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 – Philipse Manor station

One of my recent walks took me past Philipse Manor Metro North Station. I’d often seen it from the rive side, but I think this was the first time that I had seen it from the other side.

Philipse Manor station is a commuter rail stop on the Metro-North Railroad’s Hudson Line, located in the Philipse Manor area of Sleepy Hollow, New York, United States.

Built around 1910 and opened on January 30, 1911, the Tudorbethan architecture of the station’s original has earned it a listing on the National Register of Historic Places as an intact example of an early commuter rail station. It is the only station on the Hudson Line besides Poughkeepsie to be so recognized. In 1796 the plot of land was used for Rodrigo Curls, a Portuguese immigrant who used the plot of land for fishing, he owned it until the 1830s. This is referenced in documents found in the official website of the Village of Tarrytown.
The construction of the Hudson River Railroad and its later acquisition by the New York Central in the late 19th century opened up the river towns in Westchester County for suburbanization. It became possible for those of sufficient means to live in large houses amid the pastoral and scenic riverside, and accordingly villages like Irvington, Tarrytown and North Tarrytown (today’s Sleepy Hollow) began to grow and develop.

Undeveloped areas along the railroad line were soon snapped up by developers who saw the possibilities. In 1900 one, John Brisben Walker, acquired the old Kingsland estate in the north of North Tarrytown and began subdividing it. One of his selling points was the rail access, but this failed to materialize, and Walker had to sell the property, now called Philipse Manor in a confused reference to nearby Philipsburg Manor House, and had to sell to William Bell, who was able to complete it. Construction continued and subdivided land was sold under the name Philipse Manor Company. Bell made the rail service possible by building the station and presenting it to the railroad. Train service began on January 30, 1911.

It remained in use throughout the private ownership of the railroad. When the Metropolitan Transportation Authority assumed passenger commuter operations of the then-bankrupt Penn Central in the early 1970s and passed it along to Metro-North in 1983, it eventually closed the station house in favor of automated ticketing operations, and the main house fell into disrepair. The station has since been reused as the Hudson Valley Writers Center, which won an award from the Preservation League of New York State for its work on the station in 2005.
The main building (no longer used for rail purposes) is a one-story hip-roofed octagonal structure of rock-faced granite block with stone, stucco and wood trim. It is built into the bluff created when the tracks were cut, and thus access to them was provided through the basement, through doors which have since been bricked off.

The station’s east facade is augmented with two gabled porte-cocheres projecting at oblique angles, each supported by a heavy granite pier. Trapezoidal wings also jut from the narrow sides of the octagon. The loggia across the facade has central round arched opening with a parapet. This does not lead to an entrance, instead backing the fireplace and its corbeled stone chimney. The original roof used slate, but it has been replaced with asphalt shingles.

Inside, the fireplace uses several colors of granite, flanked with original iron radiators. It is complemented by dark oak matchboards over the stucco, laid to simulate paneling and form a dado. Further ornamentation includes a double frieze at ceiling level. (Adapted from Wikipedia)

The eagle seen in the second picture is one of a number that were once placed on the original Grand Central Terminal.

Taken with a Sony RX100 M3

From Rockwood Hall to Sleepy Hollow – Strange building

Here I’m looking across these grasses towards the Hudson River, wondering what this strange building is and what it’s purpose was/is. Then I realized that even though I couldn’t see it, on the other side of the building is the Hudson Line railroad. So I guess it must have something to do with that. I still don’t know what its exact purpose was though.

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