History of  Carmel

Putnam County, New York

Houseman Corners

Bullet Hole

West Mahopac

Mahopac Falls


Lake Mahopac


Secor Corners

Watermelon Hill


Carmel Hills

Hopkins Corners


pre-colonial times – Lake Mahopac, Algonquin Indian for "the Big Pond," was settled by the Wappingers.

Mahopac Falls originated around a large grist mill.  The area was originally called Red Mills because all of the buildings in the area were painted red.

1739  --  the Hamblin family from Cape Cod settled in the future town of Carmel. 

c. 1742  --  Timothy Shaw built a home on the north shore of Shaw's Pond (now Lake Gleneida). 

1775-1782 – the American Revolution.   The mill at Red Mills provided vital food to the American patriots.

George Washington reportedly spent time at Captain John Crane’s Inn (near Route 6).

1777 (April) – Sybil Luddington, the 16-year-old daughter of Colonel Henry Ludington, roused the area militia under her father's command to march to Connecticut where British troops were burning Ridgefield and Danbury.  Sybil Luddington rode on horseback for 40 miles through Putnam and Dutchess Counties alerting her father's regiment that the British were raiding New York and Connecticut.  The militia succeeded in driving the British back to their ships lying in Long Island Sound.

Soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War were laid to rest in Gilead Burying Ground (on Mechanic Street). One of these was Enoch Crosby, the model for Harvey Birch in James Fenimore Cooper's "The Spy."

1795 – Carmel established from Frederickstown and consisting of the villages of Carmel, Mahopac, and Mahopac Falls.

1800-1807  --  the Best family house built (on the south shore of Lake Gleneida).  It was later owned by the Haverback family.  Even later, the Catholic church owned the property. 

1800s  --  Before the railroads arrived, Horsepound Road was an important route to Dutchess County. 

1812 – Putnam County separated from Dutchess; Carmel designated as the county seat.

1814 – the Greek Revival Putnam County Courthouse, the second-oldest courthouse in use in New York state, erected. 

1822  -- the first county clerk's office built. 

1840  --  additions to the Putnam Country Courthouse included the portico, pillars and belfry. 

1840s  --  William Blake wrote a key book on the history of Putnam County.  

1842  --  start of the Putnam County Courier, the oldest weekly newspaper in continuous circulation in New York State. Its office was and still is on Main Street, Carmel. 

1844  --  4,000 people watched the hanging of George Denny, who killed an 80-year-old man with a shotgun in Cold Spring, the only execution in the county. 

1850  --  Carmel Collegiate Institute (later Drew Seminary) founded. 

mid-1800s  --  town doctor Addison Ely built what later became the Palmer House. 

1850  --  the Lockwood Hotel (Gleneida House) built on the shores of Lake Gleneida. (Later, when New York City purchased the lake, the Hotel was moved half a mile south.)

1850s  -- the New York Central Railroad brought vacationers from New York City to Croton Falls.  Stagecoaches then drove the passengers to Lake Mahopac.

1851  --  the first Putnam County Fair was held in Carmel. 

1854  --  James Raymond donated money to complete the Carmel Collegiate Institute, Putnam's first college.

1865  --   property acquired for the Putnam County Fairgrounds (on Fair Street near the high school).  They had horse racing on a half-mile racetrack until 1932.

1866  --  Daniel Drew bought the Carmel Collegiate Institute which was renamed Drew Ladies' Seminary.

1868  --  the brothers Barnabus and Horton GaNun had a small store on Gleneida Avenue on the site of the Smalley Hotel. 

1869  -- death of Horton GaNun. 

1870s  --  men briefly attended Drew Seminary.

1871  --  wooden trestle bridge built in Carmel.

1871  --  the original one-story clerk's office was replaced by the Putnam County Office Building. 

1877  --  Barnabus GaNun bought a larger store; it eventually became Ga Nun's Department Store.

1880  --  the New York And Northern Railroad (Putnam Division) from Mahopac was completed. 

c. 1880  --  the Blake family published the newspaper Putnam County Republican.  They had their newspaper offices on Route 52 (next to Stanley Cornish's drugstore).  Later, Putnam Motor Sales bought the building and tore it down to build an auto showroom. 

1880s – the Putnam Division of the Harlem Railroad built and helped make Putnam County a desirable summer vacation sport for New York City.  The dairy industry received a big boost. 

1890s  --  Carmel High School, located on Route 6, established. 

1895  --  Reservoir D created on Route 6 near Belden Road.  Carver Mountain (named after Barnabus Carver and family whose farm was inundated by the waters of the reservoir) is on the far side of the reservoir. 

c. 1895  --  New York City acquired the water rights of Lake Gleneida.  All the buildings along the lakeshore were torn down.  

c. 1895  --  Judge Samuel Barrett moved his Farmer's Mills general store to a new site of Route 6 and Church Street when his original property was taken over by New York City for its watershed. Lake Mahopac began to attract many summer visitors to its hotels, inns, and boarding houses.

c. 1900 photograph --  a mill near Lake Gilead believed to have belonged to American Revolutionary War spy Enoch Crosby (who is buried in the Gilead burial grounds). 

1904  --  after it was destroyed by fire, Drew Seminary was rebuilt. 

1908  --  a fire, started by cinders from a steamroller, consumed the south end of Carmel. 

1911  --  John H. Mealey and Park A. Mahoney purchased the Lockwood Hotel. 

1915  --  establishment of the Carmel Fire Department.  Their fire truck was a 1915 horse-drawn Buckeye pumper. 

1922  --  Samuel J. Hickman, a judge in Kent, bought the store of his uncle Samuel Barrett.  

1929  --  Louis Nichols bought a 110-acre dairy farm. 

1930  --  Patrick Lynch purchased the Lockwood Hotel. 

1930  --  Carmel High School built (on Fair Street). 

1930s and 1940s  --  the Palmer House was a boardinghouse. 

early 1930s  --  horse racing was very popular in Carmel. 

1930s  --  a fire destroyed the Putnam Country Courier Building.  Their office is still located on Main Street. 

1933-1970s  --  Thomas Townsend was postmaster. 

1940s  -- antique automobile racing began at the Putnam County Fair to compensate for the loss of agricultural interest in the area.

1941-1945  -- World War II for the USA.   Postmaster Townsend was a volunteer airplane spotter. 

1942  --  the Lakeside Inn (whose main section was the original Lockwood Hotel) claimed by fire.   

1943 picture  --  of Dave Bennett and grandson with his team of horses which he would hire out for snowplowing and other tasks.  (His grandson, Lynn Greenwood, later wrote a popular outdoor column for the Putnam County Courier.) 

1944  --  Dave Bennett killed when he fell from an apple tree while trying to prune it. He was a member of the Carmel Fire Department. 

1947  -- the Burchetta family acquired the old Best-Haverback house on the south shore of Lake Gleneida.  Later it became the Burchetta Glass Blowing Studio and Gallery. 

1948  --  Max Pearlman purchased the Carmel Diner (originally located on the corner of Fair and Main Streets). 

early 1950s  --  end of Drew Seminary, which was sold to the reverend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale's magazine Guideposts

1950s  --  the Palmer House on Church Street became a private residence.

1961  --  statue of Sybil Luddington unveiled on the shores of Lake Gleneida at Route 52.

1962  --  Charles Nichols (of Nichols Hardware Store) moved the old Mrs. Gilbert house to Vink Drive.  (Mrs. Gilbert was the daughter of dentist, Dr. Barrett.)

1964  --  the old Walter Ludwig house became the Edward Adams Funeral Home.  (On the second floor was Carmel's first phone switchboard.)

1964 – the nonprofit Putnam Hospital Center, the county’s only hospital and its largest employer.

1967  --  the Carmel Diner moved to Route 52, near the Shop Rite Plaza. 

1972  -- Samuel Hickman's son, Supreme Court Justice Barrett Hickman, retired.  The area of the Samuel J. Hickman store was named Hickman's Corner. 

late 1980s --  William Shilling sold the Lakeside Inn.  Now it is the Hunan Empire Restaurant. 

1980s  --  the Big V. Corporation purchased 20 acres of the Louis Nichols's dairy farm for the Shop Rite store. 

1990s  -- the rest of the Louis Nichols dairy farm sold. 

The bulk of Carmel's 33,006 population lives in Mahopac.


Guy Cheli.  2004.  Images of America: Putnam County.  Arcadia: Charleston, South Carolina. 

Cara Matthews, April 13, 2003, CARMEL: County seat is steeped in history and rich in scenery, The Journal News. http://www.thejournalnews.com/LivingHere/putnam/features/putcarmel.html