early settlement was called a plantation, New Dorp. The village
and divided into house lots for tenant farmers.
news of the new village spread, additional
lots were surveyed and the village grew.
population was diverse in nationality -- North Netherlanders,
German, Norwegian, and Belgian. A virtual multiplicity of
tongues. Uniting this diverse population were the laws of
with Dutch Roots Foster Growth
laws were more tolerant than those of neighboring European
countries. They allowed far greater personal and
religious freedom, yet included a strict
code of both civil and commercial law.
unifying factor in this multinational community was the language
Amsterdam. Low German served as the basis for all
trade and legal action.
agriculture formed the economic base
the village, commercial services developed quickly. Blacksmiths,
leather workers, millers, brewers, distillers, masons and carpenters,
few, created a self sufficient village.
Law was imposed in 1664. Civil law, under the English, was
not the law of England, but rather a very strict the law of
the New York colonial government,
mandated with the blessing of the English Parliament. It was
far less tolerant than the former Amsterdam law. However, the
years of North Netherlands law, especially covering commercial
English control the village of Hurley was transformed from
a small agricultural community to a Township in 1708.
covered a vast area between the Towns of
and an Indian holding that was to become the Town of New
Paltz. This additional territory was already occupied by North
and German settlers, and soon by French and English newcomers,
as well. The British introduced African slaves as a source
of cheap labor.
original Town of Hurley produced bread grains quite successfully
until 1825. At that time the grain market collapsed due to
the influx of cheap
grain from the Mid-West transported east via the new Erie
Esopus valley fell into a depression that sparked
an exodus of commercial service organizations. The depression
continued until the arrival of IBM in the 1950s.
the early 1780s the State of New York broke up large private
land holdings into new counties and towns. Patentee Woods,
owned by descendants of early Hurley land owners, was one
of these private land holdings.
acreage was granted to the Town of Hurley and divided into
lots. The most valuable land for
farming, located along what is now route 375, was quickly
sold and settled. The purchasers
were mostly English, with a sprinkling of local old Dutch
they were nearer to the growing village of Woodstock than
Hurley, the new settlers conducted their personal business
in Woodstock. They brought only their legal issues to the
Town of Hurley.
1830, after the discovery of high quality shale in the
Town of Saugerties, the West Hurley area developed a thriving
quarrying business. The major quarries were English-owned
and manned by Irish immigrants who labored hard.
and farmers settled communities called Ashton, Jewelville
and Beaverkill. They drained a swampy area in the Beaverkill
Creak valley for additional farm land. Jewelville evolved
as the social center.
businesses sprang up to accommodate the growing population.
Each of these hamlets provided all the commercial services
residents needed. An influx of tourists spurred the hamlet
of Jewellville's growth eastward along the plank road.
area was soon renamed West Hurley.
business grew the commercial center shifted from Woodstock
to West Hurley. The permanent Town Clerk's office established
on the Main Street sealed the shift.
railroad brought new opportunity to West Hurley in 1875.
It provided the means for farmers and quarry operators
to send their products directly to new markets, without
the Kingston middlemen.
unique, steam-driven stone milling machine, built in the
West Hurley rail yards, eliminated the need to transport
stone to the Rondout Strand area stone finishers. Service
businesses bloomed -- hotels for the tourist and laborers,
doctors, clothing and notion stores, an ice business, taverns,
and the newest convenience-- a Post Office.
railroad made the valley of the Beaverkill the largest
and most affluent area of the Town. People could take the
train just about any place they wished or could afford.
telegraph controlled the movement of the trains and connected
everyday people to the rest of the world; the magic of
the Sears Catalog made it possible to purchase goods from
distant places; life was good.
disaster struck many families. In 1905, New York State
granted the New York City Water Board the right to build
a vast reservoir in the Beaverkill area.
reservoir construction began, people collected the few
dollars the low assessments of their properties brought
and fled. Most settled elsewhere. Those families who stayed
tucked into the hills and valleys surrounding the Ashokan
would never to be the same.
new West Hurley had no economic base or community center;
people once again turned to Woodstock to conduct commercial
business. The community's economic and social back was
Town was divided in two by the reservoir. Hurley government
was housed in two buildings, one in new West Hurley, and
the other in Old Hurley. The tradition of holding meetings
in each area on alternating months continues to the present
Present Town of Hurley
Town has evolved from an economically productive and industrious
one to a bedroom community. People live here and commute
to work in industries in neighboring towns.
crossroads of Routes 209, 28, and the NY Thruway provide
more reasonably priced than further south, a growing economic
base in the county, and a convenient location has once
again brought population growth the town.