The Village of
A SALUTE TO THE VILLAGE OF HAVERSTRAW
Town of Haverstraw was founded by Dutch settlers in 1666. The name is derived
from the Dutch “haverstroo,” meaning “oat straw,” for oats that once grew in the
Haverstraw Bay is the widest point on the Hudson River, running 3 miles across
and 6 miles lengthwise from Croton Point to Stony Point.
important beacon was located on High Tor Mountain during the Revolutionary War,
signaling the advancement of British ships up the Hudson River.
Benedict Arnold met with British Major John Andr? on the shores of Haverstraw to
plan the capture of West Point in 1780.
Village of Warren was incorporated in a 179-8 vote in the home of John Begg in
1854. Under an Act of the State Legislature, the name of the village was changed
to “Haverstraw” in 1874.
Haverstraw was once the brickmaking capital of the world. Most late 19th-early
20th century buildings in New York City were built with Haverstraw brick,
including the American Tract Society Building at 150 Nassau Street, completed in
1895 and designated a landmark in 1999.
Ruth played baseball in Haverstraw on Sunday, August 22, 1920, during the
filming of the movie Heading Home.
of straw and yellow and blue clay deposits led to Haverstraw’s becoming the
“Brickmaking Capital of the World” from the 1850s until the last brickyard was
closed in 1933 during the Depression. Cheap water transportation from Kiers’
Landing, the first dock built in Haverstraw (currently the site of trap rock
facilities), to New York City aided the growth of the industry and much of NYC
was built from Haverstraw brick. The brickyards extended from Short Clove in the
South to the Stony Point Battlefield in the North, and 200’ offshore.
of Haverstraw was also a popular travel destination when the Hudson served as a
main artery for travel in the early to mid 1800s. Three hotels (the United
States Hotel, Eagle House and American House) were located at the foot of Main
Street, where the post office and library now stand.
In 1883, 41
brickyards produced over 300 million bricks per year. As many as 8,000 workers
were employed locally at one time, with immigrants arriving from all over to
work in the brickyards. (In June of 1919, the average pay of a brickyard laborer
was $4 per day.)
In 1906, the
over-excavated land gave way in a landslide that left in its wake a gaping hole
from Allison to Jefferson Streets, taking an entire block of Division Street and
two blocks of Rockland Street. Nineteen lives were lost and twenty-one homes
destroyed. A plaque currently stands at the foot of Division Street marking the
site (see location 29 on inside map).
brickmaking industry declined in the early 20th century as concrete and steel
became the preferred building materials, but many of the original brick
buildings still stand. Remnants of this once vital industry and reminders of a
bygone era can be found at the Brick Museum, where the landslide of 1906 is
immortalized in a mechanical diorama.
abandoned brickyards left clay excavation pits throughout the area which filled
with rain and groundwater to form such watering holes as the Company Pond, once
the clay bank of the Hudson River Brick Co. In 1951, Company Pond was closed off
from the river and pumped out, and three concrete caissons - two of them 33 ft.
deep and one 26 ft. deep - were built in place for the New York City Department
of Marine and Aviation. Upon completion, the earthen wall was broken down and
the caissons were floated downriver to New York City to become the foundations
for Pier 57, which is now eligible for inclusion in the State Register of
Historic Places. Later, the same technique was employed to construct footings
for the Tappan Zee Bridge. Haverstraw Marina, the largest marina in the
Northeast, now occupies the site. Bull Line (or Bowline, as it’s known today)
Pond is also a former clay pit.
has undergone many other changes in its 150 years, and is currently experiencing
another transformation. In 1999, Mayor Francis “Bud” Wassmer, Jr. instituted a
“Façade Program” with help and funding from the Rockland County Office of
Community Development to spark the Village’s revitalization. Numerous buildings
have already received facelifts through the program, and many new businesses
have moved in. Homeowners of restored homes on First Street received the
Rockland County Executive’s Preservation Award in 2002.