Town of Gardiner

75 miles south of New Paltz, Gardiner was a farming community.

Waterways include the Wallkill River, Shawangunk Kill and Mara Kill.


1624 -- the Dutch settled in what became New York City and Albany. 

1663  --  Europeans may first have visited what is now Gardiner.  Dutch soldiers from Wiltwyck (Kingston) chased the Esopus Indians to get back a group of Europeans that the Indians had taken captive. In Gardiner the Esopus Indians had a nearby village, known as the "New Fort."  Here the Dutch were able to rescue 23 women and children (including some New Paltz founders). 

The main settlement of the Esopus Indians was located at the confluence of Vernooy Kill and Rondout Creek, one-third mile northeast of the bridge at Port Ben.

1664  -- the English take over power from the Dutch. 

1682  -- date of a deed in which the term "Shawangunk" first appeared.   It referred to a parcel of lowland along the Shawangunk Kill in Gardiner that was deeded from the Esopus Indians to Gertrude Bruyn. 

1687  --  the widow Gertrude Bruyn of Norwegian descent was the first European settler in what became the town of when she settled near where the Klyne Kill flows into the Shawangunk Kill (near what came to be called Bruynswick). 

1788  --  Selah Tuthill built the Tuthilltown Grist Mill on the Shawangunk River; it became the center of what became the neighborhood of Tuthilltown.

1808  -- the Farmer's Turnpike (running east to the old Gardiner railroad station was constructed by a private company (the Farmer's Turnpike & Bridge Company).

mid 1800s  -- wave of Irish immigration into the town.

1853  --  with a population of 1,900 the town of Gardiner was founded, carved out of the towns of New Paltz and Shawangunk (with a little bit of the town of Rochester).  The town was named for an earlier lieutenant governor of New York, Addison Gardiner.  The major sponsor for the creation of the new town was Joseph O. Hasbrouck, a merchant from Tuthilltown. 

1860s  -- building of the Wallkill Valley Railroad. 

1869  --  Floyd S. McKinstry, the president of the Wallkill Valley Railroad, builds the Gardiner Hotel.

1870s  -- much of the land around the town of Gardiner bought up by the Smiley family. They built hotels at Lake Mohonk and Lake Minnewaska.

late 1800s  --  wave of Italians immigration into the town.

1909-1915  --  the Catskill Aqueduct built. It passed through the town of Gardiner.

1925  -- a large fire in Gardiner hamlet took out several buildings.

1929  --  H. A. Tillson dammed the Palmaghatt Kill in the Rutsonville neighborhood, thereby creating Tillson Lake.

c. 1930  --  Oscar Hedden, owner of Benton's Corners hotel, created the 40 acre Hedden's Lake by damming the Mara Kill.  

1937-1945  -- Delaware Aqueduct built.  It passed through the town of Gardiner. New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia spoke at the opening ceremony beginning the construction

1938-1968  --  Camp Wallkill, a summer camp run by the Children's Aid Society, operated.

1948  --  the deteriorated Phillies Bridge, a covered bridge, was closed.

1950  -- with the decline of agriculture, the population declines to 1,289. 

1952  -- the Phillies Bridge collapsed.  The town had it burned. 

1960s and early 1970s  --  George Majestic, town supervisor, took the lead in working for the creation of a new town park..

1975 -- death of George Majestic.

1977  -- Wallkill Valley Railroad ceases to operate.

1978  --  dedication of a new town park, George Majestic Park. 

2000  -- the population climbed to 5,238.   

2003  --   the town celebrated its 150th anniversary.

Source: Carleton Mabee. 2003. Images of Amerida: Gardiner and Lake Minnewaska.  Charleston, SC: Arcadia Press.