A History of the Town of Stuyvesant
by Juanita Knott, Stuyvesant Historian
Stuyvesant is in the northwest corner of Columbia County, bordered on the north by Rensselaer County, the east by the Town of Kinderhook, the south by Stockport and the west by the Hudson River.
Archaeological evidence demonstrates the Native Americans were in partnership with the land along the river's edge long before Henry Hudson made his exploration in 1609. They fished the river, planted corn and pumpkin. Communication was probably carried out by signal fires built on the shale hill above the waters they named Muhheakunnuk, meaning "great waters or sea-constantly ebbing and flowing."
In the mid-1700's local sloops, many belonging to beaver fur traders, plied the river. Formerly known as Kinderhook Landing, Stuyvesant became a separate township in 1823.
An agricultural community, several farms have been handed down through successive generations of the same family. A second principal waterway in the town is the Kinderhook Creek, with its two-step natural waterfall at Stuyvesant Falls. Both sides of the creek were claimed for paper and textile mills in the early 1800's.
Spectacular views of the upper and lower falls can be viewed from the historic iron truss bridge in the hamlet that spans the creek. The area at the north end of town became known as Poolsburgh, named after the VanderPoel family who settled there. They were instrumental in planning the course of the Farmer's Turnpike (now Route 9J) which was charted in 1813.
Using the clay along the riverbank, brick-making was an early local industry. Ice harvesting, another typical Hudson River industry, provided a valuable service in the pre-electric refrigeration days. Stuyvesant had as many as four large icehouses along its more than nine miles of shoreline.
Docking sites varied over the years following the natural changes of the river channel. Freight sloops made trips to New York City as early as 1820. In 1836, the Kinderhook Stuyvesant Steamboat Association formed.
Farmers as distant as Albany and Pittsfield, MA, used the Stuyvesant docks to ship and receive produce and goods.
A ferry service that ran until 1938 was established between Newton Hook and Coxsackie in 1820.
The Hudson River Railroad Company laid track along the east shore of the river in 1850, forever changing access to this neighboring waterway. Stuyvesant had freight and passenger service through the World War II years.
Stuyvesant Falls had rail service from 1891 to 1929. At first powered by steam, the railroad was electrified by the turn of the century and extended to Albany. The power that operated the third rail for the Albany & Southern Railway Company was generated at Stuyvesant Falls.
Today, just over 2,000 people call Stuyvesant home. Community pride is reflected by many active volunteer groups and celebrated yearly on Historic Stuyvesant Day held the second Saturday of August
Stuyvesant is located in the northwest corner of Columbia County on the eastern bank of the Hudson River. It is bordered by Rensselaer County to the north, the Town of Kinderhook to the east, and the Town of Stockport to the south.
A town of approximately 2,300 people, Stuyvesant is an agricultural community dotted with single family residences and small businesses. The predominance of farming within the community has left its rural character much the same as it's been for over the last 100 years. Stuyvesant's bucolic landscape belies the fact that it is located less than 20 miles south of the state capital of Albany, New York. Centrally located in the state and the region, the town is approximately two and a half hours from both New York City and Boston. Contained within the Town of Stuyvesant are the hamlets of Stuyvesant Landing and Stuyvesant Falls. The hamlet of Stuyvesant Falls boasts a view of a spectacular waterfall on the Kinderhook Creek while Stuyvesant Landing is located directly on the eastern shore of the beautiful Hudson River with views of the Catskill Mountains in the distance. Between the two hamlets and comprising most of the town are the hundreds of acres of rolling farmland for which the Town of Stuyvesant is most known. It is the residents of Stuyvesant, however, that are its greatest natural resource and real treasure. Always ready with a smile or a helping hand, it is the people that make Stuyvesant the quintessential upstate rural community.Whether it's in building a new town hall, putting up a playground, or throwing a party for the kids in town, it is our residents that make up the heart and soul of Stuyvesant. A close knit community located in the picturesque Hudson Valley, that's Stuyvesant