town of Esopus 3000 BC to 1978 edited by Roger Mabie, et al.

1877A gold mine is established on Hussey Hill. The vein peters out after a year an a half.
1883The West Shore Railroad begins service through the Town of Esopus.
1890sThe Rondout Creek and Sleightsburgh become a hub for Delaware and Hudson canal boat traffic.
1895John Burroughs builds his sanctuary in the woods, Slabsides cottage.
1901Rifton gathers the hamlets of Swartekill, Rifton Glen, and Dashville to become a village.

Judge Alton B. Parker accepts the nomination to be the Democratic presidential candidate to run against incumbent Theodore Roosevelt.

The Redemptorists, a Catholic order of priests and brothers begins to build a major seminary on the site of Robert Livingston Pell's mansion. They named the seminary Mount Saint Alphonsus in honor of their 18th century founder, St. Alphonsus Maria De Liguori.

1910The great flood of January 1910 destroys the Eddyville-New Salem Bridge over Rondout Creek.
1911Telephone service begins in the Town of Esopus.
1918The American Grenade Plant on the Henry Van Aken farm blows up injuring many and killing several just before the Armistice ending World War I is signed.
1919The mills in Rifton close and the Village of Rifton is officially dissolved.

Electricity produced at Central Hudson's hydro-electric plant in Rifton becomes available in the town.

First radios in Port Ewen owned by Charles W. Card.

1922 The first bridge connecting Port Ewen with Rondout (Kingston) is opened. It is a suspension bridge and remains today.
1928Street lights installation begins.
1930High-pressure gas available along 9W through pipelines from Kingston and Poughkeepsie.
1938 Port Ewen Water System begins service from wells along Clay Road.
1946Natural Gas becomes available by pipeline from Texas and Louisiana.
1949First television is received in Port Ewen.
1953The Port Ewen School opens on Clay Road. It is later named Mt. View School and finally in 1978 it is named the Robert Graves School in honor of its long-time principal.
1954WKNY operates the first television station in the area on the present site of the Time Warner Cable.
1958Dr. George W. Ross donates land for Ross Park in Port Ewen.

The Port Ewen Water District opens a water purification plant drawing water from the Hudson River along River Road.

The town landfill is opened on Floyd Ackert Road in West Park.

1965The Klyne Esopus Low Church is closed by the Mid-Hudson Classis.
1972Kingston Cablevision begins service.
1974George Freer Park is opened on the river and two mini-parks are opened in Connolly and St. Remy.
1975A Town of Esopus Police department is organized.
1976The 118 year-old Port Ewen Methodist Church is destroyed by an arsonist.
1978The Methodist Church is rebuilt on the site of the previous church.

The Port Ewen Sewer System is constructed.

The John Loughran Bridge is opened between Port Ewen and Downtown Kingston. It connects 9W to the Town of Ulster by way of the Frank Koenig Highway.

1980The Esopus Police Department is disbanded and patrol of the Town is assumed by the Ulster County Sheriff's Department.
1983The Town of Esopus Volunteer Ambulance Service (TEVAS) begins.
1986The Klyne Esopus Historical Society Museum in Ulster Park opens to the public in the preserved former Klyne Esopus Reformed Church.