Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

“The Lost Estates of Peekskill” is a must attend event for all local history enthusiasts

The estates in Peekskill were sites of scandal, adultery, and humbug.

Indulge your mind for a moment: It’s 75 degrees, the wind is calm and the sun is brightly shining on a Spring day. You decide to take a walk at the Riverwalk along the waterfront in Peekskill’s Riverfront Green Park. As you begin a gentle stroll along the southern walkway you see a few geese eating some grass, and in the distance you notice a fisherman casting a line. You amble towards the gazebo and see a historical placard. You stop for a few moments to read the information describing Peekskill’s past and the Hudson River.

As you continue down the pathway you enjoy the sights and sounds. You watch as the New York Boat Company  pulls away from the dock with a full deck of passengers just beginning the journey for the evening sunset cruise. You notice a small boat that was made by the Peekskill youth under the guidance of James Taylor in the Peekskill Youth Bureau Rising Tide Boat Building Program.

You continue on and round the bend circling back towards the Riverfront Green. As you stroll along, you admire the pink and white Cherry Blossoms in full bloom the Peekskill Rotary donated for their 100th anniversary beginning in 2016. As you get to the boat launch, you look up and notice the house on the hill. Your mind begins to drift. You begin to wonder what this whole area and Peekskill looked like a century ago, two centuries ago. Who lived here? When did they come? How did the houses look and what streets were here? What kind of jobs did the residents have?

You remember passing the Lincoln Depot Museum and reading about President Lincoln visiting Peekskill at one point. You wonder what Peekskill was like in the past. You continue to wonder but your questions go unresolved. 

This coming Thursday, April 4th at 10:30 am at The Little Red Schoolhouse in Verplanck, some of the questions you let your mind wander off to can be answered when the Verplanck Seniors of the Town of Cortlandt presents: “THE LOST ESTATES OF PEEKSKILL” by Kirk Moldoff.

With names such as Mount Florence, Rest Hill, and the Beeches, the hills overlooking Peekskill were once home to magnificent properties with national reputations. Nationally known names and the properties were owned by people such as Daniel Craig, one of- the founders of the Associated Press, the abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher and Moses Sperry Beach, owner of the New York Sun. The estates in Peekskill were sites of scandal, adultery, and humbug. Join local historian Kirk Moldoff for a look into a little-known aspect of local life in the 1800s.

Kirk Moldoff, a professional medical illustrator, has been researching Peekskill history for over three decades and has lectured extensively on the rich history of this area.

Beecher House Photo Courtesy: Westchester County Historical Society


The Mount Florence property at Peekskill on the Hudson.
Photo Courtesy: The Library of Congress

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About the Contributor
As a Peekskill native, Dave is thrilled to be working with the Peekskill Herald showcasing featured calendar events. A 1999 graduate of PHS, he remembers reading and enjoying the original weekly print edition of the Peekskill Herald every Thursday. He especially liked the political stories, local features and sports coverage when it was written by Peekskill Runner columnist Jack Burns who always managed to weave history into the running times. An avid hiker, he enjoys exploring the local trails as well as the concrete ones in his job as a conductor for Metro North Railroad. He’s a former teacher and co-founder of the Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park, where he frequently can be found with his Koda. He’s happy to be part of the Herald’s growth as the source of local news for Peekskill and looks forward to highlighting a few of many of the events and happenings in Peekskill and the surrounding communities. Reach Dave at [email protected]