From Colden Square to Clinton Square

Situated in Colden Square from 1896, the statue of Governor George Clinton was relocated in 1989, to where he stands now, in Clinton Square.

Clinton Square

George Clinton Statue, Water Street at First Street

The original statue was created by sculptor H. K. Brown and stands in in Washington D.C, the copy that was erected in Newburg was recast the sculptor’s nephew, H. K. Bush-Brown.

Colden Square


Clinton Statue


Additional Resources

City of Newburgh

At the corner of Fullerton Ave. and Third Street, Clinton Square marks the entrance to the Colonial Terraces district. In the center is a statue of General and Governor George Clinton.

Originally in Colden Square, the statue of Clinton was dedicated on October 6, 1896. A copy of the statue by local sculptor Henry K. Brown that stands in the Capitol in Washington, it was cast in bronze by his nephew, H. K. Bush-Brown. According to Ruttenber in 1881, “it may with truth be said of George Clinton that he was to the State of New York what Washington was to the nation.” He served as Brigadier General in the Continental Army, and was the first New York State Governor in 1777.


Clarence Kerr Chatterton

Source: Clarence Kerr Chatterton

Chatterton Painting of Clinton Square, Newburgh, NY

“I believe that
an artist should
express himself
with as little fuss
as possible
in a frank, uncompromising manner.”

Clinton Square, c. 1917, oil on canvas, 24 x 30 in.

Early in the summer of 1917, Chatterton rented a small office on the second floor of the Highland Bank building in downtown Newburgh. It was cramped and hot, but by sticking his head out of the window he had a good bird’s-eye view in three directions. He spent the whole summer painting there and the three views became three large oil paintings — Water Street, Saturday Shopping, and Clinton Square.

In 1925, when he was 45 years old, Chatterton decided that a one-man show in a prestigious New York gallery was necessary for the advancement of his career. He approached the Wildenstein Gallery and, although they objected at first that they did not handle American artists, they finally agreed to give him an exhibition.

Wildenstein had three galleries: two large ones connected by a small one. Chatterton’s show was held in the small gallery, between a Toulouse Lautrec exhibition in one of the large galleries and a Fragonard show in the other. Evidently Chatterton’s work, mostly paintings of his Newburgh period, did not suffer in the invitable comparison as critical comment was quite favorable.

Although Clinton Square was not sold during the exhibition, the Wildenstein staff was so impressed that they included it in their Tri-National Exhibition, which they organized and sent to Europe and South America in 1926.



Newburgh Again: First City Church To Use Electricity

First City Church To Use Electricity

The Evening News
March 31, 1984

The First Presbyterian Church here was the first church in New York State to be illuminated by electricity.

“The inspection of the electric light in Newburgh by Thomas A. Edison and others, including prominent gentlemen from New York, Poughkeepsie, and Norfolk, Va.,” is detailed in account in the Daily Journal, dated April 25, 1884.

One of the sites inspected was the church at South and Grand Street, now Calvary Presbyterian Church.

The century-old report came to light as the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands and Central Hudson cosponsored the centennial of the first electricity in Newburgh.

The newspaper listed the visitors, a veritable who’s who of the business and financial leaders of the era. They arrived at 6 p. m., according to the report.

Understanding the electric station in Newburgh was a model one, they wanted a close look. The Poughkeepsie contingent was considering organization of a company there to adopt electric light.

After supper at the “United States Hotel” (later the Palatine), visitors walked to the Montgomery Street electric plant and then to the church.

The lights were turned on and they were praised by the visitors as very fine and brilliant. 

The century old account continues: “Mr. Edison remained at the electric building, to converse with Mr. T.C. Conant, the electrician in charge, and other gentlemen.

“Mr. Edison, the great inventor, is a gentleman of ordinary appearance. He dresses in plain black, and wears a square-crown black hat. He is an incessant smoker, and during the animated conversations that he had while here a fragrant Havana contributed toward making him at ease.

“He is a ready conversationalist and when in conversation his countenance is illuminated, and a glance at in convinces the ordinary observer that he is a man of great brain power.”

“That he understands the working of electricity thoroughly goes without saying. He was very highly pleased with his visit, and complimented the gentlemen attached to the station here for the thoroughness of their work. He did not suggest improvements in its conduct, as the requirements had been well met. Other gentlemen spoke very favorably of the workings of the electric light, of its great merit, and the complete manner in which it was controlled and managed.”

The unidentified reporter carefully listed details which remain interesting 100 years later. He concluded:

“The visitors returned to the United States Hotel after their tour of inspection, held a brief conversation among themselves and a few Newburgh gentlemen, with whom they were acquainted, and then took the $.10 boat for Fishkill, the two parties separating at that place, and returning to their respective destinations, New York and Poughkeepsie.”

The Rev. Carlos Lantis, current pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church, researched the material and church secretary Betty Schoonmaker typed the information from a microfilmed copy to submit the material to the Evening News – helping to recall references of Newburgh and the historic edifice.

Newburgh Again: The North Plank Road Tavern- 1981

Bypassed by bulldozers, tavern restored

The Evening News – Dec 1, 1981

NEW LEASE ON LIFE – The North Plank Road Tavern bas been around more than 100 years and may see another century. The owners, Thomas and Lucie Costa, have applied for the building to be listed on the National Historic Register. Photo by Jean Yanarella

TOWN OF NEWBURGH – The North Plank Tavern is alive and well after more than 100 years. With a couple of enthusiastic owners and a recent decision by the Department of Transportation to spare it, the building’s future seems secure.

The structure was the most ambitious acquisition of Thomas and Lucie Costa. Although they bought a restored five area buildings before this one, the North Plank Road purchase has become their home and business.

The owners are attempting to have the tavern listed on The National Historic Register.

Its alleged historic value is partly responsible, for the Department of Transportation’s decision to take six private homes across the street for a road-widening project and spare the bar.

The process of getting on the National Registry may end in 1982 with the North Plank Road building receiving the official designation.

The ponderous process started in 1980, involved a large amount of research by the owners, Thomas Costa and his wife, Lucie Provencher Costa. The youngest member of the Costa beverage family, Costa is the son of county Legislator Joseph Costa, who runs the soda plant of the same name.

Thomas Costa studied mathematics and education in college and his wife, a native of Montreal, studied civil engineering. They’ve combined forces to make use of what they call an opportunity unique to Newburgh.

Newburgh is one of the best places, they say, to find a beautiful, historic building at a very low price that can be turned into an exquisite, livable structure.

The first building the couple restored was on Grand Street. After facing the horrible state the structure was in, the Costa said the rest of the houses they acquired and refurbished were easy.

The Costas say restoring old buildings is a help to the community. They pointed out that the Farmworkers Legal Services was going to move to Poughkeepsie until t he group approached the couple and asked about renting a Liberty Street house. Getting a good deal from the couple convinced the agency to stay in Newburgh, the Costas say.

The couple hopes to turn the latest acquisition into a restaurant. The tavern now offers a selection of beer and folk-oriented music on weekends. With a new stove, they hope by next summer to offer food with a French flavor.

The move to a restaurant has taken them since 1979 when they bought the building. Financing for a restaurant was difficult to find, they explain. The Newburgh Savings Bank was willing to help them.

Financial help was not all the couple needed. An incredible amount of physical labor was done to get the structure into shape in1979.

Its claim to a place on the National Historic Register apparently begins in the 1850swhen the tavern was said to be a hotel and meeting place. During Prohibition the establishment became a speakeasy. Gambling was most likely part of the building’s appeal. It was also rumored to have a bordello operating out of some rooms.

Politicians and gangsters frequented the spot. Within its walls, alcohol was diluted and bottled with counterfeit labels.

The Costas have benefited from the fact that the previous owner, Anthony Nixon, never threw anything out. The results are displayed in the walls of the tavern, including hand-embroidered hankies on black felt and decades old business cards.

Newspapers, one proclaiming “Beer is back” (March 23, 1933) also decorate the walls. These were not saved as precious souvenirs, said Costa, but were used as padding under linoleum. The couple can tell by the dates on the newspapers when the work was done.

The ornate wooden bar back originally stood at the United States Hotel on Front Street. It is believed to be 150 years old. It was brought into the tavern around 1910.

All in all, the Costas say they have found a link with history, a home, and a livelihood, “Newburgh is working,” said Costa. “It’s been good to us.”

Newburgh Again: Society Exotic As A Survival of a Quaint Past

The Newburgh Daily News – Sep 22, 1915

History by Mr. Hilton
One of the party had picked up a printed leaflet bearing the caption “secretary Report”. It was dated 1887 and signed by William H. Hilton. Mr. Hilton, reviewing the history of the Newburgh Horse Thief Detecting Society, had written as follows:

“The Newburgh Horse Thief Detecting Society was organized at the court house, in the City of Newburgh, August 17, 1861. The following officials were at the time elected: President, Mr. Sands Belknap; vice-president, Mr. Eli Hasbrouck; secretary, Mr. Thomas George; Treasurer, Doctor James Low. The membership fee was two dollars. No annual dues were collected until 1866. At a meeting called by the President, August 5, 1865. At the hotel of Jacob O. Terwilliger, at New Mills, it was resolved, that on and after January 1st, 1866, each member pay an annual due of one dollar in advance; and at the same meeting it was resolved, that a fine of fifty cents be imposed on each officer and twenty-five cents on each member for failure to attend the annual meetings of the society.

When the society was organized, riders were appointed semi-annually. At the August meeting, in 1865, this article of the by-laws was amended so as to read “annually” instead of semi-annually”. At the annual meeting held in the court house, Jan. 15, 1867, the resolution imposing a fine of fifty cents on officers and twenty-five cents on members, was rescinded. At the annual meeting held at the Orange Hotel, Jan. 22, 1874, the 8th article of the by-laws was amended so as to read: “The membership fee to be five dollars instead of two as heretofore”.

A special meeting was held at the Orange Hotel on the 7th day of February, 1874, for the purpose of re-organizing the society under the State act of 1862, as amended by the Act of 1870, a committee composed of the following gentlemen: Mr. Wm. R. Brown, Mr. A. S. Cassedy, and Mr. F. F. Corwin, was appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws to be reported and acted upon at a meeting held at the Orange Hotel, Feb 24th, 1874. At this last meeting, the constitution and by-laws were adopted and the society was called “The Newburgh and New Windsor Horse-Thief Detecting Society”. Three trustees from the town of Newburgh were appointed: Mr. B. K. Johnston for one year; Mr. John L. Aderton for two years, and Mr. C. Gilbert Fowler for one year. Three trustees were also appointed from the Town of New Windsor: Mr. Aymar Van Beuren for one year; Mr. John Appleton for two years, and Mr. Wm. W. Patten for three years. Three trustees were also appointed from the City of Newburgh: Mr. James R. Dickson for two years, and Mr. G. W. Peters and Mr. Daniel A. Weed each for three years. As their terms of office expired they were each unanimously re-elected, except Mr. Wm. Patten, who declined in favor of Maj. Thos. Morton, and all trustees who were elected as above stated still hold the office, save those who have been removed from our midst by death.

Its Early Officers
“At a special meeting at the United States Hotel, Feb. 24, 1879, Mr. Daniel Barnes was elected to fill the vacancy caused by the death of C. G. Fowler, and at the annual meeting, Jan. 10, 1881, held in the Common Council rooms, Dr. P. M. Barclay was elected to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Mr. James R. Dickson, and today we are called upon to fill another vacancy, death having claimed another member, Major Thomas Morton. I think it fitting to say here none had the interest of the society more at heart than did Major Morton. For the last 13 years, ever since I have been treasurer, Major Morton never missed a meeting without writing me to say he could not be with us, and always wished me to let him know what had been done……

“The first meeting of the trustees was held in the Orange Hotel, Feb. 28, 1874, and they have held one annual meeting ever since and several special meetings……

“The first president, Mr. Sands Belknap, was elected Aug 17, 1861, and re-elected Sept. 27, 1862 and Sept. 26, 1863. He declined re-election again, and Mr. Hasbrouk succeeded him. Mr. Hasbrouck was re-relected Jan. 16, 1869. Then our present president, Mr. Beverly K. Johnston, The Old Reliable, was elected president, and not withstanding he has frequently expressed the wish to step down and make room, as he says, for someone else, for almost a score of years he has been unanimously chosen to preside over our meetings; and, more than that, he has not in all these years been absent from an annual nor special meeting, save once, when he was subpoenaed as a witness in a suit at Cooperstown, Otsego County. I think you must all agree with me when I call him Old Reliable, as you see nothing but the strong arm of the law has been able to keep him from his place at our meetings and I trust he may be long spared to come in and go out with us as president……

Total of Members 365
Concluding his resume, Mr. Hilton said:
“Since the organization of the society we had a total membership of 365. Of this number 143 have been removed by death; 55 have ceased to be members for various reasons, such as removal from the city; and 42 have been stricken from the roll for reasons unknown to me.

“We have collected from membership fees, fines and dues, $2,929; from interest on money in bank, $1,475.33 –making a total of $4,404.3. We have paid out $2,220.11, and have on hand $2,184.22. All the facts and figures I have given you are as I find them y carefully going over the records of the society for the past twenty-five years. The society having been organized twenty-five years lat August, and as this meeting is about our quarter-centenial, I have prepared a few statistics from which I trust some one may derive information, which, if they do I shall consider myself repaid for gathering them.

Thieves Run Down
“As the name indicates, the Newburgh and New Windsor Horse Thief Detecting Society was organized to protect owners of horses against theft. At that time there were many fine horses in Orange County, may fine sires were bred and thefts were frequent, even of animals of only ordinary value. The only means of communication was the telegraph, but this was imperfectly developed. Railroads were few and police protection in adequate. Whenever a horse was stolen the members bent every effort on corralling the thieves. A large reward was offered, riders spread the alarm and the hunt was pressed with every resource. The result of this was that very fact of man’s membership in the society had a salutary effect in deterring the unscrupulous from attempting to make away with his horses.

Nevertheless, the society was called upon frequently to carry out the purpose for which it existed. The records show many instances of thefts, the capture of the culprit and a conviction. There is one remarkable reference of the stealing of two horses from Daniel Barnes’ stable in Middle Hope. This was in 1898. The thieves set the buildings on fire and escaped. The fire destroyed the barns with much live stock. Eventually the responsible persons were brought to justice. There were two of them, James Plew and Walter Wells. In 1913 Plew was electrocuted in Connecticut for murder.

Aside from the enforcement of law and order, the horse Thief Detecting Society was a social organization, too. The annual dinners were elaborate affairs “Bev” Johnston who was long president, a prominent figure through-out Orange County, established the custom of giving an annual dinner at his inn in Coldenham. “Bev.” Johnston’s dinners always attracted a great throng, including relatives, friends, and enemies of the members.

Modern methods of communication and transportation have reduced the function of the society to a minimum. It is hard now to steal horses and get away with it. The last member to have live stock stolen was Samuel D. Stewart, who lost a pair of mules in 1910. With no rewards to pay every now and then, the society finds itself able to pay substantial dividends. There is about $2,500 in the treasury, which is invested. Aside from this its existence is perfunctory.

William H. Hilton joined the society in June, 1867. He was made secretary in 1874 and five years later treasurer. The duties of both offices were combined. The length of Mr. Hilton’s service as an officer is remarkable. It is an odd coincidence that his successor, David W. Jagger of this city is cousin of Major David Jagger of Orange Lake, who was prominent in the organization from its infancy till his death. Aymar Van Beuren, a trustee at present, is the only living charter member of the society.

Newburgh Horse Thief Detecting Society 2012 Update:

The NHTDS was once a vigilante justice group in the community — today it’s a social club that meets at a historic tavern in Newburgh. Everyone is welcome to come by to hang out. If you would like to be a member, receive a pin and membership card — then send a tax-deductable donation of $50.00 to the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay & the Highlands, 189 Montgomery Street, Newburgh, NY 12550.

Meetings held on the last Friday of each month at the North Plank Tavern. The first meeting will be on July 27, 2012, because we are waiting for the tavern to reopen after the restoration work that’s being done now.
President, Jeremiah V. Ventry-McGee
Vice-President, Zachary Costa

Newburgh Ferry Franchise Long Served As A Pattern

The New York Times
Published: March 23, 1930

IN a recent address Governor Roosevelt called attention to the Newburgh ferry, one of the most historically colorful ferries in America, the original franchise of which Governor cited as “an example which has been followed all the way down to within the last few years.” A search of the records discloses that the first ferry franchise at Newburgh was granted to Alexander Colden in 1743, as a result of his petition to the Governor of the Province for the right to operate such & service between Newburgh and Fishkill.
In Colden’s petition are found set forth the two principles, adequate services and nominal cost, which made the franchise an example to be commented upon nearly two centuries later. Colden promised to “provide boats and persons constantly to attend.” His charges were carefully detailed. For every “man and a horse” there will be a fare of 2 shillings and 6 pence; “but if three or more were together, for each man and horse, 2 shillings”; “for every calf or hog, 4 shillings”; “for every full barrel, 1 shilling”; “for every empty barrel, 4 pence,” and “for every pail of butter, 3 shillings.” Competition, historical papers indicate, tended to reduce Colden’s original rates, nominal as the rates of the first franchise may have seemed at the time. Near the end of the eighteenth century the Bogardus-Anderson ferry advertisement quoted a fare of “2 shillings for a horse and a man”; “a phaeton and pair, 12 shillings”; “a ton of iron, 8 shillings,” and “a hogshead of rum, 5 shillings.”
Colonel Jonathan Hasbrouck, another pioneer ferry owner, built the first dock in Newburgh in 1731, a few miles south of the Hasbrouck property, which later became Washington’s headquarters. Fishkill, particularly, was a post of great importance in the Revolutionary campaigns of 1777 and 1778. A few hours before the British· sailed up the Hudson to burn Fishkill, two sloops, lying at the Hasbrouck dock, were dispatched to bring troops for reinforcing General Gates, thus escaping destruction. During the war years the Newburgh ferry was operated by the government.
The Colden ferry, after changing hands a. number of times, was bought by Thomas Powell, who, in 1850, passed it on to his daughter, Mrs. Frances E. L. Ramsdell, in whose family ownership of the ferry system has remained

Newburgh Again: United States Hotel

Newburgh Telegraph, 1834


Immediately at the head of the now Steamboat and Ferry Wharf, stands the spacious building erected during, the past year by Col. Carpenter for a public Hotel, and just finished, and opened try Col. E. Hathaway under the above cognomen, ,the “United States Hotel”. The location and admirable construction of this noble edifice are peculiarly calculated to render it one of the most agreeable retreats in the warm season, in the state.
It is built of brick, five stories high. On the side, fronting the water are three piazzas, extending the whole breadth of the building, sustained by lofty free-stone pillars, and enclosed with iron railings. The building is surmounted by a large observatory and promenade, commanding a view of the Highland mountains, West Point, the-verdant hills and rich fields of Dutchess, with the Newburgh Bay, and the Hudson, for ten or fifteen miles, forming a picture rarely met with in this or any other country.
In addition to its superb bar and dining rooms, there are nine Parlours, public and private, with near ninety lodging rooms, variously arranged for the accommodation of individuals or families ; and from the basement to the attick nothing is wanting in the furnishing of the United States Hotel; to render it what it was designed to be by its proprietor, a house of the very first class.
 Of mine host and hostess of the “United States,” it is needless to say that they are qualified both by nature and experience to have charge of such an establishment.



Newburgh Again: Biggest River Liner Launched At Newburg

as printed in The New York Times; April 1, 1906 

Little Miss Oclott Names the Hendrick Hudson with Water.
Many Innovations In Construction of the Vessel and for the Comfort of 5,000 Passengers.
NEWBURG, March 31. – The new Hudson River Day Line Steamboat Hendrick Hudson was launched here at 3 o’clock this afternoon at the shipyard of the Thomas S. Marvel Company. Little Katherine Olcott, the twelve-year-old daughter of Elmer E. Olcott, President of the Hudson River Day Line, broke the traditional bottle – containing, however, water instead of champagne – over the bows of the steamboat, and at once the vessel glided into the waters of the river that neceforth is to be her home.
At the same moment cannon boomed from the deck of the Hendrick Hudson’s sister ship, the New York; whistles shrieked, the crowds on the banks cheered lustily, the pleasure craft on the river dipped their flags as a salute to the newcomer, while a number of doves, liberated on the deck at the moment of launching, according to the Japenese custom, circled about in the air overhead.
With her nose sadly out of joint, owing to the prominence of her new and larger rival, the New York, until nowthe pride of the Day Line, left her prier at the foot of Forty-second Street, New York, at 11:30 o’clock this morning, covered with flags from bow to stern and carrying over 500 invided guests of the steamboat company. The New York had been rudely aroused from the Winter sleep a month earlier than usual to take part in the triumph of her rival.
Among those she carried on board was Charles H. Haswell, the dean of New York engineers, who was born in 1809, and remembers Robert Fulton’s Clermont, the first Hudson steamboat. At West Point a short stop was made to take several officers on board, and then the New York steamed straight for the destination, which she reached exactly on schedule time at 2:30 o’clock.
At Newburg a crowd of several thousands of people lined the bank of the river, while a dozen steamboats, launches, and tugs filled the sightseers and gay with many-colored bunting circled about the Marvel shipyard, awaiting the launching of the Hendrick Hudson, the great red bull of which loomed up conspicuously over the surrounding sheds and wharves.
Little Miss Olcott, with about a dozen others, mounted the platform built around the bows of the new ship. At a given signal workmen knocked away the supports under the keel, the great ship creaked and groaned as if anxious to be free, and then glided smoothly into the water. With a parting salute to her triumphant rival, the superseded queen of the Hudson turned sadly back to New York.
The Hendrick Hudson is the largest steamboat in the world. Her length is 400 feet over all, and her depth 14 feet. Seven steel bulkheads will make her practically unsinkable, and the inclosures around the boilers will be of heavy steel plating, eliminating all danger of fire.
Many innovations have been introduced in the construction of the Hendrick Hudson. Her shaft will be placed under the main deck, and she will be equipped with an inclined, three-cylinder, short-stroke engine, and wheels twenty-nine feet in diameter. Vibration will be reduced to a minimum, as the power will be evenly distributed. The entire craft will be built on the plan if a New York skyscraper, a rigid framework of steel acting as support for the upper decks.
The walking beam, which has always been a feature of Hudson steamboats, will be missing in the new vessel. Eight large boilers will supply steam enough to drive the vessel at the rate of twenty-three to twenty-five miles an hour.
In the matter of internal arrangements everything possible has been done for comfort and convenience. The Hendrick Hudson will accommodate 5,000 passengers. There will be a doctor aboard on each trip, likewise stenographers to take dictation from business men. Another feature will be a photographic dark room, where tourists may develop their pictures. Not only will the orchestra be so place that fully three thousand passengers may be within hearing, but a curtained recess will be provided for chorus singling, either by professionals or patrons of the line.
The Hendrick Hudson will be put in commission on or about Aug. 1.

Newburgh Electric Railway Company

 by Don Herron, as printed in the Times Herald Record; August 7, 2002

The Street Horse Railway trotted into Newburgh on December 23, 1886, advancing the city to the level of most of the country’s larger cities. The horse-drawn trolleys ran on tracks from the western end of the city to the Union Depot, by the riverfront. An additional track ran along Water Street to the north end of the city.

At that time, the city’s best shopping district, and the Street Horse Railway made shopping much easier and more accessible to the residents of the city and the surrounding countryside. The trolley was such a success that by 1891, tracks had expanded from Wisner Avenue (then called Cross Road) down Broadway to Colden Street, and north up Water Street to Grand Avenue. Another short line ran south from Broadway on Liberty Street to Renwick Street, and there were spurs to Washington Heights and the Balmville Tree. Eventually the Washington Heights spur was expanded so that it traveled south on Liberty Street to the Bluff and Bayview Terrace, with a switch at Renwick Street, which enabled the trolleys to go south to the bridge at New Windsor and west to Bridge Street.

After eight years, the trolley switched from horse power to electricity, making its initial run on June 11, 1894. The trolley company had its own independent source of power at 244 Broadway, in what is now the Zeger Hardware building. It took six weeks to convert to electric power after the last horse run on April 30, 1894. With this conversion to fast, efficient, silent and odor-free electric power, the trolley company, now called the Newburgh Electric Railway, grew rapidly. The trolley fleet consisted primarily of open cars, so in the spring, summer and fall, the weather could be enjoyed to the fullest. There were 15 of these open cars, and two large closed “winter cars.”

The main line was rapidly expanded and eventually continued to Wisner Avenue and out South Plank Road to Orange Lake, and then to Walden. In 1895, the fare from Newburgh to Orange Lake was 10 cents and it cost another dime to go to Walden.

In 1923, fares were 7 cents within the city and 5 cents more for a trip to Balmville. It cost 13 cents to go to Orange Lake, 8 cents more to East Walden and another 6 cents to Walden itself.

The trolleys operated from 6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily, and a trip to Walden would take an average of 40 minutes. Eight round-trips from Newburgh to Walden were made each day. The 11 p.m. trolley was from Newburgh to Walden, and the conductor and the motorman would stay overnight in Walden. The 6 a.m. trolley left Walden for Newburgh and was one of the primary means of transportation for employees at the Dupont Fabrikoid plant.

The trolley track from Newburgh to Walden was a single track, but three switches – at Glenwood Park, Fifth Avenue and Orange Lake – enabled the trolleys to pass each other. Upon reaching the end of the line – at Newburgh or at Walden – the motorman would reverse the electric pole to provide power for the return trip. The seats would be reversed, easily done by flipping them over, and the motorman would move his portable operating equipment to the front of the car.

The Newburgh Electric Railway was operated by the Orange County Traction, organized in 1894. Former New York Gov. Benjamin Barker Odell was its president, and by 1909 the company had established its office at 244 Broadway, near Carpenter Avenue. The large car barns extended from Broadway to Van Ness Street, with the trolleys entering and exiting on Broadway.

Newburgh was, in those days, considered one of the leading summer resorts. Vacationers from New York City and beyond came to Newburgh by train and boat, and frequently stayed at the Palatine Hotel. The trolley was a safe and convenient way for vacationers to tour the area. One could take the trolley to Glenwood Park, with its small hotel and restaurant and nearby pavilion and merry-go-round. From Glenwood, the trolley headed to the Orange Lake Amusement Park. The park had a Ferris wheel and a public beach, rowboats and canoes for rent, and a roller-skating rink. Across the lake was the fashionable Pine Point Club.

After 1925, bus service became the norm and the trolleys were gradually discontinued. The old electric trolley cars were eventually sold to a New Jersey firm, and during World War II many of the disused tracks were taken up and sold for scrap.

Newburgh Again: The Palatial Palatine

By Helen Ver Nooy Gearn, Newburgh Historian, as printed in The Orange County Free Press; Tuesday, December 19, 1972

In 1972 the south east corner of Grand and Third Streets is a below-the-street black-topped parking lot, ugly if utilitarian. A far cry from the proud hotel envisioned in 1892 by Newburgh’s Board of Trade as an “ornament to their city.” Nor does it relate to the tall white house, 132 Grand St., owned by Mrs. Hector Craig whose husband had been a member of Congress. Mrs. Craig sold the house in 1889 to John J. Moore. By 1891 when John J. Nutt published his history “Newburgh” his picture of this nice house was titled “the Home of the Hon. and Judge H. M. Hirschberg.” At the left in this picture the rectory of the Dutch Reformed Church can be glimpsed.
Unfortunately the building situated on the south of this house cannot be seen. The home of Dr. W.A.M. Culbert had been designed by Andrew Jackson Downing and his youthful partner, Calvert Vaux, in the Downing architectural studio in Highland Gardens. This fine house is still in existence. Its late vandalizing is a comment and a comparison, no doubt, of the cultures of its time (circa 1852 and 1857) and of today.
“The Palatine Hotel, Newburgh, N.Y., H. N. Bain & Co. Proprietors”, “The Model Hotel of the Hudson Valley,” “Finest Hotel on the Hudson between New York and Albany,” and the “Largest Hotel in Newburgh in the Heart of the City” were some of the early advertisements to be found in old books and magazines. Quite early the hotel was “catering to automobile motoring parties and tourists.”
The hotel was opened In1893. In 1895, there were only 30 automobiles in the United States. In 1905 they were still thought to be a rich man’s toy although they had increased to about 77,888.
For the wealthy middle class the 60 mile drive from New York City to Newburgh soon made the hotel a fine location. Newburgh came to be about a nice day’s outing from the metropolis. After an overnight or more stay in a well-run inn with good cuisine and amidst scenic surroundings the guests spread the fame of “mine host” and of his inn.
A porch crossed the entire width of the hotel’s top floor on the river side. From this and from all of the rooms on that east side stretched the panorama of the jeweled Hudson and its enclosing mountains.
In the block across Grand St. on the south side of Second St. was the quaint and venerable St. George’s Episcopal Church, the oldest parish in Newburgh, its stone had been quarried in stone cuffing bees at the Gardner’s quarries just to the west of the community.
North of Second St, Newburgh’s Orange County Courthouse centered in its block of green grass and great trees its classic columned portico.
John Schoonmaker, Newburgh’s leading merchandizer, had his well proportioned white clapboard house, 135 Grand St., on the north west corner of Third and Grand Streets. One block west of this rose the delicate spires of Trinity Methodist Church. To finish the square, The Dutch Reformed Church (now on the National Register) raised its two-story Ionic Columns in the simple purity of line of its facade. It had been designed by A.J. Davis for the Warren firm in 1835. Trinity Church whose architect was Rembrandt Lockwood (also the designer of St. Patrick’s) was begun in 1860. The Courthouse was the plan of Thornton MacNess Niven of 1841 and Arnout Cannan became the architect of the Palatine Hotel.
The busy Hudson and its steam boat docks and the railroad stations were only 4 or 5 blocks away. The hotel’s free carriage later bus, met the boats and trains.
In the spring of 1892 the ten member Newburgh Board of Trade had acquired an additional 17 members. Perhaps it was due to this infusion of new blood but at any rate the Board decided that what Newburgh then needed was a fine hotel. The forceful imaginative Col. Wm. D. Dickey suggested that a hotel should be erected under the auspices of the Board. When another member asked dryly if he would give money toward such an experiment the Colonel immediately pledged $1,000. (Col. Dickey was one of those responsible for the opening up of Washington Heights). The Board’s decision that the structure should be such that it would be an ornament to their city resulted in an imposing and handsome edifice.
Stock to the amount of $80,000 was solicited by the Board. The Palatine Hotel Co. was formed with a $65,000 stock subscription. Later $60,000 worth of bonds due in ten years was sold. Those first trustees were: J. M. Wentz, John Schoonmaker, B. B. Odell, Jr. (later Governor of New York), Col. Wm. D. Dickey, and W. H. Weston with E.T. Skidmore as President.
Those hardy European settlers of the Parish by the Quassaick, as the early community was called, refugees from the
Palatinate of the Valley of the Rhine was honored by the inn’s name, The Palatine Hotel.
In Poughkeepsie two brothers Francis N, and Horace N. Bain had been successfully running the Nelson House. It was they who were given the lease of the Palatine. Francis N. Bain was to personally supervise at the Palatine and Horace N. was to remain in charge of the Nelson House.
Is it likely that in 1892 the Newburgh Board of Trade was looking forward to 1909 when the tremendous Hudson –Fulton Celebration was to occur? However the hotel’s accommodations were being spoken for well in advance of that five-day event, the commemoration of the two men, who had been each in his time so important to the Hudson Valley. (And by the way Newburgh and its Area Neighbors should be planning now for the 1976 celebration of the success of the struggle for American Independence that ended in this area in 1783.)
Hotel rates were set at $3.00 and $5.00 a day. Was this with food? Later they dropped into the European plan with the hotel charging only for rooms and the patron able to go about seeking other eating places. A much better plan for the tourists but probably hard on the restaurant part of the hostelry.
In the Metropolis physicians recommended patients come to the Palatine for rest and a change of scene in healthful surroundings and the American Automobile Association added its sanction on the hotel’s noteworthiness.
Of its 116 rooms half of them could be turned into suites with private baths. The cafe was a dream of Flemish oak and marble and the firm of W. J. Sloane & Co., of New York loaned their prestige in decorating and furnishing of the hotel.
Perhaps it was not the “Grand Hotel” but the Palatine not only wined and dined Newburgh’s first family’s but many of the country’s famous passed through its door and under its Tiffany-type glass tympanum. Fairly extensive research through the offices of the Urban Renewal Agency, those of the several realtors and of the lawyers who were Involved in some way In its various sales has left the old registers of the hostelry still undiscovered, Thus It has been hard to authenticate with dates and documents the elite visitors.
Some of the great that have been turned up in the news articles are: “Fiorelle La Guardia
Lillian Russell, Alfred E. Smith, Thomas E. Dewey, Averill Harriman, Harry K. Thaw, Thomas A. Edison, Charles Evans Hughes, Benjamin B. Odell, Jr. and others.”
Several interesting visitors have been orally authenticated by Mrs. J. Townsend Cassedy. Her father, Benjamin Barker Odell, Governor of New York State, had refused to run as Vice President on the ticket with William McKinley only to see Theodore Roosevelt who did accept that nomination become President on the death of President McKinley. Apparently no ill feeling existed between the two important figures for Mrs. Cassedy tells of the meetings of B. B. Odell and Theodore Roosevelt at the Palatine to plan political strategy.
The story of Margaret Leech the prize winning author and her connection with the hotel is another of Mrs. Cassedy’s contributions. In 1960 Margaret Leech’s biography “In the Days of McKinley” was awarded the Bancroft Prize for historical writing. However this was not the author’s first opus on this subject. She and her family were living at the Palatine in Newburgh when In 1901 President McKinley was assassinated (shot Sept. 6 died Sept. 14, 1901). His death aroused so great a sorrow in the heart of the seven year old Margaret that she wrote a short article and poem about the slain President whom she had respected and revered. Her youthful work was much admired by guests in the hotel and her family’s Newburgh friends.
Margaret Leech had already written in 1940 the Pulitzer Prize winning “Reveille in Washington,” the fascinating story of the Civil War Years (1860-1865) in the Capitol, “The Back of the Book,” “Tin Wedding” and collaborating with Heywood Broun the “Anthony Comstock: Roundsman of the Lord” all of which were works of note.
From the daughter of Francis N. Bain, 1st proprietor, we have the following authentication: Mrs. John Nolle (Francis Bain Nolle) reminds us that the early Opera House on 2nd Street, just east of the hotel and the Academy of Music, on Broadway, west of Grand Street, supported interesting plays and singers. In fact, many of the plays that were to run on Broadway in New York City had try-outs in Newburgh. Also, Newburgh on the circuit of the early producers tours.
Of the “greats” who trod the boards of the two Newburgh houses John Drew Barrymore and his daughter, Ethel Barrymore, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., his first wife and little son, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Chauncey Olcott, the splendid singer, all stayed at the hotel when their plays were being shown at the theater.
Burr Mackintosh, a famous photographer, was another of the hotel’s guests. Henry Miller, theatrical producer, brought his plays for try-outs and also the plays he ran on the regular tour circuit.
Laura Creuse was one of his discoveries and spent her time at the Palatine between her hours in the theater.
Of the tale of the years when the Palatine and its owners began to lose heart—well many Newburghers regretfully watched this happening. Newer hotels and then motels brought in competition. Hostelries could no longer depend on just the elite to stay economically healthy. The city like all cities began to deteriorate though even before signs of this became acute the hotel’s illness did.
Various schemes were planned. One of them consisted of the turning It into a club for the elderly.
After the retirement (1920) and later death (1936) of Francis N. Bain at his charming home, 77 Third St., Carl Willmsen became the owner and manager. It was he who put the hotel in 1929 on the European Plan. On his death in 1944 his wife took over the ownership. When she died in 1949, 27 employees were left legacies but Leo Dunn, manager at the time received all of the stock in the hotel.
The Levinson and Copans firm of Newburgh realtors bought the property in 1952 and leased it to Glenn M. Lovejoy and his mother, Viola K. Lovejoy.
Renovations in 1950 added a fire escape to the rear of the building, in 1952 a colonial cocktail lounge and in 1957 $60,000 more was spent in a renovation on the north side of the main floor that added another cocktail room and dining rooms. The tide of failure made these of little value. Perhaps had they spent that on more elevators- but who knows.
On December 19, 1957 Augustus W. Bennet filed the petition for bankruptcy for the Lovejoys.
In December of 1970 the razing was begun of the “ornament to their city” of the Newburgh Board of Trade of 1892. Could it have been saved? If so to what use could it have been put?
Now preservationists hope that the concept of the Newburgh Courthouse Plaza will come to pass. For it the City Club of Downing and Vaux, the Courthouse of Thornton M. Niven and A. J. Davis’ Dutch Reformed Church will be part of a handsome pattern that includes the fine building now owned by Beatrice D. Griffin and those excellent houses from Third St. south to the Post Office on Liberty Street’s west side.

Newburgh Again: Hotel Marked Era Of Splendor in Newburgh

By Ruth Valenti, Evening News Correspondent, as printed in The Evening News; April 3, 1987

   The Palatine Hotel at the corner of Grand and Third streets in Newburgh had its gala opening on July 6, 1893. It was hailed as the “queen of hotels” and had electric lights!
   The five story, red brick structure featured a porch crossing the width of the top floor, providing guests with a spectacular view of the Hudson River and the surrounding area.
   The proposal for a fine hotel was made by the Newburgh Board if Trade in 1892. Col. William Dickey pledged $1,000; $60,000 was the original projected cost and $80,000 in stock was solicited by the board. Some legal action was needed to get the funds and the eventual cost was $150,000. (It seems estimated costs are never the final figure!)
   The Palatine Hotel Co. was formed and the first trustees were J.M. Wentz, John Schoonmaker, Benjamin B. Odell Jr. (who later became governor of the state), Col. Dickey, W.H. Weston and E.T. Skidmore, president.
   Francis N. Bain was to supervise the Newburgh facility, while his brother, Horatio, remained in charge of the Nelson House in Poughkeepsie.
   At the gala opening hotel men came from far and wide, including the well-known Oscar TschirkyOscar of the Waldorf“!
   People came by horse and wagon, carriage, bicycle, and a few noisy automobiles, according to contemporary reports. There were only 300 automobiles in the U.S. in 1895, and hotel proprietors wisely said the Palatine would “cater to automobile motoring parties and tourists.”
   The 60-mile trip from the metropolitan area provided a fine outing and overnight stay at the new hotel. Even physicians recommended a visit to the Palatine where weary patients could rest and recuperate, and the American Automobile Association added its sanction to the splendid facility.
   There were 116 rooms and half could be turned into suites with bath. There was a cafe of Flemish Oak and one writer described “the huge old dining room, adorned by palms, with gleaming white tableclothes, sparkling glassware, lustrous silverware and a baby grand piano in one corner.”
   A brochure issued in the late 1930’s listed the tariff schedule: a single room with running water, bath adjacent – $2.25 to $2.50; double room with running water, bath adjacent, $3.50 to $4. For another 50 cents, occupants could have a private bath.
   Ample parking facilities and golf privileges on several courses were included and the Palatine Hotel was the site of weekly luncheon meetings of the Lions, Rotary and Kiwanis clubs.
   The rich and famous who visited the Palatine included New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, Gov. Alfred E. Smith and actress Lillian Russell. Theodore Roosevelt and Benjamin Odell met there to plan political strategy.
   Bain retired in 1920 and died in 1936. Carl Wilmsen, later his wife, and then Leo Dunn were successive managers of the elegant hotel. Levinson and Copans, realtors, bought the property in 1952 and leased it to Glenn M. Lovejoy and his mother, Viola.