Irvington Historical Society’s “Immigrant Irvington” Exhibit

by The Irvington Historical Society

From the latter half of the nineteenth century into the early twentieth century Irvington experienced a significant increase in population. In 1860 the village had approximately 600 inhabitants. By 1900 that number was 2,231. Much of this increase was the result of the many immigrants who settled in the area. These early immigrants came primarily from Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Scotland and England. Later immigrants would follow from Italy, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and France.

According to the 1900 United States census there were approximately 418 households in Irvington. Of these, 211 households had either a male or female head who were immigrants, thus 50.4% of all households in the village were headed by immigrants. They settled primarily in three areas of the village ─ Main Street, Abbotsford, and East Irvington.

Most arrived with little money and few possessions. They were laborers, farmers, carpenters, masons, painters, mechanics and tailors. Many had little formal schooling, but most could speak, and read and write, English.

The “Immigrant Irvington” exhibit tells this story. Using photos, maps, and contemporaneous records, it highlights the individuals and families whose lives built and strengthened the fabric of the Village of Irvington.

The exhibit at the Irvington History Center, 131 Main Street, opens on Saturday, September 16, 2023. It will be open Thursday and Saturdays 1-4 pm through the winter and spring months.