About Historic Irvington

The Village of Irvington, resting on the Eastern Shore of the Hudson River twenty-two miles north of New York City, has a rich history. Originally the home of the Wecquaesgeek, an Indigenous people of the Wappinger Tribes, it later became farmland during periods of Dutch and English control. Irvington and its local residents played a critical role in the Revolutionary War as part of the Neutral Grounds between English and Colonial forces. The arrival of the Hudson River Rail Road in 1847 led to the founding of the Village, the breakup of the traditional tenant farms and a growing population. Because of its physical beauty and proximity to New York City, Irvington became a favored place for country estates in the latter half of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century. As those estates began to be sold off for development before World War II, Irvington evolved into the scenic, beautiful and vibrant residential community it remains today.

The following chronology details these significant events in the life of the Village.

Pre-1600s The Wecquaesgeek Indians occupied the eastern shore of the Hudson River, extending from northern Manhattan to Ossining and centered around Dobbs Ferry.
1609 Henry Hudson sails his ship Halve Maen – the Half Moon – up the Hudson River.
1614 The governing body of the Republic of Seven United Netherlands issued patents in 1614 for the development of New Netherland as a private commercial venture. In 1621, the Republic granted an exclusive patent to the Dutch West India Company to operate in the Americas, including New Netherland.
1664 The Dutch Government of New Netherland, led by Peter Stuyvesant, and the English Government, led by Deputy Governor Richard Nichols representing the Duke of York, sign Articles of Capitulation under which dominion over New Netherland is transferred to the English.
1693 King William grants a royal patent to Frederick Philipse for what would become Philipsburgh Manor. The 52,000-acre Manor extended from the Spuyten Duyvil Creek to the Croton River and from the Hudson River to the Bronx River.
1700 Barent de Duytscher (b. 1675 d. 1751), moved from Esopus (Kingston) to Philipsburg Manor in about 1700.
1703 The British build the Queens Highway from New York to Albany. This roadway is later known as the King’s Highway, the Highland Turnpike, the Albany Post Road and/or Broadway.
1708 Capt. Johannes Buckhout (b. 1682 d. 1785), the son of sea captain Matthys Janszen Buckhout, settles on a farm in Philipsburg Manor and lived near what is today the southeast corner of Broadway and Harriman Road.
1735 Abraham Acker is born at Philipsburgh Manor. He is the grandson of Wolfert Ecker.
1741 William Dutcher, the grandson of Barent de Duytscher, is born at Philipsburg Manor. After his death in 1794, his farm is inherited by his son, William Dutcher.
1756 Jonathan Odell moves into the stone house built by Jan Harmse in 1693 along Kings Highway. Odell later operates the house as a tavern for travelers.
1776 A Session of the New York Committee of Safety meets at the Odell Tavern. The Committee received and considered a letter from General George Washington about a possible English attack and, therefore, the need to give up Long Island and move the army. The Committee passed a resolution resolving that “the inhabitants of New York island and those parts of Westchester county, which are most exposed to the depredations of the enemy, do forthwith drive their horned cattle, horses, hogs and sheep into the interior part of the State; . . .”
1779 New York State enacts “The New York Act of Attainder, or Confiscation Act” and, pursuant to that law, confiscates the lands of Frederick Philipse because of his support for the English Crown. As a result, Philipsburg Manor is forfeited to the State of New York.
1785 Commissioners of Forfeiture sell farms to William Dutcher, John Jewell, Abraham Acker and Jonathan Odell. These four farms made up what is Irvington today. Each of these new landowners owned slaves.
1812 William Dutcher, Jr. sells 144-acres, constituting the southern half of his farm, to Justus Dearman.
1835 James Hamilton, the son of Alexander Hamilton, purchases 203.25-acres which extended from the Hudson River to and beyond the Highland Turnpike. This land that formerly part of the Cox Farm owned by Jonathan Odell. Hamilton builds “Nevis” as his summer estate.
1837 Construction of the Croton Aqueduct begins. Once completed, the Croton Aqueduct allowed New York City to expand its meager water resources by tapping the Croton River north of the City and supply City residents with pure and wholesome water.
1838 Washington Irving purchases 14-acres along the Hudson River and builds “Sunnyside” as his summer retreat.
1849 The Hudson River Railroad goes into service.
1849 Justus Dearman sells his farm to Franklin C. Field, who plans to start a new village on the eastern shore of the Hudson River between Tarrytown and Dobbs Ferry.
1850 The Auctioneers Cole & Chilton hold a public auction at the Merchants’ Exchange in New York City to sell over 250 housing lots that have been laid out on the old Dearman farm between the Albany Post Road and the Hudson River.
1850 The Piermont and Dearman Ferry Company is founded, which can take travelers from the Erie Railroad’s terminus in Piermont to the dock on the eastern side of the Hudson River for the new Village of Dearman.
1852 Reverend John McVickar purchases a summer home just south of Washington Irving’s Sunnyside and also purchases 100-acres across the Albany Post Road from the new Village of Dearman
1852 Francis Cottenet, a wealthy importer, builds “Nuits”, an Italianate Villa on 65 acres along the Hudson River in the southern part of Irvington.
1853 The McVickar House, which today houses the Irvington Historical Society, is built on Main Street.
1854 To honor their neighbor Washington Irving, George Morgan and Moses Grinnell arrange to change the name of Dearman’s local post office and train station to “Irvington”.
1869 Cyrus W. Field, inventor and builder of the Atlantic Cable, purchases what becomes a 500-acre estate, which he names “Ardsley”.
1869 Irvington residents John E. Williams and Frederick W. Guiteau purchase a lot on Main Street on behalf of the “Mental and Moral Improvement Society of Irvington, N.Y.” and establish the “Atheneum”, one of the first circulating libraries in Westchester
1872 The Village of Irvington is incorporated.
1874 The Village’s first newspaper, The Irvington Courier, begins publication.
1878 The neighborhood of East Irvington develops as a home for the many immigrants moving into the area.
1880 The Irvington hose and fire engine company is formed.
1895 The Cosmopolitan Building, a three-story stone neo-Classical revival building topped designed by Stanford White, is built by John Brisbane Walker, as the headquarters for Cosmopolitan magazine.
1896 The Ardsley Casino, with its 18-hole golf course, tennis courts and separate train station, opens in Irvington.
1900 The Irvington Reservoir on Harriman Road is built.
1902 Irvington’s Town Hall is constructed on Main Street.
1905 The Village’s gas lights are replaced by arc lights.
1912 The Hudson River Railroad is electrified.
1913 The Main Street school building is constructed.
1918 Madam C.J. Walker, the first Black, female millionaire, builds Villa Lewaro on North Broadway.
1925 Spiro Park, a new development of single family homes along Station Road, is built.
1927 Cedar Ridge, a new development of single family homes along Harriman Road, is built.
1935 Alice du Pont conveys the 63-acre Nevis estate to Columbia University.
1942-45 Victory Gardens are created on the Stearns estate, the Matthiessen estate and the Columbia University Nevis campus.
1945 Ralph and Madge Matthiessen donate to the Village their property on the west side of the railroad tracks for use as a public park.
1947 Construction of the country’s first cyclotron begins at Columbia University’s Nevis campus. President of the University Dwight D. Eisenhower inaugurated the accelerator in June 1950.
1952 Half Moon Cooperative Apartments are built along the Hudson River south of Main Street.
2001 Scenic Hudson Riverfront Park is opened in Irvington on the old J.C. Turner Cypress Lumber site.
2012 The O’Hara Nature Center is opened on Mountain Road and serves as a gateway for the 250-acre Irvington Woods, one of the largest contiguous woodlands in Southern Westchester County.
2014 The Irvington Historic District is officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places.