By Kathy Kahn
Once the brick-making capital of New York, the Town and Village of Haverstraw celebrate their 400th anniversary this year, complete with a cake and kudos from national and state dignitaries last month at Haverstraw Town Hall.
Tessa Dikken, once a member of the Dutch Consulate and now a resident of Haverstraw, told the crowd the town’s Dutch roots are represented by many families who have been there since it was first settled. “I lived in Amsterdam, but I’m a proud member of this ‘new’ Amsterdam,” she told the full house.
Congresswoman Nita Lowey, Senator William Larkin and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski joined Supervisor Howard Phillips in praising the diversity of Haverstraw (a/k/a Old Straw by its founders) and its ties to the Dutch. Dozens of brick foundries along the Hudson and particularly in Haverstraw produced bricks for much of New York City’s buildings during the 18th through 20th centuries.
Though the dates of various charters Haverstraw officially signed varies, the first known evidence of the existence of the “precint,” as it was then called, dates back to 1616, when the Dutch-named “Haverstroo” could be found on maps of the area. The land of Haverstroo includes present day Stony Point and parts of Clarkstown, Orangetown and Ramapo.
Henry Hudson is known for docking his Half Moon Ship in 1609 in what is now known as Haverstraw Bay, one of the widest points of the Hudson River, Supervisor Howard Phillips noted. Haverstraw was also one of the locations where General Washington set up camp for his troops during the Revolutionary War.
At Town Hall, Haverstraw’s 95th Civil War Regimental flag is on display and this flag was carried at several major battles including the defining Battle of Gettysburg. The Town of Haverstraw is honored to be the home of three Medal of Honor recipients. Haverstraw is also known as the home of the bricks that built New York City.
Haverstraw plans to continue celebrating its Quadricentennial throughout the year, hosting a series of events open to all. Those events can be found on the backpage ad in this section or on the town’s website at www.townofhaverstraw.org.