From Rockwood Hall to Sleepy Hollow – Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse

According to Hudson River Lighthouses:

The Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse is unique among Hudson River lighthouses – it is the only “sparkplug” style lighthouse to contain family quarters. Unlike Jeffrey’s Hook, which is essentially a cast iron housing for a staircase, Sleepy Hollow’s brick-lined walls held five floors of living space. The first and largest floor contained the kitchen, dining room, and living room. The second and third floors contained one large bedroom apiece. The fourth floor contained a smaller bedroom and a work room. The fifth floor, which had no windows, just small portholes, was the watch room, where the keeper could keep an eye on the river during storms and other weather, safely out of the wind and wet and out of the way of the light. Another unique feature of the Sleepy Hollow light is the glass inserts laid into the floor of the tower room, which allowed natural light from the tower’s 360 degree windows down into the watch room. Originally a fixed red light, in 1902 the lighthouse was updated to a white, rotating light.

Constructed in 1883, the cast iron caisson was pre-fabricated, as was the trend at that time. The need for a lighthouse off the coast of that section of Westchester County became apparent as early as the 1840s, when pole lights were all that warned mariners away from the dangerous shoals. When the Federal Government started seeking land to purchase to construct a lighthouse, they first looked to Ossining (then known as Sing Sing), but the landowner got wind of the impending sale and the amount he asked for was too much for the government’s budget. The same thing happened again when looking for land near Tarrytown. Eventually, it was decided to locate the island a half mile offshore of Kingsland Point, neatly solving the dilemma of purchasing land.

In the 1940s the interior of the lighthouse was updated with modern sanitation and electricity. The light was automated in 1955, and with the completion of the Tappan Zee Bridge just to the south in 1957, the keeper became unnecessary. Soon, even the automated light was deactivated, in 1961. The lights of the bridge proved to be ample navigation aid for mariners.

In addition, in 1959, the Federal government declared all but one hundred feet of land around the lighthouse to be “surplus” property available for sale. Never mind the fact that the “land” was underwater. It was quickly purchased by the nearby General Motors Plant, who raised that “land” with fill to expand their operations, leaving the Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse, formerly a half mile off shore, within 100 feet of the shoreline. In the 1970s, Westchester County secured an easement from General Motors to build a pedestrian walkway out to the lighthouse, which was completed in 1975. Today, the lighthouse is managed by the Village of Sleepy Hollow Recreation & Parks Department and is considered part of the Kingsland Point Park.

With Tappan Zee bridge in the background.

Taken with a Sony RX100 M3

From Rockwood Hall to Sleepy Hollow – Sleepy Hollow RiverWalk

This relatively new public park in Sleepy Hollow provides access to a stretch of Hudson River shoreline that has not been accessible for more than a century! The new park, known as the Sleepy Hollow RiverWalk, hugs the perimeter of the former General Motors Assembly Plant property in the village.

The first phase of the park included paths to provide access along the waterfront from River Street as far north as the historic 1883 Sleepy Hollow lighthouse. A second phase extended the path further north to Kingsland Point Park. These pictures cover the stretch from the lighthouse to Kingsland Point, featuring the mural: The Wishing Wall. According to an article: The Wishing Wall Colors the Sleepy Hollow Community in Westchester Magazine.

A 520-foot community-painted mural brought local residents together during a trying time, thanks largely to the efforts of two area women. Sleepy Hollow’s Kersten Harries knew that a lengthy concrete wall, left after a GM factory closed shop decades ago, could be transformed into something beautiful. As early as 2019, she had been reaching out to owners of the site, Edge-on-Hudson, about turning the space into a temporary art installation. It wasn’t until the summer of 2020 when her dream became a reality, working with Sleepy Hollow community liaison Diane Loja, Edge-on-Hudson, and the Village Board of Trustees to form The Wishing Wall, a mural adjacent to the Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse, painted by both community members and area artists.

So how did Harries and Loja, project managers for The Wishing Wall, find enough artists to cover a concrete canvas roughly one-tenth of a mile long? “A Call for Artists was used to select a core team of designers [Erin Carney, Tim Grajek, Katie Reidy], who utilized the community’s ideas to create a cohesive design concept that was laid out along the entire wall, which also included locating spots where selected volunteer artists and groups could directly paint their submitted ideas,” explains Harries. “An additional eight artists and community art educators were part of the core team responsible for executing the painting of the mural, with the help of many volunteers who signed up.”

This article, written in 2021 states: “…the wall is slated to come down in 2022”. Well, it’s now mid 2024 and it’s still there. I hope it stays. I like it.

Like all the other paintings this butterfly is very colorful.

Headless Horseman. And why not? This is, after all, Sleepy Hollow – the real one, as described in Washington Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow”.

Taken with a Sony RX100 M3

From Rockwood Hall to Sleepy Hollow – On Freemont Pond

During my walk to Sleepy Hollow I came across this pond. It’s called “Freemont Pond”. The “Freemont” in the name refers to John Charles Frémont also known as “The Pathfinder”. He was an American explorer, military officer, and politician. He was also the first Republican nominee for president of the U.S in 1856 (he lost to Democrat James Buchanan).

A Native of Georgia, he attended college in Charleston until he was expelled for irregular attendance. In the 1840s, he led five expeditions into the western states. Although he opposed slavery, he didn’t seem to have a problem with massacring native Americans, leading the Sacramento River massacre, Klamath Lake massacre, and Sutter Buttes massacre.

He Took control of California from the California Republic in 1846 and was later court-martialed and convicted mutiny and insubordination after a conflict over who was the rightful military governor of California. His sentence was commuted, and he was reinstated by President James K. Polk.

He got rich in the California gold rush and became one of the first two U.S. Senators elected from the new state of California in 1850.

During the Civil War he was given command of the Department of the West by Abraham Lincoln, but when he issued an unauthorized emancipation edict he was relieved of his command for insubordination.

In 1864, the Frémonts purchased an estate in Sleepy Hollow, New York, They named it Pocahoe, ironically a native American name. The house is now a private residence, which still stands at 7 Pokahoe Drive in Sleepy Hollow, a stone’s throw away from where this picture was taken.

After the Civil War, he lost much of his wealth in the unsuccessful Pacific Railroad in 1866, and he lost more in the Panic of 1873.

He served as Governor of the Arizona Territory from 1878 to 1881. After his resignation as governor, he retired from politics and died destitute in New York City in 1890.

Wikipedia has a very long article on him here

Taken with a Sony RX100 M3

From Rockwood Hall to Sleepy Hollow – Overview

A couple of weeks ago I went on another walk. I had recently acquired a new camera: a Polaroid I2 and wanted to try it out (see picture above, one of eight I took. For the rest see: Film Camera 2024 -2: Polaroid I2 – Results). My plan was to go to Rockwood Hall, try out my camera, and try to find a way to walk to Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown without having to walk along busy Route 9/Albany Post Road. After consulting a couple of maps, I concluded that I could walk from Rockwood Hall, past Kendal-on-Hudson (an assisted living facility with a nice path along the river). I could then walk past Phelps Hospital up to Route 9. From there it was only a short block’s walk along a grass verge adjoining Route 9 to where I could turn onto Hemlock Drive. I could then down to the river and then past Philipse Manor station; through Kingsland Point Park, past the Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse into Beekman Avenue in Sleepy Hollow.

Taken with a Sony RX100 M3