History of Philipstown

Putnam County, New York

The only town in Putnam County that borders on the Hudson River.


North Highland

McKeel Corners

Fahnestock Corners

Nelson Corners


South Highland

Travis Corners

Four Corners



Continental Village

1775-1783  --  the American Revolution.

Benedict Arnold was staying in Putnam, across from the West Point fortifications that he intended to place in enemy hands.

1777  -- the original St. Philip's Church built.  Gen. Washington stopped troops from burning it saying that ". . . we are not in this war to burn down churches."

1786 – Henry (Harry) Garrison was the first member of the Garrison family to come to Putnam County. He came to "Garrison's" in 1786. Henry married a daughter of Jacob Nelson. He was Judge of Putnam County, served in the State Legislature for two terms, served as surrogate, sheriff and justice of the peace.

1788  -- Philipstown named for Adolphus Philipse (who owned present-day Putnam County). 

The Nelson family owned land in the area. 

1795 – John Garrison born to the Garrisons. The Hon. John Garrison was the only son of Harry Garrison to survive to marry. He married Miss Martha Dominick, daughter of James W. Dominick, of New York City.

1803  --  Harry Garrison acquired the river front landing known as Nelson's Landing (name later changed to Garrison's Landing). 

1818  --  West Point Foundry Association, led by Gouverneur Kemble, incorporated.  It was located in the southwest section of the future Cold Spring.   

1819 – Highland Home built for the Garrisons.

1829  -- John Garrison established a ferry to West Point from Garrison's Landing.

by the 1830s  --  a school, Roman Catholic church, and stores were established for the West Point Foundry workers.

1836  --  Robert P. Parrott, later inventor of the rifled cannon known as the Parrott gun, becomes associated with the West Point Foundry.  The gun was an important weapon for the North in the American Civil War. 

1838 – William D. Garrison born, the eighth of nine children

1839 – Putnam Valley was part of Philipstown until this year.

1846  --  Cold Spring incorporated as a village.  One theory of the name for Cold Spring was that Gen. George Washington drank from a spring at the bottom of what is now Upper Main Street. 

1847 – Garrison’s ferry gave rise to the name Garrison Landing for the settlement around the ferry.

1849  --  railroad completed. 

1853 – William D. Garrison entered the Greenwich Academy, Connecticut.

1854  --  steam ferry put into operation. 

1855  --  East Cold Spring renamed Nelsonville. 

1856 – William D. Garrison became a clerk in a hardware store in Chicago, Illinois.

1859 – William D. Garrison returned back east and with his brother started a country store at Garrison's, the firm being known as G. F. & W. D. Garrison.

1862 – William D. Garrison sold his share of the business and purchased a farm at Plainfield, N. J.

1863 – William D. Garrison married widow Mrs. Emma Louise Taylor.

1863  --  St. Philip's Church (designed by Richard Upjohn) built. 

1864 – William D. Garrison settled on his New Jersey farm.

1865  -- the still standing administration building at West Point Foundry built. 

1866 – William D. Garrison returned to Garrison and with his brother opened the "Highland House," one of the best known summer resorts on the Hudson.

1867 – death of the Hon. John Garrison.

1867  --  the Philipstown Town Hall built on upper Main Street. 

1873 – William D. Garrison became the manager of the then struggling Grand Union Hotel, New York City. He was a prominent member of Garrison for many years.

1878-1928  --  the ferry Highlander ran between Garrison and West Point. 

1888  --  post office established on Main Street, Nelsonville.  The building also housed Edward Bodge's general store. 

1894  --  William LaDue designed the original Cold Spring train station that was designed this year. (It is now a restaurant: the Cold Spring Depot Restaurant.)

1898  --  the West Point Foundry leased to the J. B. and J. M. Cornell Iron Works Company.

1898  --  the Forson brothers opened a general store.  It stayed in business until 1923. 

1909  --  the Cornells closes the West Point Foundry. 

1911  --  the West Point Foundry site abandoned. 

1913  --  at age 90 John Forson retired from his and his brother's general store.

1915 picture  --  shows the ironclad Durand Building located on the south side of Main Street between Garden and Fair Streets. (There was another ironclad building in Cold Spring as well.)

1920s  --  Hamilton Fish II encouraged the formation of what became the Putnam Planning and Development Commission. 

1920s  --  at the 360-acre estate of Col. Jacob Rupert (of the Rupert Brewery and owner of the New York Yankees baseball team), Babe Ruth signed one of his most lucrative baseball contracts.  The estate on Route 9D was called Eagle's Rest and had two eagle statues from Grand Central's terminal on the property. 

1923  --  James Forson retired and the Forson brothers' general store ceased to exist. 

1928  --  the ferry boat Highlander sank in the slip at Garrison.

1933  --  the National Recovery Act of this year pumped $95 million dollars into Putnam County for road construction. 

1936 picture  -- shows the ruins of the Canopus Mine, the last operating iron mine in the county.  (It was located southeast of the intersection of Canopus Hill and Old Albany Post Roads.)

1944  --  the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South American bought the old Col. Jacob Rupert estate and established St. Basil's Academy for children in need. 

1990s  --  a new train station built. 



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

History of Putnam County, Chapter XXV: Town of Philipstown, Village of Cold Spring: William D. Garrison.  http://www.rootsweb.com/~nyputnam/history/chapXXV/617-620.htm