A Visit to Kingston, NY – Rondout Lighthouse

“Built in 1837 by James McEntee, the first Rondout Lighthouse was a direct response to increased traffic on Rondout Creek due to the opening of the Delaware & Hudson Canal in 1828. Built by Maurice and William Wurts to bring coal from eastern Pennsylvania to the Hudson Valley and New York City, the canal terminates at Rondout Creek in Kingston. After it opened, thousands of coal sloops and later towed barges joined the already laden sloops and barges full of bluestone, bricks, cement, and natural ice bound from Kingston to New York City and beyond. The 1837 lighthouse was a two story building made of wood and built near the center of Rondout Creek. Although the exact location of the first Rondout lighthouse is unknown, its wooden structure eventually became unstable, and a new lighthouse was needed.

In 1867 a new Rondout Lighthouse constructed of sturdy bluestone on an enormous stone base was completed on the south side of Rondout Creek off the shores of Sleightsburgh/Port Ewen. This three story stone structure had family living quarters wrapped around a central light tower. Sturdy, comfortable, and very Victorian, just one family lived in this lighthouse for its duration – lighthouse keeper Catherine Murdock (widow of lighthouse keeper George Murdock) and her sons and daughters. Her son James became assistant keeper in 1880 when the addition of breakwater jetties at the mouth of Rondout Creek meant that Rondout light now had three jetty lights in addition to the tower light to maintain. Catherine retired in 1907 after 50 years of service.

James was the first light keeper when the new lighthouse was built on the north side of the creek in 1915. The third Rondout lighthouse was built due to complaints from river boatmen about the difficulty of seeing the new entrance to the creek formed by the jetties. The little lanterns that James maintained on the dikes were insufficient, and the bluestone lighthouse too far back to see, so the new one was built from 1913 to 1915. The youngest lighthouse on the Hudson River, the Rondout Lighthouse was built on time and under budget.

For many years the two lighthouses coexisted – the Old Rondout Lighthouse (bluestone) stood boarded up and slowly deteriorating. Finally, in 1954, the roof caved in completely and the order came down to demolish it. Due to its location out on the water, it was dynamited.

In 1948 the brick Rondout Lighthouse was electrified and fully automated in 1954, although the Coast Guard employed a civilian watcher who lived in Port Ewen to ensure the light came on every night. When the last keeper moved out, the lighthouse was boarded up and largely abandoned. In the 1980s, when the Coast Guard was divesting of properties, the City of Kingston and the Hudson River Maritime Museum took ownership of the lighthouse.” (Hudson River Lighthouses).

Taken with a Sony A7IV and Tamron Di III VXD A056SF 70-180mm f2.8.

A Visit to Kingston, NY – Along Roundout Creek – Some Boats and a Crane

Old boats, many (perhaps all) abandoned.

And a crane. Around the crane are the ruins of the Cornell Steamboat Co. barges that sank to the bottom of the creek from disuse in the 1960s. When the Cornell business entered bankruptcy in 1964, the barges anchored for years and eventually sank in place. There are no plans to remove them.

Taken with a Sony A7IV and Tamron Di III VXD A056SF 70-180mm f2.8.

A Visit to Kingston, NY – Along Roundout Creek – Some Buildings

Hudson River Maritime Museum with the 1898 steam tugboat Mathilda. Mathilda was built in Sorel, Quebec, and for many years worked on the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. Originally, coal fueled her steam boilers. Later her engine was changed to an oil-fired, two-cylinder reciprocating unit.

​McAllister Towing bought the Mathilda and brought her to New York Harbor after using her in Montreal berthing ships. 1969 was her last year of active service. In 1970 McAllister donated Mathilda to South Street Seaport in lower Manhattan.

In January, 1976 the Mathilda sank at her pier at the Seaport. She was raised by the Century floating crane. Since the Seaport could not afford the needed repair work, Mathilda was moved to the former Cunard Line Pier 94 for dry storage.

In 1983 McAllister Towing donated the Mathilda to the Hudson River Maritime Museum, and sent her to her new home on the Rondout on the deck of the Century crane barge which placed her in the yard of the Museum.

In recent years the Mathilda has been permanently stabilized and her appearance restored with authentic McAllister paints supplied by the company. Her deck lighting has been restored and enhanced. Her interior has been cleaned out, and a window opened for viewing her engines, which are lit at night.

As one of the last tugs in existence with her original steam engine, the Mathilda is a proud survivor of the type of tugs which served on the Hudson and elsewhere for nearly 100 years.

Ole Savannah Southern Table and Bar.

Tivoli Sailing Company. According to their website:

Sailing the Hudson River with Tivoli Sailing Company explores the joys of sailing on the mid-Hudson River valley between Kingston, Rhinecliff and Saugerties, making it possible for all to enjoy sailing the Hudson Valley!!

Young and old, beginner and experienced sailor have all enjoyed sailing the Hudson Valley with us. A unique holistic approach is what differentiates Tivoli Sailing company. This method combines the practical – how to sail, tie knots – with a wider appreciation of sailing the Hudson valley, its ecology, cultures (literary, visual, audio) and its residents – human, marine or animal.

The popularity of Tivoli Sailing as a summer program for children has grown every year since its inception, and is now the most popular summer sailing program for kids in New York!

For those looking for sailing lessons, charters, tours or cruises, Tivoli Sailing makes it easy to enjoy sailing the Hudson River as a perfect pastime or hobby right here in the Hudson Valley.

Tivoli Sailing makes It easy for New Yorkers and tourists!

Taken with a Sony A7IV and Tamron Di III VXD A056SF 70-180mm f2.8.

A Visit to Kingston, NY – Mayor T.R. Gallo Park

Created by the Urban Cultural Parks System in 1984, the West Strand Park offers various amenities for visitors while showcasing the beautiful Rondout Creek. In 2003-2004, the Park was renamed in memory of the late mayor T.R. Gallo who championed Kingston’s waterfront development. The park also undertook a major expansion in 2010 with the completion of a new waterfront promenade extending alongside the Rondout Creek. Above: A sculpture made by the Bruderhof Community’s Barney Boller gives the appearance of ducks flying through the trees on lower Broadway in Kingston, N.Y. The sculpture was given in memory of Mayor T.R. Gallo and sits in T.R. Gallo Park at the bottom of Broadway in Kingston, N.Y. Photo taken March 1, 2020.

Mayor Gallo’s obituary can be seen at Kingston Mourns Loss of Mayor Who Breathed Life Into City, NY Times, 23 January 2002

Memorial reads “In Memory of all who lost their lives at sea”.

Park looking vaguely North East.

Park looking vaguely South West.

Taken with a Sony A7IV and Rokinon/Samyang AF 24-70 f2.8 FE