History of Lewisboro

Westchester County, New York

Six Hamlets:

Goldens Bridge

Cross River


South Salem

Lewisboro  --  lay within the area known as the Oblong, land disputed between New York and Connecticut.  . 



A landscape of rolling hills (with rock outcroppings).

Long Pond Mountain stands in the north.  Nearby is the highest point in Westchester County at about 965 feet. 


Much of the town's eastern half was settled by those from the Connecticut shore towns and was once part of Connecticut itself.  The western half was settled by tenant farmers of the Van Cortlandt Manor on the Hudson River and points south. 

1731  -- the town was settled (then known as Salem)

1776  --  Mead Street in Waccabuc was settled by the Mead family.  The newlyweds, Enoch and Jemima Mead, came on horseback from Greenwich.  Nearby Lake Waccabuc was then known as Long Pond.  Castle Rock towers 100 feet above the waters of the lake. 

1783  --  the town was divided into Upper Salem and Lower Salem. 

1788  --  Van Cortlandt Manor became part of the town of Lower Salem. 

1791  --  Cross River Baptist Church (the oldest public building in town) built. 

1806  --  the name of the town was changed to South Salem. 

1815  --  David Pardee built the house that became the Clattercote Farm (owned by the Boardman family) on Old Oscaleta Road in South Salem just west of the Connecticut line. 

1820  --  Alphred Mead (son of Enoch and Jemima) built The Homestead in Waccabuc. 

1829  --  in Cross River, the Brick House was built by Gideon Reynolds.  "Old Gid" operated the stagecoach between New York City and Danbury from the early 1800s until 1849.  The Brick House took in boarders. 

1840  --  John Lewis offered South Salem $10,000 dollars to improve its schools in return for changing the name of the town to Lewisboro.  (The mother of the New York City resident was a prominent member of the hamlet of Vista and his uncle was a school board member.)

1842  --  Henry Dauchy Keller bought a 1799 house and began a blacksmith business that lasted for 50 years.

1843  --  in Cross River the Silkman family organized the first Methodist Episcopal congregation.

1848  --  the railroad arrives in Goldens Bridge; this put into decline the stagecoach lines from White Plains and Sing Sing.

1850s  --  the Waccabuc area was promoted as a vacation paradise.  The name Long Pond was replaced by Lake Waccabuc.  There was a Waccabuc Hotel.  Down by the lake was the Waccabuc Hotel boathouse. 

1852-1868  --  Reverend Aaron Lindley was pastor of the South Salem Presbyterian Church.  (He planted a row of elm trees along Main Street.)

1853  -- in South Salem, construction of St. John's Episcopal Church on land donated by Stephen and Sarah Hoyt.

c. 1857  --  the Vista Methodist Episcopal Church built. 

early 1860s  --  Martin Rockwell Mead converted his Mead Street home into the Waccabuc House Hotel. 

1866  --  in Cross River, the building of a new school house.   It was used until 1940.  (It is now the Cyrus Russell Community House.)

1870  --  the Vista Schoolhouse on the corner of East Street and the New Canaan Road in Vista built. 

1872  --  tracks laid out to Lake Mahopac from Goldens Bridge. 

1882  --  Martin Rockwell Mead dies; his wife operated the hotel until it burned in 1896. 

1890s  --  the property at the end of  Lake Oscaleta was known as Camp Clover.  The house was owned by John Howe.  Later more camps appeared along the shores of Lakes Oscaleta and Rippowam. 

1890  -- construction of the second Goldens Bridge railway station.

1892  --  Richard H. Lawrence built what he called Oscaleta Lodge at the eastern end of South Pond (later Oscaleta Pond).  (Oscaleta means "little kiss" in Spanish.) 

1894  --  the Lake Waccabuc Post Office built by Robert Hoe.

1894-1899  --  Theodore Langdon Van Norden served as pastor of the South Salem Presbyterian Church. 

until 1895  --  Lake Oscaleta was known as South Pond until this date.  Its waters are not as deep as those of Lake Waccabuc. 

1895  --  building of the New Croton Dam.

1895  --  George Washington Mead and his wife Sarah Frances Studwell Mead built their Tarry-A-Bit home complete with formal gardens. 

1896  -- burning of the Waccabuc House Hotel.

late 1890s  --  in Vista, St. Paul's Episcopal Chapel built with fund bequeathed by John Lewis. 

1899  -- upon the death of George Washington Mead, his wife Sarah Mead built the Mead Chapel (designed by Hobart Upjohn) in his memory. 

about 1900  --  the water tower on Farvue Farm in South Salem built by Thaddeus Keeler and Edward Weeks. 

1900  --  St. Paul's Episcopal Chapel was named the Rockwell Memorial Chapel of St. Paul in honor of Gould Rockwell, a parish benefactor.  The chapel has a Tiffany window and a bell donated by "Boss" William Tweed of New York City.  Alice Poor used to play the organ. 

1902  --  the Camp Clover property was transferred to R. H. Lawrence. 

1903  --  Callahan's Hotel in Goldens Bridge moved to avoid the waters of the Muscoot Reservoir.

1904  --  Edward Lane bought the Onatru Farm on Elmwood Road in the hamlet of Lewisboro.  Later it was owned by Walter and Alice Lane Poor. 

1905  --  much of the village and farmland of Cross River were swallowed by the waters held back by the Cross River Dam. 

1907  -- in South Salem, Pastor Van Norden bought the Henry Keeler Homestead and opened it as the Horse and Hound Inn. (It is now the Lewisboro Town House.)

1908  --  in Cross River, John Hunt's store succumbed to the rising waters of the Cross River Reservoir. 

1909  --  a group of men organized the Goldens Bridge Fire Department, the oldest of Lewisboro's three fire departments.

1910  --  In Cross River, Dr. Pearce Bailey erected a Bailey Fountain as a memorial to his wife at Cross River crossroads.  (The Bailey home is now a private psychiatric facility, Four Winds.)

1912  --  two-room schoolhouse on Old Bedford Road in Goldens Bridge opened. 

c. 1913  --  the Robert Hoe mansion on Mead Street was converted into the Lake Waccabuc Inn. ( It is now the Waccabuc Country Club.)

1920s  --  in Goldens Bridge, the Palmer family switched from cutting ice by hand to using a gas-powered saw.

1920s  --  Truesdale Lake formed by damming the pond outlet on the Keeler Farm in South Salem. 

1923  --  Palmer family owns Callahan's Hotel. 

1924  --  Mrs. Richard H. Lawrence enlarged the Oscaleta Lodge. 

1924  --  Alice Lane Poor inherited Onatru Farm. 

1925  --  Lake Kitchawan Park was formed from two parcels of land: part of Southeastern Farms, at the southern end of the lake, and part of the Craft property, at the north end of the spring-fed lake.

1926  --  Developers Ward, Carpenter and Company purchased 125 acres from the Brady estate including Lake Katonah.

1927  --  clubhouse built at  vacation community 25-acre Lake Katonah Club in Goldens Bridge.  

1927  --  development began on the Goldens Bridge Cooperative Colony. 

early 1930s  --  establishment of the Truesdale Lake Estates in South Salem as a year-round recreational community.  

1938  --  two dams constructed on a brook in a ravine to create the 8-acre swimming lake for Goldens Bridge Colony.   

1938  --  in Cross River, Anthony Felice ran the "new" Hunt General Store that he named the Fifth Division Market in honor of his World War I army division.

1939  -- retaining wall constructed at the beach belonging to the Goldens Bridge Cooperative Colony. 

1939  -- building began on the South Salem Union Free School on Bouton Road. 

1940s and 1950s  --  Onatru farm manager Rufus Green kept detailed diaries about life on the farm in the hamlet of Lewisboro.

1940  -- the opening of the South Salem Union Free School meant the end of the era of the one-room schoolhouse. 

about 1940  --  the Poor family came to live permanently in Lewisboro.

1941  --  the Lewisboro Airplane Observation Post went into action on December 9 following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

1945  -- death of Walter Poor. 

1946  --  Henry Agard Wallace retired from government (he was secretary of agriculture and vice president under FDR) and settled in South Salem.  He ran an experimental farm called Farvue Farm for twenty years.

1949  --  in Cross River, Ralph Felice and Waldie Gullen took over the Fifth Division Market and ran it for 30 years.

early 1950's  --  Jack Hilbert bought the South Salem Inn. 

1951  --  James Abrams purchased the Oscaleta Lodge in Waccabuc. 

1951  --  the clubhouse for the Lake Kitchawan Association built. 

1953  -- in Goldens Bridge, closing of the Guirey riding academy, Boots and Saddles, on Todd Road after the death of Colonel Guirey. 

1955  --  the old schoolhouse in Goldens Bridge closed and the kids sent to Katonah. 

1955  --  an October 20th storm caused major highway damage throughout the town. 

1959  -- running of the last train to Lake Mahopac from Goldens Bridge.

1962  --  a fire destroyed a Farvue Farm barn belonging to former Vice President Henry A. Wallace. 

1963  --  in Goldens Bridge, Increase Miller Elementary School opened and kids from the neighborhood could stop going to Katonah for their education. 

1964   --  in Goldens Bridge, the old Green Brothers' General Store closed due to the coming of the super highway to the hamlet.

1970  --  the Cross River schoolhouse (now the Community House) was named in honor of Cyrus Russell, who served as town clerk for 24 years and supervisor for 8.

1972  --  the Stevens Memorial United Method Church built and the old Vista Methodist Episcopal Church sold. 

1978  --  Alice Lane Poor donated Onatru Farm to the town for use as a park.

1981  -- death of Alice Poor at the age of 96. 


(Source:  Maureen Koehl. 1997.  Images of America: Lewisboro.  Charleston, SC: Arcadia Press.)